Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stitchy Adventures in Couching!

EDIT: I had to repost this several times, trying to get the text to align properly. I'm very sorry if you recieved multiple notifications for this post!

A little while ago, I mentioned that I did a test project for the couching work that I need to do on my Twilight Angel. There are several reasons that I decided to do a test piece, the most important being that I wanted to try my hand at the technique.

Couching, put simply, is a method used to stitch down threads or ribbons or decorative braids (the "laid thread") with tiny tacking stitches (the "tacking thread") that may be the same colour as the material, so as to virtually disappear, or may contrast strongly with the laid material for decorative effect.

This is actually the first test piece I've ever done. Usually, I just forge ahead and see how it goes! But for trying out the look of a technique, and for getting experience in that technique,  it seems only logical to try some stitches out on another piece of cloth first. I really like the idea of doing a full test piece, using an actual pattern, because you then end up with a whole new work completed at the end of your trial process! I really enjoyed this project, and will definitely be doing testers again!

Now, couching can be used for various applications, and the way that you use it determines the result that you get, as does the materials you use. The couching in my Twilight Angel is done for the purpose of outlining her sash and the bottom band of her skirt; it is supposed to flow with the tiny curves and twists, and will add a 'ribbony' effect when finished. As this is a type of backstitch, the threads are much finer than the large braids or ribbons typically used for couching. The pattern calls for 1 strand of yellow and 2 strands of gold metallic to form the "laid thread" and for 1  strand of gold metallic to be used as the "tacking thread".

The gold metallic is not what we stitchers typically think of as metallic (e.g. the DMC Light Effects range). The Twilight Angel kit came with very fine thread that, after a lot of digging in my mother's thread stash, I was able to identify as machine embroidery thread. It is very fine, with a segmented look, and actually consists of layers of gold metallic material wound around a very fine white nylon core. It is quite strong, but can break (which I how I found out about the core, lol).

The gold that came with the kit was a bit greenish, and clashed horribly with the truer yellow gold in the star sequin embellishments and charms. So I substituted some gold machine embroidery thread that my Mother thankfully had (and kindly lent me), and used that same thread for this sample project, that I call Couched Rose, for reasons that will become obvious. Here is a picture of the threads that I used:

For this project, I used a 100% cotton fabric in a light pink, as I have been informed by my Stitchy Guru Mother that real cotton is much better for embroidery than the synthetic poly-cotton blend (of polyester and cotton). This fabric, as you can see from the photo, is rather thin (you can see the floral cushion pattern below it).

There are only two threads used: the gold metallic machine embroidery thread (Signature Metallic/Metallique, 42% Nylon, 58% Metallic, in shade 906 - colour number 36771 92906, brand Art. 92) and a thicker thread, burgundy upholstery thread (Guterman tapestry thread, 100% Polyester, in shade 450 - colour number 077780008694). Both are fairly strong threads, with the nylon and the polyester, and this is important since you will constantly need to pull the threads taught while stitching. I used a 6" inch hoop to hold my fabric tight.

For my pattern, I used a vintage couching pattern found free online at this blog. The pattern sheet includes several different designs in black, overlaying designs for stems and leaves in a light ink. I chose the rose for this project, but I am very taken with the swirly butterfly, and will be trying to couch him in the near future :)

To get my rose design on my fabric for stitching, I used an iron-on transfer method using transfer pencils. I tried two different brands, using artist's tracing paper (a little thicker than regular tissue tracing paper). First, I tried a newer pencil, EZ brand:

The lines were good, but were a bit thick. I found that this pencil lead quickly dulled and became rounded, and this was responsible for the thicker lines. It turned out a light magenta colour. Tracing depends very much on a steady hand, and I had a bit of trouble with that, especially at first. To trace, I placed the tracing paper - smooth side facing up (as it is in the artist's pad) - over the computer-printout of the couch designs, and then used the pencil to go over the design. It is helpful to keep an even and firm pressure that is not too hard, so as not to go through the paper.

Secondly, I tried a very old set of never-opened transfer pencils that my Mother had in her sewing stash. I was almost loathe to open them they're that antique :) These pencils are from the Aunt Martha's company, which is noted for their iron-on transfer pattern sheets (for household linens, clothing, pillowcases, etc.).

These pencils had much harder leads, that keep a sharp point easily, and that traced a much thinner line. This is essential since the threads to be laid are so fine. This is the final transfer that I used; the snippet taken out of the corner was a little test swatch that had a few pencil scribblings. Before I ironed the design to the fabric, I ironed the test swatch first to see that it would transfer. As this was my first time using iron-on transfer pencils for anything, I ironed test swatches from both pencil brands (as I feared the older pencils would not transfer); both turned out equally clear, with the Aunt Martha's pencils leaving slightly darker lines.

Here is a slideshow showing my progress from the design transfer to the completion of the stitching. After the slideshow, I'm going to share a few tricks I learned:

This was the first project in which I tried to take a photo during every major stage of progression, and I ended up with a ton of photos (almost 100!). Unfortunately, I was also trying to limit myself to one or two takes of each, and that resulted in some blurry pictures, and I apologize for that. In future, I'll have to try and remind myself to slow down and take the time to get multiple shots of each point.

When I first started my "laid thread" (1 strand gold, 1 strand burgundy, 1 strand gold), I brought in through to the back knowing that I would need to darn the tail in. However, with the fabric so thin and with no stitches to darn it back into, I needed something to hold the tails tight until I was ready to darn them. I tried making a few tacking stitches to hold the threads down, but they moved around.

I had done a bit of online research on couching beforehand, but I hadn't found any advice for this particular situation. So I borrowed a little trick from my beading experience, and used a "stopper bead" to hold the tails. Stopper beads are usually beads with a large hole, threaded onto the end of your stringing material to keep smaller beads (usually seed beads) from falling off before you fasten the clasps on. In this case, I used a burgundy wooden bead, a 4mm, that I had lying around from another project, and looped the tails of the "laid thread" through the bead hole twice, and then tying a loose overhand knot to keep them in place.

(You can see that I inadvertantly tangled my "tacking thread" on the back; I cut the strands and darned the seperately, so that error no long shows on the finished piece!)

This ensured that when I needed to pull on the "laid thread" strands that they were tight against the fabric. When the time came to start another section, I unpicked the knot, unlooped the strands from the beads, and then darned them carefully into the stitches on the back left from the "tacking thread". And I repeated the same process when starting the inner petal, that was not close to any of the other lines and that had to be darned into its own stitches. To keep the "tacking thread" tight, I looped it twice around the stopper bead, but did not knot it (as the 1 strand of gold was too fine); the first few tacking stitches kept the thread tight, and having it looped with the "laid thread" strands kept the tail out of my way until I was ready to darn it in.

By far, the most important thing I learned is that you need to keep your tension tight while couching. The hoop was a good choice, because you frequently need to turn the work in order to place the tacking stitches accurately and to follow the lines.

This is how I learned to keep the multiple strands of my "laid thread" together:

I started out by laying out the strands of my "laid threads" in order (left gold, center burgundy, and right gold), in the direction I was stitching. At this point, I just gently positioned them over the rim of the hoop (note: I found it very helpful to have a small pillow in my lap while working this project so I could rest the hoop on it while adjusting my threads). Next, I placed my finger over the strands and pulled them taut. Finally, I moved my finger forward against the hoop, keeping pressure on the strands, until they aligned closely together. It is essential, when working with multiple strands, that they lie even on the work and that they do not tangle underneath your tacking stitches.

While I was making tacking stitches with my "tacking thread", I kept the pressure on the strands. Between sections, I stopped holding the strands, as I found it was important to take occasional breaks to prevent cramping in my hand from keeping the "laid thread" in postion. Although I do not think you will need to keep as much pressure when using only a single strand for your "laid thread", you will need to keep that thread tight in much the same way.

Also, by instinct, I found it very helpful to add several extra tacking stitches wherever the design lines joined, as you can see in this extreme close-up:

I also did this when the "laid thread" strands came up through the fabric, at the start of a line, and went back into the fabric, at the end of a line, as you can see here:

This technique is also necessary when working closely angled curves; if you do not cluster the tacking stitches, you really can't get the point of curve in correctly:

As you can see from these extreme larger-than-life close-ups, it is possible to see the pink of the iron-on transfer line shadowing the threads every now and then, even though I took care to cover as much of the line as I possibly could. This doesn't really show up when viewing the piece at regular size, but it is something to be aware of if you try any surface embroidery pattern that uses an iron-on transfer method. Unlike other techniques, iron-on pencils leave a permanent line, which is usually covered up by your stitching. But since the threads used in this project are so fine, there is a bit of occassional 'bleed through'.

If I were to do this project again, I would possibly choose a thicker fabric. You can see some of the thicker lines resulting from the darning when the work is held up to the sunlight. However, I do intend to back the fabric when I decide what I would like to finish the work into, and so this will not be much of an issue. I am really pleased with the goldwork effect; in full light, the gold thread, although a simple synthetic machine embroidery brand, shines like molten liquid gold, and it is much more beautiful than I had ever thought it would be while working the project.

I do intend to try more couching in the future, and now feel that I can tackle the couching details on my Twilight Angel with confidence, which was the whole purpose of the project after all! But besides being a test sample, I have inadvertantly made a stitchery work in its own right and both techniques - couching and test works - are highly recommended :)

So, what so you think? Does a couching project like this appeal to you?

Honestly, I had no idea that couching existed as a stand-alone specific embroidery art; I thought it was just a stitching technique used for limited elements in different embroidery styles, like crewel work. It is a very simple stitch, but lends itself to making beautiful curves, and is wonderful for outlining any type of stitched work!

I really enjoyed this stitchy adventure, and am going to force myself to embark on more of them in the near future! There are so many stitchy techniques that I've wanted to try, and I've decided that now is the time to try them out :) Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some Aggregator Site Examples

I decided to take some screen shots of the types of copyright violation that I talked about in my last post, to make things a little clearer. I'm going to address three of the most common aggregator blog situations, ranging from not-so-bad to absolutely horrifying.

All of these images are real screen captures, taken tonight, cropped and in some situations sewn together in Microsoft Paint so that the example is legible. I have not reprinted the web addresses, as I am sure that at least some of these sites try to embed viruses. They are caught by my Anti-Virus, but may not be by yours. This is why I have chosen to use images rather than linking directly to the sites. Click on the picture to get a larger copy!

Aggregator #1: Blog Search Results Embedded in another Page

This is so common that it's getting out of hand. Google search results can be embedded in a page for reference, for selling, for information gathering...the possibilities are endless. And legal, if you submit your site to Google's search ending (under your Blog Settings). I did. You pretty much have to, if you want people to be able to find your site.

However, things like this can happen, from one of the most ubiquitous culprits, the 'People Finder' type website. This entry is for cross-stitch designer Jennifer Aikman(-Smith), and references this post of mine (my blog name is on it, and there is a working link: 

Aggregator #2: A Post Stolen and Badly Translated By A Web-Bot

I have to post this in its entirety, because it is rather bemusing and sort of accidentally hilarious. I've pasted the three screenshots together to get the full text, which refers to this post and one of its comments (my blog name is on it, but no link, no context):

I don't think you can actually read it, so here's a cut-and-paste, word for word:

From Bye2Regret: Small Box Hinges (there is no paragraphing):

Many years ago, when the deviser (Jennifer Aikman-Smith) released these squares as unfettered designs, I stitched the Dragon and the Unicorn.  I from the beginning planned to do a triptych, with the Ch in the midst, but I never got around to it. I'm not inevitable if all of The Runekeeper's pieces were released as freebies, but I suppose they were, as I reward the Sword and the Wizard; I'm conscience-stricken I don't have the extract tryst, as I do not have the patterns here with me. Now, these are as they were, aright out of their receptive bag, where they've lain in my stitching can for well nigh a decade now. They necessity to be cleaned, blocked and ironed before any framing takes stead, so this is scarcely a legendary merrymaking. But I soup they would be engaging examples of the ways that you can clarify designs differently. I wanted both to be animated, and I wanted them to organize, as they were intended to be fa each other from across the palace in the center. I omitted the stars from the Unicorn and added the butterflies as opposed to (so that there would be some constituent to attract back on the Dragon's smoke). I also omitted the moon behind her horn, as I wanted the prominence to be on the gold of the horn and the gold on the claws of the Dragon. The blackwork borders were my prevarication as well, although I can't in all respects memorialize where they came from. I do summon underhanded the waggish at the top of each occupation, as I wanted something gem-like in the midriff, but I dream up the sides were from another figure. It wasn't until I took them out to photograph them that I realized I had goofed! The anxious-eyed among you may note that I forgot to add the bottom mark to the center of the bottom Unicorn verge upon. Oops! Something to be remedied at a later tryst. Thankfully, the face is famaliar, as I tolerant of my go-to backstitch shadow for these - DMC 3371. Referred to as "Coloured Brown" in the DMC Insigne Charts, this tincture is an off-the-wall tint that is cryptic and fecund yet not as inharmonious as resentful is against Caucasoid. I've heard it compared to bittersweet chocolate, which is about quickly, but it at the end of the day looks a bit other depending upon the viewing standpoint. So, here they are! I may get around to doing the Manor-house one day, if I find my stitching box with my patterns in it, or I may moral put up the two of them in a butterfly organization (one of the ones with two frames connected by hinges; I grasp there's a specific name, but that's what I've always called them). At the very least, I'd like to untainted them up a brief bit lief :) As for my Blackwork Bookmark, I've put it on clasp for the significance. I intended to stitch it together by darbies, but my Mama suggested that stitching it on the sewing shape will confer it more stamina and longevity. Since I'm hoping it won't give up me anytime presently, I've unquestioned to halt until she has some antiquated at large to show me how to do it. You see, the sewing appliance and I have a Daedalian relationship. While a celebrated associate of my Nourish, I am heedful of it and it is on the qui vive of me in takings. And so we mostly take trouble to defer out of each other's way. I am far downwards dubious that this has any unlooked-for of working out well, but we'll see. I expect that you're right about the sewing detail. Mom thinks I'm witless, but I'm powerful you, her vehicle has a consider castigate of it's own. You be sure how some 'family' pets only absolutely suffice for to one being? Well, Mom's sewing machine is her fastidious sidekick, and doesn't much delight in working with someone else. I avoid, if it were a cat, it would alienate its back on me and stamp away every era I chanced to happen in the offing it. The happening that it can't reasonable up and run away does not fix up its humour much methinks. Thanks for the promoting though. Perhaps it and I will have to exertion our differences out ;) Or silence each other troublesome!

This little gem is actually the first rip-off I found, and this sentence...

You see, the sewing appliance and I have a Daedalian relationship.

...made me laugh my ass off. You see, my very slim background in Classics let me know that this is a psychological term that originated with the Daedalus of Ancient Greek Myth, the architect who was commissioned to build the Labyrinth to contain the minotaur Minos, and when he was trapped in the Labyrinth (i.e. the problem of his own making) with his son Icarus, fashioned wax wings for them both so they could fly away. And we all know how *that* turned out *rolls eyes*.

The term "Daedalian" has since become an adjective meaning, from
Yes, indeedy, my Mother's sewing machine and I do have a complicated relationship. Some would even say byzantine. And the fact that some little piece of badly written web-bot code managed to pick up on that amuses me to no end. It must have been programmed by a philosopher, methinks *grin*. When I first came across it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I'm going with laugh, since DMC 3371 is described as a "cryptic and fecund" tint, LOL.

Aggregator #3: Blantant, Shamless Post Stealing For Fun And Profit

This is the one that really, really, really annoys me. It would possibly make me angry, but very few things truly make me angry (thankfully), and so I will settle for a state of severe snit whereby I would happily strangle whomever thought that this was okay to do.

Here are the three pages, FULL OF MY POSTS:

As you can see, my post titles and text have been taken and reposted without my permission or knowledge on a foreign site whose primary purpose appears to be selling things like low-discount flat-screen televisions. All that gobbly gook in the right sidebar are search terms for electronics, furniture, etc. Why such a site would take my content, I have no idea; I highly doubt that anything I've written here will help sell dubious merchandise to stupid people (and I'm sorry, but anyone who buys anything from a site that sketchy deserves whatever horrors that are visited upon them).

Curiously, some posts contain my blog title (Eglantine Stitchery). Others do not. There are no links, no context; some posts have been taken in full, others in parts. You can click on the title and the get the full article in most cases.

Thankfully, none of these aggregators has reposted my photos. But from the reading I've been doing about the coming genesis of photo-aggregation sites, it will only be a matter of time. Some sites are stealing photos already. All that needs to happen is for some sneaky little hacker to build a web-bot code that is able to steal both text and image, and all blog contents will be fully replicable. Without, of course, context. Or coherence, as Aggregator #2 so unintentionally wittily proved.

I think it's kind of obvious why I would have a problem with all this. There are some people that argue that aggregation of content is the future of the Internet - that a site that can pull information from multiple sources and post it at one page (like Aggregator #1 did with all references to Jennifer Aikman-Smith) will save time and be more efficient for computer users seeking to find information.

But this sort of stealing of bits and pieces is akin to taking the body and not the heart; without context, most of this data is absolutely meaningless, and it becomes merely junk that clogs up the Information Highway with dead ends and dead leads. It is frustrating for someone who is trying to find information. And it's very frustrating for those of us bloggers who have our content stripped of meaning and repackaged as 'junk information', all in the name of selling someone a likely non-existent flat-screen tv, "small box hinges" or the latest scam of the week. Not to mention launching viruses that could destroy your computer.

If this is the future, it's frightening. As bloggers, all we can do is try to protect each other - if you come across content from a source you recognize and think it may be stolen, please contact the blogger. You may be wrong, but you may be right. And while there is really no safe way to communicate with the mysterious sleazy entities who run such sites (do not e-mail them - all it gives them is your personal information, your name and e-mail, and a confirmed site to target), at least if we know that they're out there, and where they are, we can take steps to avoid visiting and to let others know that we do not condone or appreciate such behaviour. Some of these sites - like Aggregator #2 - look like any generic blog on the block. And that's all the more reason to warn people that there are unscrupulous villains out there stealing your content and breaking your heart.

I sincerely hope that this information will help raise awareness of this growing problem, and will help you know what to look for in the future. If you know someone that might benefit from this post, please pass the link on, or copy the text, or send this information around however you need to. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and it is truly better to be safe than sorry :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some Spiffying Up :)

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm doing a little bit of moving things around again, trying to make the blog function a bit better.

Most obviously, I've now divided my blog list into two sections - the Friends I follow regularly, and converse with in the comments and/or off-site, and the blogs that I read but don't really interact with under Blogs. Hopefully, as time goes on, I'll be able to add more entries to the Friends list, but I am thankful and honestly surprised that I have met so many wonderful stitchy people in such a short time, and wanted to highlight those special ladies ;)

On a less happy note, I've had to add a stern Copyright warning down at the bottom of my sidebar. Initially, I was going to put it further up, but I didn't want such unpleasantness to be a main focus. Please note that this warning is not for fellow stitching bloggers, and if anyone is interested in linking to content or reprinting articles, I'm open to all requests (just e-mail me!).

My problem lies in the sickening discovery that some of posts have been lifted, title and text - without my name or my website - and reprinted on a few so-called 'aggregator' blogs, which are little more than spam-bots that roam the Internet and collects bits of text to steal and post. These bits of texts, often from far-flung and far-different sites, are then posted on the 'aggregator' site to attract search traffic. The goal of most of these sites is to sell junk, or to spread viruses, or to attract high traffic and therefore move up in search engine rankings.

Eglantine Stitchery does not endorse any of these third party sites or the products, information and services they purport to sell, and I wanted to put up some text indicating that I do not consent to having my content aggregated. The text that is pulled is taken out of context, often 'translated' into broken English, assembled out of context (parts of sentences or paragraphs without the rest of the text), and not credited to the original source.

And I am upset that most of these sites can be harmful, selling dubious goods and sometimes spamming visitors or giving visitors viruses. So please be careful when visiting any third-party site, and know that Eglantine Stitchery is in no way associated with such sites, and unfortunately cannot protect you from harm that may occur to your computer or yourself.

Additionally, if you should come across any of my content on such sites accidentally (some look and function like legitimate blogs these days), please let me know by sending me an e-mail or leaving a comment. Fortunately, the search algorithms change fairly frequently, so the stolen content - especially since ES deals with rather commercially insignificant stitchy things - turns over fairly frequently. Still, it is very unsettling, and I urge all stitchy bloggers to keep an eye out for stolen content by searching their blog title or post titles occasionally.

Back to happier news! I have finally figured out how to make and post those neat little project progress bars under my Work in Progress (WIP) and Finish In Progress (FIP) projects! Thanks to Meari's Musings' How-To info on Progress Bars, I discovered the Yarn Tomato Percent Bar Maker which is a wonderful site!

For my FIP progress, I downloaded the Ready-Made set in Green, and had no trouble unzipping the files. For my WIP progress, though, I wanted something to echo the yellow roses in my banners, so I made my own set. It was very easy, and only took a few minutes. There are literally hundreds of colours available, so you can make custom colour matches to go with your blog's background and graphics!

Furthermore, if you're a Blogger blogger who uses Picasa Web Albums like I do, uploading is much easier than the instructions given for the third-party storage site Photobucket. Go to your sidebar, select Add Widget and then choose the Photo Widget. Browse to the bar you want to use (say, the 25%). Upload (and this is quick since the files are small). Then move your new Widget Percentage Bar in your sidebar widget list until it is beneath your WIP or FIP. Repeat as many times as you need! How neat is that, hey?

As you move further along, just go to your Progress Bar Widget, select Edit, remove the current image and Upload the new progress image (say 50%), all in the same window. This time you don't need to move the widget - unless you wish to - as placement stays the same! I think this little tool is very neat, and it's something I look forward to using, even though my estimates aren't all that scientific *rolls eyes*. For example, you may notice that my Monarch Stitching Tools are ar 25%; that's because I'm thinking roughly of four different tools, and have finished only one to date (the Scissors Fob). So it's not going to be super-precise (at least where I'm concerned, lol) but it's nice to have a general idea ;)

I will be trying to update the Free Patterns section soon, and will be making a few other minor changes. I'll be posting up a real stitchy update ASAP.

Until then, Happy Stitching!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

WIP: Twilight Angel - Backstitching!

With my forced blogging sabbatical, you'd think that I'd have lots of lovely projects finished off to show you. But that is not the case, as you'll soon see. I hit some minor road blocks with my Twilight Angel, which I'll explain as we go along :)

When we last saw her, all her whole and half cross-stitches were finished:

Here's another picture of the before-backstitching that is a bit clearer:

And here she is with her features (face and hands), her overskirt, the left edge of her underskirt, her blouse, her hair and her wings outlined:

You may have noticed the beaded headband. Here's a closer look:

The design calls for a variety of cross-stitches, French knots (my Most Afeared Foe), seedbeads and a star sequin in the middle. I decided to simplify her headband, since the space is quite small, and I wanted it to actually look like something *in* her hair instead of all these things piled *on* her hair, if you know what I mean *rolls eyes*.

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out :)

For the seedbeads, I used two Mill Hill colours I had that serendipitously matched the medium shades in her overskirt (the blue) and underskirt (the yellow). I intend to use these in place of the blue and yellow French knots elsewhere. The gold beads are Mill Hill Antique Petits, which is why they are smaller. I stitched in the blue and yellow first, and I decided that the smaller spaces were perfect for the Petits.

Previously, I had intended to add the pearly white beads (like those included with the kit, but substituting my own Mill Hills, to keep the finishes the same), but I think that they would have pushed the others out of alignment and ruined the 'headband' look.

And this is my Twilight Angel with her underskirt fully backstitched:

This section was a bit nerve wracking. Although the leading edge of her underskirt was stitched in dark grey, the pattern called for light grey to be used for the folds of her underskirt. But I had a problem - I had about two inches of the light grey left!

I'm not quite sure how I managed that. I'm generally careful with my threads, and have been especially so with this kit. One of the main reasons I love Dimensions - aside from their beautiful designs - is their wonderful customer service. I knew I could go on the website and order more of the colour I needed.

But I can never resist a challenge :)

After carefully studying the package picture, I came to the conclusion that the light grey blended in a bit too well with the darker yellows of her underskirt, and on a much thought about whim, I decided to go ahead with the dark grey. And I'm pleased with the result. As her blouse and sleeves were outlined in dark grey, I think adding that colour to the folds of her underskirt sort of connects the top and bottom.

So this is where my Twilight Angel stands at the moment. All of the regular backstitching has been done; there is some two-colour backstitching on the sash of her underskirt that I have finished but have yet to take pictures of (but will soon!). Being so close to the embellishment stage is tantalizing, but it is here I hit the wall.

You see, somehow in all my careful reading of the project instructions, I had missed the part that stated that the outlining on the Angel's ribbon sash and underskirt sash was actually couching (!). While familiar with the concept, I have never attempted couching so fine, or couched threads for an outline before, and was (and still remain!) very nervous about possibly ruining all the work I had put in so far.

To prepare myself, I started a specific couching project, with similar threads, so that I could test out my abilities (or lack thereof, let's be honest *wink*) and get a feel for it. That project is now finished, and I will be doing an in-depth post about it soon, but I'm still on the fence when it comes to couching on my Angel. I could substitute backstitching. But I'm afraid that if I do so, the sashes won't look as ribbon-like.

Decisions, decisions.

In the immortal logic of one of my all-time favourite cartoons, I am choosing not to make a choice for the time being :) And therefore, I can feel like I'm doing something by not doing anything at all! Ain't life grand?!  Whatever and whenever I make up my mind, I'll be posting up information about all my substitutions (including the colour numbers and types of Mill Hill beads) when I finalize them.

Until then, I wish you very Happy Stitching and a wonderful weekend!

Thankfully, Service is Finally Restored!

Well, long time, no see, huh?

Thanks to all of your stitchy best wishes, Eglantine Stitchery is (hopefully) now back to business as usual! I've got a lot of stitchy news to catch up on, and am greatly looking forward to ending my forced stitchy blog withdrawal! I've really missed reading about all your lovely projects and seeing your latest creations!

I'm so sorry for the unexpected downtime, but I'm excited to be back blogging!

And I just want to say that I really appreciate all of your support!