Monday, July 20, 2009

Charm School Week Five: Stumpwork

Perseverance



It's Thistle Week here at Plays with Needles. It wasn't intentional, but I've stitched two versions of a thistle within one week...very odd. Wonder what that means??

I really enjoyed hearing your stories about thistles from yesterday. It seems, for their prickly exterior, there must be something awfully sweet about the thistle blossom itself because horses gobble them like candy; hummingbirds and butterflies flock to them; and, gold finches can be seen covering them this time of year.

Picture courtesy of A Wing and a Prayer

But I digress. This week I explored Jane Nicholas' Dragonflies book.

All of Jane's stumpwork books are fabulous but I chose this one because it houses the design and instructions for this week's charm.

This week's charm is not my own design. Because of all of the supplies needed for stumpwork, I decided to work on a unfinished piece of Jane Nicholas' design. I had previously finished the dragonfly so I just needed to stitch the thistle (which Jane refers to as a cornflower but, for me, it's a thistle...) and convert it to a charm.

I stitched the thistle using a stitch called Turkey Work. It's a method of securing loops onto fabric, stitched in rows. The closer your stitches, the thicker the pile. I use my fingers to hold back the previous loops while I stitch the next row.

You'll often see this stitch used for fuzzy bodies, and thistles but I like to use it for puffs and dots as a background or pom poms, and it makes a great afro! Mary Corbet has a wonderful video tutorial for turkey work that you can view here. And lots of other great tutorials for other stitches as well. Thank you Mary!

When you're finished stitching all the loops, it's a mess until you give it a hair cut and trim the pile in the shape you desire.


I always go slowly here because you can't add any back. Trimming also makes a mess too but it's easily cleaned up with some tape wrapped around my finger.


Here's what I learned this week:
  • I forgot how much I missed fine surface embroidery and stumpwork. I think I could work a stumpwork sampler and be very happy. Every one of Jane's books is exceptional.
  • Stumpwork takes some set up time to properly hoop your work, find the wires, etc. but once you've amassed the supplies, it's a joy.
  • There's more to the thistle than meets the eye so I'll have to ponder on that a bit.
Congratulations for persevering through this post. See you next Tuesday for Charm School when I'll be exploring this book...


It's a BEAUTY!!

22 comments:

Vicki W said...

Amazing!

Sheila said...

"OHHhhhh!"

That's what popped out of me in surprise when your pictures loaded and I saw your dragonfly. I just love your posts! The dragonfly is just beautiful.

Ingrid Mida said...

I've been watching dragonflies trying to figure out how to embroider one. Yours is so beautiful.

coral-seas said...

Susan, you know I love all of your work, don't you. Well I reeeeeaaaaalllly love this little charm. It is just beautiful.

Mary Corbet said...

Ooooooh... OOOOOOOOohhhhhh NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Yikes. Susan!!! You don't know what this does to me! I want to make a stumpwork bug really badly now! This is gorgeous! I love it!

And thank you very much for the mention!

Marty52 said...

Love that dragonfly, Susan! The turkey work is very cool, I must say... I've always thought it would make great flowers... and it does!

Tracey N. said...

I have a thing for dragonflies and this one des not dissappoint! It is lovely. I am intrigued by your thistle. For such a prickly plant, it does have a beauty to it. That goldfinch picture is gorgeous.

FredaB said...

What can I say. You continue to amaze me how you come up with something so gorgeous every week. The dragonfly is one of my favorites and it is to die for.

Hugs

FredaB

Judy S. said...

Your dragonfly is fabulous, Susan! What stitch did you use for the green part of the thistle and then for the stem? Years ago I made a turkeywork pillow....that used up quite a bit of yarn. Great photo of our state bird who just happens to LOVE thistle seeds.

Marnie said...

OMG woman, you are an evil genius. I'm astounded every time I pop in here. The dragonfly, the thistle, divine. I've had a little dragonfly/thistle action over at my place this month too! Love them!

paulahewitt said...

this is stunning - well done. did you know JN has a new book that looks even better than the old ones? I was browsing through it today (havent bought it....yet!)

Ati. Norway. said...

Susan , I have no words, this is exquisite!! A beauty to treasure.

MargB said...

Wow!

pam T said...

o Susan! you are a wonder, aren't you! This is beautiful! I gasped with delight when I saw it, the dragonfly is stunning.

Bobbi Pohl said...

I forgot to mention at your last post that you can eat thistle, too. Peel the stem and chomp away. The buds can be steamed and eaten like it's big brother artichokes, but they are very small. I learned this years ago when I spent several years learning about wild edible plants. I still eat dandelion leaves in the spring and lambsquarters that grows all around us. Don't throw away THAT weed when you pull it. Violet leaves and flowers can go into your salad.
I too, love your charm. But, what is the story of the button net behind it in your picture?

Allison Ann Aller said...

Such proficient gorgeousness!!!

Very much looking forward to next week's Charm School. The cover of that book really sings to me. ;-)

Carol said...

Could you possibly post a pic of your crafting library? I thought that I had a lot of books, but I think you need the dewey system to keep track of yours! Each week its a pleasure to see your post on my blog log.

Mary Timme said...

I've got to go see how this is done. It looks fascinating! And it is so pretty!

Chris said...

I think this might be my favorite charm so far. I love your attention to detail. Is the background silk? It is such a nice complement to all your work. It makes your stitches shine.

freebird said...

Stunning! No wonder you want to do more of it. I wouldn't have the patience for it but wish I did.
Wow.

Wanda said...

Wonderful. Absolutely beautiful. I think I've got to try stumpwork. I've always been in awe of it and, after reading and looking at your post, I'm SURE I've got to get into it. It looks like it is "my" thing!! Thank you for the inspiration!

DovilÄ— said...

amazing dragonfly:)

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