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!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Silk Scene Wall

The wall...I hit it trying to figure out what to do next on The Scene. I just couldn't get past the wall or what was going in front of it. So I tackled the wall itself, and thought about what to do next while making umpteen French Knots.
Ann Cox's book, Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs and Techniques, shows a wall with moss on it...or maybe its lichen. Either way it's good for connecting my not-too-realistic wall blocks. And it adds interest and dimension.

I chose four colors of thread: 3 DMC cotton flosses and one DMC cotton floche. 
And I threaded 4 crewel/embroidery needles, sizes 8 or 9, each with one of the colors (2 strands of DMC or one strand of the floche). One wrap French knots were perfect, clustered together, for this slow growing moss. It was easiest to work all four colors at the same time in the hoop to be able to choose on a whim which color went where. In between I parked the unused needles on the top of the hooped silk to keep from tangling on the wrong side. The system worked really well even though it looks like a-mess-of-threads here.
The final moss wall...looks much better, and this technique is a great way to cover any ink bleeding (notice the wall top right between photo above and one below) or lackluster stones.
Now all I have to do is figure out what to tackle next. Iris, anyone?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Silk Scene Progress

Slowly but surely...in between Dorian preparation and getting ready for the Smocking Arts Guild National Convention, I've made progress. Baby hesitant steps because I've never done "A Scene" before. By the way, I'm working this whole project in a 10" hoop: silk ribbon embroidery should always be hooped. After completing that green ribbon horizon and pink dogwood tree I moved on to the rose bush, but moved it to the right side of the scene. Somehow I didn't think it would look good in front of the wall.  Two colors of cotton floss worked for the stem and branches, a brown and a green, together in the needle using stem and outline stitches up the trunk then up each branch.
To make the branches look more realistic I dropped (and tied off) the brown floss (see below on the wrong side) and worked only with the green floss to the tip of each branch. It thinned the sized perfectly and looked nice.
Spider Web Roses have a base of an uneven number of spokes to weave the ribbon in and out of that are securely knotted so they don't release the silk ribbon. Here you see a pink color to match the ribbon (7mm variegated fuchsia/pinks) with 5 spokes.
With a #18 Chenille needle (big enough for the 7mm ribbon) I came up in the center of the spokes and began weaving alternately under and over them until I covered the spokes. The ribbon can be allowed to curl as it's woven to create a pretty rose. At the end, I just go under an edge to the wrong side and tie off (or rather sew down) the ribbon end.
I also added a little more thickness and length to the bottom of the rose base...it blended beautiful into the original stitches.  The result is a lovely rose bush with 7mm variegated Japanese Ribbon Stitch leaves. The single bud is a Ribbon Stitch with two straight stitch bracts.
Now on to another part of the design.....



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Silk Scene Begins

It's begun...the all-consuming silk ribbon embroidery scene project.  I fell asleep dreaming about where to begin, and after thinking and reading up on these things I decided starting in the background is the best approach. I wanted a tree in the background and thought of a dogwood, a few of which we have in our yard. I've never been able to get a pink dogwood to grow so I figured I could at least stitch one.

First start: the tree itself without any leaves or flowers. I drew one in my notebook sketch to get an idea of size, proportion, etc., then drew it lightly in 0.5mm pencil on the silk. Again, reading up in a book by Ann Cox (Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs & Techniques) I followed her idea of several types of threads twisted together to form the trunk. The photo below shows brown silk buttonhole twist, 3 colors of DMC cotton floss (browns), and 2 colors of YLI silk floss (brown and black), mostly using 1-2 strands of each one.
I used some of the cotton floss to couch down the threads at whatever interval I thought was necessary. Then I separated into three groups of threads to start the branches after making the trunk. And those were separated even more to make smaller branches.
Here's the final version...a little rough looking up close, but will be covered with flowers and leaves to fill it out. Notice the shading on the tree left in darker threads and some on the right branch bottom. 
Two millimeter pink/peach silk ribbon made perfect little flowers in French Knots. Easy to do and quick. Then I added little tiny Lazy Daisy stitches in one strand of green DMC floche, a slightly thicker thread (actually the thickness of 2 strands of cotton floss). 
I like the result. Then to add perspective, a little grass in 2 shades of floss and variegated silk cord, then little tiny Lazy Daisy stitches in a darker green floss around the base of the tree (again only one strand of each).
You ask: what is that other green stuff?  Well, it's another trick to add perspective to this scene. Working from the "wall" I added an edge-dyed 7mm ribbon along a line I drew to suggest a horizon line of sorts, again, another technique suggested by Ann Cox. I have never used this so I figured it would be worth a try. Thread a large chenille (usually an #18 with 7mm) with the ribbon and come to the right side where the wall begins. Then thread another chenille (probably a #22) with variegated silk cord from Treenway Silks.
Using straight and fly stitches I tacked and gathered the ribbon down along the drawn line, then followed with a stem stitch on that same line. Go back down on the completed line with both ribbon and thread and tie off.
Here's the finished product of a day's work so far.  
Not sure what I will tackle next, but tomorrow is another day.....