Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Charm School Week Eight: Stumpwork

Modesty

In the language of flowers, the cosmos stands for modesty. And so, Modesty becomes the charm for week eight of Charm School.

This week, I chose to stitch the cosmos from Di van Niekerk's Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork book because it's the one that appears on the cover. And I just fell in love with it.


The book presents a sampler with 17 different panels (this is panel #11). The book is arranged by panel, giving supply lists and instructions for each individual section. The overall sampler is stunning and would be a worthy undertaking if you are that ambitious.

The book recommends using Di's very own ribbon...which I do not own so I substituted Hanah silk ribbon and it worked beautifully. I also was supposed to use a medium weight interfacing -- I only had a heavier weight so I used that. I do think the flower would have looked a lot more fluid and light if I had used a lighter interfacing.

I loved this technique but it was extremely time consuming. Not a method that you should choose if you are in a hurry -- but I feel like the results are stunning and I will definitely use it again.


First thing I did was trace the shapes of the petals onto the interfacing using a mechanical pencil. The author recommends using a soft lead but I find I prefer the thinner line of the mechanical pencil. It was great that she provided all of the petal shapes and they were each numbered.


Next, I cut out the petals and ironed them onto the ribbon. I didn't have that beautiful pink color ribbon used in the model so I used this red instead. Next time I think I would select a ribbon that had a little more variegated color... I was very careful to keep the petals in numerical order because those teeny tiny numbers were very difficult to read on the dark ribbon...


Next, I cut out the petals using my embroidery scissors -- those babies are tiny!

Once the petals were cut, you use a slight bit of glue and paste them onto water soluble stabilizer that was stretched in a hoop. Oh, how I wish I had known about this technique when I was making my thistle a few weeks ago...


Again, I was very careful to keep the petals in order because, if you didn't, I think it would be a nightmare to figure out. Once the petals are all stuck to the stabilizer, you were supposed to use a lightbox or a window and trace the vein lines from the interfacing on to the front of the petal.

I skipped that part and eyeballed the lines...which went a lot quicker.

I then stitched all the vein lines on the petals with Caron Waterlilies thread and stitched the gold centers for the flowers onto white felt.


When that was finished, you cut out the shapes and dissolve the stabilizer in water. Very easy and the stabilizer dissolves within seconds.

Again, I kept the petals in order and proceeded to wet them one at a time -- once the petals were wet, I really couldn't read the numbers!


This trick was great! The glue stabilized the embroidery threads, helped keep the interfacing from peeling back from the ribbon, helped to keep the ribbon from fraying....it was the one step that really was an innovation for me. Brilliant!

After all the petals were dry, I finally got to sew them together into a flower. And, after six hours or so, that was a really nice tasting dessert!


I didn't have time to make the entire panel of cosmos flowers so I chose to put the flower together on green felt. I was really stumped how to turn this one flower into a charm this week -- plus, I was tired -- so I used this lace motif -- which, I'm not sure I'm happy with...


But can't you imagine how lovely this would look with a whole bouquet of flowers made this way? It would be breathtaking. This poor guy needs more buddies and a stem and some more leaves but time was short after six hours of work!

I have enough petals to work the other two flowers when I get the chance. The rest of the book is chock-full of wonderful ideas and contemporary approaches to three-dimensional flower work. It's really a treasure trove.

As for Charm School, I think this is the last week for me. Eight weeks of school has been enough and Summer is winding down. Time to transition and begin the embrace with the Fall season and all that entails.


Next Tuesday, I'll do a final wrap up and graduation for Summer Charm School. I have enjoyed studying in detail those books that have been gathering dust on my shelves and I'd like to continue that discipline.

I just haven't figured out how...

20 comments:

Elmsley Rose said...

I like what you've done to finish it. Given you have no stem or big leaves .... brilliant idea coz it looks right at home on the lace.

Vicki W said...

Amazing!

Jo in NZ said...

You know Susan, I have that book, but stump work never really turned me on (the pictures are lovely tho...) but seeing this technique, and fusible interfacing is , like, my favourite thing in the whole world, i am going to be dragging it out.
Thanks

Judy S. said...

Your cosmos is perfect, Susan. I loved that flower ever since seeing the movie "The Color Purple." They're way easier to grow than to sew though! I just planted a chocolate one...even smells like it! Your charm school idea was great; I'd give you an A++!

Diane said...

That's the very book that's been sitting in my bookshelf too. Your clear instructions and photographs will definitely motivate me to start learning this technique. Thanks!

Carol said...

Hi Susan
Yet another reason I admire you and your needlework skills. This was, as you say, time consuming and the results were definitely beautiful. I am a person that needs instant gratification I guess, because the instructions for this project would have had me turning the page to the next project.

Loveley piece.
XX
Carol

coral-seas said...

I've really enjoyed your charm school lessons and this one is no exception. What a great technique, I really want to give it a go.

I'd say you graduate with first class honours.

Schools out, can't wait to see what you will do for the Autumn. I know that some of your favourite holidays are approaching :-)

pam T said...

Like Carol, I'm an instant gratification person too, but this is gorgeous! I love how you take all the photos of your progress. very, very nice.
I'll be sorry to see your summer stumpwork come to an end! of course, I'm sorry to see summer come to an end in itself...

Dovilė said...

amazing:)

dees said...

Just plain lovely!

Sheila said...

Happy Graduation!

Another fun idea out of your creative brains. Keep up the great work. I've been so inspired by you this summer!

Maureen said...

Beautiful!!

FredaB said...

You did a great job and I think it looks nice on the lace piece. You could use it as a gift flower on a very pretty paper but it must be for a special person after all that work.

I am going to miss your charm school.

Hugs

FredaB

Nellie's Needles said...

Lovely! and it looks like fun.

Robin said...

Cosmos is such a sweet flower! I've always loved them, so it would be fun to be able to make them in a somewhat realistic way. This particular way seems a bit over-exact for me... I think, like nature, one could make the petals more-or-less like the models and put them together in more-or-less the right order... and still have good results. Is that just wishful thinking? Anyway, you certainly are modest about your results!

Ati. said...

I think It turned out wonderful. I didn't realize that the leaves are só tiny until i saw your fingers on the photo. It is always a pleasure to read how your experience felt when making it!
I will miss your summer school little things :)But also are curious what you will do in the winter season!

Barbara C said...

Your cosmos is perfectly lovely. That was a lot of work, but the results are spectacular.

Wanda said...

So much detail! So beautiful! I have been wanting to try my hand at stumpwork. It's on my list....

Marty52 said...

What a great technique, Susan! Time consuming, yes, but it results in a beautiful product. So tiny, though, gah! Congratulations on graduating with honors from charm school... I'm sorry to see it go but fully understand your need to do your own thing. Take care!

freebird said...

Very, very nice. I like it on that piece of lace. It's like a little suncatcher.

Related Posts with Thumbnails