Tomorrow at my Embroiderers Guild meeting we have the penultimate swop of our travelling sketchbooks, at the July meeting I’ll get my own back again and see what everyone has been stitching for me. In the meantime I had an entry to make for this months book…
We could pick our own themes for this project, my book will be all about mountains, but the theme of the travelling sketchbook this month was astronomy, so it’s all galaxies, milky ways etc. I fancied stitching a starry night, I remember when my mum used to have a cottege in Wensleydale the skies up there have minimal light pollution, so they seem so blue and just full of stars, the more you look the more stars you see. I did my usual mooch round pinterest and a couple of images caught my eye, they used shisha mirrors…
I ordered some 12mm shisha mirrors off eBay and went on YouTube to find out how to stitch them on – what would I do without my computer! You basically need to make a grid of stitches around the mirror, it surprised me just how close to the middle these were, it also appears that the more stitches you do at this point, the better. You do need a good support mesh to hold the mirror in place, at first I was trying to do a neat organised grid, but I found it easier to just keep going round until I had a decent grid.
Once the grid is in place it is used to form a type of buttonhole stitch which holds the mirror in place. It took me a while to get the hang of it and they are still not perfect, I think I need a bit more practise! This was my first attempt, a practise one, as you can see I changed how I did the stitch half way round and it did seem neater.
I used ecru perle thread to stitch the shisha mirrors on, then I just had to embroider a design round them to look like a starry night…
I collected a few threads and stuff together. The background fabric is a quilting cotton left over from Helens black and white quilt, its like a sponged, speckled, very dark grey and black sort of design. My favourite thread at the moment is an Anchor silver Lame thread, I usually hate stitching in metallic threads as I don’t like the feel of them or the way they behave when you’re using them, but the lame thread is so fine and smooth it is gorgeous to use. It was perfect for all the sparkly bits. I also found some vintage black lace with sequins and beaded scrolls on, I sorted a few beads from my stash and also a couple of extra threads to bring just a touch of colour, a DMC variegated thread in cream, pale blue and silver grey, and one of the silk threads I got off ebay in a plum shade, they’re finer than the DMC and just have a bit of sheen to them.
I sort of made it up as I went a long, using standard embroidery stitches like chain, herringbone, feather and even just simple back-stitch.. I stitched the lace on with a black DMC thread using herringbone stitch as I wanted it held down but it needed to blend in with everything. I decided to use the edge of my embroidery ring as the outline for the finished piece, thinking it could represent a telescope view!
Once I was happy with the embroidery I applied fusible interfacing to the back to give it a bit of stability before I cut it to shape. This is where disaster struck! In a moment of madness I decided to put a wad of batting underneath to help protect the beads, it’s a wad I use when I’m pressing foundation paper pieced quilt blocks. Unfortunately the sequins melted and the batting stuck to them! I’m not sure if vintage sequins are made of different stuff, but these just completely frazzled. More of an issue was the white fluff that was not stuck in the middle of my embroidery. The sequins on the edge weren’t quite so bad and I did manage to pull most of the fluff off, but the fluff in the middle was well and truly stuck! With a bit of lateral thinking I got out my silk paints, found a deep plum colour and painted the fluff, hoping it will look like milky way!! I then added beads (through the original sequin holes!) to distract the eye a bit, hopefully I’ve got away with it!!
I used a silver gel pen to draw around the embroidery hoop, this is a tip I got from Sarah Fielke on the Down the Rabbit Hole quilt-a-long, it’s an acid free archive quality gel pen, so it won’t damage the fabrics, it should wash out if needed, but even on dark fabrics, it just gives a fine sparkly line to follow.
I put the embroidery in the scrapbook last night, wrote a little about it and popped it in my bag ready for tomorrow.
I’m linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, follow the link to see what everyone else has been stitching.