Saturday, September 24, 2016

Brenton Blue Butterfly

I worked on this little butterfly some while ago but couldn't show it to you at the time. It was an interesting change from counted thread embroidery for me. The stitches I chose were simple, beginning with a stem stitch outline, then backstitch, chain stitch, satin stitch, French knots, bullion knots - only 2 little ones! and couching for the trellis. I really am out of practice. Those French knots wobbled all over!

Brenton Blue butterfly - Lyn Warner
Our local embroidery guild was asked to contribute towards the goody bags for the Ighali Embroidery Convention in Knysna held in August. We could choose from a range of photographs associated with Knysna and, with the threads provided, work a small embroidery using a technique of our own choosing. The finished embroideries were made up into little notebook covers. I was enchanted by the blue butterfly.

Image courtesy of Discover Sedgefield
You may wonder why a blue butterfly was included in the range of photos we could choose from?

The Brenton Blue is a critically endangered butterfly found only in a very small Nature Reserve in Knysna, South Africa. Other known populations have disappeared due to the encroachment of housing and the consequent diminishing vegetation that the Brenton Blue depends on for it's survival.

The good news? Careful management of the Brenton Blue Nature Reserve has resulted in an increase in the butterfly population and plans are to re-introduce it eventually to other areas in the southern Cape where it was originally found. Details of the studies conducted into the life cycle of the Brenton Blue and the ecology of it's habitat are on the website here. I found it fascinating that ants play a protective role in the life cycle of the butterfly.

Till next time, happy stitching!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Making up Kits

Long time, no blog post! Winter's unwelcome bugs made themselves felt here and things rather ground to a halt for a while. I have done no stitching for weeks but I did do something embroidery related.

Dresden Lily by Lyn Warner
Unfortunately I had to cancel my Dresden Lily pulled thread class that I was scheduled to teach at Ighali*. Talk about disappointing! I was so looking forward to it. Apologies again to everyone who had booked and who at the last minute had to transfer to other classes. It seems I missed a most wonderful embroidery convention this year. You can see some photos here on the Cape Embroiderers' Guild Facebook page.

Even though I would not be going to Knysna to teach at Ighali, I was very pleasantly surprised when I was asked to send along my kits. I had done some preparation and thought it would be quick to finish assembling them, but somehow kits always take longer to prepare than I expect.

Not feeling my best, I did a little each day and I even had my very sweet cleaning lady to help measure out the thread on the day when she came in to work.

In the end the kits were completed. Linen cut and edged, printing done, envelopes ready, threads labelled and notes tweaked.

Carefully checking the contents for each kit, almost there...

I intended to try and avoid any plastic packaging but in the end I decided that it would keep the materials clean and safe. Better safe than sorry - echoes of my mom and my gran there. The ziplock bags can also be used to store the work in progress.

Happiness is ... finally slipping the printed instructions and the materials into their prepared and labelled envelopes. I was so pleased to have this step completed that I forgot to take a photo of the kits all packed and ready to go. 

The other photo that I missed taking was putting the envelopes into a large Corn Flakes box for the car trip to Knysna!!! Well, maybe not elegant, but everything did arrive safely. I had lots of help, and offers of help along the way, and I thank everyone for the part they played in getting the kits to their recipients! 

By next time, I hope to have tracked down the little project I worked on some time ago but couldn't reveal at the time.

Till then, happy stitching!

*Ighali means 'threads' in one of the 11 official languages in South Africa and is the name of a national embroidery convention held every two years.
Acknowledgement: The Lily was adapted from a photo with permission of owner and author Heather Toomer.