Friday, 30 May 2014

Apple tree fire screen - Italian tubular mesh wire ribbon

Sometimes, things just don't work, and this was one of those times.

If you've been following this project, you'll know that I'm using techniques described by costume embroiderer Michele Carragher.  As part of her fabulous work she uses something called Italian tubular wire mesh ribbon.  I have to admit I'd never heard of this before, and it seems to be mainly intended for jewellery-making, but in Ms Carragher's work it's used as a very effective substitute for 'classic' goldwork, so I was keen on giving it a go for the stems.

It comes in two widths, so I bought some of both, to be on the safe side, both in Antique Gold:

It really is exactly what it sounds like: a very fine mesh of gold wire, woven into a long tube.  I eagerly took it out of its packet, and realised I had no idea what to do with it next.  It also occurred to me that I probably ought to have done this, whatever it was, first, rather than trying to fit it round the leaves I'd already stitched.

And the widths were wrong: the wide one is too wide for the stems, and the narrow one too narrow.  Never mind - I folded the wide one in half, which was about right, and cut a length, and found my next problem: it frays.  A lot.

Pressing on, I stitched it down as best I could along the edges with a single strand of stranded cotton in the closest shade I could find.  This was the result:

It actually looks better in the photo than in real life, and it doesn't look that good in the photo.  It's too lumpy, somehow, and the ends are a mess.  It came straight off again.

I should say that this is not a criticism of the wire mesh ribbon, just that it wasn't suitable for what I had in mind.  I can think of a few things where it could look very effective indeed and I'm sure now I know a bit more about it, I'll use it again in something more appropriate.

That still leaves me with the stems, however.  I considered gold ribbon, but the design has a lot of curves and ribbon wouldn't be that easy to work round them without bunching, then goldwork, but I think that would be too heavy for the piece.

So, I've decided to stick with what's worked for the rest of it, and do the stems in long and short stitch, with some shading.  Let's hope that comes out a bit better!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Apple tree fire screen - leaves part III

The leaves are finished, and I must say that I'm very happy with them.  There wasn't much to do to finish them off, with just the central areas of the each leaf and a little detailing to do.

For the central area, I used one strand of Madeira 1411 (the medium shade) and one of 1412 (the darkest of the three).  Here are the leaves on the right:

And the ones on the left:

Not quite finished - the very last thing was to add a vein up the centre of each leaf in split stitch, with two strands of 1412:

It's a bit hard to see the difference in the photo, so here's a close up:

The stems next, and I want to try something different!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Apple tree fire screen - leaves part II

I'm adding some shading to the leaves, using one strand of the the lighter colour I used first, Madeira 1410, and one of the next shade, 1411.  As before, I've tried to make the edge uneven, to help blend it in.

So, here are the leaves on the right with the first shaded area added:

And on the left:

The final stages next.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

New items in my Etsy shop

Apologies for the self-promotion, but I've added a few new things to my Etsy shop.

They're all Gocco screen prints, with all bar one based on my embroidery designs, and I'm pretty sure the one that hasn't yet been stitched will be one day!

So, here they are:

They're all just £10 plus shipping, so much cheaper than buying an embroidery, but still hand made with love.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Apple tree fire screen - leaves part I

I want the leaves to be shaded, so first of all I'm adding the lightest colour, Madeira 1410, in a band around all of the leaves other than the two very small ones at the bottom, worked in long and short stitch using two strands.  I've tried to make the inner edge ragged, so that it'll blend in better later.

First the leaves on the right:

And then the ones on the left:

I'll start the shading next time.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Apple tree fire screen - starting the leaves

The leaves are going to be worked in the same way as the apples, in long and short stitch with some colour shading.

I'm using three shades of Madeira stranded cotton:

Numbers 1410, 1411 and 1412.

As before, I outlined the leaf shapes in stem stitch (which is getting a bit better!), using the lightest of the three shades, 1410.  Here are the leaves on the right:

And on the left:

To help me keep my stitches at the correct angle, I drew in some guide lines with a white pencil:

Next time, I'll start to fill them in.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Apple Tree fire screen - more apples

Last time, I'd finished the first apple in the design, with two more to go.  Here's the first:

And the second:

The fabric has puckered a bit around them, as you can see; This fabric - an organza -  is too fine to stretch as tautly as I would normally do with linen, but as all of this is still an intermediate stage, I'm not too bothered about it - it shouldn't make any difference to the finished piece.

A bit more to do with the apples, to add the detail at the bottom.  I filled in the 'X' on each of them with Madeira 0511, a slightly darker red, in split stitch, and then added a small cluster of red beads at its centre:

All the apples completed:

I'll start the leaves next time.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Apple Tree fire screen - an apple

With the highlight spots on the apples, time to fill in the rest.  The main body of the apples is in Madeira stranded cotton no. 0211, a nice bright red.  I'm filling them in in long and short stitch, stitching over the stem stitch around the edge.

I'm also trying to give some shape to the apple by having the stitches follow the curve of the sides.

The idea behind painting the fabric before stitching over it is so that any gaps in the stitching won't be obvious but will be the same colour, more or less, as the threads, though I'm trying to keep the stitching solid anyway.

Here's the first apple (almost) complete:

The X-shaped unstitched bit at the bottom will be dealt with later - it's not going to be left like that.

Two more apples to go!