While I am working on my Stumpwork Initialhttp://californiastitching.blogspot.com/2010/11/back-to-silk-embroidery.html, I thought I would show you a bag and some accessories I made from some kits by Jan Kerton. I know I have said this before, but I'll say it again, I love kits! Especially when trying out a new technique, as it allows me to sample threads and fabrics that I might not try on my own.
This is called Stumpwork Berry Workbag, and consists of a square workbag with a drawstring closure and four pockets around the outside. It is made of cream colored damask with cream cotton lining and green bias for the top finish. The threads are mostly wools, either Broder Medici or Appleton, with a bit of floss for the bee and the strawberry. None of this is particularly complicated, the stitches used are buttonhole, detached chain, and stem. The only tricky parts are the needle woven leaves for the berries and the bullion for the snail.
Here is a closeup of one of the pockets with a spider in its web,
And here is the other with a snail and a bee. The gold beads in the strawberry blossoms really gives them a nice sparkle. I only embroidered two of the pockets, as I was working under a deadline at the time. It was September 2005 and I was trying to get this and the accessories finished in time for the SAGA Convention at the end of the month. I was determined to have a nice bag with me!
Here is the chatelaine, consisting of a scissors holder, pin cushion, pin keep and a thimble case. That pincushion looks a bit soft. I never seem to stuff things enough.
The scissors holder has faux leather on the inside to keep sharp scissors tips from piercing and tearing the fabric.
The thimble holder is three-sided, with one edge left unsewn. A gentle squeeze on the ends of the holder pops open the case. I keep a thimble with a few other tiny things in it.
The tool pouch holds pens, an awl, manicure sticks and other useful items. It fastens with a velcro closure.
The instructions in the kit would have us make all of the cording out of twisted cotton embroidery floss, something that I really, really dislike. So I found this cording at a fabric store and thought - perfect match! This was so much easier than twisting floss together. I'm just not good at that.
I mentioned that I made this in September 2005, but I actually started in mid August. We happened to have a heat wave over Labor Day that year, and there I was sitting outside in the heat embroidering. My husband and son joined me with their books, but the cats were smart enough to go inside with the A/C. Lucky for us in Southern California the weather is rarely humid, and the porch faces north east so it doesn't get the afternoon sun.
I did manage to finish everything on time and brought it to the convention, where it drew quite a few compliments. Now I use it to take to all of my sewing get togethers.
Now for the likes and dislikes:
I really love the embroidery design and all of the gorgeous threads. Jan really puts nice kits together.
The instructions are perfectly clear, well written and very easy to follow. In addition, Jan has an instruction booklet of the stitches she uses and includes them in all of the larger kits. I now have several. She is also generous with the materials, as the kit contains enough to embroider all four pockets.
I don't like the odd shade of the green binding, but don't know if I could have come up with something better. The drawstring hangs loose, which is awkward for carrying it, so I may fiddle around with sewing the ends together and making another opening at the top.
All in all, this is a great workbag, as it has plenty of pockets both on the outside and inside. Unfortunately, Jan no longer comes to the US and doesn't have a retailer here that carries her kits. So if you want one, you'll have to order from one of her stockists in Australia, which she has listed on her website. When I was at Beating Around the Bush in October 2009, I purchased a two more kits, a sewing organizer and a zippered pouch, to go with these. Now to find time to make them.