Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Little Christmas Tree

You still have a day or two to stitch out a Brazilian dimensional embroidery design and use your needle art to make an original greeting card for a friend.
The original post with all instructions is published here: http://rosaliewakefield-millefiori.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-tree-lot-free-brazilian.html.  Or you can open my blog and look for posts on December 3, 2012.
Pictured above is a Christmas tree finished as a small ornament in a 2 1/2" frame. (Somehow the concept of decorating a Christmas tree with a Christmas tree escapes me ...)

You can add beads and charms, and the blog post will show you how to trim a small hoop with braid.
Or you can design a collage greeting card using all sorts of novelty threads (that green jobby in the upper left corner is from a plastic silk (?) fern spray from the craft store.           
     I first tried this idea of collage cards when I stitched the Millefiori Flower Patch (#828) and Veggie Patch (#829) designs,

and I filled my book, An Artist's Garden, with more small designs that would make pretty little cards.
Like this:
And this:
(Those holly leaves are made with the pulled buttonhole stitch.)
Or you could dress this little flower girl in Christmas colors and ask her to hold a little poinsettia bouquet (reverse lazy daisy stitches/the pointed end is on the outside).
Have fun, everyone! Happy Holidays, for whichever holidays you celebrate. I like to say "Merry Christmas" myself, but I am an equal-opportunity celebration person. (If you bring the chocolate, we will celebrate!)


Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Ship Came In

Oh yay and yippee skippy -- my ship came in!

Actually this is one of my Millefiori designs (#893) and I have it available as a pdf file with a traceable pattern (available at retail only). You can see it again on my www.Millefiori-BE.com website.

I used my Interlocking Stem Stitch (the same border as I used on #876 "Ruth's Gazebo") for the ship sides. The stitch was also handy as a rustic fence on this Millefiori design, "Meadow":
But today I'm going to share some photos I took using that little ship. (I also thought it might be fun to stitch on a tote bag, but the vest won out!) I incorporated a couple of my other designs and made a crazy patch vest. Most of the embroidery was done with my sewing machine, and I added a lot of ribbons and beads and other trims. Here are some pictures.

 On the front lapels, I stitched my Millefiori designs #928 (Kaua'i) and #929 (Lana'i). There are a couple of close-up photos just below.

 This is the back of the vest where I stitched "My Ship Came In":
And here are more photos - can you tell I had a really good time?. . .
Ric Rac makes lovely waves, doesn't it?

Here are some detail photos of the design, "My Ship Came In":

It's wonderful to have a job you love - and a special bonus, to have others enjoy the work, too!

By the way, I have several other designs that I've reprinted. They are listed on the first page at my Millefiori-BE website (link above).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Dreamed A Flower . . .

A few nights ago, just before I woke up, I dreamed a flower. I dreamed all of the stitches, petals, counts, woke myself up around 5:30 am and drew out a picture.
Then I stitched it. I liked it well enough after the first 3 steps that I stopped stitching. But since I was stitching bullions, I wanted to share a technique that works for me.
I use a hoop when I stitch, so my long bullions and cast-on stitches are worked with just the eye of the needle in the fabric:
Before completing the stitch, I can hold the loops or wraps against the needle, flip the hoop over and pull all of the floss through the eye of the needle and then back it out again to a short 3-4" fabric tail. What this does is to remove all of the kinks and twists that collected during the wrapping and/or looping process. 
Once the floss is smooth from start to end, I can pull the needle through the loops or wraps and (in the case of this bullion) work the wraps down to a narrow diameter.
Everyone has a best way; this has worked for me because I make so many petals or whatevers on a very short fabric bite (more dimension).
After I made those 5 bullions (18 wraps on a 1/4" fabric bite), I did the ole' "Wrap 'n Gather" slipping the needle under all five bullions 3-4 times and pulling tight to snug them up as "proud, upstanding bullions" -- this is a handy-dandy technique for wearable items because the bullions or cast-on stitches that are wrap-n-gathered won't need shaping after laundering.
In a second color, I added the 18-wrap bullions over each 'rib'.
The flower I dreamed the other night had a total of 3 bullions over each rib and ended with a circle of cast-on stitches around the edge. I never got that far because I liked the way this flower looked. Now. At. This. Moment. (My mind subjects itself to a whim on a whim.) Here's what I ended with:
I don't know how original this is - I just know that it popped into my mind while I was sleeping, all of it starting as a dream. It's a fairly simple technique, so someone else may have tried it, too.
Fluffy (actually, the neighbors said his name is Victor) from next door came over to watch. This is his favorite spot. He likes to beg for food. I was calling him "Tubby, Tubby, Two By Four" [couldn't get through the kitchen door], but stopped because it didn't seem kind.
He thinks that if he hypnotizes me, I will feed him. (Actually, it does seem to work...)
I don't dream flowers too often; sometimes they look like a nightmare that got lose. This morning I had another dream. I dreamed that I lost my car keys.
This little guy is burying the sunflower seeds dropped by the chickadees, waiting for them to get "ripe", and therefore "yummy". To squirrels.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lazy Satin Daisy - An Interesting Dimensional Embroidery Technique

If you are looking for a small space-filler for a crazy quit or a pocket or a wearable, this stitch and flower are a lot of fun to embroider. I named the design "Fairy Duster".
I called it the Lazy Satin Daisy, and have described it in some of my Brazilian dimensional embroidery books, My Book of Stitches and Take A Stitch by me (Rosalie Wakefield).
It's easy to do -- made with offset lazy daisy stitches, their starting points close together, the "tacked end" slightly farther apart. It makes a pretty flower petal, too. 

The leaves are completed with satin stitch, and those tendrils have been renamed from "Travelin' Tendril" to "Lazy Tendrils", also in my books. If you look closely, you'll see that they are also lazy daisy stitches with one side of the stitch much longer than the other, either couched or stitched with Brazilian outline stitch (floss held below the line of stitching) -- fun to do!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Frame Your Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery: Make A Little Art Quilt

In my last post I wrote about one of my Millefiori designs, #8005 "Wind Chimes". I decided to "frame" or finish it as a little art quilt. Here's a picture:
I found it was a good idea to select fabrics first and coordinate them with my floss colors. This was particularly helpful when I stitched another Millefiori design (#993 "Field of Flowers") in one color only, EdMar's 100% rayon floss #227, Pale Sea Green.

That little quilt was finished with a fabric called "Fairy Frost" by Michael Miller. If you'd like to see detail photos, you can search through that Blog Archive in the right column here until you come to May 1, 2011 posts, or you can do a search for "art quilts".
There are lots of ways to finish our embroidery -- making small art quilts is just one idea. Of course, one of the best ways to share our Brazilian dimensional embroidery is to stitch or make them into wearable designs - vests, jackets, totes. It's a great way to share the work we love with others.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reverse French Knot: A Stitch for Brazilian Dimensional (or any other) Embroidery

Here's a picture of a hollyhock I found blooming in my side yard a week or so ago. Isn't it pretty?  It has absolutely nothing to do with this post except that I think it's pretty.
Back in "The Olden Days" - yes, even when I did my first embroidery on those dish towels and dresser scarves my mother provided, I had SO much trouble with French knots which liked to disappear beneath the fabric.

Then I grew up and discovered Brazilian embroidery. I still had problem with disappearing French knots, but a fellow stitcher in one of my first B.E. classes patiently showed me her version of the French knot. I've done this ever since and haven't ever lost a knot, so I thought I'd share the technique with you.

I call it a "Reverse French Knot" (It reminds me of a colonial knot, worked upside down...).  Here's a picture:
And here's my explanation:

     Bring threaded needle up from fabric. Grasp the floss coming up from the fabric. Point needle toward the fabric, cross needle over the floss and "scoop" the floss around the needle 2-3 times. [A] (It's like stirring batter in a bowl.)

      Next, flip the tip of the wrapped needle up and over the floss [B] and point the needle down to the fabric and go through the fabric to finish the Reverse French Knot.

This "crossover" of the floss beneath the wraps will secure the stitch on top of the fabric.

This is how I have been happily making French knots for the past 20-plus years. I thought I should write the directions and add them to the "What Works For Me" notes I like to make. For those who have stitched my Millefiori design #8005 "Wind Chimes", you have already seen it. 
By the way, there is enough interest in this design that I am planning a small reprinting, and it should soon be available for you to stitch. If you'd like to pre-order your copy, just email me at link shown on this page. I'll save a copy for you.

I also published this stitch/technique in my latest book (Millefiori #8000 My Book of Stitches). In the index it is listed as a "Reverse Colonial Knot".  It's either colonial or French, but it works. Here's a picture of my book. People are calling it "The Pink Book". It is almost 300 pages of pure stitching excitement, and it's available at my www.Millefiori-BE.com website and is also available at www.Amazon.com:

 That's all for now.  Back to my embroidery . . .