Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Those Pansies

I've been slow in laptop fried including the external hard drive. Luckily all of my files were finally recovered intact, and a whole bunch of dollars later, I'm back in business. I have to say, it was kind of nice to be free of the laptop for a short while. I devoted more time to actually working on projects such as my Silk Scene.

I had reached a conundrum of sorts:  what to start filling in with around the main parts of the Silk Scene. It was kind of daunting but I finally hunched down and decided to stitch some smaller plants to add perspective and some color. Enter Pansies....I consulted with several of my silk ribbon books and which way to make them with what I had on hand. It really does matter how you make a specific flower (in this case) according to the size of the ribbon used. I had 4mm ribbon so it looked like I could use tiny straight stitches for the petals in  2 colors. The top two petals are a dark burgundy (used in the foxgloves), and the lower three are a dusky peach. I stitched the top 2 petals first, then stitched the bottom three: one on the left, the right one and the middle one last.
Small pansy buds consisted of two tiny straight stitches of each color, slightly overlapping. I filled in the flower with a yellow center using a bright yellow floche in a one wrap French knot.
Next I added the stems in a green floche and a tiny lazy daisy green "leaf" between the top two petals (as you see in the photo below).
Each flower bud had a tiny lazy daisy stitch on one side and two small straight stitches on the other. Japanese Ribbon Stitch leaves in a variegated 4mm ribbon were clustered at the bottom of the stems.
After I finished three pansy plants around the Scene I wanted to add some ferns: I love ferns and have several varieties in my own yard. So here's the start of the first fern plant in front of the wall using one strand of floss in either a stem or outline stitch.
Now I have to stitch some more ferns around the scene and figure out what's after that. Slowly but surely!!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Silk Scene Foxgloves

I've been procrastinating continuing on the Silk Scene....a lovely Block of the Month quilt caught my attention as I stitched blocks on my wonderful, old Featherweight. Back to the project at hand: what to stitch next on the Scene. I had planned to stitch something in front of the wall. Foxgloves are tall, colorful and (I thought) easy to do, at least they looked easy in the instruction books: two colors of silk ribbon on top of each other.

First step: put the stalks in with variegated silk buttonhole twist courtesy of Treenway Silks, each a long straight stitch that eventually gets tacked down. Then little Japanese Ribbon Stitch leaves in 4mm ribbon, again from Treenway. You'll notice I put two stalks behind the wall to suggest more perspective as though the flowers were planted around both sides of the wall.
I selected colors that would blend with the roses and the background fabric shading, one light for underneath and one darker for the final stitch, both in 7mm ribbon from my stash. The first, lighter color is a puffy straight stitch. That was easy to do.
I completed the second color (not shown here) but decided the entire stalk of flowers was way too big for the Scene. Way out of I carefully snipped the Big Foxgloves out of the scene and started again with 4mm ribbons. The second stitch (Japanese Ribbon Stitch) was not as easy because it has to be to be centered over the first stitch. And the first stitch has to be mashed down slightly to create a "puff" of color below the second color. My first attempt at this technique was just okay (see below) but I got a little better as I went along. 
The result (above) was much better in proportion! The second color is a darker one done with a Japanese Ribbon Stitch. It's shorter than the lighter one so the light color peaks out below. I used some different color combinations for some of the stalks to look more realistic. Notice the smaller buds ascending the stalk (little straight stitches) with green unopened ones at the top (more silk cord for those in a tiny Lazy Daisy stitch). Every now and then I purposefully pierced the stalk to help hold it in place, and when needed, I couched the stalk.
I like this much better with the smaller 4mm ribbons! Love the sun grazing the surface, too, in the photo.
Here's the big picture...I like the result and learned something new in the process.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Silk Scene Tree

Back to the silk scene after attending the SAGA National Convention. I'm working a little each day on it when possible. I added a tree next to the wall to add more perspective...hopefully. I've never used this technique before: bundling different threads and colors together, then tacking them down with couching stitches. It was an interesting experiment and took some getting used to

The threads: mixed DMC cotton flosses in shades of brown to very dark brown, one Antique Ecru Floche  and a little bit of silk buttonhole twist.
I loaded a mix of these threads into a #18 Chenille needle (very large eye and shaft) with a knot on the end. Into the fabric to start at the base of the tree trunk and laid them down, twisting a little as I went.
I repeated this about 2 more times to get needed width. I also ran some along the edge of the wall in an effort to make it look like the tree was just on the other side of it.
About midway I divided the multiple strands and threaded some into another needle to lay them down as branches.
And some of those I separated again to create smaller branches.
Since these threads were laying on top of the fabric unsecured I used some of the same thread in a smaller #8 Crewel Embroidery needle to "artistically" couch them down. Read: stitches of different lengths and angles over the trunk and branch bases to hold them in place. Then I used a little of the very dark brown (DMC 3371) to add some dark shading where I thought the sun wasn't touching the tree. And some of the Antique Ecru Floche for highlights.

Various 7mm variegated green silk ribbons were perfect for the leaves of this unusual tree. The Japanese Ribbon Stitch was just right for leaves because I could curve them either left or right, or leave them centered, to add more interest and least I hope it does!
I laid my workbook down on the left side simulating the position of mat board when framed. The tree was lopsided so I added two little branches to the left, then leaves. It looks better to me now.
Not sure what I'll tackle next...I'll take some time and think about it tomorrow. Thanks for reading my blog about this Silk Ribbon Scene journey!