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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Native Colour Embroidery

Having bought the kit for Bev Stayner's "Native Colour" project in Inspirations 73, I have been pushing ahead to finish it before Issue 74 comes out - trying to at least not add to the backlog of projects I have lined up to do. I am very keen on this project, as it has some great techniques for creating Australian native plants, and I'd like to do more projects using them.

The first interesting bit for me was the method used to trace the design. The linen to be embroidered is backed with calico on to which the design has been traced in reverse. Sections are progressively outlined in running stitch on the calico side, then the fabric turned in the hoop and the outlined section worked on the right side.

I have used this technique before on simpler projects with less turning  - but it worked well here.
The first bit of work was on the wattle - stems and leaves in whipped double running stitch and open chain stitch. Then you add ghiordes-knot flowers before moving on to the bottlebrush - also ghiordes knots, but this time not cut.

It is very motivating to see each bit take on dimension and a recognisable texture.

The gum-blossom is a pleasing mixture of straight stitch and a section of cut-but-not-fluffed ghiordes knots. The gum leaves have an inspired red line against the main stem.

The grevillea, however,was the best fun to do, 

The curving stems are topped with olivy-brown French knots and then red  drizzle stitch between them, creating the spidery, somewhat chaotic sense of grevillea opening.

The piece de resistance was the full-blown grevillea created by what is in effect, French knots on stalks.
Mine is denser than it should be - I just got carried away making these ingenious little tendrils.

By then I was hanging out to do the waratah. There was a bit of too-ing and fro-ing to mark in the shape and create the petals before I got to add and stuff  the felt with fibrefill.

Seeing the waratah grow before my eyes as the bullion knots are stitched over the top of the stuffed felt gave me such pleasure. I couldn't stop smiling. I just love waratahs and it is a real joy to be able to create such a three dimensional image of one. I think in this design, it should be larger, even though it isn't in the foreground.

I was using a 20 cm hoop in my seat frame, which was beginning to squash some of the ghiordes knots, so I managed to really fix my 25cm hoop and transfer the work- making the last bits easier.

The last bits are the gum-nuts made by covering beads with thread, and two leaves stitched on stiffened gauze and attached via the main vein to give further dimension. I found these quite hard to cut out. Even with very sharp, small scissors it was really difficult to cut close enough to the stitching to remove all the gauze without also snipping a stitch.

I decided against adding the spider on a thread of web - I wanted the eye to follow the flowers rather than a spider.

Now I have to make up the bag. I think it will look good, but best of all I have learned some great techniques that I hope to use again for creating quite a range of Australian flowers.

I would certainly recommend Inspirations 73 for the range of Australian projects - great designs and great instructions.

I'm now trying to complete enough from my two Beating Around the Bush classes to report on them soon.


Monica said...

You did a beautiful job on this, Jillian! I also really enjoy reading about your enjoyment of the stitching! That's what it's all about, isn't it?

Can't wait to see your BATB projects!

Jillian Mary said...

That looks truly addictive, Jillian! I can imagine just wanting to keep going to see how the next flower turned out. I'm really looking forward to seeing a photo of the finished bag.

Karyn said...

I love the step by step photos of your stitching. I am glad you had fun doing it.
It all looks lovely to me. I think I must go and check out the issue of Inspirations.