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Monday, September 10, 2012

Jenny McWhinney Peg Bag

Jenny McWhinney's Early Bird  project in Inspirations 75  immediately caught my eye and had me rummaging in my stash. As lovely as the finished item was, I couldn't bring myself to spend $75 on the kit for an item that, if used, will take quite a battering. I did, however, really want to make it - and make it NOW.

I had some sturdy cream linen from an Embroiderers' Guild sale of oddments, some dark red homespun and several pieces of cream and dark red screen printed cotton bought from Ink and Spindle at various Bowerbird Bazaars. I managed to source webbing of the right width from Earth Girl Fabrics in Melbourne. The swivel latch was more difficult, but I bought one in the end from Sew and So in the UK.  The total cost of $23 for both delivered includes enough webbing for another project.

By serendipity, the Doodler Lap Frame I had ordered from Nordic Needle to assist me with the Betsy Morgan Etui project (another story) arrived while I was getting organised for the peg bag, so I decided to try it out rather than use a hoop. I also decided to transfer the design to the linen using pencil rather than the stabiliser suggested. While I don't mind working with stabiliser on small projects, I didn't want to have a film of plastic between my fingers and the fabric on a piece this size.

I photocopied the design, went over the outline of the photocopy in black felt pen, then used a light box to trace the design in pencil to the linen.

Unfortunately, in my excitement I omitted two of the birds - only realising when I had the fabric stitched to the rollers. Easy enough to add - but I decided to finish what I had first.

The design is worked in three shades of red. I used what I had that was closest to the suggestions - two shades of garnet and a brighter red. As I went along I added in a third shade of garnet.

I love the free sketch feel of this project. The predominant stitch is backstitch. It is used like a pencil, to get different effects. I especially liked the barbed wire - two intertwining lines of sketchy backstitch with little straight stitch barbs. Really effective and fun to do.

The jacket is outlined in and filled with lines of backstitch, leaving blank the two shapes for pockets - in the manner of candlewicking.

The two finches were fun to stitch - quite a bit of variation with seed stitch, fly stitch and couched lattice added to the mix.I liked the effect of the seed stitch on the pigeon in particular.

Once I finished the finches I had to remove the fabric from the scroll frame - which had been very comfortable to work with on this project - and add the missing birds. I then used a 12" hoop in my sitting frame to finish. I think the red is a bit too much of a contrast - but then subtlety isn't the priority on a peg bag!

I really enjoyed embroidering this piece. I am glad I went for pencil outlines - much more comfortable to work with.

I am a bit wary of the construction - but also curious to see if my fabric choice will work.


The Lady Stitcher said...

Absolutely lovely!

Monica said...

I love this project, just based on what I've seen on the internet. I think my magazine has been lost, I emailed CB today about a replacement.

Can't wait to see it assembled!

Jillian said...

Really sorry your magazine went astray - it is really frustrating, especially when you could do with the boost of pleasure that comes from a new issue. I hesitated to post this, not knowing if you had yours yet and not wanting to add to your frustration. Hopefully CB will rectify quickly.
I hope you make a version of this project when it arrives so I can see what you make of it. I love it too - so clever. Stitching it was somehow uplifting and kept me smiling.

Monica said...

Oh no, Jillian, don't worry about me! I am enjoying the piece vicariously through you, at least.