Friday, August 26, 2016

Winter wreath progress

Add another small woven wheel rose

I'm having a great time progressing on this project - I'm embroidering a version of The Winter Wreath from Kazuko Aoki's book, The Embroidered Garden.

Detail on large white flower

Up above is a closeup of one of the large white flowers. It's all done in split stitch, which is very-time consuming, but I do like the texture. Oh, and tons of little french knots in the center. The stems are two strands of vintage Nun's Boilproof floss, couched with a thin white sewing thread.

Closeup of tiny white rose

Here's a small woven wheel rose, and the round flowers made up of french knots - shall we call them dandelions? I'm least confident about my stitching on those, but we'll see how it progresses...

Closeup on the large white flowers

Another large white flower and a large woven wheel rose. The rose stems are couched gold DMC embroidery floss.

embroidering outdoors

I took this project outside and was delighted by how much better it looks in the light - it really captures the detail more.

I opened an Instagram account of my own this week - follow me @nyfloresita if you like! I also post on the Feeling Stitchy account to promote Feeling Stitchy blog posts, and Amy posts on Fridays.

A photo posted by floresita (@nyfloresita) on


There's such a wonderful community of stitchers on Instagram, and Flickr has really slowed down in terms of finding new stitching online. For now, I'll be maintaining both accounts, and we'll see what the future will bring!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Planning a book review

Planning a book review for Feeling Stitchy

I've been remiss in doing a book review for Feeling Stitchy for a gorgeous book by Kazuko Aoki, The Embroidered Garden. I received the book some time ago from the publisher, and I finally got to work this weekend, gathering materials, and doing some planning and stitching. I chose the "Winter" wreath, which I intend to interpret freely, choosing my own fabrics and threads.

By the way, the book link takes you to Amazon, and contains code for the Feeling Stitchy Amazon account - if you buy a book through that link, we receive money in our account which is used to fund more giveaways and reviews on Feeling Stitchy. If you do buy there, thank you! If not, no worries! :)

Step 1: fabric and hoop

My first step was choosing a fabric - and I was delighted to find a beautiful navy blue linen in my mother's fabric stash. I loved the idea of a strong contrast with the white flowers.

gathering threads

Next, I chose a handful of threads - my goal in this project is to buy nothing new, and use up some of my prodigious thread stash. :)

The final project will be a wedding gift, so I wanted to work in the wedding colors, one of which is gold. I had some beautiful DMC gold thread and gold metallic floss. I also had two skeins of super-shiny DMC rayon floss in a copper and darker brown shade that I wanted to use. Added to that were some off-white shades of 6 strand DMC floss, and some vintage threads I was gifted YEARS ago. :)

pretty texture

I traced the image directly from the photo in the book. I didn't focus on details, but just a general idea, and replaced the large green ivy leaves with circles for white roses.

Next step: using white carbon paper and chalk pencil to transfer

Once I had my finished design, I used white carbon paper to transfer the image. The resulting image was very faint, so I traced over the white lines in a yellow Clover chalk pencil.

re-tracing over pattern

I first stitched the branches with a combination of regular DMC floss, and couched lines of rayon floss, which gave the branches a really pretty sheen in the light.

Interesting vintage thread

I was fascinated by the two Nun's Boilproof skeins I had - they look like a very thin perle cotton, but are SO very soft to the touch. They piqued my curiosity and I found this blog post about them.

After split stitch on large flower

Here it was after at least 12 hours of stitching. The filling for the large white flower was the most time-consuming - tiny split stitch, using 3 strands of floss, but it was worth it - the texture is so nice!

later progress

Next, I added french knots to the center of the large white flower, a large white rose, gold stems for the roses, and couched gold strands throughout the branches.

Here's a sideview of the work so far, which shows off the rayon threads and texture pretty nicely:

detail view of my progress

This project was slow to start, and a little intimidating, but I am enjoying it so far! What do you think?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Photographing Embroidery

closeup on Summer hoop

As much as I love my fancy camera (what I call my Canon DSLR) I struggle when taking photos of embroidery. My first love was point-and-shoot cameras, and I long for them whenever I have a detailed embroidery photo to take.

The photos above and below were taken with my phone camera, which I've found works better for me at times than my DSLR.

All the colors

I recently did a review of Coloris floss for Feeling Stitchy, and the biggest challenge was photographing the beautiful rainbow of shades in the flosses. My DSLR is capable of so much more than a phone camera, but you really have to know what you're doing. It's frustrating not to be able to pop it in "Auto" mode like a point-and-shoot and get lots of crisp, detailed, bright shots without any effort.

Finished hoop

Here is a photo from my DSLR - it has all the detail I want, but it took so much work - I had to put the camera in Manual mode, carefully light the scene, then color-correct in Photoshop, and I'll admit I'm still not 100% happy with it. I feel like it's just... missing something.

Here's another from my DSLR:

Hoop with Coloris colors used

And one more from the phone camera:
closeup on Summer hoop

Does anybody else struggle with photographing their embroidery?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More photos from the old camera

closeup

It takes a bit of work and tweaking with actions in Photoshop, but the old camera produces some nice shots.

I find the key is never to take a photo in an ISO higher than 400 for this camera, and to only take photos in bright light. It just gets too grainy to use, otherwise.

Scissortail at Mitchell Lake

I'm pretty pleased with the amount of detail I can capture from a distance - this was shot from an open car window, and a good distance away.

little sparrow

Up close shots like the sparrow above are pretty nice, but look better with a bit of sharpening and tweaking.

thistle

This thistle was another one captured a fair distance away.

dove

Overall, it's been fun playing with this old little gem.

us

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bowie completed

bowie1

It is quite nice to finally be done with a project - this was a nice cross stitch from a free pattern - just complex enough to take me more than a week to stitch, but simple enough that I couldn't get discouraged or bored.

I'd say this is a perfect cross stitch for a beginner who is looking for a new challenge. Much appreciation to the creator, F.P. Molina who did a great job with this one. If you're into knitting, there's a knitted chart up for grabs, too.

I subbed a few colors I didn't have on hand, for something close (the orange, the blue, the darker flesh tone, and the pink on the mouth). The rest of the colors are from the pattern. Great fun, and the person who received it loved it.

bowieframe
Free pattern from F.P. Molina

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bowie in progress

Bowie in progress

Just a little something I'm working on - I'm teaching someone nice to cross stitch, and it's such a pleasant, familiar feeling to separate the little piles of floss and work in an orderly fashion...

river

I'm still playing with the older camera - and it's a tricky business getting a clear, sharp photo - but the added challenge has made it fun. I always enjoy working within strict limitations, and seeing what I can make of them.

moth

lovely flower

green trees

surely, a very photographed building

I only realized this week I've reached my 10 year anniversary of blogging - 10 years! In honor of this occasion, I've been tweaking the template a bit to spiff things up a bit. Apologies if you see something bizarre as I muck around in the code. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Return to photography

roses

I used to love snapping photos, but it wasn't until recently that I got back into it. I set myself the task of picking up one of my old cameras, which I never fully learned how to use, and teaching myself the ins and outs of it.

goose

The camera has its limitations - being older, it doesn't do well in low light - anything above ISO 800 is too grainy to be useable. But in good light, it snaps some nice pics, and it has a nice zoom.

leaves

I've been using that zoom to do my photography in the exact opposite way that I usually approach it - I usually get very close to objects and do macro shots.

Instead, I've been zooming all the way in, to get close to things I am actually very far away from.

wren

I've been using two free Photoshop Actions from the Coffee Shop blog which I highly recommend:
Vivid 2 and Perfect Portrait.

Charlie

The actions do a great job brightening and sharpening up images I didn't think I could use. It's been fun to get back into snapping pics and editing them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Shawl, sweater, and needles

finished shawl
finished shawl

It's been so long since I've posted, I almost forgot how to blog. :) I had a variety of thing happen in my life, good, bad, and lovely, which made most of the fall and winter a quick blur. Finally life is approaching normal again, but with a few nice changes.

One thing that hasn't changed is my knitting. :)
sweater

I finally finished up this nice little red sweater on a sick day a few weeks ago. All that's left are the buttons - I'm thinking those big toggle-type things would suit it best. It's still not my favorite sweater on me, but I hope to find someone it might suit. :)

finished shawl in the sun

The lovely colors in that shawl are so difficult to photograph - here it is in the sun. I used the same pattern as my last shawl, and even the same yarn - but this lot was considerably darker and more varied. One might say the same thing of time I spent as I stitched it, which makes it fitting, I suppose. :)

needles

I purchased a really confusing batch of metallic circular needles recently - I should have read the description more thoroughly, as it described the odd sizes rather well. I put sticky notes with my best guess on the size, using my Knit-Chek as guide. When will I ever use size 1 or size 0 circulars? Well, add it to the collection. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Stitching Saturday: New needles and a shawl

So many knitting needles

I just got SO MANY knitting needles off eBay, it's ridiculous. For me, part of the charm of crafting is collecting my materials and staring at them, so I couldn't resist carefully sorting them by size and length, and taping them neatly together.

It's mostly metal (aluminum) needles, with a few pairs of plastic, one pair of wood or bamboo, and a few circulars. Oh and there's 2 red crochet hooks on the left end. I love to teach people how to knit, so I hardly ever have straight needles, because I am always giving them away to the people I teach. This substantial score should give me plenty to teach with in the upcoming months.

shawl

I started a shawl as a gift for Christmas - I thought if I start early it would give me time to burn out, put it away, and have a few mess-ups. :)

The pattern is the Old Shale Shawl and is free on Ravelry. I'm using Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in Tidal, on size 8 needles. I like it so far, but I'm wondering if a flat, less tonal yarn would have worked better to show the lovely texture in the stitch pattern. We'll see. So far it's not too hard to follow, but you must pay close attention - it's not a mindless knit. I've made a few small mistakes, but nothing terribly noticeable, or that I couldn't fix by adding a stitch in the next row.

My first sweater is on a brief break - I finished the buttonhole rows and decided I hated the buttons, so I'm still deciding how I'll finish it. The sweater is pretty, but not at all flattering on me, so I'm wondering if I should try fixing it or just gift it to someone with smaller hips. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stitching Saturday: Sweater progress

Cardigan progress

I can't believe I am almost finished! Knitting a sweater was one of those things I was putting off until I felt like a more established knitter. I never really felt more established, so I just went for it, and I was surprised how easily it progressed. I'm following along with the My First Sweater class on Craftsy, and I highly recommend it, if you are a visual learner, like me. Sometimes, just being able to see someone do something is what I need to make a new skill stick. The sweater pattern is free on the Lion Brand site and is the Cardigan Collared Variation.

I just finished the collar - my favorite part of the sweater, and am knitting the right front buttonhole band. I didn't think I would like the eyelet detail, but now that I see it all together, I like the subtle texture it creates. I knit a small - what I usually wear in shirts and sweaters, and it is roomy and fits just right. The only issue I see is that the sleeve cuffs fit super-snug, while the rest of the arm is a more relaxed fit. I also knitted a longer cuff on the sweater and sleeve edges - it just looks nicer to me that way.

The yarn I chose I am "meh" about - Red Heart Soft. I didn't choose wool because I didn't want to worry about blocking just yet. It also just doesn't get cold enough in South Texas for wool. :) The Red Heart Soft is soft, and washable, and not the least bit scratchy. But I didn't buy all 5 skeins I'd need to finish all at once - I had 2 in my stash, gifted by a friend, then bought a skein here and there. They all had different weights (some bulkier, some more worsted-weight), some felt softer, some more stiff. At least the color was consistent.

Here are some earlier progress pics before I hit a wall and took a break:

Sweater progress

Really enjoying this process so far!