After ‘one of those weeks’, I’ve spent the last couple of weekends working on my RSN stumpwork piece, and have got it all complete! One less thing to hang around on the ‘WIP’ list!

The first step was to redo the needlelace for the thimble. As I mentioned before, I decided that due to me getting a little lost with this, I had set up a larger version to practice on. I went big scale all round with this! In size terms it was about twice as large as the original one. Thread wise I chose some perle 5 cotton to use. This appears to have been a sensible decision, as I could properly see the loops in each buttonhole stitch. Having said that, I still made some mistakes, but I actually understood what was going on!

So, I moved back to the actual size, and made a much better go at it. Close to the top of the work you can see I was obviously not concentrating well as I randomly moved from double Brussels to triple Brussels stitch! All in all I was happy enough with the result. Definitely something to keep practising and improving, but I can see already an improvement. I do want to keep coming back to it though so I don’t forget what I’ve learnt.

Attaching this to the felt padding was fiddly, but easy enough. I wasn’t sure if I should take all the threads to the back before or after tacking it into place, but quickly discovered the easiest way is to attach it first! So many threads to pull through and finish off.

completed thimble

Next up was to stem stitch in the writing. The biggest challenge I have with stem stitch is to keep the stitch lengths the same. I think this attempt was one of my better ones and I really enjoyed the meditative rhythm of stitching it!

stem stitch wording.jpg

Making the ‘thread’ in trailing stitch was more difficult than I had envisioned it being! The actual process was quite straight forward, it was getting it nice and even that was the challenge! I found it easiest to couch down the threads a short distance from where my trailing thread was, and then go back and fill in the gaps. Not all my trailing stitches were the same length which made the result messy. After reaching the end of the length, I then went back over some of these areas to tidy it up a bit. This stitch is one I imagine would be effective in monograms. Maybe I can try that one day!

starting the trailing.jpg

We ‘made’ the needle and thread by using the wire wrapping technique in class, and now was the time to attach them! I always get a little nervous at this point, as I don’t want to mess up the location of the hole into the ground fabric for the wires. But it all ended well! And after threading my needle with my thread I had a result I was quite pleased with!

The final piece of the puzzle were the two buttons. As I mentioned before, I also wanted to rework the blue one I attempted in class. The first trick was to find something I could use as a template for a circle! I decided upon a one penny coin, it was close to the original size. I then drew in the location for the eyelets and set to work. I was working on this in the evening which may have been my problem, even with the light and magnifier it was tricky. Better than the first attempt, but still needed more work. So I drew another button, and worked on this in the natural light in the morning, and what a difference! Still a long way to go, but again, I can see improvement already. The trick will be to keep doing them, so I can continue to improve. Another sampler to set up! I was able to get the wire slightly more ’rounded’ this time round, but it’s still not a perfectly round button! It might be a little tricky to get through a buttonhole.

Before moving onto the stage of cutting out the button, I made the second button – this time with four eyelets (you can easily tell which one I made first!). There were no second chances on this button – we were only given a small amount of the printed fabric, so I needed the first time to be lucky! The shaping of the wire also seemed to work out slightly better this time round too which was nice to see.

I then dug out my curved scissors to cut out the buttons. Until the class I never realised that I was using the scissors ‘the wrong way’! I thought you used them with the curve facing in, towards what you are cutting out, but that is not the suggested way – I needed to turn it 180 degrees. And it actually helped! I was a little hasty cutting out my red button (hasty and tired, ready for bed, but determined to get at least one button finished!). So I snipped a couple of the trailing threads. We were told to not worry too much about this during class, as we put a row of blanket stitch over the top. I did find however that I needed to trim a little more off these snipped threads. Something to definitely try and avoid anyway! Thankfully, by stitching the blanket stitch over the top, it neatened the edges up nicely. So something else to try – will this work when you thread paint something like a leaf? I’m very tempted to draw one up quickly and find out!

two finished buttons.jpg

This morning, whilst sitting in the sun, I finished off the blue button, and attached them to the background fabric, and voila, a finish! I’m reasonably happy with the result, and feel it’s probably the wired buttons that need the most amount of work, but all in all a lovely project with exposure to a number of different stump work techniques, which was brilliant!

the finished piece.jpg

Now I just have to decide what to do with it! I’m trying to get out of the habit of just stashing things away. Maybe a pin cushion? Do you have any suggestions?

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