Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery Teaser Alert - New Millefiori Design!

It won't be long now. I'll soon release several new Millefiori Brazilian dimensional embroidery designs and also plan to teach some new dimensional stitch techniques at the BDEIG Seminar in Portland, Oregon this coming June.

In this picture Mom and Dad owl are listening to Wind Chimes (the name of the design) and their lilting melody in the soft spring breezes.  Well, except for one of the youngsters ...
...the little redhead owl, who is busy listening to her own smart phone. I had a lot of fun planning this design. I used several familiar stitches and just moved them around, combining them in new ways for different kinds of flowers.  Here's one of the 'chimes' where Boucle passes through the fabric only one time [oops.  OK, make that TWO times] - at the beginning and at the end:
There are more surprises in this surprisingly easy design that I made into a little art quilt. Look for Millefiori design #8004 "Wind Chimes".


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Delightful Little Dragonfly

I just had an idea that was too good to NOT share!
Here's why I got so excited (Right. Doesn't take much to excite me!) -- usually we stitch our butterfly bodies and dragonfly bodies with bullions or French knots, sometimes beads. 

If you double-click this photo for a closer look, you'll see that this is a dragonfly in flight -- he's attached at the front end only. Here's what I did.

Using my beading needle and nylon beading thread, I first attached the head, which is a size 11/o seed bead. Next, I threaded 6 slightly smaller size 14/o seed beads onto my needle. Instead of going through the fabric at this point, I threaded a 7th seed bead and went back through the first 6, size 14/o seed beads, and then through the fabric just behind the dragonfly's head, and knotted off.
          This makes the dragonfly hover in the air.

He needed wings, so I found my Sulky Holoshimmer thread (see below) and using the thread double in my needle I placed 2 lazy daisy stitches on each side of the body, just behind the dragonfly's "shoulders" (don't ask...).
That's a photo of my size 14/o seed beads and one of the Sliver threads made by Sulky, called "Holoshimmer" (hologram + shimmer), from JoAnn Stores. I like the Sulky threads because they are made for machine embroidery, so I know they are durable for hand embroidery. Visit the Sulky website if you'd like to read more about this thread. You can also use it to edge the loops of your cast-on stitches and add some sparkle to your flowers. 

If you want to tuck a little dragonfly in alongside your embroidered flowers, you can stitch it with anything you want, but I'm always looking for a reason to stitch with beads. This little dragonfly provided a really good reason!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Name That Bird. . . .

.....so ....this morning as I was reading the Sunday paper and having a cup of coffee, I looked up - out the kitchen window and saw ....
A bird!  A bird! Of course, we have lots of birds here ...#212 scrub jays (which I really like because of their color), finches, chickadees, an occasional flicker, little executioner birds (black hoods on their heads -- I think they have an "official" name), hummingbirds. But this morning, the bird was RED. Not pink or burgundy or scarlet, or any other shade except #152 RED.
He wasn't alone. He brought the family ... about a half dozen more just like him, a few not quite as RED.

I live in Oregon's Willamette Valley and haven't ever seen these before, so I got out my camera, turned some knobs trying to get close....
I decided to investigate with the help of my pal, Google. We had Evening Grosbeaks a couple of years ago, either coming or going, north or south, passing through back yards, stopping to flutter their wings and have some sunflower seeds, and then flying away again. I thought this might be another grosbeak.  Here are more pictures.
I think they are related to finches and this other birdie (below, on the left) is either a finch or a female whatever....
--both posing obligingly for the camera.
And even allowing me to snap a close-up photo:
I think this might be something called a Pine Grosbeak. Google thinks so, too.
If anyone else is SURE this is a different birdie, please leave a comment or email to let me know, as I haven't ever seen one of these in person (in bird??).

Thanks. They were here for about 20 minutes, a half dozen of these pretty birds, and then they flew away. My coffee was cold, my camera battery needed re-charging, but it was worthwhile for such a colorful way to start the morning.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Teaser Alert!! BDEIG Seminar 2013 Brazilian Embroidery Class Teaser

Bit and Piece from an upcoming BDEIG Seminar class. 
All designs will soon be posted at the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild, Inc. (BDEIG) website soon.

This has been A Teaser Alert. More to follow...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Optical Illusions in Brazilian Embroidery Leaves -- No Stems

This picture is from one of my Millefiori B.E. designs:
I posted it here to keep everyone interested and reading on to the "good part", hints and tips about stitching leaves and no stems. The design is #993 "Field of Flowers".  I originally designed it to use up all of my odd floss colors.

Fans of Brazilian dimensional embroidery were pretty much underwhelmed.

So I pulled out a piece of white fabric and all of the Iris #227 (Pale Sea Green) floss I could find in my stash, some pale green beads (because I'm almost never without a bead or two next to my embroidery), and stitched this busy, busy, flower-and-technique-filled design in monochromatic colors. See what happened:
I framed it as a small art quilt. I've also learned that it's a good idea to have your quilt fabric handy so that you can match fabric and floss colors. Here's a picture of the finished design, made into the little quilt:
I'm not really A True Quilter, but I know how to sew the fabric together (somewhat). These little quilts are a nice alternate framing idea for our Brazilian dimensional embroidery.

Well, now I'll talk about The Main Subject of this post ... optical illusion and Brazilian dimensional embroidery. 

Stems, leaves.  Lazy Daisy leaves and evergreen leaves. 

The idea is to decrease bulk and still have a graceful, elegant background for our dimensional flowers. When we receive a B.E. design on fabric, those blue lines will wash out. Often the entire stem and all leaves are drawn on the fabric. Of course, just because they are there, that doesn't mean we have to cover every line with floss!  Here's where the optical illusion comes in.

This is a finished branch covered with lazy daisy leaves. We often stem (or outline) stitch the branch first and then add the leaves, as shown below.
But we don't have to do that!  Look at the diagram below. No stem is stitched. I'll bet your eye was fooled!
    (It's called trompe l'oeil, literally meaning 'fool the eye', and is pronounced: TROM-loy.)  A note of caution -- it does NOT work when I step on my bathroom scale.  It's also easier to say "optical illusion".
Now, when I show you the diagram without the stem, you'll see what I mean. Your eye will tell you there is a stem; you will not have bulky embroidery, and it looks just fine. See?
Notice those lazy daisy stitches? They are slightly offset - one side just a bit longer than the other. This makes it easy to tuck all of those stiches along a stem line. Just be sure that the short end of the stitch is beneath the long side of the stitch (not shown here).  Here's a step-by-step diagram:
And here's a picture:
This "off-setting technique" also works with evergreen leaves, which are basically just straight stitches (although the idea of Glory bullions for each is rather interesting...). See:
(It will look a lot better when the flowers are added and the blue lines washed out, I promise...)

You can choose your own method of stitching -- the regular lazy daisy stitch (or detached chain, as named in stitch directories), the off-set lazy daisy stitch, and at the far right, the twisted lazy daisy stitch. Select the method you like best.

And if you are being more adventurous (I'm sure I've written about this before, but it's like repetition for emphasis to reinforce learning.), you can stitch your leaves with the Reverse Lazy Daisy Stitch. This stitch starts farther away from the center branch (which is stitched) and the tacking stitch becomes the leaf "stem".  See (bottom diagram):
Just always remember to be adventurous in your embroidery. Try new things, be creative, have fun! Here's another close-up photo from my "Field of Flowers" design:
And now I'm going to go back to stitching. I'll show you my new project soon. It's also quilt-related (sigh).....