Waiting for Spring
Anchor embroidery floss and valdani pearl cotton on non-evenweave linen
I finished this some time ago, and finally got round to washing and blocking it. Sadly, I could not remove all of the violet iron-on marker. And that after some of it bleached on me before I could complete the stitching. I don’t think I’ll be using the darn thing again. One of these days I’ll have to invest in a light table.
I’m calling it Waiting for Spring, because when I designed it last year it was march and it was still snowing. I think it is kinda symbolic that the bulb i’m expecting to grow is “empty”, not the quite bleak background.
The background is long-armed cross stitch, the soil a mix of diverse structured stitches, the fillings inside the bulb long and short stitch.
Here are links to substancial in-Progress postings:
– The design process
– The finished design and the transfer to fabric
– A closeup of the needlewoven bars in the soil
This is a little part of my assisi embroidery. I have used needlewoven bars wildly crossed to add to the general encrusted look. I’m rather pleased with this, and I think it is easier done than tons of french knots and buillon stitches. (although I’m afraid of the latter no more after this piece)
This is a turk’s cap lilly from my garden. They take 5 years from seedling to the first flowers, so I treasure them very much. I like them more than most of the big colourful everyday garden flowers.
Sharon B is posting her actual stitching progress every week and has invited others to do the same. Sadly I never seem to get this done before saturday. Well, here is what I stitched since last wednesday.
My needlewoven tree on coconut fiber background is done so far. I don’t know weather I’ll leave it as is or add some more.
By needleweaving I was inspired to needleweave on a little pin frame. I should have taken the time to make a cardboard loom which can be taken on the train. This is how far I got. I will post details sometime soon.
On the commute, I continued working on my assisi piece. I am through 3 1/2 skeins of stranded cotton floss now, using 4 threads in a needle. I don’t know why this is so slow going, and I’m still not sure if it’s going to look good.
So I kept working on the assisi piece on the commute, and on my trellis stitch piece at home. Right now i find all this unbelievably boring and repetitive. Watching my baby steps on these projects is probably boring for you either, but I post them anyway to motivate myself a bit. But it will remain unfinished if I don’t presevere and keep working on it, so I try.
This is how far I got on my rock pool. I added a bit this weekend.
The whole thing from the side, to show the three-domensional effect.
This is the assisi embroidery piece so far:
So this is how far I got this week. not too much, I know.
I decided to fill the sky in the picture with dark blue long-armed cross stitch. not sure this is so good, it takes forever to do. I wanted something simple for the sky to avoid an overly busy look, and rich structure for the soil.
A closup of the long-armed cross stitch. I like this stitch very much for filling large areas. Here, the stitches turend out very long because the fabric is no evenweave and I worked over the traditional 3*3 threads. I think if I do such a piece again I will probably invest in real embroidery linen istead of using some cheap surrogate. This is a 100% linen dress fabric which looks great, but is no evenweave and more stretchy than I would like my embroidery fabric.
So tomorrow I’ll have to go back to work, this week was way too short. I have been doing a bit more than I was showing you and prepared lots of photographs in advance, So I won’t be back to posting once a week for some time, I hope.
Now this is how far I got with my flower bulb. You see how the iron-on pattern is already beginning to fade, That’s why I have to finish all these outlines before continuing with my trellis stitch piece.
Another long and short stitch detail. I’m getting better at this, I think.
I used to dabble in bonsai, and as you see here, I maintained the habit of collecting little plants in pots, always hoping they’ll be beautiful useful one day. Thy rarely are. And my best ones always died after a few years thanks to the unpredictable weather here.
So I’m working on my stuff slowly but surely, in between cleaning up the garden and enjoying the fine weather in other ways. The whole thing is going to be more “Sharon-style” than traditional assisi work of course. This Prym iron-on pattern pen fades within a months or so, so I’m trying to finish all the outlines quickly. I’m doing only the dark parts inside the onion in long and short stitch, I plan to use something more textured on the outside.
This I did in the evening, in a room not too well lit.
And this in daylight.
I think the difference does show. I will need better lights. But these also show that I will have to pracrice long and short stitch a lot more. I’m doing it with 3 strands of floss here to match the coarse linen.
I described here what ideas I had about assisi work and how I started my design process.
I decided that the first drawing in my last post was best.So I copied it unto transparent paper by simply drawing the outlines after putting the transparent paper over the original drawing, then tried to get all the black and white right. I used in part copic marker, in part Faber-Castell brush marker. This is the result.
Next, I used a pencil for making iron-on patterns and drew along the lines of the outlines of the motif . The ironing on is best done on a hard surface to get good presure and make sure nothing shifts. As you can see, the frame was ironed on first and the bulb was moved away from the end of the area to stitch a bit. Unfortunately not all lines were drawn strong enough to show well after ironing on.
Warning: Don’t do this like I did this time! The marker gave off funny smells that made me dizzy during ironing. Don’t heat paint or marker colour not intended for this! Do a copy in pencil on another sheet of transparent paper if you have used marker, then draw with iron-on pattern pencil onto the back of it to avoid getting a mirror image of your pattern.
I reinforced the iron-on pencil drawing and braved the stench a second time, but it didn’t really get better. I guess that pencil doesn’t work too well with linen like this that has bulks and is rather uneven. So i started stitching. I used cotton a broder for the outlines because I found I don’t have any black floss and the shops are shut on important church hollidays here. I’m going to get floss for the roots I think. Now here is how far I got. I know it’s not that impressive but i fear I’ll miss the deadline if I don’t post something now. Stay tuned for the next updates.
This new challenge turns out to be hard. First month grids, next month a 3d stitch, now assisi embroidery. But what’s hard about that? for me, because it is ultimately about positive and negative space, black and white and such. I never was really good with this. Remember my recent linocut?
When researching linocut recently I stumbled over the concept of notan. This is japanese and means light-dark. It means a harmonious balance between light and dark areas in a work of art or design. It is especially important in a medium of woodcut or linocut, because if it’s not a colour print light and dark becomes the main focus of the design. I guess the same goes for assisi work. Apparently, good notan can improve any work of art or design. Strange that I never even heard about this before, and I did take painting lessons. Here are two good links: article about notan at emptyeasel, which also leads to other articles about notan there, and an article about notan by Sharon Himes.
Now here are my own practical efforts, although I didn’t really get anywhere with them. After This experience, I admire Sharon’s work even more. Right now I’m really at a loss about how to design that way.
Update: The picture I used as inspiration is here. Thanks to that kind blogger, who allowed me to use it.
a flower bulb – black copic marker, black and white crayon pencil on khaki ingres paper. Just a quick sketch to figure out where I want to go with my next design.
The same – white crayon pencil on dark blue ingres paper. More like a classical chiaroscuro drawing.
A copic marker doodle done while procarstinating about doing some more bulb sketches- I’m sure I couldn’t do something like this if the topic was black and white line drawing or somesuch.