Sunday, 23 February 2014

Druid banner - blue trilithon spirals completed

I'm still making good progress, and have done all the blue spirals for the top half of the trilithon.

Here are a few more than last time:

And the rest:

The bottom half will have green spirals - I'll start them next.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Why I use running stitches to transfer designs

I've mentioned often in the past that I use small running stitches over a design marked up on the back of a piece to transfer it to the front.  This sounds like - and is - a lot of work: I have to mark the design onto the back somehow (an iron-on transfer on lining fabric, usually, but it could be traced, prick and pounced, etc), and then have the effort of stitching over it with stitches that are not intended to be seen as part of the finished item.  Why do I bother, when it would be quicker and easier to mark up the front in the first place?

This is why.

Here's a part of the design with the running stitches marking out the design:

The lines are rather wobbly as the running stitches are going through several layers of fabric (the linen lining, the cotton sateen background, the Vilene lining of the appliqué section and the silk of the appliqué itself) and it's hard to keep them as straight on the front as they are on the back, especially with a design this complex, but I'm more interested in the shape of the spiral.  It looks wrong - the part over the central circle is too high.

So, when I added the couched thread, I ignored that bit of the transferred design and put it where I felt it ought to go instead:

That leaves the stitches of the original line (and the wobbly ones) on show, but a quick bit of unpicking later and voilà!

They're gone, and you'd never know they'd been there.

If the design was marked on with pen or some other more or less permanent medium, I couldn't change my mind, or not easily.  This way, I can make changes as I go, plus I don't have to worry about lines showing through, or ink spreading and making a mess of the fabric.

So yes, it takes more time and effort, but it saves a lot of heartache.  I can recommend it.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Druid banner - blue spirals on the appliqué trilithon

Lots of progress to show you today!

The white appliqué trilithon looks very stark on its own, but it's not staying like that.  I want to integrate it into the overall design by continuing the spiral pattern over the top of it.

As ever, the first step is to go over the design on the back with small running stitches to transfer it to the front, and this time it's actually visible:

You can already see how it's going to work!

I'm using Benton & Johnson metallic passing thread in "Ocean Blue", couched with Gutermann Sulky machine embroidery thread number 1250.

This is plain rather than variegated, and a slightly darker shade than the one used for the background.

And as I've been busy, I've even more to show you - some of the spirals already done:

You should be able to see how the design works across the whole piece.  It's coming on!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Druid banner - appliqué trilithon

Time to start the trilithon, the 'Stonehenge' motif that forms the heart of the design.

This is appliqué, using white duchess silk satin, which has a beautiful sheen to it.  I first traced the shapes from the design drawing, and cut them out in a lightweight Vilene.  I should stress that this is not Bondaweb or any other iron-on interfacing.  I really don't like the way that makes fabric feel - it's too stiff and inflexible.

This means, though, that I have to find some way to cope with the tendency of a fabric such as the satin to fray when cut out.  This is what the Vilene (or felt, which I use for appliqué a lot) is for - I cut that to the correct size, cut the fabric out slightly larger, and fold the margin round the back of the Vilene, tacking it in place:

Here's one tacked piece and a second Vilene piece, still with the tracing paper attached:

As ever, I went over the design on the back with small running stitches to transfer it to the front fabric, as a guide for positioning:

I then stitched the first upright section into place:

And the second:

And finally the cross-piece along the top:

That's just the start, though - this now needs to be integrated into the spiral design.  That's next!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Druid banner - rays of light finished

Finishing off the gold rays of light today, with the ones at the top of the design.

A few more, over the blue part of the central section and to the left and right:

And the ones above the trilithon:


It's the trilithon itself, next.