Our October Meeting at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild was an all day workshop with Ann Stalley on Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery. Knowing that it involved rayon thread, which in my experience is some of the most evil stuff on the planet, I was in two minds about the workshop. However, I can never resist a go at something new and so armed with a big block of beeswax for beating the rayon into submission, I headed off to the meeting to admire Ann’s work…
…before she told us about her creative journey. Hard to believe when looking at work like this, that Ann has only been doing Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery for eighteen months.
She also assured us that the special threads (Edmar) used for this type of work are nothing like ordinary rayon thread (but still I had my beeswax ready just in case!).
Then it was our turn. For the morning session we would practise some of the basic stitches and then stitch a design using those basics in the afternoon. We each had a pack with some of the thread, two substantial milliners’ needles and some calico.
First, bullions. I can do them but they’re not one of my stitches of choice. We put five pairs of dots in, all about a quarter of an inch apart. Our first bullion was ten wraps and pretty much filled the gap. That’s when I found it easier to work out of the hoop. The second one, to go in the same space, was twenty wraps, then thirty, forty and fifty, getting progressively loopier the more wraps we did.
I take it all back about the thread. The Edmar is a delight to work with. The loops slide smoothly over the needle and even though my bullions could be a lot more even, they were an awful lot easier to work than with ordinary thread.
Next was a bullion lazy daisy. It’s an interesting technique as the little bullions are formed as part of the stitch, rather than being like the running stitch that tacks a normal lazy daisy down and took some practise. They also would have been a lot neater if I’d hooped the calico back up!
Lastly was cast on stitch which once I got a rhythm to casting on the loops, I absolutely loved.
So much so, that I had a go at creating a sort of flower with cast on stitch petals in perle over lunch. It worked, but wasn’t as crisp a finish and just didn’t stand up as well as the Edmar.
Using the perle illustrated perfectly what it is about the springiness of the rayon thread that makes the dimensional elements work so well. I was definitely ready to start the afternoon’s design of the bullion rose spray.
However, I struggled to place the first rounds of bullions properly and halfway through, although I was pleased with the quality of the bullions, I wasn’t happy with my scrappy rose.
Luckily the outer bullions managed to neaten things up, and with the addition of a bead centre, managed to salvage it from being a complete disaster.
Next the leaves. The design used buttonhole stitch but I love the way close fly stitch works up into leaves and I thought that this would suit the lustre of the thread.
Very pleased with the result and by the end of the afternoon I had two leaves added to the spray.
Not much to do to finish, and despite my slight misgivings beforehand, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I’m seriously thinking about investing in some Edmar threads and I fancy seeing if I can stitch some dimensional sea shells.