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Archive for the ‘Jacket’ Category

I got to wear my jacket!

My son Michael and his wife Carolyn hosted a family get-together on Sunday. Son Steve and his two daughters were there from Colorado. I had both my digital camera and my Flip video camcorder with me, but instead of taking pictures, I decided to use the opportunity to talk individually with family members I rarely see. So I don’t have any pictures to show you.

But, my jacket was a sensation! The reaction was all that I could have hoped for. DIL Karin said the magic words, “You MADE that?” The jacket embellishment got lots of careful scrutiny and rave comments. Ah, very satisfying.

Karin, who is Noah’s mother, is interested in my Flip video camcorder, so I gave her a chance to try it out, and you can see  me modeling my jacket. First, you’ll see her husband Pete, then my nephew Jon and his friend Corinna.

Granddaughter Rachel (20) also tried the Flip camcorder, but for some reason, Flickr will not post it here. But you can view it at Flickr. First you will see adopted son Bill stirring the pasta sauce, then my first husband Skip, Carolyn and Michael (the hosts), my niece Kim, my son Steve, and a glimpse of Bill’s wife Chris.
There were 26 of us, including baby Luca, seated at three tables. For me, the best part of the event was having one-on-one conversations with several of my nearest and dearest, whom I rarely see or hear from.

Michael and Carolyn are terrific hosts. Their family get-togethers are so much fun, with wonderful food. Michael, Bill, and Pete were shucking raw oysters on the patio. Oh, what a treat for me!

Well, all our family get-togethers are fun. I am very fortunate in having a loving family, all of whom get along with each other and enjoy each other. Oh, the funny stories and memories. Lots of laughter and easy conversation.

I hope (if you are in the U.S.) that you have as happy a Thanksgiving as I had on Sunday.

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(Note: on most images, you can enlarge by clicking on them. On the ones that take you to Flickr, you can get up close and personal by clicking on All Sizes above the image there.)

I finished the jacket on Monday, after a marathon of stitching over the weekend. Notice, if you can, in the side view, the embroidery on the bottom of the pants leg. I didn’t do it. It was hand-stitched in India and bought from Marketplace India, and it perfectly complements the jacket embellishment. I’ve had the pants for several years, just a lucky match. Note, too, the cuffs on the sleeves. More about them later.

Now for some last details. Here’s a close-up of the back. Each whipped spider wheel used to fill the paisleys has a bead in the center. And each paisley is stitched in five shades of the color. The bottom looks uneven because the jacket is hanging in slight folds from a hanger.

Although I knew I wanted some kind of border around the scarf sections, I had no idea about what I’d do. A browse through some stitch books brought me to Pekinese stitch. Yes. Here are the threads I chose to use:

border-threads

The black thread is an antique (1900) rope silk. As you can see, each strand is two strands twisted together. It doesn’t look like much here, but when it’s stitched, the fuzziness of the thread disappears into a lustrous sheen.

A lot of it came in a microwave oven-sized box of off-loaded stash from an EGA chapter in California. Some members had read my article in Needle Arts June 2000 and learning that I am housebound, they must have thought I couldn’t get threads. In any case, after many hours of sorting and untangling, I had a huge addition to my own stash. It included quite a lot of the antique silk, in several colors and kinds, and some of them had their original labels. That’s how I know its date.

The dark gold thread is another story. Intending to order one skein of this color of Rajmahal Art Silk, I inadvertently ordered three skeins. I used a little in French knots on the gold paisleys. When it came time to choose threads for the border, it looked just right. Well, I’ve used very nearly two skeins, so more good luck. I used six strands in the needle for threading the back stitch with this thread. Here you can see the border.

better-border-shot

border

As well, you can get a good look at the pink (labeled “mauve”!) and gray petal shapes, in detached buttonhole with straight return over padding. I used alternating barred chain stitch in black #5 pearl cotton to highlight the black lines around the central motif. Here, too, you can see the buttonhole stitching of the scallops that outline the paisleys. That idea came from Mary Corbet. (She also suggested some use of whipped spider wheels.) There are groups of beads in the center of each scallop. The idea to use beads came from Sharon Boggon. Thanks to both of them, who left comments with their suggestions when I posted that I was stuck about how to embellish the scarf.

Here’s a close-up of that central motif, picked up with beads and stitching in #5 pearl cotton. After several false starts, I used chain stitch and straight stitch for the broken lines, outline stitch for the finer red and gray lines, and heavy chain stitch for the larger red bottom shape. The black line at the top is chain-stitched in #8 pearl cotton.

Needing to shorten the sleeves, I made cuffs and repeated the border on them.

cuffed-sleeve

By the way, the jacket weighed 10.1 oz. in its original form, and it weighs 13.6 oz. now. I expected it to gain more weight! 🙂

After spending 128 hours on the project, starting in September, I’m pleased with the result. Now all I need is an occasion to wear it!

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make it work. It’s taken a lot of fussing and fiddling, but here it is–the embellished sections pinned to the jacket.

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Oh, I’ve gotten such wonderful answers to my question about why I’m enjoying myself so much working on this project. I think they are all right, and I plan to write about what conclusions I’ve reached with the help of these responses. But right now, I’m under pressure. (Aren’t I ALWAYS?)

During this period while I’m stitching the embellishment for my jacket, I’m also continuing my study of particle physics–reading more books on the subject. Two of those books are due back at the bookmobile on Friday, and I want to scan some passages before returning them. (I’ve already bought two other physics books I’d borrowed and decided I needed to own, and I’ve ordered two more from the library. Today I found some fantastic interviews on YouTube, but they’ll still be there after I’ve finished my jacket.) Anyhow, this is just a quick post to stay in touch.

I’m nearing completion, and so, of course, I thought of something else I could add.

Here’s one of the cluster of petals. In this shot you can see the long stitches I’ve used as padding under the detached buttonhole stitches. This is the last cluster to be stitched. As you can see, I’ve padded two of them. The other two show the design of the fabric. These petals are “embellished.”

So I decided to try embellishing my stitching of the petals and I really like the effect.

Now I have to embellish all the petals. And on this section, there’s more beading to be done–the centers of the spider webs and the central motif. Maybe I can finish those parts today, depending on how long it takes me to scan pages of the book I have to return Friday.

Yes, I’m still having fun, and I’m having fun thinking about why this is fun for me.

That I’m listening to Bach while stitching doesn’t diminish the fun.

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First, I haven’t been posting because I’m saving the time for stitching. I’m not even keeping up with everyone else’s blogs. I’m not even reading the newspaper. I’m using all my “active” time for stitching. Now to the point of this post.

In the solid part of each paisley, I have used five different shades of the color. The dominant color is the thread used for the five whipped spider webs. The chain stitch curved lines are worked in silk threads. Then the rest of the shape is filled in with mostly French knots in three different threads.

Now, you  may remember my anguish at not being able to match the perfect gray thread I wanted to use. This was all I had; it was unidentified; and I was unable to match it.

I bought lots of gray threads–cottons, silks, rayons, floss, and pearl. None was right, and I was afraid I would not have enough of the “perfect gray.” What if I got to the last bit of stitching and ran out?

Well, that hasn’t happened, thank goodness. I have enough of that thread to finish the last padded petals. Here are the five gray threads I’ve used.

And here’s how the gray paisley looks.

And from a distance:

The gray paisley looks just fine and the petals are stitched in “the perfect gray,” the gray thread I started with. (The gold paisley upper right really isn’t misshapen. It’s just distorted by something lying underneath the fabric on my table.)

Here’s the question. I did not create this design. I did not choose the color scheme; I just tried to match the existing colors. I’m using a limited variety of stitches and most of the stitching is done using ordinary #5 cotton pearl. I’m repeating the same stitching over and over again. So why am I having so much fun?

Can anyone explain this to  me?

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Although I’ve been making steady progress on my jacket embellishments, I haven’t posted them because each paisley is stitched like the others. I’ve never done such repetitious stitching, and I’m enjoying it. But there has been a bit of learning along the way.

To be able to stitch all the sections near edges, I’ve had to add some old sheeting fabric to allow for hooping.

And then I had to trim the sheet fabric so that I wouldn’t stitch into it, like this:

Here, as well:

After I had stitched all the paisleys on the back section, I noticed that the curving chain-stitched line stood out visibly in the red paisley, as I wanted it to. This chain stitching was done with one of the silk threads I had dyed.

But the gold chain stitching disappeared into the surrounding stitching. So I stitched over it with a single strand of bright gold silk floss–very fine. Now it can be seen.

I’ve stitched over the central large red shape four times, twice on a practice cloth, because the first attempt was not acceptable. This is stitched in Portuguese knotted stem stitch. Not good enough.

I tried practicing Portuguese knotted stem stitch on a fragment I’ve been using as a practice cloth. Still not good enough. So, after reviewing some stitch books, I tried the heavy chain stitch. Okay.

That was it. Here it is on the back section for the jacket.

Okay!

Instead of cutting the thread of the offending Portuguese knotted stem stitch, with a tapestry needle, I removed each knotted stitch–twenty minutes. See what I mean about fussing and fiddling? And now I have to do the same thing with the stitching done on the two front sections.

So there you have it–lots of fiddling and fussing to get it right. And I’m actually having fun!

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I’ve been making steady, though slow, progress on the embellishing of my jacket. There have been more experiments on practice cloths, and the arrival of the final (yes!) order of threads. No matter what, I am going to finish with the materials I have on hand. Here is a shot of the first finished section, ready to be attached to the jacket.

That shot was taken by flash. This one was taken in daylight on my windowsill.

I hope that between the two of them, by clicking on the images twice, you can see the beads and various stitches. The pink and gray petals, or whatever they are, were first padded with #5 cotton pearl long stitches, then covered with detached buttonhole, also in #5 cotton pearl.

I’ve made considerable progress on other sections, too. But now I’m in real conflict about how I spend my time.

Since taking The Teaching Company course in particle physics, I’ve read four physics books and I have four more beside my recliner right now, plus another one on modern science in general. And, I want to go through The Teaching Company course on string theory. The more I’ve learned, the more I want to learn, and the more I feel compelled to explain why it matters to me, which means writing an essay to figure it out.

The books, except one, are on loan from the library via Inter-Library Loan, thus I have a time limitation on them. They can’t be renewed. I suppose if necessary, I can buy the books. We’ll see.  Meanwhile, I am torn every day between wanting to be stitching on my jacket, eager to see how it’s going to look finished, and wanting to study physics and write about its significance for me personally.

What’s more, on my desk are four books on Elizabethan embroidery as reference for my next project!

Do you also feel conflicted about how you spend your discretionary time? Do you feel, as I do, that there are always more things I want to make and to learn than I can possibly ever have the time for?

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