WIP-TAST-ic Wednesday 11

I made some progress on my ribbon embroidery this week!

As you might recall, TAST is on hiatus this week for people to catch up. Sharon announced a small project, to combine a few stitches we’ve learned in a new project. I did not do this per se, but I did decide to jump in with my own design. Say that again? Yes, I sketched this little raccoon a while back from my own imagination (and a few photos of real raccoons), edited it in photoshop, and set to work deciding how to proceed. I can’t wait to share the details with you more when she is all done!

Colored Pencil Techniques 4

This week’s lesson was to draw bananas. Tom had an image of bananas pre-cut for each of us to speed along the class for those who can’t draw quickly (or at all).

Then we set to work, making our bananas. Tom lent a few of us his pencils to take home so we would continue to work on them – below is how far along I was when we left. I doubted I would have time, but time I did have! I still needed to work on blending, and then figuring out how to add some highlights I inadvertently left out. Plus, add the blackened lines and dots to really bring it to life.

So I put some more time into it, and then contemplated how to blend it. The colorless blender wasn’t really working. I tested out the colorless blender marker and didn’t like the results either. The option I craved was baby oil, but alas, my household is empty of such magic. My last option available was the little paper blending stumps. I did not test this approach, though I wish I had. Rather than doing much blending (perhaps because I had coated it all in the colorless blender pencil?), it appeared to have only burnished the whole thing, making it a little reflective. Then, I couldn’t do much about blending in the splotchy colors. That said, though, bananas can be a bit splotchy so I’m not overly bothered. I just know the baby oil woulda been magical! And to correct the missing highlights, Tom had explained I could scrape off the pencil, so I dug out my stiletto and did just that. Yay! Final touchups in dark brown and black for that finished realism look. Ta-da!

Boy and I were out shopping earlier that day and we talked about the show Arrested Development’s “There’s always money in the banana stand” story line. How ironic that later I would go to class to draw bananas! So, that’s this one’s title: There’s always money in the banana stand!

I feel like this is an art form I enjoy, unlike painting or water color painting or photography. The teacher even asked me how I felt about it as he went around to each student. This is my fourth attempt at colored pencil; I can even count the exact hours spent: 7 hours. I’m quite pleased with the result for being such a newb! I can’t imagine if I practiced this regularly where I would end up in a few years.

Now the question I find myself asking, though, is “so what?”? Unlike embroidery, I just don’t see me doing colored pencil to pass my time. I haven’t yet figured out why there is a distinction in my mind, so I am still working on it. In fact, I considered maybe doing a colored pencil image and then adding embroidery to it. Sounds cool, right? Whatever happens, you’ll be the first to know!

TAST: couching stitch

You’ve read about my idea for this here, right? Ok! See all completed TAST posts here.

So as I mentioned, I stuck with basic couching stitches – I did not couch using anything fancier than a straight stitch or two. Front and back:

In this top portion, I used couching for different variations of fill stitches. The left (dark teal blue and chartreuse) is called a New England Laid Work according to Tenar. The next block is Jacobian (using tiny cross-stitches) but rather than doing a traditional grid, I was curious what happened if I added perspective. It’s neat! The middle block came from Mary and is called Battlement Couching. I find it to be pretty trippy on the eyes. The next is a grid with single long slashes that I reversed with each row just to see what that affect would be. The wider slash is also something I learned from my Scandinavian Stitch Craft book. The chunk of purple is courtesy of Mary, too, and is called Bokhara stitch. It is hard to see in my poor photographic work, but it has two diagonal lines running up it. Above that, in red, is the Roumanian stitch (also courtesy of Mary!)

This section includes basic lines. The top is really simple, just an experiment with different couching lengths. The next one is Puffy Couching, courtesy of Margie Bauer’s The Embroiderer’s Handbook that I often use for this project. Then, simple tacking down of some chunky ricrac. (The red flower belongs to the motif, described below.)

I am not in love with this motif, but it illustrates the whimsy one can do with a couching stitch alone. I used a string of plastic pearls to make a snail shell, then had to add a coil of yarn to make it more shell-like than a blob of baubles. I couched lighter yarn to make the snail body, then cheated with some straight stitches and colonial knots. The flower is a piece from a fancy trim, tacked down on a stalk made with ribbon. And the grass is some petite ricrac I inherited.

And of course the title. Only after drafting this post did I realize that the little bit of green from the stem needed to be cut off still. How’s that for laziness? Just imagine it – you’ll see these pennants in all their full glory when I stitch them up at the end of the year to make the bunting:)

Next week is a break for TAST, but Sharon also mentioned a special project for those of us ready. I haven’t decided what I might do – I’d like to get back to that ribbon embroidery I began, or the super cool foundation piecing project at some point. Or try any of my other ideas roaming around in my head. So many options and too little time!