Recently I've been slowing working on the old DMC Dragonfly stumpwork kit. This is the last in the series (well, there was one more, a sunflower and caterpillar design, but I don't really like it, so never got it) and is half done. This kit was more complete than the last in that I have all the threads and beads I need this time, apart from a suitably coordinating yellow thread for the flower centre beads, but was still short one needle. The other shall we say 'irregularities' in this kit were that the printed design (over-thick lines as usual....) was a mirror image of the photo on the kit front and there were stems printed where there are none on the photo. For such a big and respected company, I think DMC have been a bit lacking in attention to some detail in some of these kits. But then, perhaps that's one the problems of being so big...
This first 'in progress' shot shows how the padded satin stitch is worked. First you fill in the shape a little smaller than you want the finished thing to be and working at right angles to the planned direction of the top stitches. After that, begin to layer the final satin stitch over the top. If you're working a pre-printed kit, or indeed any outline on fabric, remember to bring your needle up outside the line, not on it. If you do this you are sure of covering the line completely. If you bring your needle up on/through the line, then you will still see a good half of the line outside your shape. If there's another layer or line of stitches to be added, that's fine, but most of the time there isn't, so do take care to cover the line well.=)
Here are two shots of the completed surface work with a seed beaded flower centre. The colours are a little 'cool', pale and un-natural (except the flower and the deepest green) - I've never seen turquoise blue leaves before, but then, it is only a representation!=)
Next up is working the dragonfly to which I plan to make one or two changes in materials. More on that soon as I'll be taking plenty of photos during the process and, yes, there'll be a tutorial coming up for that. When? Depends how long the wings take as there are 4 needlelace wings to do and that might take a few sessions worth of work. Watch this space!
And now to something different....
What do two sections of an old printer packing box..
...a set of second hand dolls house bedroom furniture bought this week on e-bay...
...and an ironing board laden with laundered and nicely softened silk fabric pieces have in common?
They are part of my new venture, which is to open an Etsy shop selling handmade gifts and dolls house textiles within the next few months. I'm going to be doing some one of a kind, some limited edition (i.e. only 2 or 3 of that design will be made) and some repeatable designs of bedding, scatter cushions/pillows and maybe even curtains for dolls houses made out of really nice fabrics and inspired by the fashion bedding I've seen when we've visited home and DIY stores over the past few months. Other things I hope to include are some hand made purses/bags and maybe other things like bookmarks and so on.
I need to get a few things trialled and prototyped first and then make enough to stock a decent shop, so it won't be open for a couple of months yet, but I will tell you when it is. There will be a separate blog dedicated to what's going into the shop to start shortly before the shop opens and I'm madly borrowing library books talking about using social media for sales and working the handmade marketplace (I have to wait for the latter as someone else has beat me to them - sensible person!), so I'm trying to get all the quality, experienced information that I can before really getting going.
Something else I hope to add to the shop in time will be the embroidery kits and so on that I've been toying with the idea of doing for some time. I've decided against producing wholesale and doing trade fairs etc as that means a lot more work for less than half of the profit and I don't mind staying small. Far less pressure and I can, basically, take a break or even quit completely at any time I like without wholesale orders stacking up!=) In time, I hope to produce full kits, design and instruction packs and part kits containing the instructions and harder to source materials such as stumpwork wire, beads and pearl cottons and/or metallics. I'm also playing with the idea of materials only sets - coordinated colour materials packs that one can get creative with and use for one's own design ideas, maybe even with a few sketches and example pieces included in the blurb. So, I'll be doing some research on-blog later on in the year, all being well, so please get thinking about what you would like to see on the market and what you would need in terms of materials in a stumpwork kit - everything? Nothing? Or everything but the fabric and stranded cottons (like Victoria Sampler accessory packs)
So, tomorrow DH plans to cut those pieces of card for me to make my first mock-up dolls house room set. I'll be painting or papering the walls and adding in some things to make them look as realistic as I can. I don't actually own a dolls house, so I don't have access to one to use as a set, but we did have that miniature coffee service in our display cabinet.=) In the meantime, I'm trying to clear the decks of other projects and work, so have been doing such joyous things as mending and altering to get the pile down. Four out of six workbasket jobs done already.=)
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2013