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.


  1. Wow, Cynthia, that turned out just gorgeous! The bird is so cute too. He looks a little cranky! We have birds around here that always look cranky!

    So what are you going to do with this? It would be lovely in with a double mat and a fancy gold frame.

    Also, your link to Trish's project isn't working for me. It takes me to the Blogger log in page. Could just be me, but you might want to check it out. I'd love to see her stitchery of this design too!

    Have a great day!


  2. What fabulous work, Cynthia! You did a fine job, making every element look nature and life-like. You should feel proud, and I'm sure Trish is very pleased also.

    And, it takes fortitude to dunk a beautiful piece like that, even though it has to be done. You give me encouragement, and I like the tip on the batting. I have used 5-6 layers of cotton flannel but will try your method.

    Looking forward to seeing your future projects!

  3. Cynthia - your piece looks wonderful, and you do have the hang of it. Thanks for the hint on the batting - I've always used towels. I've been told when doing thread painting classes 'not to try & copy the picture exactly as every persons will be that bit different'. Karen

  4. Absolutely lovely. Thanks for the fabulous tip on the cotton batting. I will buy some with my coupon this week. I have always felt there had to be something better than a terry towel.

  5. Wow, you have done a great job on this. I hope to start mine very soon. I also hope that I can do nearly as well as you have.


I love to hear from readers! Please let me know what you think of my posts. If you ask a question, I will reply here on the blog, so others can see the answer.