Thursday, April 4, 2013

What I Learned from Debbie Kelley

This Brazilian dimensional embroidery design is called "A Rose for My Mother" and has been designed by Debbie Kelley of DK Designs. Debbie is one of our very creative Brazilian embroidery designers, as you'll see when you visit her website. You can also click here.

I always learn (or think up) something new when I'm stitching anything. I decided to transfer Debbie's very popular rose to black trigger poplin and to stitch it with EdMar's Cire weight floss, #134, light yellow. Here are some of the things I discovered:
To avoid the dark background fabric from peeking through, and because Z-twist floss (or most other fibers) tend to twist (rayon can get tighter and tighter until it looks like string), I discovered that if I "unwind" the Cire before finishing the stitch (or even lifting it off the fabric a bit and then settling it back in place), I have a smoother satin stitch. Of course, laying threads is also important when using satin stitch.
 Study the petal above and you'll see that I had a sudden inspiration to add a morning "dewdrop" to my rose petal. Just one. It's a size 11/o seed bead.

These days little dewdrop-shaped beads are also available, and seed beads can be purchased in a variety of finishes, clear, inside color, iridescent -- lots of choices. It's always nice to have a bead or two around; you never know when you'll want to add that extra sparkle to your dimensional embroidery flowers.

Sometimes, though, we have an "oops" moment. I also had some 'clear sparkle paint' from the craft store that had little metallic sparklies in it. So I painted a bit onto the floss, here and there. It's possible that I'm one of those people who thinks if a little glitter is good, more will be better. Not so.
The parts that look red on that photo above are actually glitter that has morphed over the years. (We all learned the same thing about a product called Fray-Check).
The other thing that I thought up when I was stitching Debbie's rose is the Raised Buttonhole Stitch. Click that stitch for a tutorial if you want. I've used it on many of my Millefiori Brazilian dimensional embroidery since then, but it was when I stitched this embroidery that I discovered that you can tack a bullion along the edge of a flower petal and then buttonhole stitch over it, but not take the floss down tight to the fabric. Rather, let it rest on top of the bullion.  I was probably halfway through this piece, so it doesn't show as well as it does on my American Beauty Rose (pictured at the above link). It's a great way to place a dimensional petal on a flower.  Everyone already knows, I'm sure, that those petals fill in best with long and short stitches.

We all learn things as we are stitching and we are all free to be as creative as we want with Brazilian embroidery, so I hope everyone who tries any of these projects will also try other new things - and write them down!

I took my finished embroidery to my windowsill that is filled with light, and my photographer's helper helped me position the frame "Just so".  However, Emmy may have been trying to get it out of her way so she could have the sunshine entirely to herself.
With cats, you just never know.


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