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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Luzine Happel's Schwalm Whitework Exhibition

I had a pleasant surprise awaiting me in my Inbox yesterday . Among the mails there was an invitation from Luzine Happel, the author of Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework , for her exhibition in Eschwege,Germany.

The exhibition runs from April 2011 to November 2011 on wednesdays from 10.30 AMto 3.30 PM, during which Luzine will be displaying all her works as well as her personal collection of Schwalm embroidery. If I had a chance to visit, I would especially want to see the sampler with 321 different filling patterns .

Iam reproducing the contents of the invite for the benefit of those who would be in that part of the world during April - November. I'd be happy even if one person visits the exhibition after reading about it here.

Luzine Happel

The Art of Schwalm Whitework

- An Exhibition -

As a child, I was fascinated by the splendor of the Schwalm traditional costumes. Later,my aunt, who lived in the Schwalm, introduced me to the secrets of Schwalm whitework. Such were the beginnings of my singular enthusiasm which has held me captive for these many years.

I have embroidered many articles (certainly, far more than 100) of which small items, such as doilies, account for only a small fraction. Indeed, tea cloths and a several extravagant tablecloths have been completed. Of particular note is a sampler measuring 1.70 m x 2.70 m which includes 321 different filling patterns.

Now, for the first time, I have decided to exhibit these embroideries, as well as my personal collection which includes embroideries done by others - traditional, modern, vintage and historically significant Schwalm Whitework.

The exhibition will be housed in a charming old building in the historic city of Eschwege. It is important to note that the building does not have an elevator (lift) and, to reach the exhibition, one must be able to climb 61 steps to the third floor.

Boyneburger Tor 3

Exhibition Information:
6 April 2011- 30 November 2011
Days and hours of operation: Wednesday, 10:30 - 15:30
Entrance Fee: €4

Special days of operation:
• Sunday, 10 April 2011, 10:30 - 15:30
• Sunday, 15 May 2011, 10:30 - 15:30
• Saturday, 30 July 2011, 10:30 - 15:30
• Sunday, 11 September 2011, 10:30 - 15:30
• Saturday, 5 November 2011

Will consider special circumstances of small groups or people unable to visit on posted days, please email your request to Luzine at leuchtbergverlag (at) aol (dot) com

If you live in the nearby area or plan to visit Germany, do take the time to check out the exhibition. I would love to see some pictures of your visit.

Love,luck and sunshine,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Learn a stitch-Knotted chain stitch,a Tutorial

I came across the knotted chain stitch while looking around for a new stitch for outlining. It looked like a good stitch for decorative lines and borders. But different sites had different interpretations for the same stitch . The Wikipedia showed the stitch this way :-

On the other hand, artsanddesigns had a slightly different version. This stitch is also known by the name of link stitch and I think the above picture justifies the name.

The arrow points towards the original stitch as shown in Wiki. Click on the photograph for a better view. If the knots are placed slightly far apart or pulled a little tight , we get the other variations.Have a look at the close up below.

Let us see how a knotted chain stitch is made :

Step 1 : Come up at a point A on the reference line. This stitch is worked from right to left.

Step 2: Insert the needle at a point B above the line and come out at the point C. Make sure that the gap between B and C is not too large. If it is too long, the knot will have two legs jutting out .

Step 3: Pull through to make the base stitch.

Step 4: Now starts the knotting part. Pass the needle through the base stitch from B to C ,without piercing the fabric.

Step 5: Pull through- but not completely, to form a small loop.

Step 6: Now pass the needle again in the same direction (B to C ) but this time through the loop only .Do not pass through the foundation stitch.

Step 7: Pull and you have completed the first knotted chain.The knot formed depends on how you pull. It takes a bit of practice to form even loops

Step 8: Repeat from step 2 to continue.

In the next post ,I'll show you where I've used this stitch. I hope the steps are clear enough for you to try. I've used it for outlining, but are there other possibilities?

Till the next post,
Love,luck and sunshine,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Embroidered apples

The latest attempt...

Initially the idea was to fill both the apples, but this appealed to me. I used only two stitches - stem stitch for filling and outlining and satin stitch for the stem. While I was stitching ,it suddenly occurred to me that I had missed out the stem stitch filling in my earlier embroidered bedlinen. Sometimes we fail to see the most obvious things,right?

In the filled apple ,I've left a gap to be embroidered in white.But from afar it didn't look as if it needed it.What do you think?

Notice the variation in thickness of the leaves? The one in the background is completely with one strand of red and green. The foreground apple is stitched with two strands of Rosace embroidery thread.
This was my first attempt with Rosace stranded cotton and yes, the thread is good. It is a little pricey for the Indian market(19 Rs) , so I'll persist with my anchor threads for now.

That's about it for now.

Last week, out of the blue I received a call from another institution for handling one of their courses. Since it was more of a request for help rather than formal appointment, I agreed and now I've a packed schedule for the next couple of months.By the time this ends, my university classes will start again and little one's school too...sigh!! our vacation plans have evaporated into thin air..
On a more positive note, if I do not work now,when else will I?

So,I am off to prepare for tomorrow's lecture...ta ta,

Love,luck and sunshine,

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Three-Dimensional Embroidery Stitches by Pat Trott - a Book Review

Today I would like to show you a book I have in my possession.It is a pretty little book and has been making its mark in the world of embroidery since 2005. Here it is..

Like everyone else, I love a good cover - if the cover manages to grab my attention,then the book has to be checked out . Three Dimensional embroidery stitches has been published by Search Press and the author is Pat Trott.

I happened to find this in one of the Indian websites while looking around for embroidery books . The cost seemed to be reasonable (approx 500 Rs with discount) and so I ordered it online. The list price on the book says $17.95. Affordable, me thinks.

Let us see what's inside...

First and foremost - this is a small book - only about 64 pages. The pages are glossy and the photographs are all in color. I assume that the author and the publishers have tried to balance between the price and the quality of the contents.

Like in majority of embroidery books, Pat also starts off by giving a description of the materials needed for the projects in the books. She suggests a variety of threads to bring in texture and dimension to the embroidery. Additionally, she advocates usage of various elements for padding and fabric colors for depth.

Next comes the stitches. Seventeen stitches have been explained with step by step photographs.

The font in these pages are large enough for comfortable reading and each step is explained well.

Then comes the floral sampler. Using the dimensional stitches 13 different flowers have been presented. Those who are well versed with dimensional embroidery may find some of the flowers familiar.

The author also tries to explain the usage of fabric paints for added dimension. I am not sure if it is as simple as it sounds.May be if I attempt one of the projects in the book, I'll get to know where I stand :)

Coming to the projects, what do you think about this one?

or the one below?

Well, the pics above are two of the projects in the book. Good one's aren't they? Along with the seventeen stitches, the author also teaches us how to create dimensional pebbles,rocks and textured tree trunks required for these projects. It is my wish to attempt one of these sometime in future.

Negatives?? Of the seventeen stitches I knew quite a few - almost 13 :). But I've been doing dimensional embroidery for almost 5 years,so that shouldn't be surprising. Beginners and those who want to learn how to create textures and dimension in their embroidery will surely find it useful.

Overall, I am quite happy with this purchase of mine and feel that it is worth every penny I paid for it. What do you think?

Love,luck and sunshine,

Friday, April 01, 2011

The foundation - tree trunk

At last!! I've managed to stitch the tree trunk .It took a while - would've been faster and better filled up had it been machine embroidered.

Before I started embroidering it, I was pretty sure of one thing - the trunk had to look rugged,uneven and strong - not smooth and uniform. So one stitch for outline would not work - it had to be a mix of all. Thus the outline has stem stitch,coral knots,blanket stitch,straight stitches and chain stitch used randomly. Click on the photograph for a better view and zoom .I've left it large enough for you to see clearly. If you're not sure of any of the above mentioned stitches,just check this post on outlining techniques.

The inside of the trunk is mainly double running stitch (Holbein stitch) ,split stitch and chain stitch using anchor stranded cotton.

Some time back, Meri had generously gifted me some art silk threads (vegetable silks).I used those for the outline.The napkin bag in the background is also from her :)

The brown one in the above pic is Meri's and the green is mine. Notice the difference in twist? The brown thread seems to be untwisted. In the green the twist is more visible .I could split the Portuguese silk to eight strands .It frayed a lot,but never twisted itself to tangles like rayon.

What do you think? Are these untwisted silks? Have you ever used them? Do you feel that it makes any difference to your embroidery?
This question is specially for Indians -Where do we get to buy them in India?

Coming back to the embroidery ,I've left out the branches,that'll be done along with the greenery. What do you think the top part is going to have? :)

hint...26 ;)

Luv,luck and sunshine,