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Sunday, July 23, 2017

B2B Bag progress

In June I set this project aside to finish the Mountmellick work from the March Lady Anne's Needlework Retreat.  In the last couple of weeks I've returned to it and made an effort to finish it. It is the fourth Project in the  Basics to Beyond course of the Embroiderers' Guild of SA                                                                                                                      I had always planned to add a series of round flowers in the centre of this piece - to echo the similar set in the Hussif from Project 3  so I thought the Dorset button I made as part of the Dorset Featherstitch workshop would fit in. Texture is one of the criteria for this Project.

I became a bit concerned with the extent of the fairly dour background fabric. I chose it for durability and blending with the lining fabric (as well as availability in my stash!) but began to see its limitations. I decided it needed quite a bit of sky. I began couching some wiggly wool threads I acquired out of curiosity from Australian Needle Arts then added some needle-felted wool roving. 
Next a patch of flannel flowers, giving me a chance to use some green seed beads from the Stitchy Box Just the Threads shipment my daughter gave me. As soon as I saw those beads I thought 'flannel flower centres'!
The stand of flowers in the centre gave me a chance to use shisha mirrors. I had mislaid the ones I had originally acquired for this purpose so had to order some more online - they are not in ready supply in Adelaide thread shops.   I'm happy with the results - and there are lots of hidden "j"s in this foliage to satisfy the requirement that this design be based around our initial.
 Above the patch of flowers I added a sheep - using some of the stumpwork technique I learned in 2015 at an RSN day-course- a felt base covered in French knots using six strands of cotton, blending two different colours.

No horns on this one - a ewe, not a ram.

I then went all out on the sky - filling as much as I could, using Bokhara, chain and reverse chain and a bit of couching of the wiggly wool. A hank of variegated blue shiburi thread came in useful.

I soon realised that I had a problem with the flowering gum tree. I either had to put in more foliage to provide a solid block-out of the sky, or I had to add sky behind the tree. Had I planned the sky from the beginning, I would have put the sky layer in first. The shiburi thread proved useful for weaving behind the existing stitching.

By now I was set to fill in the whole landscape. It took a while to finish the sky and fill in the land behind the trees. I did it largely without a hoop, so it needed blocking when I finished. I am, nevertheless, very pleased with it.

My lining fabric is a print of Australian wildflowers. It seemed a pity to only use it as lining, so I cut large piece, added a zip and created a pocket on the back.

The construction instructions were quite explicit. For the most part I followed them.  In order to make the lining more visible I reduced the turnover of the outer fabric, bringing the lining closer to the top of the bag. I also added a layer of wadding between the outside and lining.
I didn't manage to catch the lining in the seams of the false placket sides. I decided not to undo and redo them as the lining was holding the internal shape anyway.  The tacking, while it had provided excellent guidance for construction, did prove a bit difficult to remove.
There is a loose lining-covered panel in the base to hold the shape. I used a piece of plastic cut from a document folder. I also tacked it down at the corners to keep it in place.
This is the finished item. It has been a bit of a long haul. I'm pleased to be taking it in for assessment tomorrow - and very pleased to have learned so much about embroidering landscape. I plan to use this bag to carry all my B2B supplies and working project.


Monica said...

Oh, wow, Jillian! I hope you will get a glowing assessment, it would be very well deserved. I like the way you told the story, with just close ups until the big reveal. The drab olive fabric became the perfect ground after you added the full blue sky. I love all the Australian flowers, and the beads and mirrors, too! You are seriously making me miss embroidery right now. I think you will love using this bag!

Jillian said...

Thanks, Monica. It has been a great problem-solving exercise - and yes, I'll enjoy using it. My construction will be criticised - and rightly so. I've improved but there's a way to go!

margaret said...

Jillian this is one amazing bag so much to see and admire in it very impressed with your sisha mirrors well impressed with it all what a wonderful bag it has made which will greatly admired by all those who are lucky to see it in real life form

Jillian said...

Thank you so much, Margaret. It's so reassuring to have my embroidery friends like it. I've learnt so much doing it. I handed it up for assessment today!

Jillian Mary said...

Just beautiful, Jillian. I love your creativity, and your problem solving. Currently doing a study whose question today was about stewardship in creating beauty. You would have no problems with that question!

Jillian said...

Thanks Jill. It's been quite a long journey to get to this point. I feel as if I've arrived somewhere very comfortable. I'm still a bit limited by a couple of ingrained tendencies - to cut corners in construction and to 'make do' in fabric& threads. Both can be advantages but also limits. Thanks for your generosity.