Jump in! The water’s fine!
I don’t really like the idea of “reblogging,” but when I read this article I’m thinking I may have been wrong. I could never say what this young man says so well. He deserves to be not only read by everyone, but followed, too! I know I am!
There’s a part of me that believes art to be a primordial aspect of the human condition. Art inspires, art is a way of achieving greatness, of building a better world. Art turns strangers into friends. Without art, without artists, we wouldn’t be ourselves anymore.
Because I feel that within the confines of any artistic form of expression, we allow ourselves to wear a mask. The artist hides behind words or paints or brushes. And he feels safe. He can be anyone he wants to be. His freedom is limitless. And he plays this bizarre game of hide and seek with the rest of the world, constantly changing the rules, until he decides – maybe on a mere subconscious level – to be himself, thinking that people will never find out.
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Do you believe in synchronicity? I do! Especially when I put a question out to the Universe and the answer is sent to my e-mail box!
Yesterday I shared my Thread Sampler thread list with you and asked for input about any threads that would be good additions to my list.
I’d forgotten it’s on my wish list of threads to buy and try. It is a lovely, shiney 3-ply twisted silk from Access Commodities. Your finer embroidery suppliers will have it or know how to get it. Or you can click on the links in Mary’s article!
I’m adding it to my list!
While we consider if there are other questions I have missed (see previous post), I thought I would tell you about the threads I’ve gathered to sample.
- Caron’s Impressions, color 0020—This thread is 50% silk and 50% wool. It is soft, slightly fuzzy, and has 3 plies.
- DMC’s Medici, color noir—Another soft, fuzzy thread which is considered a fine weight wool that is not divisible. Wool threads are non-reflective so will provide a very matte finish. And it’s mothproof!
- Vineyard Silk Classic, Jet Black—While this thread is 100% Chinese silk, it feels like the Caron’s Impressions. It is non-strandable and supposed to not untwist when you’re using it, nor get dented by the needle.
- Needlepoint Inc. Silk, color 993—This 8 ply thread is 100% Chinese Silk. Since it is reeled as opposed to spun the fibers are longer and should hold together better.
- Belle Soie, Noir—French for “Beautiful Silk, black” really does describe this 12 stranded spun silk. The color is not quite as intensely black as the others, perhaps because it is hand dyed.
- Baroque Silk, Witching Hour—This company’s colors are so rich, I’m looking forward to stitching with this hand dyed 3 ply thread.
- Splendor, S801—Rainbow Gallery threads are probably familiar to the average stitcher of today. Splendor is their 12-ply hand washable silk thread that is manufactured in France. While I haven’t used this color, I have used the thread in several projects and I love working with it. This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about the product: “This is a 12-ply silk floss with an unusual construction. It has three bundles of four strands each. It is easiest if you pull the bundles out first and then take out each strand. The twist of each individual strand is tighter than most silks. This makes Splendor easier to use. It will not snag on all but the roughest hands. Be careful to ply and lay the silk to keep the nice shine. I have also stitched with each bundle as it comes. This silk is perfect for people who have been afraid of silks. Many of the usual problems experienced with silk will not occur with Splendor. Anyone that stitches with cotton floss will have no problem with it.“
- Mandarin Floss, M801—Have you played with any of the newer untraditional threads? I have used Sea Grass with success and now love it. Mandarin Floss is in this category for me. It is 100% Bamboo and has 6 plies. It feels so nice that I may start with it! This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about their product: “It lays better than cotton because it is softer and yet is still quite strong. You can use slightly longer stitching lengths since it wears better too. It is less costly than silk but has many silk-like properties. Its semi-matte finish doesn’t overpower your other stitches. Most matte threads lines have gone off the market and Mandarin floss works well as a substitute. Blends well with with metallic filament for cross stitching. Great for French Knots, Turkey Work, tassels and twisted cords.”
- DMC Cotton Floss—I’m sure everyone is familiar with this 6-ply thread
- DMC Cotton Perle #3, #5, #8, #12, color #310—Everyone is most likely familiar with these, too!
- Sulky Cotton—This is my favorite sewing machine thread. I have also used it for hand quilting. I like working with it so thought I would add it to my list.
What threads would you have on your list? Any recommendations for one or more that I really should add to mine?
This little project is a marriage of my love of blackwork and my love of samplers. Anyone who has been following The Shop Sampler blog will know that I have been playing with samplers and stitch practice for this year through the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge at PIn Tangle and with the support of the Stitchin’ Fingers community. I have also joined the Yahoo group The Sampler Life. (As if I didn’t already have enough internet reading to do!) It is also a good group that is supportive and very creative as well as opening up even more of the international stitching world.
I mentioned in my last post that I am an avid fan of the Antique Pattern Library and have joined that Yahoo group, too. It’s the best way to keep up with what’s new at the Library. Also an international community of stitchers, I’m expecting that anyone needing help with translations can find someone there.
So, here’s the deal.
- I have struggled with what thread I want to use for my Mystery Sampler project. I’ve looked at and bought a sample of every black thread out there. I have read about different people’s preferences.
- I have been playing with different (colored) threads in my TAST projects and it is very clear how certain threads work for one desired effect and some threads will not work in the same situation. Like twisted thread works well for Double Twisted Chain, but stranded thread just looks messy in that stitch.
- It is clear—Thread matters!
- Samplers are the tried and true method of testing patterns! Hence birth of a new sampler!
Oh boy! You would think you could just pick up your fabric and start stitching. WRONG!
Well, maybe a little right. But I want this sampler to be useful, to be a really good reference, like the Encyclopedia Britannica of blackwork thread usage. Or Wikipedia entry of blackwork thread usage for those of you who are younger than Baby Boomers!
So what features should be incorporated into this sampler for it to be eternally useful?
- The threads should be identified clearly in the sample or there should be a legend that will never be separated from the sampler.
- The threads should be used as fully as they would in any worked piece. In other words, if the thread is a stranded one, then strand usage should be incorporated to the piece.
- The sampler should answer any question a person might have about the thread as used in any type of work.
- The threads sampler should show very clearly the differences between the various thread samples.
And another thing—
- How does ground affect the thread usage? How can I work this into the sampler? Certain fabrics tend to “eat up” the pattern. Like Aida 14 or Fiddlers Cloth just don’t show silks off at all, in my opinion the fabric is too heavy and overpowers the delicate strength of the silk. [Are there fabric/thread combinations that you simply would never use?]
- How does the thread work with colored threads in the case I want to get into the latest thing in blackwork—Colored Monochrome? I don’t know about you, but I have experienced how different colored threads behave differently than the exact same thread in another color. Because the dye has an effect on the fiber. I have found reds can sometimes be rather knotty to work with. [How about you? What thread colors have you had weird experiences with?]
- [Can you think of other questions that should be considered in planning this sampler?]
I have answered some of these questions, in fact many of them at thigs point. But before I tell you what I have figured out, I want to hear from you. How would you answer these questions? What other questions do you think would be important? You tell me then I’ll tell you. Deal?!
I’ll give y’all a couple days to mull this over before I post again!
…and designed something with blackwork in it! It happened like this…
I’m participating in Sharron Boggon’s (AKA Mistress of Pin Tangle, Stitchin’ Fingers and some pretty amazing stitching) Take a Stitch Tuesday, the challenge for 2012. During the 13th week there was a break to give busy stitchers a chance to catch up. After all, if you get frustrated and so behind the challenge might just become another UFO!
For those who were up to date there were two bonus challenge offered. One of them was to create some “Bling,” some eye candy to inspire others using from 3 to 6 of the stitches from the challenge list to date. For some reason “Bling” hit me. And when I think of Bling I think “Black Tie.” And, with my interest in Blackwork, my mind obviously jumped to Blackwork Bow Tie. Here is what I quickly stitched up (based upon a sketch in my Studio Journal.)
The details are as follows:
Design Size: 5.5 inches by 3 inches
- Irish linen, 32 count, 11 ½ inches by 8 ½ inches
- Weeks Dye Works
- #1298 Gunmetal
- #2103 Pea Coat
- DMC Stranded Floss
- Rainbow Gallery Fyre Werks
- DMC Antique Effects
- Kreinik #12 Braid
And the stitches I used are:
- Chain Stitch and Buttonhole Stitch per Mary Corbet’s Tutorial (find the directions in her Stitch Play section. If you cannot access the link from this page copy this URL into your browser: http://www.needlenthread.com/2012/03/stitch-play-combining-chain-stitch-buttonhole-stitch.html )
- Fly Stitch—I like Sharron Boggon’s tutorial on this stitch . (http://inaminuteago.com/stitchdict/stitch/fly.html )
- Herringbone—I really like the instructions for the herringbone stitch at Henry Art Gallery . (http://dig.henryart.org/embroidery-stitches/stitch_pages/herringbone.htm ) The image shows clearly threads and holes. I stitched mine so there were 4 threads between needle insertion.
- Herringbone Ladder—The pattern I used to stitch mine can be found at the Arts and Design website. (http://www.artsanddesigns.com/cgi-bin/makeGlossary.pl?category=embroidery§ion=H scroll through the “H” section to find it.)
- Running Stitch—As the running stitch aspects of this design are blackwork and you don’t want a huge mess in the back to show through on the white fabric, I used and recommend a “double running” stitch (AKA Holbein Stitch). The absolute best instructions for doing this can be found at this URL: http://www.elizabethancostume.net/blackwork/runningstitch/index.html This is another good resource and includes a video of how to do the double running stitch: http://www.needlework-tips-and-techniques.com/double-running-stitch.html
- Couching Stitch—The Stitch School blog has a nice pictorial instruction on couching. Use this URL: http://stitchschool.blogspot.com/2006/12/couching.html
So, do you like this pattern? Would you like the pattern? For free? Sign up to follow this blog and leave a comment saying you want the pattern and I’ll email you the pattern!
On November first I have committed to participate in NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. It’s a group dedicated to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. That works out to 1,667 words a day. No editing. No rewriting. No critiquing. Just words. I have always wanted to write a novel and have several drafts of several plots already started. I’m dumping the drafts and starting with one plot idea to actually write that book!
“What does that have to do with Blackwork,” you say? Nothing. And everything. Blogging daily will get me into the groove of daily writing before November 1. And this blog needs work. It is quickly becoming like one of my unfinished novel drafts. And that is a terrible way to treat a passion. So, even if the posts don’t seem linked from one day to the next, I commit to writing between 250 and 500 words a day on this blog. Yes it will be about blackwork. It may be notes and thoughts from my rolodex collecting all my notes from my research. It may be about a special blackwork pattern I have found. Or it may be about inspiration I am finding as I travel for new blackwork patterns yet to be designed. Or the actual design with notes, my gift to faithful readers.
I know it won’t be easy, but I expect it will be fun or at least inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.
If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.
ps. Even though off topic, feel free to ask how my Nanowrimo Project is going after November 1. Better yet join me! I’ve joined the Gulf Coast Region of Mississippi group and also the group for Plattsburgh, NY although I’ll physically connect wtih the MS writers as we support each other with coffee, treats, and procrastination beating tips.
Hi, I’ve been worried about the darkness of the blog and keep looking for something brighter that would be suitable. I kind of like this look. I haven’t organized the header menu as I wanted to see what others thought.
So, what do you think? New light or the old dark version?
What is Blackwork?
When I was preparing to take Dakota Rogers’ class, Tiramisu, I freaked. REVERSIBLE BLACKWORK—ARGHHH! I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I didn’t want to ruin the project by working and reworking. I started doing research on reversible blackwork. I didn’t even know where to start. GOOGLE to the rescue. And hopefully these lessons will provide support, if not rescue, for you, too!
First, a bit of history. Yes, Catherine of Aragon was credited with bringing blackwork to medieval England. But, this is not exactly true. She may have brought the style of blackwork common in Spain at the time (hence the name “Spanish Work”), but blackwork was in Great Britain even in the time of Chaucer, perhaps earlier. Chaucer describes the miller’s wife in the Canterbury Tales as wearing garments stitched in this manner.
So, if Catherine wasn’t the author of the method she used, who was? Your guess is as good as anyone’s! “Spanish work” wasn’t even Spanish! It actually originated in Morocco.
(…to be continued!…)