Thursday, June 30, 2022

Hedebo and its History

There are two super articles on the history and development of Hedebo that I came across this week. My tea cozy, adapted from a Hetsie van Wyk design, is sadly still resting in the UFO box.

Lyn Warner, Lyn's Needlecase

Over on the blog Fils et aiguilles, Yolande has written a detailed post with plenty of photos of her sampler that illustrates the history of Hedebo. Each band of the sampler is identified by technique and the period when it became popular. Don't be put off by the foreign blog name, there is an English translation for each paragraph. Click here to visit the article. At the end of the post, Yolande suggests visiting Clare de Pourtales' blog for more about Hedebo. 

Clare has written a fascinating blog post. She notes that stemming from an exhibition in 1879, Hedebo was declared a "National Treasure". How wonderful to recognize way back then the importance of preserving this beautiful style of embroidery! Clare's post includes photos from the Greve Museum in Denmark. You will find the article on her website Le Temps de Broder by clicking here. The article is written in English.

For some insight into the actual mechanics of the embroidery, the Greve Museum has a number of short videos on the various Hedebo techniques. To see them, click on this link for the museum and navigate to 'How to Sew'. You can opt for text in English, but vocals are in Danish.

If you are looking for inspiration, there are beautiful photos in the Japanese book Danish Whitework Hedebo that I wrote about in a previous post here.  

Have fun exploring and happy stitching!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Winter embroidery

Winter arrived early and dramatically in southeast Australia. We've had some of the lowest June temperatures in a hundred years! With this very cold weather and more time spent indoors it seemed a good time to go through my UFO's*. 

First out the box was this Hedebo tea cozy. I adapted the design from one featured in the book 'Embroider Now' by the late Hetsie van Wyk, a well known South African embroiderer. Click here for more about Hetsie's work in one of my earlier blog posts. 

Second out my UFO box was a Hardanger coffee table runner. I had thought of unpicking one side because the runner is rather long. But, I am going to complete it just as it is. The original design appeared in a Burda magazine Special on Hardanger and you can see more about the embroidery in this blog post here.

We have my daughter and family staying with us while they demolish and rebuild their house. I needed something fairly easy to stitch, so I have been working on the runner. All the kloster blocks are already finished and once I've cut the threads for the next few Maltese crosses, it requires little concentration and no counting. 

My Hetsie tea cozy? I still need to work out how to put it all together. I hardly use a teapot anymore so it may not end up being a tea cozy. For now it's safely back in the UFO box with it's fellow UFO's.

'Till next time, happy stitching. 

And if you are in the southern hemisphere, I hope the weather is a little warmer where you are.

- - - - - - 

*UFO - Unfinished Object

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Binding Embroidery Frames

Over the years I've gathered a few small embroidery frames, either from the Embroidery Guild's second hand sales table, or they've been passed on to me by friends. They're useful for when I have a couple of small projects on the go at the same time, or for teaching.

Instead of using a conventional rectangular photo frame, I've also used some to frame small pieces of embroidery, like this little pulled thread sampler. (The pattern is available in my shop Lynlubell on Etsy.)

Crazy Patch Pulled Thread Samper 

And like the shadow work piece I stitched in a class with Tricia Elvin-Jensen.

Design by Tricia Elvin-Jensen

Before using an embroidery frame, I bind the inner hoop with cotton tape. The binding helps grip the fabric and keep it taut in the frame. With time however, the natural oils on the hands rub off onto the tape, and it needs to be replaced. In the exceptionally clammy weather we're having, the tape on some of my well used frames feels almost sticky. It's time for it to come off.

I haven't yet found a local source of good quality white cotton tape. So, I'm unwinding the tape on two frames. I'll take if off, wash it and reuse it if I can. 

I do have some loosely woven cotton tape that I could use but I prefer the smooth close weave of this old tape. For now I need just enough for binding a 6" frame. There should be ample for that.

'Till next time, happy stitching!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Come Closer

The weather has turned dull dark and wet, and I had to venture out to a routine medical appointment that I wasn't looking forward to. I spotted this stunning display at the entrance to the building and despite the gloom, my day turned sunny. 

I just had to stop for a closer look. My curiosity was piqued. No, my eyes were not deceiving me. Those clusters of bright pink and red were all part of the same plant. The vivid colours of the pink bracts behind the red flowers put on a stunning show. 

I rather like the rich green leaves and the almost black stems of the flowers too. 

With the help of Google Lens, I found that it's a Clerodendrum x speciosum, also known as a Bleeding Heart Vine. A couple of our plants in the garden are looking straggly and need to be replaced so I'm going to look out for this Bleeding Heart Vine on my next visit to the garden shop. It's a beautiful plant and apparently it's easy to grow. Perfect for our garden. Meanwhile, I hope that we avoid the extremely heavy rain that is causing flooding all around us again. 

'Till next time happy stitching!

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Pricked Card and Sticky Tape

 How do you finish off the threads on the back of a pricked card?

Sticky tape! Eek! 

I was very reluctant to use it at first but, yes, sticky tape and stitching do go together. There's no other sensible way that I could think of to anchor the threads. I am still a bit skeptical of using tape and I probably use more than is necessary. It does work well though. 

Sticky tape and an untidy back are why I use a three fold card. 

It is necessary to cover up the back. The extra flap can be neatly stuck down with either double sided tape or with a little paper glue.

The pattern called for tiny sequins for the eyes that I didn't have. I think the straight stitches will do.

'Till next time, happy stitching!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Pricked Card Embroidery and a Bumpy Ride

I started stitching a pricked card. It's a nice little project to pick up and do when you have a few minutes to concentrate on stitching. I bought the pattern from Prick 'n Stitch in Pinelands, Cape Town a few years ago. 

My granddaughter did some of the pricking for me. It was during the severe floods we had in Brisbane a few weeks ago and the days were very dull and dreary. I've adjusted the photos to compensate for the very poor light, but the photos that included the pricking tool she used were too dark to use, despite trying to fix them. The intensity of the rain over the three worst days was scary. I couldn't believe just how much rain kept falling from the sky. Thankfully we had only very minor flood damage. I was struck by how blissfully quiet is suddenly was when the rain eventually settled into a more gentle tempo.

I chose a thread which has a glint of reddish gold in it. It adds flashes of light to the dark brown of the cat's fur. The thread is a metallic Supertwist by Madeira. It was a parting gift from my friend Sandi Turner who now lives near Oxford in the UK. 

A one-eared cat is as far as I got before life became a little hectic. 

It all began when a much anticipated visit from my daughter and family who live overseas didn't quite work out. Her Australian visitor visa arrived too late - due to staff Covid delays at the visa office. Then there was also a last minute problem with a missing residence visa in a new passport. In the end only half the family made it onto the plane to see us. To add to the upset their luggage didn't arrive at all and couldn't be traced for days. It was however good to see my grandson and my son-in-law and spend some time with them. We even had a very refreshing trip into the country with the cousins meeting up and having fun together. Such a joy to see. Hopefully we'll see the whole family here for Christmas. It will be the first time in three years. 

On the last day of their visit, my daughter who lives nearby took ill. She spent almost a week in hospital and finally had to have surgery to remove her tonsils and a complicating abscess. She is now recuperating with Rod and I for a few days and due to the seriousness of the surgery has been booked off of work for another two weeks.  

Finally, this week we were all especially sad to learn that my lovely step-mom had passed away. We've been going through photos and reminiscing about the good times we spent with her. Her cheerful, loving presence will be greatly missed. 

It's strange how life goes along fairly smoothly and predictably and then all of sudden it doesn't. After some bumps in the road, I hope our family is now in for a smoother ride.

'Till next time, happy stitching!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Pulled Thread Book - in English

I've been meaning to write this post since my birthday last year. That was when I received this lovely book - a book that I had been looking forward to seeing published in English and which is now simply titled Pulled Thread Embroidery, by Marie-Helene Jeanneau. 

It was originally available only in French. 

And you may have guessed, this copy was my birthday present the previous year, so I now have both. 

My comments about the original French version are in my blog post here and they all apply to the English book too. Besides the different covers, the two books have exactly the same excellent content - the stitches, the photographs, the diagrams and the layout. It's just the language that is different. 

The diagrams are super informative - especially about how to construct the stitch and expertly turn at the end of a row. They also show what the back of the stitch should look like which I find very useful. In essence, it's an in-depth reference book of the essential pulled thread stitches and their variations as well as some unusual stitch combinations too. There are quite a few that I'd like to add to one of my stitch samplers.

If you wish to hone your technical stitch skills, this book is well worth considering. My talented friend, Tricia Elvin-Jensen, who is also a most experienced pulled thread teacher, has said that it's without doubt the best pulled thread book that she has seen.

Do I gain in any way from telling you about this book? No. It's just a great book to refer to if pulled thread interests you.

'Till next time, take care in this topsy-turvy Covid world, and happy stitching!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

A Fresh Beginning

Happy New Year! May it be a good year and a better year for all of us than 2021.

New Year and it should be high summer here in Brisbane with long, hot steamy days. Instead the air has been fresh, cool and damp with a brisk breeze blowing in from the Pacific. Walking along the water's edge at Shorncliffe towards the yacht club there were few people around and just a couple of fisherman trying their luck while the tide was in. 

Turning into the wind and looking over towards Brisbane and the distant harbour the cranes quickly became obscured as the clouds rolled in.  And then rain came down and everyone scuttled off home.

With rain drumming on the roof it was perfect weather for stitching. But perhaps you too ushered the new year in by having a quiet day curled up reading instead? 

I wonder what 2022 holds in store for us. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Pulled Thread Needlecase

The little sample of pulled thread that I wrote about here has become a soft needlecase. To put it all together, I trimmed as little off the frayed edges of the linen as possible, and cut patchwork fabric for the back with a plain fabric to place behind the pulled thread work.

The darker backing fabric underneath the linen helps emphasize the holes of the pulled thread.

The thin batting will give body to the needlecase as well as a pleasant soft feel.

Once it was stitched up, I cut a rectangle of felt just smaller than the inside of the needlecase. 

Then folded it all in half and machine stitched through all the layers about 1cm from the fold. I find with this method of construction there is no need to add a button for closure. The needlecase mostly stays closed in my work box or workbag. 

It still needs a gentle press with the iron, but I am pleased that I have finally done something with the tiny sample. Christmas is on the doorstep and the needlecase will make a useful gift.

Enjoy some stitching if you can, and Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone! 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Pulled Thread - A Small Sample

This little pulled thread sample has been in my WIP box for a very long time. It was a test piece for box I made as gift for a wedding anniversary. I'd attached some scraps of unbleached calico around the sides to enlarge it so that I could work with it in an embroidery hoop. 

As you can perhaps see, the tension was too tight and the linen was pulled in towards the centre. The tension for the eventual box top was more relaxed and even. Despite the tension problem of the sample, the eyelets formed a pretty lattice and I wanted to use the embroidery and make it up into something useful, but that's as far as I got. Until now.

First thing to do was stretch it on the cork board and square up the uneven rectangle of pulled eyelets. 

It's a small piece so there wasn't much room between the pins and the embroidery. I kept the calico in place to help support the edges of the linen which would otherwise fray easily under the tension. Each day I stretched it a bit more until it was as squared up as possible. Then I misted it with water and left it to dry overnight.

Because I had to stretch the piece more than I thought was advisable, I thought it might spring back towards its old shape once I removed the drawing pins. We've had record breaking rains over November and lots of very dark, damp days. Taking advantage of the weather, I took it off the cork board and left it to relax in the damp air for almost a week - just in case. But it seems stable. 

What to do with it - a pincushion or a needlebook? Both would need additional fabric for backing and finishing off. Although I'd already picked out a couple of my quilting fabrics that toned in gently with the cream linen, I still need a quick stop at our local fabric shop before I go any further. 

More in my next post.. 

'Till next time, happy stitching!