10/13/10

It is been ages....

A Big Hello to All the Readers,

Hope everyone is doing well! Thanks for all the comments these last few months. It has indeed been a powerful motivator!!

I initially wanted to take some time off, put away my embroidery and spend the summer with my kids. But I really did not anticipate to be gone for so long!! :) I almost had to relearn the whole process of photo editing, uploading and so on...

Well, I made some progress on my long and short project. I finished all the pink petals of the Iris and moved on to the green Sepal. I also managed to outline the yellow Stamen. Here it is...

The yellow outline is done using split stitch and this stitch is always the one recommended for long and short stitch work.

Covering large areas is definitely easier than the smaller ones. I admit, the first petal was challenging but by the time I got to the last one, my confidence and speed were up!! :) For smaller areas like the greens (after some trials) I found that reducing the length of the long and short stitch produced a better finish. Yes, it seems very logical and obvious now, but it didn't occur to me then! :)

Here is another close up of the whole area. I am about 3/4 of the way into the project. Next, I am going to be working on the yellow Stamen. Part of it involves closely bunched up 'French knots'. I am looking forward to that!! :)

If you are thinking of a long and short stitch project, please take the time to choose the threads carefully. It does matter a lot. Alright then, I will post my progress again soon. It WONT be 6 months from now!! :)

Have a wonderful weekend.
Sukanya

4/26/10

A project using the Long and Short Stitch.

Hello everyone,

I am back after a nice family holiday. My son got to try the drawing caddy during our trip. It worked very well and he loves it!

I am currently working on a piece using the Long and Short Stitch (L&S). I have often been tempted to, but postponed trying the Long and Short stitch. Why?? Perhaps the fear of producing imperfect results. So, finally a couple of weeks ago I decided to give it a try on a "grand" scale. Why not, right? : )

Iris flower - This is my work in progress.
As the name suggests, this stitch is primarily rows of alternating long and short stitches using many shades of a color to fill a design. The result is phenomenal. The image seems to come alive. And it is very much like 'painting with a needle'.
A close-up of the above piece.
After some research on books and resources on the L&S Stitch, I found that there are quite a few to choose from. Trish Burr has written a lot of books on this topic. She even has a free project to try on her website if you are interested. Mary Corbet from Needle N Thread has some great instructions on her website that you can follow. My choice was a book titled "Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques", written by the Royal School of Needlework in the UK. The book is fantastic. In fact, the design I am working on is from this book.

I am embroidering on silk fabric that has a cotton fabric backing for some stability. The threads are the regular DMC cotton strands in many shades of pink, yellow and green. BTW, the book calls for Anchor threads. I had to find the DMC equivalents.
Here is a close-up of the large petal.
The reason you are not able to clearly see the outline of the design is because I have used running stitch to trace the outline. (You can see the stitches in the picture below). This is a recommended method for silk fabrics, because pencil and pen marks cannot be easily removed.

Here is another close-up.
I am working on the petal with the scalloped edges at the moment.
Well, if you haven't tried this work yet, please do so. It is so..... satisfying. And to help you here are a few things I have learnt so far:
* Choosing the right shades is very important. It is half the battle won.
* If you are a beginner, keep your daily goals small. It is important that you get every stitch right. Believe me, removing the stitches is no fun.
* Before you begin any section, get a feel for the design. If you were to take a pencil and draw in some strokes, how would you do it? Working this stitch is very similar.

Alright then! Will post again soon with the progress and pass on any notes I make.

Sukanya

4/11/10

A mom and son project!

Hello everyone:

What I would like to share today is a special sewing project that I did along with my son. It is a 'hanging caddy' for storing all his drawing tools in the car. My son likes to draw when we travel, even if it is a short trip to the grocery store. So I wanted to organize his crayons and markers and pencils so that they are easily accessible. And here it is...

I have only shown a few markers and pencils in the picture, but this kit can store a lot more markers, crayons, pencils, erasers, ruler and so on. I have also provided an extra row for miscellaneous things. The best part of the project are the cute buttons that I found at the craft store. The box came with buttons in all shapes - crayons, pencils, ruler and even a sharpener!! Overall, I liked the way it has turned out and my son loves it :) He is very much looking forward to our next road trip.

The kit can also be rolled and carried if necessary. The pockets are deep enough. But I am yet to finish this last part. I might add a button on each of the strips to secure them.

If you would like to make something like this, start with some simple measurements, such as the place you wish to hang the caddy. Then make a list of the things that you want to store in it, measure those as well and go from there. If you interested in making something similar to the one I have made, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at eagerneedler@gmail.com. I can send you the measurement template along with some brief instructions.

Have a fantastic week ahead!
Sukanya

3/31/10

Dropping in to say thanks!

Hello everyone:

I just wanted to say thanks to all the readers who sent me e-mails last week requesting the Kasuti design. For one, it was nice to know that there were quite a few people interested in it. And second, it was really nice to read those encouraging and thoughtful e-mails. Thanks for taking the time!

I am currently working on a sewing project for (and with) my son!! I will post it on the blog in a few days.

Regards,
Sukanya

3/22/10

Embroidered Wall Hanging.

Hello everyone,

Today at Eager Needler, it is an embroidered wall hanging of a Kasuti design. I recently came across a treasure!! A silk sari with a myriad of Kasuti designs :). The designs on that sari are really beautiful and some of them are quite complex. So, I spent the last few days in trying to transfer some of those designs on to a graph paper. But I did not get very far as I got sidetracked into making a embroidered wall hanging. And for it, I chose a design that I really liked and thought was quite different.
I embroidered this design on Aida fabric. Aida is a cotton fabric made for counted thread work and it works great for Kasuti. The other reason for choosing Aida was for its stiffness which made framing a little easy. I used two strands of thread throughout in plum and green colors. I made some modification to the original design. I have filled some of the octagonal shapes with cross stitch, also known as Menthi. This stitch does not appear the same on both sides. The main stitch is of course the 'double running stitch', also called 'Holbein stitch', also called 'Gavanthi'.

Initially I did not have the border. But when I framed it, there was a lot more fabric visible than I wanted. So I added a simple border and tried to tie it in with the main design. The finished design measures about 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches. So I chose a 8 x 10 frame and used the entire area.

Overall, I really enjoyed this 'mini' project for the home. It took me a few sittings in front of the TV to complete it :). The design is not difficult, just takes time and patience.

And finally, if you like the design, send me an email at eagerneedler@gmail.com and I will be happy to share the design with you along with some brief instructions. If you have tried some simple Kasuti designs before, then this should be simple enough!

Happy embroidering!

Till the next post,
Sukanya

3/3/10

Samples from the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto.

Hello everyone:

My recent discovery in Embroidery has been the Textile Museum of Canada. This museum has a huge collection of historic Embroidery from all over the world including India and it is among the best I have seen so far. Their website with the high level of zoom-in capability on pictures is simply amazing! Do check it out. Meanwhile, here is a glimpse from their Indian Embroidery section.

Copyright Warning: The pictures below were obtained from the museum directly and posted with permission from the Museum. You can link to this page but do not copy or post these pictures elsewhere.

A boy's jacket dated back to the 20th century. It is an example of the work done by the Ahir community from Gujarat, India. The embroidery is done using shishas (mirrors) and arhi work (chain stitch using the tambour needle). Brilliant piece, isn't it? I could stare at the embroidery all day!!

This is the back of the jacket.


This piece of wall hanging is also dated to the 20th century. It is an example of the work done by the Mochi community from Gujarat, India.
The embroidery is 'all over chain stitch' using the arhi (tambour needle). Very different palette of colors and finer work. I would love to have something like this on my wall.

You know, I used to live in Detroit for a few years and Toronto was an easy drive from there. I wish I had known about the museum at that time. Well, perhaps another time. Do we have any readers from Toronto or the Midwest??

Sukanya

2/26/10

Remove the guess work from Kutch.

Hello everyone:

Based on a couple of feedbacks on the previous Kutch Tutorial, I created a second one. What is different? One, I have included pictures of almost all the steps, which is about 35 and second, it is in the form of a slide show. The first one is still available, but if you have had any doubts, then this tutorial should clear them all.

Enjoy!!
Sukanya


Kutch Tutorial - 2

How to use: This is a slideshow. To start, click the play icon. The slideshow will progress slowly, with a 10 second pause between photos. To pause, mouse-over the picture, then click the pause icon. To advance through the show manually, click the previous and next icons. .


I prefer photos to videos and this is an experiment in creating a tutorial that is easy to follow using photos. If you could take a moment to let me know your thoughts, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,
Sukanya

2/16/10

Embroidered Pillow cases - Week 3



Last week, I was able to finish the first pillow case, complete the outline on the second one and so much more. That's quite unusual for me. I think it was just my lucky week :)

Anyways, here is the completed pillow case. As you can see I have alternated between blue and pink colors for the flowers using running stitch. But I left the center of the flower empty so that the shape is better defined. Otherwise, it would have appeared as a mass of "something" in blue and pink.








Here is a close up of the design. I kept the filling short and far apart, because I wanted to emphasize the outline. I used three strands of threads for both the outline as well as the filling. I always mention the number of strands I use because it is an important element in embroidery (in my humble opinion). Choose the number of strands depending on the fabric and the design.






And finally, here is a picture comparing the filled and unfilled designs. Since it is a matter of personal choice, I took a photo of the second pillow case before filling it in. I prefer the one with a splash of blue and pink in it. What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Happy stitching!

Sukanya@Eager Needler

Links to earlier posts: Embroidered Pillow Cases - Week 1.

2/9/10

Embroidered Pillow cases - Week 2

Hello Readers:

I managed to complete the outline on the pillow case I had started a week ago. It has turned out quite nice :) Click here for a bigger image.

This week I will be working on filling in the flowers on the first pillow case and also try to get started on the second one.




For the filling, I picked bright shades of blue and pink. Unusual colors for Kantha!! I can't wait to get started. It will be interesting to see how it turns out:) I will post the finished work soon.

Have a great week ahead.

Sukanya@ Eager Needler.


Click here for Week -3

2/1/10

Embroidered Pillow cases.

Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend! As for me, I began an embroidery project for the home. This one has been overdue for some time now. Finally I got started with it yesterday.

I am embroidering a cotton pillow case that is a very nice shade of yellow. I am using Kantha work. I used a design from an old book and modified it a little. I then traced the pattern along the edge of the pillow case. I have finished about a third of the piece.

Traditionally, the outline stitch for Kantha work is done using black thread, but I felt brown would be a better choice for my project. I am going to fill in the flowers with more colors once I complete the outline.

Now, if you are interested in Kantha work, it is very simple. After all it is predominantly running stitch. But how you work the running stitch is important. For instance, the thread going up should be longer than the thread going down. And another point - the rippled effect that is created by the running stitch is part of the charm. Don't try to distort it.

Well, hopefully I'll have completed the outline stitch in my next posting. Stay tuned!

Sukanya@Eager Needler

Click here for Week - 2

1/13/10

Today we travel to the Nilgiris.

Hello Folks:

Hope everyone had a wonderful start to the New Year. Today we travel to South India to look at the distinctive embroidery of the Toda community.

What do you think of this red and black scarf? Beautiful, isn't it? This is a sample of the embroidery done by the Toda women. Todas are a tribal community who live in the breathtaking land of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. Their traditional shawl is a white woven cloth with striking red bands with embroidery on it. This scarf is a miniature version of their traditional shawl.

Here is a closer look at the embroidery. It is done by counted thread work and so the design is the same on both sides. You are looking at the right side of the design. As you can see the designs are geometric. And so, from a distance the entire piece can easily be mistaken to be woven rather than embroidered.


Here is a look at the wrong side. Similar, yet not entirely :) Can you see why?

Take a closer look of the same motif. The stitching is flat on this side.

Now look the right side. What makes this embroidery interesting is the way it is stitched. Notice how the threads are left evenly loose, lifting the entire design a bit and giving the wearer a sense of warmth. I love the colors - bright and stunning.

Here is a look at the long strip of embroidery with a striking red band of woven fabric. The embroidery is done on the right side. I don't think the thread is knotted at the end. The crinkly thread just seem to stay up in its position.

This is the wrong side of the same design.

That's all for today. Next time you take a holiday to Tamil Nadu, be sure to pick a Toda shawl :)
Here is a link to more information about the Toda. http://www.nilgiris.tn.gov.in/

Till next time....
Sukanya