Monday, February 21, 2011

Unavoidable Delay

I had planned to test hair stitches on Sunday so I'd know that what I wanted to use there would work with the cloak lining stitches before I spent too much more time stitching the lining.  It would be a shame to finish the lining and then discover the hair stitches didn't look good with them.  Since I already know as many swear words as I need to, it's best to test everything in this area before committing to anything.  Besides, I don't like ripping out!

Unfortunately, the power was out for three hours on Sunday and all my stitching plans went out the window as it was a very overcast day.  By the time the power came back on, I was worn out from running up and down the stairs to tend to the wood fire (no electricity equals no heat) and by keeping a close eye on the kerosene and propane lamps so that Watson the Rambunctious and Curious Puppy didn't knock them over and start a fire.

But Mother Nature, after having knocked down trees and power lines with high winds over the weekend, is planning stitch time for tomorrow since she will dump 4-6 inches of snow in Chilly Hollow overnight.  So today I'll run around and prepare by restocking the bottled water we used yesterday (puppies drink a LOT of water!) and getting sunflower seed.  I'm running low and dare not run out.  I've seen Hitchcock's The Birds....

Today I recover from one weather event and prepare for the next weather event.  Tomorrow I stitch!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Carol's Fish Gets Fancier

Carol's Gold Fish canvas

While Carol hunted for more of the dark teal in either the discontinued Empress silk or another thread, I’ve held off posting our discussion.  She needed some time to think, after all.  But we are ready to take another stab at working out a plan for her Lillian Chermor Gold Fish canvas.
Carol wrote:
An update for you on the water thread. I've had no luck tracking down additional skeins of the Empress silk. However, I did find another thread in my stash, Baroque Silk from The Pure Palette, that is almost the same color. It's between the #29 and the #30 in the Empress. The texture is a little different, but I probably could live with that.
Hurrah!  I think the color is the most important thing.  Just make sure the amount of Baroque Silk matches the amount of the Cire in your rows of background so that they look equal.  You can ply the Baroque Silk if you wish.
I need some time to think about your ideas here. They are somewhat different from what I was starting to develop in my mind--not really the stitches, but the ideas about threads. I was leaning in the direction of using more of my Brazilian embroidery threads because I love the sheen they create, which seems to be more realistic interpretation of the fish--even though he's not a very realistic fish.
Remember, my ideas are just ideas.  They are things that I would try if I were stitching this canvas but you are not me.  You will have your own ideas.  I'm here to get you thinking about what your vision for this design is and get you moving to achieve it, not tell you what to stitch.  This isn't a stitch guide roadmap after all!
There's no reason you can't use more Brazilian embroidery threads. I'd prefer to spend all day at the dentist myself as they misbehave terribly for me, but this is you stitching, not me.
My other thought was the Vineyard silk with the metallic in it. Maybe that's similar to the Lame braid.
I thought a touch of metallic would look nice on the fish, hence the Silk Lame Braid.  It is very similar to Vineyard Silks Shimmer, but Silk Lame Braid is just a little more tender a thread and a little shinier.  There's no reason you can't use some Vineyard Silks, some Brazilian threads or other threads you happen to have in the right colors.  Maybe you should rummage around in your stash and see what you have before we pick stitches. However, I'm thinking small scale stitches, perhaps some that we can use beads among....
Carol continues:
I'm still thinking about the hot fix crystals. If there is an option for sewing, I think I would rather do that, as it would not require me to buy something I'm not likely to use again. I would really like to find something with a flat back that would allow me to sew it on that would have the same glitter as a crystal. I guess I'll be checking Fire Mountain again...
Good idea.  You may find just the right thing at the Fire Mountain online store.  There are crystal buttons available at some fabric stores, too.  I think I might look for Swarkovski crystals with flat backs without heat activated glue on the flat side.  You could use regular fabric glue for those since you are thinking you will frame this.  They seem to come in a variety of sizes so you might be able to get exactly the right size to cover the fish fin dots.  
We also haven't talked about the bubbles.  Personally I think you might want to get some of the new Kreinik holographic threads in size 16 or higher and couch some of the light blue and some of the purple in a circle, starting in the center and spiraling out, then finishing with a couched circle of black holographic thread.  That will really stand out against the background.

We did talk a little about the bubbles...the discussion at the time was shisha mirrors, covered in tulle. I still like the idea. Maybe skip the tulle and use the holographic thread to sew them on. I also like the idea of the spiral thing, but I would probably not do couching; I would probably use a stem stitch or something similar to give it a little more dimension. I have a picture in my head, but I'm not sure how to describe it.
Then experiment with your ideas until you are able to mimic what you see in your mind’s eye.  Tulle comes in a lot of colors so you’d be able to add a tinge of blue or purple to the shisha mirrors that way if you wish.
I know beaders attach shisha mirrors using stitches and/or beads around the perimeter of the mirror.  That will outline the bubbles which you may or may not want to do.  I found some great instructions on attaching shisha mirrors online.  I thought I’d include them here for Blog’s readers.

I do like the idea with the washer for the eye. Maybe instead of a bead, some sort of dimensional stitch (like the circular Rhodes) could go in the the hole. I'd stitch the Rhodes slightly bigger than the hole in the washer, then place the washer on top of the stitch so the highest part comes through the hole.
As for using a dimensional stitch as the pupil within a washer hole eye, you just have to find a washer with the right size overall dimension and a large enough hole.  Time for a trip to the hardware store!  
I’ve been browsing my ribbon embroidery books looking for ideas for your seaweed and ran across the term “double-sided” ribbon.  This means one of two things--either the ribbon is shiny on both sides or it has one color on one side and a second color on the other.  It occurred to me that your bi-colored seaweed might be done beautifully in double-sided, two colored silk ribbons.  This is what they look like-
Wired ribbons often come in two colors, with the main body of the ribbon one color and the wired edge a second color. By the way, I don’t know anything about this website.  It just happened to have both tulle and double sided ribbons in two colors.
A colored edge wired ribbon is another way to introduce a second color to your seaweed.  The wired ribbon probably will hold its shape a bit better over time.  I’m just guessing here but it might be better to go wired than double-sided. It all depends on the look and of course you can tack down the double-sided, two color ribbon in a matching floss to hold it in place.
Anyway, let me think about these ideas for a little bit and get back to you.
Take your time thinking this all over.  This isn't a quick process.  I know you have been busy hunting for the background thread in the right color and also collecting various items like shisha mirrors, beads, crystals, tulle, and such.  This is a complex project!  It involves lots of unusual materials as well as the more usual choices of threads, colors and stitches.  It is going to look great but it won’t be a quick stitch and our planning will take a bit of work to decide on the right materials, stitches and colors.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at