Thursday, June 17, 2021

Heirloom Ornaments ....

 Heirloom Materials!

When I say that my ornament kits are heirloom quality, I mean it. I like to think of them as the perfect way to introduce yourself to working with the finest materials available. Real gold and silver metal threads. Real seed pearls. You are what you eat~ you should expect no less in one of my embroidery kits. The beautiful threads above are included in the 2021 ornament kit~ I think Rumplestilskin himself would be envious!


There are gilt spangles and gilt Grecian Twist...so luscious.....


Clockwise from the left  is gilt rough purl, which is a hollow spring coil of gold wire... real seed pearls, and non tarnish check thread. Real gilt check thread in a small enough size is not available currently. This that I  have chosen for you is so sparkly and beautiful you will love it!


Along with the 2% gold Elizabethan Twist shown in the first picture, there is both broad and narrow crenelated gilt plate. I show you how to keep it from tarnishing so far in my instructions!


Now, back to my earlier post on the amazing camouflage abilities of couching with Trame...can you see it anywhere??? (and this picture is seriously magnified!)

Sunday, June 13, 2021

14 Years in a Row...

  2021 Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts

Wow. What an honor. I have been juried into the Early American Life Magazine Directory Of Traditional American Crafts for 2021, my fourteenth consecutive year.  THANKYOU to all of the judges! These two fine 17th c bead peddlers were my entry for this year.

I love to make dolls to represent different periods. These are tiny 6" girls, very challenging to make this small. They both have period-correct wardrobes and I thought you would enjoy seeing what is underneath their outers.


I have made a couple of sets of twins, and sibling dolls occasionally. It is always fun for me to see how different they come out. No matter how hard I try to make them the same, they always take on their own unique personalities. 

I usually always give my girls pantaloons for modesty's sake, but actually, pantaloons were worn in the 17th c. Over her pantaloons she wears a period correct ankle long shift and cap.


I love this picture of her sister...perhaps she is a few minutes older...not much. She is helping younger to dress.



Both wear silk gowns trimmed with silk ribbon trim.  I stitched her hat from a bit of an antique kid glove and trimmed with real tiny feathers. Hats such as this were commonly worn by women in the 17th c.


Their clothes are removable, and bodices are fully boned and lined.

I love every aspect of doll making~ and that includes the stands! I made both of their stands to resemble a cobblestone street corner when placed together. I like to imagine myself standing right there alongside them...selling beads~ what a glorious day!




Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Silk Threads...

One of My Favorites!

One of my favorite silk threads is Soie Trame. These colours shown above are included in this year's ornament kit. Aren't they beautiful? I love gazing upon spools of gorgeous thread just as much as what I make with them.  Will you use the entire spool for the kit? Heck no! A spool of Trame silk lasts for eons.

Trame is a very fine straight filament silk~ it has no twist in it. In the picture above it is the fine gold silk on the left. The purple on the right is one stand of Soie Ovale, which is also a flat filament silk. They both are beautiful when worked in satin stitch, but as you can see, the Trame is just sooo much finer than the Ovale. When trying to embroider weensie designs, scale is everything. The Ovale is just too thick, and while it can be divided....why would I want to do that when I can just use the much finer Trame?


The corn and gilliflowers on the ornament are stunning worked in long and short stitch with Trame.
But my favorite use for Trame is as a couching thread. It's just so fine! Instead of distracting from what it is being used to couch down, it simply fades into the background. All the metal threads on the ornament shown above are couched on with Trame!

I like to double it up in my needle as shown above. I use one long piece, pass it through the needle, and knot it on the end. This way my needle is captive and won't keep coming out of the eye. 


A tiny 2mm f4 size gilt spangle attached with Trame....



A double strand is used to couch crenelated gilt plate. Once finished you won't even be able to see it! I love this thread and if you have some in your stash, I hope you will pull it out and use it!

Saturday, June 05, 2021

2021 Ornament Inspiration

My Favorite Flemish Cabinet

 This year's ornament is yet again inspired by my favorite Flemish cabinet, shown above. You can view its last online sale here. I love the style of embroidery on these cabinets. Metal threads and plates are used heavily along with the silks and they really sparkle when opened. 

The outside of the cabinets are ebonized to black, so when they are opened there is a flood of colour and sparkle that is overwhelming. Who cares what's in the drawers, the cabinet is the true treasure here!  

If you zoom in on the panels and you have stitched some of my previous ornament kits, you will hopefully find some familiar motifs. The beautiful graceful scrolls of the crenelated gilt plate, the pansies, gilliflowers, and the tulips! (enter gasp here) Tulips are very special to me and I really love how 17th c artists drew them.

I have been making my own Flemish cabinet, but for those who just want a little taste of the embroidery style....give this year's ornament a try, I promise you won't be disappointed! 

I am working up the kits now, so keep checking back to see what it is! I can't wait for you to see it~ 
Happy Stitching everyone

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Tisket, A Tasket.....

 A ___ for a Casket???


What could the new ornament for this year be??? Can you see it peeking out just there?  Yes, it is finished and most certainly fits inside my little casket shown above...

I have had this little treasure bouncing around inside my brain for a few years now, and I can honestly say I am very happy with how it came out and very excited to share it with you all soon!

So...have you any guess as to what it is???

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

What do You think???

 So Many Possibilities!


 I love both silver and gold on my embroidery... but somehow the gilt always seems to win out over silver. I was just looking at the trim on this year's ornament and thinking how beautiful it would look done in silver. What do you think? Are you a silver person, or a gold person???


Saturday, May 22, 2021

I Stitch

...for Me

I love my embroidery.  I have literally an endless amount of ideas in my head at all times. The hardest thing for me is deciding on which one to try and make. I love the sound of the needle and thread pulling through the fabric in the quiet. Stitching makes me happy. 

Of coarse is great if other folks like it...but what if they dont?  If you read the comments on my last post my Mother commented that she didnt like some of my leaves and thought they looked sloppy.  I wont lie, I was a bit surprised.  For a moment I questioned the stitches I used and asked myself if I should take them out...were they really that bad?  

They are the large two tone leaves to the center in the panel above. A 17th c technique known as Flecking used two different threads in the needle. Usually a light colour thread was wrapped round a darker one. The effect is quite striking with long and short stitch, and can be appreciated fully on this embroidered jacket at the V&A.  I was using that in my brain for inspiration to combine two colours of untwisted flat filament silk for a more random effect that looks like a different colour from afar on my leaves.  

I kept going back and looking at the finished leaves and asked myself if I should take them out and redo them...but my answer was always the same, 'But I like them.'  Which brings me to my point I'm trying to make. My stitching is for me. If I am in a room of 100 folks and I'm the only one that likes it, well thats just fine, because I like it and it makes my heart happy. There will always be folks who may not like what you are stitching...or the fabric you choose for a quilt...or the colours you chose to paint that flower. As long as you like it, thats all that matters!