Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fuzzy Flower - Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

In the interest of forming "good" habits, I'm trying to post notes about Brazilian embroidery on a regular basis.  This is the "Fuzzy Flower" --it's from my Millefiori design #857 "Crazy Quilt Pillow".
     Have you ever tried Cire or Nova for your turkey work? It's wonderful!  Because it isn't so tightly twisted, it ravels to nice, lovely, smooth fuzz. I didn't use it here, but I once made a design called "My Dolly" and used Nova for her hair. I made really long loops, snipped them before dunking her in the bathtub (to remove blue lines) and when she came out her hair looked like I had hot-ironed it.
     If you stitch the "Fuzzy Flower", I'd recommend giving Cire a try.

By the way, I don't do traditional Turkey Work. I do something called a Knotted Turkey Stitch where I tie a knot in my floss (accidently on purpose). When the knot reaches the fabric, there is a loop on top. Voila~~  Turkey Work! If you put enough of these really close together, they won't pull out.

Back to Fuzzy.  To finish this flower, I just made double cast-on stitches on each side to look like a pod, and I tacked the double cast-on on one side only. Here's a picture of the finished design (part of the Crazy Quilt Pillow):

If I stitched this again, I'd try Cire.
     And now, a message from my garden. ...

Remember those rhodies I bought at the Rhody Field Clearance. Here's the pretty pink one:
And not to be outdone, the red peony outside my kitchen window is just screaming for attention:

Of course, when I went to the garden center, I just couldn't leave the most beautiful flowers there, so I brought one or two of them home. I bought this planter JUST because I loved the color combination of #134 and #207 (and didn't have to worry about color bleed, for sure!)

Tucked in with these yellow daisies and purple petunias were some lovely #114 and #007 callibrachoa flowers:
This geranium in "Go Big Red" Nebraska colors (my husband will be soooo happy...) is also from the garden center:
And my final two flowers on this post, now also in bloom in my garden, are a Korean Lilac shrub and one of my iris.
Couldn't you just fall into that #070 lilac and die a thousand happy deaths? The flowers are small and the bloom time is short, but it looks really pretty this year.
    Here's the iris:

...and with all of this lovely Oregon rain, everything is just bursting into bloom.

I'm originally a Flatlander (Nebraska, 10" of rain a year), so you probably won't hear me very often complain about Oregon's rain (40" per year), or even Oregon Mist which is actually "wannabe" rain.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Brazilian Embroidery Orchids by Me; Flowers by The REAL Professional

The other day I posted a picture of one of my new Millefori designs, "Ruby Slipper Orchid". I wrote that I was going to stitch it in colors coordinating with a pretty little box I found at Michaels. As promised, here it is:
These are the "true" colors and here's another picture of the box from a different angle.

The box is approximately 6x6x6 and the embroidery is about 5" square. After I mounted the piece onto foam core board and edged it with a gold/cream braided trim, I attached it to the top of the box with my absolute favorite glue, Fabri-Tac, which dries almost immediately.

I thought you might be interested in the little butterfly, too:

I like my butterflies and bugs and birdies to be in reasonable proportion to the embroidery, so I added this little butterfly charm. It's a Susan Clarke Original.
    And while I was outside looking for interesting backgrounds (yes, the first picture is one of our rhodies in full, total and glorious bloom!), I just "happened" to notice the clematis totally joyful after all the rain, so I thought I would share a picture.
...and NOW I'm off to plant the rhodies I bought this morning at the Rhodie Field Clearance Sale (clearing the field), but the prices were like clearance sale prices, too -- full size rhodies for $7.00!  What a deal. I bought more than one.
    So now I will wander my Back 40, shovel in hand, looking for something I can move over so there will be room for all those rhodies -- and a hydrangea ...and a miniature daphne.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hats and Tomatoes in Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

OK, it's not exactly painted, but it is a painted background. I'll tell you what I did in a minute, but first I wanted to point you all to the Yahoo group, BDEIG_Online_Chapter, that is introducing more and more stitch artists to Brazilian embroidery. Click that link to join and learn more. Sherry Johnson is the group's listmom, as I mentioned before, and she and members are posting lots of hints and tips for stitchers.

I'm writing this information on my web log here because when I'm finished you will see how long it is and will be glad it isn't loading up the Yahoo group. Currently there is a discussion about painted backgrounds for our embroidery -- I'll let you mosey on over there to read all the hints and tips.

I'm just going to show you here what I did. See the Brazilian embroidery above? --and, of course, all the cats and flower buttons, and that hat!

First of all, I found this picture somewhere online.
Pretty, isn't it? Well, too pretty to not embellish anyway! So I went over to the quilt store or JoAnn's (which is a wannabe quilt store) and purchased a package of inkjet printer sheets. This finished piece is approximately 5" x 7". I copy pasted the graphic onto a Word file, sized it as I wanted, and then popped in a paper-backed fabric sheet, and clicked "print".

By the way, you can also use freezer paper. Iron it onto the fabric you like, nip a tiny bit off the leading corners (so they don't jam your printer) and print your picture. I think the crazy quilters do that all the time.

Freezer paper you can peel off. The paper didn't come off the commercial fabric sheets as nicely, so I just stitched through the fabric, paper and all. Worked great!

Now you are probably wondering about the embroidery. I've had the request for the hat before, so I'm going to publish it here. If you can't get this link to open for the tutorial, just send me a note at the bottom of this post and I'll get it to you.

The flowers are called S.A.M. (Simply A-Mazing) and the instructions are in my book, Take A Stitch by Rosalie Wakefield (me). You make these flowers OFF the fabric and then pop them in wherever you want, stitching SAM's in green or flower colors. The basket is made with Boucle -- and all of the other flowers and the kitty are buttons from the craft store.

Now I'll tell you about the hat. The original inspiration for this idea comes from one of my fellow B.E. designers, Jinx Shearer, who made a much nicer one with a nice even brim several years ago. I liked the ruffle. Jinx's hat was all on fabric. The only fabric on this hat is a quarter-sized piece of fabric that I did the orignal weaving upon. The rest of the hat is all detached buttonhole stitch, either even (to keep the sides of the hat uniform) and increasing to widen out the brim.

I stitched some tiny roses on the brim and used a piece of Lola to tie on a ribbon streamer. Here's another picture of the hat I made on my tomato!

It's a tomato pincushion! Turned upside down (so the hard green part is on the bottom). I drew a line around the center of the tomato and tied floss tails all around. I took a tiny stitch with the floss tail and just tied a square knot. You can see this makes a nice display for the hat and the sunglasses. (The tomato is sitting on a wine glass turned upside down.)

So, see? What was I saying -- who needs fabric!  You can add Brazilian dimensional embroidery to ANY thing

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You Can Embroider on ANYthing

...and this isn't even Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery!  --although it IS dimensional.  I used cotton thread to stitch this fat little mouse, and I stitched him on a dinner napkin (yes, very loose weave) a long, long time ago.

Over at the BDEIG Online Chapter, Sherry Johnson's Yahoo Group, there is a lively discussion about fabrics to stitch. I mentioned that I have a nice supply of cloth napkins, obtained ages ago. Most that I have don't look like they were even used. (I never thought about stitching a flower on top of a gravy stain, but I suppose it's possible....)
     By the way, I definitely recommend anyone who wants to learn more B.E. and join in stitch challenges and have their B.E. questions answered, that you mosey on over to the Yahoo groups (click the link above) and join in. It's a very friendly group, loaded with excellent knowledge, and Sherry is a very enthusiastic Listmom.
This delectable little beetle was stitched with Kreinik metallic threads using a pattern from the book, Brazilian Embroidery Instructions, by Barbara Demke Johnson (still one of my favorite Brazilian embroidery books).
And these are three napkins that I stitched -- the bullion rose is also from either Barbara Johnson's book or one of the Brazilian embroidery books by Zeann Aguilar.

We were chatting about places to do our stitching and one of the ladies mentioned giving some embroidery as a gift.  A long time ago when I designed the Millefiori Flower Patch and Veggie Patch Pillows, I had the bright idea to use one motif and stitch it on a piece of scrap fabric, even a cotton print, cut it out (raggedy edges are OK), glue it to a blank card (card stock cut to size), add a bit of lace, glue down buttons or other trim and send it to someone you wish to entertain.   --sort of like "Scrapbooking for the Stitcher"!
   Here's a little collage card I made from a Millefiori design I did a while back called "Ice Crystal Rose". I didn't finish the edges, just cut the fabric out and glued it to another piece of print fabric and added the ribbons.  Almost anything will work, and it's a nice way to use up our stitched samples:

So the bottom line would be this: if it sits still long enough, you can probably stitch on it.
....and I can't believe that I have posted TWO times in one day!

By the way, dinner napkins also make wonderful DOODLE CLOTHS, mostly because the edges are already finished!

Western Tanagers in My Back Yard

The other day I saw this Strange Yellow Bird in my back yard, just hanging out. I knew it wasn't an American Goldfinch, but had no clue.  My friend Gayl (who knows all the birdies and all the wildflowers) said it was a Western Tanager and I was very lucky to see one in my yard. She said their feeding grounds are on the east side of Portland, somewhere in the Cascade foothills, or somewhere there. (Yes, I'll have to check with Google to get more information)
     This little guy has been out there the past few days chirping merrily away, even while I was out planting my dahlias and other pretty things. He didn't seem to mind sharing the space with me. (I think he was calling the family to come and spend some time with him.)

This morning I looked out my window and here's what I saw:
They seem to be attracted to one of our suet feeders.  And he did manage to get the family and friends to share his lunch. I counted at least 4 males and a couple of females (I think).
I snapped these pictures from my back window and the birds were across the yard in our catalpa tree (that's a snowball bush in the background).
I think this is the female:
Anyway, I wanted to share the pictures with you. I was SO excited to see a bird I hadn't seen before.
     The American Goldfinches are gone now (or else they didn't like it when I changed the bird food.  Note to Self: Change back), and the Chickadees are in and out.
      And it's raining here in Beaverton, but Oh, My -- are the flowers ever happy!   Color everywhere.  It looks like someone pulled out all of my Brazilian embroidery floss and threw it in the air and let it land wherever it wanted.

Brazilian Embroidery Under There SOMEwhere...

Well, yes. It's Cuthbert. Who else?
     He spent several minutes circling the table, looking for a "spot". When he couldn't find a spot, he decided the entire table would do. So he hopped up, curled up in a ball, and then draped himself becomingly across all of my Brazilian embroidery notes and papers (and probably some needles under there somewhere, too).
And then he saw I was snapping pictures. Of course, that didn't affect his comfort zone.
    Well, while I'm on the subject of Brazilian embroidery under cats, here is a picture that escaped and made it into my computer collection:

That one is from my Crazy Quilt Pillow (Millefiori Design #857).
That one is a little loop stitch flower that I have on my "Alphabet Flower Sampler" design (Millefiori #904). The purple flower is made with just colonial knots (I love them because they look like little donuts, yum).
     All of those flowers were in a book I wrote a while back, ABCs for Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery.

Nice visiting with you. I'm busy working on classes for our upcoming BDEIG Seminar in June, but I am also having fun posting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First I Had to Move the Cats . . .

WHAT??!   You want US to move??
"WE were here first ...."

Well, I made them move anyway so I could take some pictures of my Brazilian dimensional embroidery -- a Work In Progress of one of my new designs (I'll post the finished project in a day or two...)
This is the Ruby Slipper Orchid (Millefiori #978). This design is stitched with CirĂ© and Frost, but I'm stitching another version using Lola and Iris.  I'll have the design as a class offering at our BDEIG seminar in June.

First, I found this pretty box at Michaels
The top of the box with the butterflies is 5" x 5", and I thought the orchid might be pretty there, stitched with Lola 405, 128 and Iris 215 -- a perfect match for the colors on the box. Here's how they look together:
Pay no attention to those turquoise blue blobs -- they happened when I dripped some water onto my fabric (see how easily those blue Marvy pen lines will wash out??)
Here's another picture to give you an idea of the size of the box (and how easy it is to get Cuthbert to move, *sigh*):
And here's a close-up of the orchid:
OH, Wait!! Flowers!!  Did I hear someone say, "Flowers"?
        Well, I went for a walk in my garden the other day and everything is starting to bloom and I just "happened" to have my camera with me.  Enjoy my flowers. I sure do!!

This is my tree peony, just now starting to load itself up with blossoms:

And this is a pink cosmos, one of my favorite flowers. They always smell like freshly washed clothing hanging outside on the clothesline in the sunshine (memories from my childhood, I think. My mom always had them in the garden).
Of course, it's not blooming yet. I bought this in a little 4" pot at the garden center. It was too pretty to not photograph.
This is my old-fashioned lilac (one of several that are all smashed together in my reasonably-sized garden, not too big, not too small). I transplanted it from behind some evergreens and it was SO happy it burst into bloom:
And these two pictures are yellow columbine that I planted a couple of weeks ago, just in time for the rain to really enjoy them.

I thought these Oriental Poppy Pods were interesting, and getting a good picture of them made me feel very artistic:
And there is always scilla, which blooms in blue and lavender and white. It always takes over my yard and I always try to pull it all out, but it's fun to leave just a little here and there to show this flower that it's nothing personal:

When I was at the garden center, I found this campanula (they are about 2' high now), but it wasn't open and I really didn't want a white one. Can you imagine how thrilled I was when it opened to PINK??
Of course, you know that I like birds, and I don't even mind bluejays (even scrub jays) because they are so pretty, but I have been known to adjust my attitude when the bing cherry trees start putting on fruit.  I have this little birdhouse (that probably would give any bird heart palpitations if it had to fly in there and make a nest). Since the birds weren't using it for any practical reason, I put it in the cherry tree.  I noticed last year that no bluejays came anywhere near.
I call it my "Bluejay Discourager".
      Hope you have enjoyed this stroll through the garden with me. I'll be back as soon as another thing blooms (which won't be long here in Oregon).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clematis in Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery and Clematis in my Garden

Clematis in my garden are just now getting ready to bloom. They also lend themselves nicely to simple Brazilian dimensional embroidery stitches. See:
This is a wonderfully simple flower you can add to your embroidery, wearable items, and crazy quilts by adding a leaf or two. In addition to sharing the tutorial in the Education Pages of our quarterly BDEIG Newsletter, The B.E. Wrap-Up, I've also added it to some of my Millefiori designs, most recently "Sunbonnet Sue's Sassy Sister". You can see a picture at my in-progress website, right here:  

Here's how to make your own clematis: (I used Iris-weight Z-twist rayon)
Divide a circle into 5.
Make a lazy daisy stitch from the center out with a 2-3 thread tacking stitch. With a contrasting color, bring needle up near center and thread through one tacking stitch. (#1)
Skip the next tacking stitch (#2) and slip needle under tacking stitch #3.
Skip tacking stitch #4 and slip the needle under tacking stitch #5.

Continue working around; this time you'll slip your needle under tacking stitches #2 and #4, and then #1, #3 and #5 again.

Do that until you are happy with the fullness of the flower, Stitch a French knot or a size 8/o seed bead at the center and you are finished!

Here's a pattern (resize it how you want. I think mine was approximately 3/4"):

Wasn't that easy~~
     Now, if you'd rather enjoy the clematis in person in flower, here are a couple of pictures:
This is Mrs. N. Thompson, and here's a closer picture:

And this one is Apple Blossom, and it's one of three blooming right next to my front door:

Oh, yes! It's very pretty. So it required more than one picture:
I took these pictures a year ago this month, so I will probably be taking even more this spring.
     Enjoy your clematis! (Yes, pronounced "CLEM-a-tis")