Tuesday, February 25, 2014

East Indian Adventure...almost!

 Tonight I am going to share a bit of adventure with you! I love to travel, even if it is just to some place where I can capture a bit of a different culture. This last Saturday Rob and I went to the Ethnic Fashion Fest which was being held in La Mirada. A friend of ours, Faizah Cooper, had invited us, via facebook, to come. None of us knew what to expect outside of that this was featuring clothing from India and Bangladesh. Faizah is from Bangladesh so she was already familiar with the clothing styles. She grew up with it! I've had East Indian neighbors in the past and love the gorgeous saris that the women wear. So this is some of what we found  - Enjoy!

We found a veritable jewel box of colors and designs! Interestingly enough, they had long shirts and dresses that were very reminiscent of Medieval tunic styles, complete to the triangular gores on the side that fall to longer points on the sides. They boast a lot of great machine embroidery! This is the type of embroidery that I would like to be able to do on  a very nice Brothers Quattro 2 6700D machine. I could scan in my original artwork and designs and do pieces this large.
Some tunics were very simple like this blue one and looked very much like the tunics we used to wear in the SCA.
Some tunics took a very modern approach like this yellow Georgette tunic.

I could do this by hand, but the time it would take would me months!

This one is a red Georgette which was unfortunately a couple sizes too small. Their sizing, by the way, is very different. Too bad we didn't get a view of the sleeve. They were slit up almost to the shoulder and the edges were trimmed with fancy trim buttons to hold them closed.

For more information, check  them out at

                                                                    They will have different items on their website because those items they stock all the time. When they have a road show, they will have one-of-a-kind selections. Alas, we didn't take pictures of the truly beautiful gowns, the long saris that were richly beaded and cost up into the $300 and $400 range. Next time I will!                                                       

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Angel and Lamb Beaded Quilt

This is a beaded quilt. It came as a simple kit that my husband and I found in a small but wonderful quilt shop in Northeastern Arizona a couple of years ago. I love things with wings and I could immediately see the possibilities for embellishment! The print is called the Golden Angel and Lamb quilting panel by Michael Miller.

I made one for my Mother-in-law, Diane, who presented it to her church where it is now displayed.
It was understood that the second one I would make to sell. So this one is up for grabs.

The steps were simple: just arrange the pre-printed strips together around the center piece. It was all straight machine stitching. 

After that the real work begins. I worked from the center outward. That meant that the angel's face would be done first. Eyes and lips and eyebrows got embroidered  with the outline stitch and the satin stitch with cotton floss. For the green ribbon in the hair I used rayon floss to give it a very satiny shine. Freshwater pearls were then stitched in.
Next I used some metallic threads to highlight the thin, ribbony tendrils that curl down from the headband. I used threads that I had in my floss stash. One was a DMC Metallic thread #5282 which is a polyester/viscose content Thicker cords were couched in and the thin strands were embroidered in with the backstitch. This added a nice illumination around the face.

  Next come the tiny garnet beads. They are stitched in around the neckline and on the cuff of the gown. The tricky part of stitching in the garnet beads as that they can have sharp or slightly jagged edges. This can cut threads. You need to stitch through the bead 2 or 3 times to secure them. I used a thin beading needle to accomplish this. The good thing is that once they go on, they are not going to be moving around like they would be of they were threaded into a necklace. 

Ah, yes, the little lamb. This was a fun part. Some shades and shadows were already part of the print so I used those as a guide for which shade of  Baroque Crochet Cotton  (a DMC product made in Brazil) and DMC "Cebelia" (made in France). Both are a type of crochet thread that works well for the candlewicking French knots that I used to create a rich texture.
To make the lamb stand out, I stitched a small backing to the back of the lamb using a thin cotton piece of  cotton fabric. I stitched this down around the lamb then loosely stuffed it with some polyester batting. Touches like this make a piece interesting, especially if you are a tactile person like I am when it comes to fabrics!

This is what I did for the back: plain black cotton fabric and loops made out of the remnants of the border fabric so the quilt can be used as a wall hanging. However, I did place them down enough from the top edge so if you wanted to use it for a cover, you could. This later effected how I did the quilting but the loops are big enough that they could be pushed aside and the hand stitching done.

Next I sewed the back to the front with a layer of Warm and Natural to be the inner layer. This is better to use than a polyester batting, I think, because it does not pull through with the needle when you are stitching. It is light-weight, warm and  doesn't puff up the quilt too much. 
Stitch with right sides together, batting on the outside. Remember to leave a big enough gap along the bottom of the quilt to pull the quilt right side out.  Once you have the outsides out, pin to make sure that the inner batting layer is smooth and even. Hand stitch the gap closed.
I then did machine stitching around some of the edges of the borders to tack the front, backing and back together.

I quilted important lines to bring out the shape of the wings, hand, the sleeves and the skirt. I used the running stitch using heavier quilting threads that matched  compliment background fabric colors.

I stitched around the border shapes such as the flowers and the stained glass window shapes. 

You can see the stitches on the back here. The red and blue knots are where the beads are sewn onto the front side.

Last part - the beads!

I used larger garnets, hematites and and some pretty frosted cerulean glass beads for the boarders and the flowers. For the crosses I used metallic and glass beads. Since there was a variety of  the cross motifs I did each one a bit differently but only did four crosses on each side. I did not want to overdo the effect and besides, from the experience I had with stitching beads onto the trim of a Saxon style tunic, those beads add a good deal of weight!

For some of this beading I attempted to just stitch the beads to the top layer of fabric. However, I stitched around the shapes to bring them out and larger beads were stitched through all layers.

And there you have it!

Just remember to sign your work.
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Here are a couple of quickies! I love draw string bags! I always find uses for them and they are fun to make and to give as gifts.

This Tudor Rose is done in Blackwork stitches but I used shades of pink and green  for the rose colors.

This is one of my little dragon bags. It is a cross-stitch pattern that I designed. I like to give them as gifts and  add my friends' names to make them special.
As soon as I can get the pattern scanned, I'll add it to this post.