Bubbles, Oh The Bubbles!

Welcome to WordPress Elmsley Rose, and I hope that you made it here OK. I haven’t quite gotten the reader’s trip from Blogger to WordPress (ie the redirect) correct yet. Since that sorta works, I’m currently working on importing the lists of the Blogs I read. I shouldn’t have gone ‘live’ so soon! 
Mr Leopard was a learning piece, as I build up towards doing my major piece for the TT Stumpwork course. I wanted to put together design, colour and threads. Use flat threads with a tekobari. Use a slate frame. There’s lots of things I did incorrectly. Don’t get me wrong – I love the piece, and Mr L is proudly on display. But I did learn – and I thought I’d share the corrections with you.
These criticisms have come from Lesley Uren.This is what the piece looked like when still on the slate frame :

Then when I cut it from the frame :

Uh oh! There are two reasons why you can get ‘bubbling’ between the motifs that I know of. Either the silk was not attached correctly to the muslin in the slate frame before embroidery commenced, or the silk fabric used is too thin. I later discovered my problem was that my silk was too thin. It’s not the attachment – Lesley checked it. Lesley is a new mentor for me – more about her in a minute.

She told me to lace Mr Leopard onto a foamcore board covered with a layer of pellon (wool felt is an alternative – thanks Fran and Jan G. of the TT Stumpwork Course for that tip) using thick cotton thread. To lace the muslin and silk separately. I learnt how to lace a piece onto a backing from Ruth O’Leary.
I ended up with this :

But it didn’t fix the bubbles as you can see from the photo of the finished piece :

Lesson Learnt. Heavy embroidery with a lot of raised work and dense stitching requires a reasonably heavy silk.

I trimmed the piece in velvet ribbon. Traditionally a dense narrow silver lace trim was used, as shown on this casket from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

but I was happy using velvet. I visited the National Gallery of Victoria with a group of TT course members (otherwise known as The Casketeers) and saw a casket there that had been trimmed in velvet. That was probably done at a later date as it’s not something I’ve otherwise seen in images of extant 17thC stumpwork caskets. Thankyou Sue Jones of the TortoiseLoft blog for tips in attaching the velvet.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to the following in helping me to create Mr Leopard :

Susan D., a wonderful lady whom I met through the TT Stumpwork course and who resides here in Melbourne. We’ve met twice in real life now at Casketeers Meetings and I frequently bother her on the phone.

Lesley (the link is an extensive article about her – ….wow!) who helped me in learning how to dress the slate frame in particular.
Lesley was awarded an Order of Australia for Services to Education and Embroidery this past January and has taught embroidery for 50 years. As a new member of the Victorian Embroidery Guild, I am able (and honoured) to attend a Guidance Group each month at Lesley’s home. A group of ladies stitch on their latest project in Lesley’s main embroidery room and chat, followed by High Tea.

Fran, as always.

Next time, I’ll talk about what I learnt, and what I’d do differently, with the actual stitching. Following that, the needlecase I made, and onwards to what I’m currently doing! (Design work for my Major Piece and a long and short stitch project)

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21 Responses
  1. meri says:

    It’s here I wanted to say Hello! :)

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Yes, you’ve arrived safely. Now to unpack everything and find out what the removal people have dented on the way over…

  3. Great to have you back. love your leopard. The bubbles bother you more then anyone else!! You are lucky to have these challenging groups close… The USA is a stitching wasteland…..

    • admin says:

      It’s just so annoying that I picked the wrong dupion, not knowing any better! Doomed from the start. But I didn’t know then, and I do now.

  4. Rachel says:

    It’s good to hear that the Casketeers are getting together in real life as well as online! How easy do you think it will be to source a suitably heavy silk fabric?

    • admin says:

      Not hard at all. It’s more a case that the dupion from Golden Hinde I used was a particularly thin one.
      Meeting the Casketeers in real life is *just brilliant*. A whole group (8 or 10) nattering about historical embroidery in a cafe and seeing an exhibition? Brilliant!

    • admin says:

      Of course, I’m tying myself in knots over ‘how thick is thick enough?’

  5. I think Mr Leopard looks fine, bubbles and all. The stitching is exquisite, and as you say, this was a learning experience. Be sure to write down your critiques on acid-free paper and keep them with the piece! Later generations may want to learn from you.

    Hey, Shirlee- It’s not so much that the US is a stitching wasteland as that there are tiny islands spread faaar apart. I was in 4 stitching groups in the Bay Area, but here in Pittsburgh I’m pretty much on my lonesome.

  6. elisabeth in CT says:

    Hi Megan, Finally! The move is almost done! I only say almost, because I miss your links to other sites. It was a ‘live’ feature that updated almost every day, and I went to it often (sort of like a little bookmarks page). Unfortunately, I never actually bookmarked many of the individual sites, so now I can’t find them anymore! yikes! Some of them, I remember the names-so perhaps I can google and find them again…but some of them are lost for the moment. Any chance you might be including this feature on the new site? Which BTW…is awesome in every other way – I can finally see so much of your stuff! Thanks – E

    • Megan says:

      Elisabeth, Now don’t you worry! I was playing with the Page feature yesterday to see if I could put the blogs in neat lists on a separate Page rather than scrolling endlessly down the right hand side of the blog. No luck so far in doing it. But the blog lists will definitely be going back in asap.

  7. elisabeth in CT says:

    Oh and how thick is thick enough? From the items we saw at the Met, I’m thinking the best weight is sort of like the weight of blue jeans fabric. Much finer, of course…but more like the stuff in kit one.

  8. elisabeth in CT says:

    WooHoo! Thanks for being my bookmark central! I have your site bookmarked of course, and then I just ‘take off from there!’sometimes, I will wander around by jumping from favorites to favorites on the different sites…And I don’t mind the scrolling thing on the sidebar. Because I use it so often, I just stay at the top of each category mostly. I totally love the time dating feature; it tells me when to check it out again. E

    • Megan says:

      I’d prefer them in an ordered list of ‘last updated’ but I couldn’t get that *and* categories (I need categories, there are so many) and showing titles of the posts as well as the blog names to work.

  9. Rachel says:

    Every piece you do, you will find things to correct next time. If you enjoyed him, and still love him, Mr Leopard is a great success.

    • Megan says:

      I do believe it’s called “learning” – I do like to share what I learn with others. Especially now I have Lesley as a mentor and Susan – both in real life, and all my wonderful and knowledgeable internet friends.

  10. Cynthia says:

    The leopard looks great, even with the bubbles. I love the new look of the blog, nice and clear!

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