Stitching Gives Me Wings
There is something extraordinary about stitching in a group. Whether just a gathering, a studio time appointment, or in this case a class where 8 stitchers gathered in the Texas Hillcountry to learn something new, there is an energy in the room that can best be described as electric. A variety of ages and backgrounds as well as stitching ability we had this piece in common (Flying Jewel by Kimberly Smith) and the courage to learn something new.
The first thing I realized at the class was I should have done more prep stitching. I had a 2-year head start, but I had concentrated on getting the big pink flowers done, plus the prep stitching on the wings (ones on the canvas). While this was useful during class, I should have spent some time on the bottom border. There was more involved in that row of little dragonflies than I anticipated. I had to come to terms that I would not finish during the weekend. Isn’t there always more to do than expected? Why does it take so much longer than I think it will?
Up until the final lesson, I was very comfortable with all the stitching in Flying Jewel. There were new stitches involved to be sure, but they were all on the canvas in the 2D plane. This last lesson would break the 3D plane in several ways and would add another medium for stitching…copper!
But before I could concentrate on the copper wings, I had to obsess over the beads for the eyes. The beads in my kit were fine but didn’t fill up the canvas as much as I liked. I knew there had to be a bead out there to fit properly. I went to a big box store but they were way too big. I found a bead store in Austin that really helped find the perfect one (next time I will take the piece with me it would have been much faster). I couldn’t wait to get home and give this one a try. Success was splendid as the bead fit and I got it in the right place on the first try. Of course I had tried the others before, but the 5th time is the charm! Now it was time to tackle the wings…
Gathering up some courage I decided to dive in! Remember I started this class as a Cyber adventure so I had to print out the wing page. I cut out and lined up the paper wings to make sure they fit properly over the canvas. Once they did I used the fine sharpie to draw on the copper mesh as instructed during class. Having seen this in person really helped! Working with the copper was a very different experience. The mesh is sharp and with it being winter and all my dry hands kept catching on the mesh. Although it could just be the nature of the mesh. The effect of the Kreinik (sparkly thread) on the edge and veins of the mesh is spectacular and is totally worth all the trouble of all that couching. [Couching is a simple stitch used to attach thread to a surface.]
With all four wings complete it was time to attach beads to the wings and then wings to the canvas. Another deep breath and I dove right in.
Turns out I didn’t need that deep breath after all. The beads were quite easy to attach once you get them lined up correctly. Wings went on with the same ease. There was more difficulty getting the curve of the wings the same on both sides. I know they don’t have to be perfect but…who am I kidding, of course, they have to be PERFECT!!
Usually, I’m super excited about finishing a project, especially a large project like this that has taken years to complete. This one was a little bittersweet. The finish is glorious no doubt and it will go down as one of my favorite/best completions. I was way out of my comfort zone several times with new threads, new stitches including random and that whole 3D business. But it had become a habit working on it; the colors were soothing, talking with the designer was fun, and the challenge was worth it. Oh, I will start something new, in fact, I’m already starting to figure out which project is next. But Jewel was one of those very special projects to work on that I hope comes through in the finished piece. Now to see what else I can apply 3D to in my needlework!
Final note: the kid I stitched this for loves it. He think 3D wings are really awesome!