Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Chinese Flower Project Finished
I did it! I finished the Chinese Flower Project, the online correspondence course I am taking from Trish Burr. If you remember, the last time I posted I was a bit worried about the banding on the bird's abdomen, but after reading all the advice on the blog postings, emails (thanks to all of you!), and the evaluation from Trish, I added a few more stitches to better blend the colors. I think it worked out pretty well. I went absolutely crazy on the project this past weekend, not wanting to stop working on it at all.
There are several points that are definitely very different from the original project, at least from my point of view. You can see Trish's rendition of the project and compare it with mine. The biggest difference is the stitch direction on the upper abdomen just below the eye. I have the stitches radiating from the eye, but Trish has the stitches radiating from the base of the beak. I suppose it is fairly subtle, but I think it is significant. Also, I made the buds on the top of the image much lighter than the original design. It doesn't look bad, just different. I'm sure there are several more that you can pick out, I am just sharing the glaring differences.
I have a couple of tips to share with you. The first and most important is to use a piece of interfacing over the embroidery design when using a hoop, and carefully cut away the interfacing. This helps to keep dirty hoop marks down to a minimum. See how the interfacing on the left is getting a bit grubby? This particular interfacing was too heavy; I recommend a lighter one.
Second, and I got this from the Royal School of Needlework video of working on the Royal Wedding Dress, is wash your hands every 30 minutes. This is the piece taken directly after removing from the hoop. There are no hoop marks, but you can definitely see a beige (grubby) cast in a faint circle around the embroidered area.
After washing and ironing the piece dry, the grubby area is gone. (I may wash it again to make sure). Third, many teachers and books tell you to iron on a thick towel. No! Don't do this! Iron the piece face down on three to four layers of cotton batting. If you are not a quilter with yards and yards of the stuff left over from quilting, you can always buy a piece or two when it next comes on sale at Joann's (or with your 40% off coupon!) The works so much better than a towel as it keeps the surface of the fabric smooth and allows the embroidery to pop right out at you. I was amazed at the difference between ironing on a towel and the batting.
Likes and dislikes:
I love the design, colors and threads. Anchor floss is just a bit different from DMC. It seems to be a bit finer, so shorter thread lengths are definitely in order to keep the thread from fraying. The directions were very detailed, and as I mentioned in a previous post, and all packaged together beautifully. Trish prints her fabric with medium grey lines, not black, so it is much easier to hide the lines under the stitches. I know I could never figure out which threads to use with so many to choose from, so I am so pleased that Trish publishes so many of her designs with the thread recommendations. But the best part is that Trish thinks I did fairly well on this project, that I have gotten the hang of it! She says she will be publishing two more kits similar to this one. So I will purchase those, work them, and have two or three beautiful pieces to display together. I haven't decided if I will frame them or work them into cushions.
Dislikes? Not really any. The threads are Anchor, which are not readily available locally. So I was forced (forced!) to drive into Laguna Beach to buy them. As I mentioned previously, I could have used DMC floss, for which Trish kindly gave a conversion chart, but I wanted my version to be as close as possible to hers.
All in all I just loved working this piece and taking the course. I highly recommend it! In fact, one of my stitching friends will be taking the next course in June. If you are interested in taking a future course, and I don't know when or what will be offered, please follow Trish's blog.