WIP Weds: Ribbon Embroidery Motifs

In this week’s WIP Wednesday update, I finally dove in and stitched the ribbon embroidery design that I choose onto the two sides of my future pinch purse.

WIP Wednesday logo

I choose a little motif from the pattern book I showed in my last post. The finished pinch purse will not be very large, so I needed a small pattern, but I also wanted something that used several kinds of stitches so the piece would have some visual interest, too.

The design I choose uses the spider web stitch to create two little roses and a lazy daisy stitch to create leaves on either side of the roses. The design also uses French knots and a twisted straight stitch.

Here is my start on the first side of the purse:

ribbon embroidery roses

My stitches are not perfect by any means, but I am not going to get hung up on perfection for this little project. I’m just trying out ribbon embroidery for the first time and having a little fun with it.

Because I had bought five different colors of ribbon, I decided to stitch the roses on the other side of the purse using the blue ribbon so I could use all five colors at least a little bit.

Here is the completed second side:

ribbon embroidery blue roses

You can see that it is a very simple little motif, but I love that uses five different stitches, so I got to try out different techniques with the ribbon. The twisted straight stitches (the brown ribbon) were the most difficult. I had a hard time getting the tension right, so those stitches are somewhat messy.

The roses were the most fun to stitch. I love the spider web stitch. I pulled out my DMC color card and found DMC thread to match the ribbons I had. Then I used one strand of embroidery thread to stitch the spokes of the “web” and then wove the ribbon under and over the spokes. (Mary Corbett has a great tutorial video on the spider web stitch here.) Because the roses are so small, I only used three spokes to weave the stitch.

Here are both halves of the purse together (just off the hoop!):

ribbon embroidery

Next I will be cutting the fabric and then it’s time to begin the assembly! I’m happy that I might actually finish this project before my guild’s September meeting, which is when the challenge projects are due. Wish me luck!

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Ribbon Embroidery Books and Tutorials

I have started the ribbon embroidery on my challenge project for my embroidery guild. But, I have never tried ribbon embroidery before, so I have been seeking out what resources I can to help me along. Today I am sharing a few of the things I have been finding helpful.

First, the book that made me think I could do this is Ribbon Embroidery with 178 Iron-on Transfers by J. Marsha Michler. I found it on sale for two dollars at a shop in Wisconsin when I was on vacation a few weeks ago. I considered it a serendipitous find.

Ribbon Embroidery by J. Marsha Michler

The book is primarily a collection of patterns, but there are some basic stitching instructions in the back of the book. This book made me feel like the project was doable, but the stitching instructions were pretty sketchy and I needed more help to get started.

While visiting my local public library, I stumbled upon the A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox. This book has tons of lovely photos and shows how to create a few basic stitches step-by-step. But, I feel this book is more geared towards an intermediate stitcher in ribbon embroidery. The projects in the book are gorgeous, but they involve things like handpainting the fabric backgrounds and the silk ribbons to achieve some of the effects.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

Ann Cox has written many books on ribbon embroidery, however, some of these titles might be better for the beginner:

But, even with the two books, I still needed help. I was still confused about some basic things, and the books didn’t seem to cover my beginner questions. For example, how do you secure the ribbon on the back of the fabric? (Just tie a knot.) How do thread the needle with the ribbon and prevent it from just sliding out with every stitch? (Answer below.)

So, started searching for video tutorials. I love the Craftsy site for online art classes, and Craftsy does have a Ribbon Embroidery Tutorial class. I thought about plunking down some money for it, but I decided to search YouTube first.

Jackpot! I found a few videos on YouTube that showed me exactly what I wanted to know.

Professor Pincushion

Professor Pincushion only has a couple videos dedicated to ribbon embroidery, but they are both great. The “How to Make Ribbon Roses” video showed me how to start my thread, how to thread my needle, and how easy it was to make a great-looking rose with ribbon. Both the videos below gave me the confidence to get started and stop worrying about trying to do things perfectly.

 

 

Crafty Attic

Another stitcher on Instagram told me about Crafty Attic.  She has at least a dozen videos showing how to create various ribbon embroidery projects. One is below, but search for Crafty Attic on YouTube to find many more. They are all really good, too.

 

Wednesday I should have some progress to show! Until then…happy stitching!

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Friday Finds — 08/11/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.

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Here are this week’s links:

 

Video of the Week

Kesha is back! And, this song is amazing.

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WIP Weds: All Shall Be Well is Finished!

Yes, it seemed like this day would never happen. My limited stitching time, due to a busy day job and other commitments, means I feel like I stitch at a glacial pace sometimes. But, I made it. I have completed stitching my “All Shall Be Well” pattern!

All Shall Be Well Julian of Norwich Cross-Stitch Pattern

It still needs to be washed, ironed, and framed, but the stitching is done. I am very happy with how it turned out.

The pattern is not quite the monster project that it seems, but the finished size is about 11 inches by 11 1/2 inches, so it’s not a small pattern either. But, if you would like to stitch your own Julian of Norwich cross-stitch quotation, you can find “All Shall Be Well” in my Etsy shop, along with my other cross-stitch patterns.

In other news, now that “All Shall Be Well” is completed, I am starting to work in earnest on my embroidery guild challenge project.

Pinch purse challenge project

I traced and cut out the fabric for the inner lining and the batting for the outer sides. I also traced the shapes of the outer sides onto the needlework fabric. Then I got carried away and started cutting the linen, but fortunately I caught myself before things went too far. I wanted to leave that piece intact to make it easier to stitch on — to have more fabric to grab onto while stitching.

I also started browsing through a book of ribbon embroidery patterns and started tracing some designs to play around with.

Next comes the first hard part which will be diving in and trying some actual stitches with the ribbon. Wish me luck!

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Mystery Blogger Award

mystery_blogger_award

Last week Emz at Emz Crafty Creations was kind enough to nominate me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you! Emz has a great craft blog where she shows off her cross-stitch projects and also does soap making, candle making, and other crafts. Check it out!

Rules: Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog, tell your readers three things about yourself, nominate people, notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs, ask your nominees five questions of your choice and share a link or links to your favourite posts.

Three Things About Me:

Wow, just three? Okay, what to choose…

  1. Although this blog is dedicated to needlework (and books), I also love weaving. I just don’t have as much time as I’d like to do it.
  2. I’m not an athletic person, and I don’t like team sports, but I love walking, hiking, and riding my bicycle because I love being outdoors.
  3. If I couldn’t be a librarian, I would love to open a bookstore (but I don’t see that happening anytime soon!).

And, Emz’s Questions:

  • What is your favourite type of music?

This is tough because I love so many kinds of music. Right now I’m listening to bands like Muse, The Killers, Bleachers, Imagine Dragons, and OK Go. But, I also love everything from classic singers like Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney to classic grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. I love classical music, especially from the Baroque period, like Handel and Mozart. And, I love listening to and seeing opera. Mozart and Verdi are some of my favorite opera composers. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

  • Why did you start blogging?

I originally started blogging way back in 2003. I had a Blogger blog called That Rabbit Girl (it no longer exists), but I blogged about books and art topics. It was kind of like my Friday Finds posts, but all the time. I quit that blog in 2010, but then I missed blogging, so I started this one a few years later and decided to concentrate on crafty stuff, especially cross-stitch and needlework.

  • If you could be in any TV show or film what would it be and why?

I would either want to live in Stars Hollow and hang out with the Gilmore Girls, or I’d want to be a member of Buffy’s “Scooby gang” in Sunnydale. Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are still two of my favorite shows of all time.

  • Where’s the most exciting place you visited?

Ooo, another tough one. I love London. I’ve visited there a couple times, but it’s been a very long time since my last trip. I’d love to visit there again.

  • What’s your spirit animal?

I’m not sure about my spirit animal, but according to the Pottermore website, my Patronus is a Siberian Cat.

~*~

Thanks again, Emz, for the nomination! I had fun thinking about the answers to these questions. 😊

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What I’m Reading — August 2017

Every month I share what books I finished last month and what I’m reading now. I also love to hear what others are reading. Share your own book recommendations in the comments or friend me on Goodreads!

What I'm Reading August 2017

Well, this will be a short post because I only finished one book last month! (Cue sad trombone) But, I have a bunch of books in progress, and I spent a lot of last month catching up on my unread pile of magazines (looking at you, World of Interiors).

Finished in July

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. I checked this out from the library on a whim. I loved Kostova’s first novel, The Historian, which was a brilliant take on the Dracula story. The Shadow Land is an exploration of Bulgaria and its history, especially during World War II and its aftermath. The story is slow, but beautifully written. I only rated it 3 stars on Goodreads, but it is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you’ve read it, and I think I appreciate it more as I’ve had more time to reflect on it.

Reading Now

I’m simultaneously reading several books on creativity, including The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner and Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life by Jessica Abel. I have taken on far too many responsibilities in both my work life and my personal life, and I am struggling to find time to do things I enjoy like needlework and designing/drawing. So, I turn to books like these to remind me that creative time is as important as all of the other things I have made time for in my life.

I’m also halfway through The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, which is both silly and delightful and a good antidote for work stress right now.


Here is what I read a year ago this time.


What are you reading now? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Friday Finds — 8/4/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.

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Here are this week’s links:

On the jukebox this week…”Dig Down” by Muse. Weird video. Great song. And, I love the homage to ’80s icon Max Headroom. Nice.

 

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WIP Weds: All Shall Be Well (Soooo close!)

These are the days I curse my day job for taking away so much potential stitching time. I am very close to completing the All Shall Be Well cross-stitch piece, but I have not quite finished.

Over this past weekend I continued to work on the lettering. In the photo below, I only had two words left to complete by Monday evening.

all-shall-be-well-july-31

After stitching on Tuesday night, I completed the backstitching on all of the lettering!

all-shall-be-well-lettering-finished

I know backstitching takes time, but I love, love, love how the lettering looks with it. Not only are the edges sharp, but the letters practically jump off the fabric. The photo above doesn’t quite do it justice.

So, I am done with the lettering, and I just need to complete the decorative motif in the bottom corner. I might have a finish for next week’s update!

In other news, I did dig through my stash of needlework fabric for the pinch purse project, and I selected a scrap of linen for the outer sides of the purse. I think it’s a 28-ct fabric, but it should be okay for the ribbon embroidery. We’ll see. Then I pulled the patterned pink fabric for the coordinating fabric that will line the inner sides of the purse.

pinch-purse-fabric-choices

Time to start tracing the templates!

I probably will trace the template onto the linen but not cut out the shapes right away. I am thinking I will leave the linen intact to make it easier to work with — secure in a hoop — as I do the embroidery embellishment. Once the embroidery part is completed, then I will cut them out and begin the assembly.

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Pinch Purse Challenge Project: Decisions, Decisions

I have not made a real start on the pinch purse summer challenge project for my embroidery guild. I need to figure out what fabric I am going to use, and then I need to select a design for the embroidery embellishment.

I cut the templates, and I cut off a scrap of batting to use to pad the sides of the pouch. Although the tutorials I’ve read say you can pad both the smaller, inside piece and the outer piece, I will probably just add the layer of batting to the larger outside pieces. But, I cut off enough batting here to all of the pieces if I change my mind.

pinch-purse-supplies

I started pulling some fabric from my stash. I would like to use an ivory fabric for a nice, neutral background to show off the ribbon embroidery, but I don’t have any nice neutrals in my cotton quilting weight fabric. I kind of like the green or the pink fabric above, but the pink ribbon will disappear on the pink fabric, and the green ribbon will disappear on the green fabric, so I don’t think either of them are great choices.

So, I may pull some linens from my needlework fabric stash. I am only concerned about using something with a high enough count so that the undersides of the stitches don’t show through, if that makes sense. So, we’ll see. I’ve got lots of needlework fabric. I’m sure I’ll find an evenweave or linen that will work.

Then I can start tracing the shapes onto the fabric so I can start planning the embroidery design for the two outer sides.

The experiment continues…

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Friday Finds — 7/28/17

Woo! Friday! Woo! It’s time for Friday Finds, my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.

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Here are this week’s links:

Video of the Week

On the jukebox this week…Have a great weekend!

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