mardi 8 janvier 2019

WIPocalypse 2019 Kickoff post !

WIPocalypse 2019 Kickoff Post ! 

Hi ! I hope you had a very satisfying year 2018 not only in your Embroidery/cross stitch life but in every aspect of it. And I wish your year 2019 will be better <3

Long time no Wipocalypse ! My last post was in April, almost one year ago :) I did not post a lot because school kept me very busy. Now that things may calm down a little bit for the next weeks - courses are over and I am writing my thesis-  i may have more time to stitch and to post on the blog!

For those who are not familiar with the WIPocalypse concept, Melissa from Measi's Musings hosts a SAL where we are encourage to work on our embroidery WIP like it's the end of the world soon, and report our progress at the end of each month. We also have to answer some questions about ourselves, our work etc. You can read about it in the WIPocalypse 2019 Info Page

Topic of the month

January 6 – Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

I've been posting under the name of Merlynn for a while. I needed a name on instagram and it came like this (because friends of mine used to call me Merlyn like the mage when I was younger). Fun fact is I learned at 18 years old in my second year of college that the usual name i had was not my real legal name. It was not the first time i was aware of it, but my mom always told me it was a mistake on my birth certificate. But at 18 years old, governement issued all my cards passport, driving license, etc to my new name. I was confused, but my teachers and friends were more ! Imagine the friend/student you knew for some time has now a new name. Weird !

Someday I may post under my real name.. who knows ? I consider Merlynn is perfect for the moment xD

I am a 28 years old grad student in Population Studies in Montréal (Canada) and I live with my boyfriend from the past 8 years ( before you ask, we mostly marry after children in Canada, not before xD ). I know that he reeeaallly loves me because he bought me a secret stash that fits with our couch to plank all my embroidery things that where blooming everywhere in our apartment since the last 5 years.

(Very Non-Suspicious Furniture)

Tadaa !

(Yes, I post memes everywhere. Be aware)

I also work part time as a statistical assistant in a Governement Agency . I use my (almost non existent) spare time to do embroidery, mostly Cross Stitch and Japanese Embroidery. But as i wrote earlier, now that my courses, exams, etc are done, i should have more time to stitch (but we all know it's a lie).

I discovered embroidery when i was young, in 4th grade, a girl form my class was doing a Snow White embroidery in a homemade hoop, and i asked my mom if i could do the same. My mother, who didn't had any knowledge of embroidery at all - not like that girl who had been taught by her grandmother - bought me a very small cross stitch kit from a magazine. It was a porcelain cup, first of four kits of a China Set. I will always remember how much i was disappointed because i wanted a Snow White embroidery too xD I tried it anyway.... and i loved it! I did around 10 or 12 small projects from the kits i was receiving every month. (Maybe I should post about it !! )

Then, teenage hit me, and i left all the embroidery to concentrate my time on chatting on the phone about boys with my friends.
Fast forward ~ 10 years later, late 2013, my mom sent me a lot of stuff including my old cross stitch staff. And then here i am in 2019, still doing embroidery !! I really love it ... when I have the time !

About my projects... well I have a lot!

First, about cross stitch

# 1  Villa Mirabilia from Nora Corbett Mirabilia

My main goal in 2019 is to work on this.

My last picture from this project is the same as last time

Same picture as last time. The main problem with this piece is - there is always a problem !! - that I wanted to have 32ct linen to work on, but the lady at the small boutique i went only had 28ct in that colour. I got pressured into buying it to not displease the lady, but i realize years later that it wasn't a good idea. I hate to to work on 28, as i never liked 14ct Aida. I don't know if i will ever finish it, but try to do some work there and there on it. I put on some stitches this automn and during the Holidays, but don't have picture right now. Maybe in the next WIPocalypse !!

#2 Charlotte, from Nora Corbett Mirabilia

Oh my sweet baby Charlotte.

I still cry my lost of the pattern. It was my first Mirabilia i bought and I fell in love with the colours immediately.

If I ever find or buy another pattern, I will surely finish her.

#3 ????

Finally, I have a lot off UFO lying in my secret stash. If you read some older posts on my blog, you can see all of them. At first, I don't plan to stitch them but maybe I'll pick one to work on this year, we never know what can happen !!


Second, about Japanese Embroidery

In 2017, i had my first class in Japanese Embroidery, and it was love at first sight (almost). I now have to pieces in progress that i will absolutely work on this year !

#1 Sensu, Phase 2-3 of JEC

In April, I will follow my second class of Japanese Embroidery, with a Teacher from Edmonton that will come to Montreal. I chose to work on Sensu for this piece

© JEC/Dima Santina
Before class, we have to do some homework : filling foundation in the 3 clouds. I worked on this in the last two weeks

Light is bad, sorry !!

This represents 5.25 hours of work, and I haven't filled the half of it !!! Japanese Embroidery is very time consuming !

Since I have to finish everything before April, and realizing the crazy amount of time i will have to put on this, this is my very main goal in the next months. I can't wait to see this piece finished !

My friend Dima is working on the other project from the same phase, Hiogi. You can follow her process here on her blog D1-D2 . She also does a lot of exquisite other types of embroidery !!

#2 Bouquet from the Heart of Japan, Phase 1 of JEC

© JEC/Andrée Domeyne

My first project of Japanese Embroidery ! I had to put it on the side to concentrate on my phase 2.
Here is what it looks like as today

© JEC/Merlynn

I don't know when I will work on it. Maybe when I will get tired of twisting threads !


So that's it for this long post about me and me embroidery projects for WIPocalypse 2019 ! Thanks for visiting, i hope you will enjoy my blog that i try to resurrect from time to time. I hope I can write more  about interesting thing hat I come across and related to embroidery, my challenges but also my small victories.

We will see ! Trying to post every month for WIPocalypse will be a small victory in itself !
You can also follow me on instagram with the @merlynn.stitch

mardi 18 décembre 2018

Sensu - Framing and Fan Outline

Hi everyone, long time no see !
I have been really busy with school lately and didn’t have a lot of time to stitch. I went to a research internship in France for 6 weeks and couldn’t bring my big frame in my luggage lol. I did a little bit of cross stitch (easier to put in a bag) but not that much because i was very busy at the univeristy there.
Because I was in Europe, i missed my monthly meeting of Japanese Embroidery in November, but would never missed the December one .

This meeting was special : we just received our Phase 2-3 kit and we planned to frame it before our April class ! While all the other stitchers chose Hiogi, i went with the Sensu !

Phase 2-3 japanese embroidery center nuido
(Thanks to Dima for the lovely picture ! ) 

(If you ask, no my phase 1 is not finished - far from it - but I need a rest from this frustrating piece xD )

For those who are not familiar with the Japanese Embroidery Center curriculum, instead of doing two separated pieces for phase 2 and 3 , there is the option to combine both in one piece . To be honest,  I don’t like the phase 2 fan so I find this option 2-3 very convenient . Phase 3 projects are appealing me, but it means going throught phase 2 first. I prefer enjoy one of the Phase 3 later when this 2-3 will be done .... In 5 years at my actual pace, i suppose xD .

The kit arrived with all needed threads, cottons to sew in fabric ends, chart box, one pair of lovely komas, and ... no indication on where the colours go ! Should I guess where to put all those 19 colours??  I can’t even tell the difference between the greens xD  Dima emailed the JEC and they gave us the colour chart. We were glad they answered very fast.

It took all day to sew our fabric ends, frame and double-lace our projects. A very long process, but since our piece may sit on the frame for a long time, it's a better idea to have it double laced.

Phase 2-3 JEC japanese embroidery center nuido

Before class, we have some "homework" to do : Outline of the fans, and foundations.

As you can see, the top of the fan et the outline of the small one are not printed on the fabric. Nancy told us it was because the fabric may distort on the framing process. In order to have a beautiful piece with straight line, we have to trace the design on the fabric ourselves after framing.

I used tracing paper to trace the shape of the fan, and some of the cloud lines . As you can see, my blue lines for the cloud don’t match the ones printed on the fabric . This is the distortion. You can’t see it on the picture, but I had to add 1-2 mm to each end of my tracing to martch the fabric .
When satisified with everything , i attached the paper to the fabric , making sure to put my needle in places that will be covered. This fabric looks forgiving if I pierce a hole in the wrong place, but I prefer to develop good habits now.

Phase 2-3 japanese embroidery center nuido

When this holding was done, I made an outline of held thread following the traced blue line.

Phase 2-3 japanese embroidery center nuido

I also had to outline the folded fan on the bottom

Phase 2-3 japanese embroidery center nuido

Eeeek. The lines are not perfectly straight. This thing is hard, and I LOVE perfect things!! 
I suppose i have to do a third line on the bottom but i am not sure, i prefer to have more instruction before doing anything. I only did the outline for the part that will need foundation inside.

And completed, with paper removed  :

Phase 2-3 japanese embroidery center nuido

Sensu is now ready to be stitched !!! 

Now that I’m back, with courses and exams done, I expect to do a little bit of embroidery before going to see my family and leave my frame all alone for another 2 weeks for Christmas . I can’t wait to put some colors on this Sensu !

I may post some pictures of my progress on foundations, and give some news about the phase 1 Bouquet, that is growing quite slowly . I progressed a lot since my last post in May, but left it untouched for the last 2 months. Since i have some thing to do before my april class, i prefer concentrate on this Sensu. I will go back to the Bouquet after ... or maybe if i get tired to do foundation and twisting thread. It becomes boring after some time xD 

jeudi 3 mai 2018

JE May 2018 Report

Hi everyone :)

Even if I shouldn't have had time to stitch in April, because of school... guess what happened !

I did some nice things in the last month, and I had my group meeting. This time, almost everything went well. I got a little bit frustrated on my orange chrysanthemum at some point, but now it's over. No «hours of angry removing» this time. 

This is my progress since my last report and everything I worked on last month. 

  • Paperbag
Foundation is done ! 

Last pic is «light test». It's to make sure there are no holes or empty spaces in our foundation. It's done by putting a lamp under the fabric. I suppose everything is okay for me, but in cas something is incorrect, I still have a part of twisted thread ready.

  • Blue Iris
Flower is done ! 

It was a little bit hard. I think there is too much space in the middle of my right outter petal, but it's okay for me. I will leave it like this. More about the process here -> Blue Iris Progress

  • Orange crysanthemum
Almost done ! 

Bigger petal on foreground has to be done first. Then you work clockwise, and counterclockwise. I feel the right part looks better than the left part. I've got better at this. The biggest petals took me almost 1 hour each to stitch, including self padding. I am a VERY slow stitcher. It take me a lot of time to decide where i will put my next stitches.  

The only thing, i feel my thread is not twisted tight enough for the first petal and those going to the left.  Or maybe i am looking at my piece too close. I suppose time will tell me what is the best. Alors, I am not too satisfied with my smallest petal in the back. Maybe i'll redo it in the end. Maybe not. 

I need to finish with random size layers in the middle and japanese knots all around. At the end. I hate knots.

More about the process on another post :) 

  • Blue chrysanthemum
I had a flat blue thread from my iris that i didn't want to throw away. I decided to stitch to not lose it. I began my blue chrysanthemum, with flat silk and no padding. 

Actually, following the Japanese Embroidery rules, i should do the Purple Chrysanthemum on the left before the blue on the right, because the latter is in background compared to the other. But since this petal is notre overlapped by the purple ones, I decided I wont lose my precious (and expansive!) silk. 
For now I won't work on this flower until the purple is done. 

  • Yellow Valerian

I wasn't ready to go back to pinks. I decided to work on my yellow flower. It's made with flat weft foundation. I have to make sure all my stitches are parallel. 

In this picture, I see the difference between my day 2 of formation, where I had so much difficulty to stitch parallel, and now. Lots of improvement needed, but very satisfied with my progress from the begining.

Nancy made a light test for me. My first stitches on the top have some spaces between them, I will have to add some more libes to cover it. 
I will put lattice on the flower at the end. And some knots to finish. Someday. Did i said i hate knots? 

So now here is what it looks like, Before /After

I am very glad with my progress so far. It is so satisfying to complete elements. 

23 hours in this since february :)

Next thing : 

Working on my valerians this month... and maybe pinks !

I look forward to put the layers on the Paperbag on next group meeting in end of May.

mercredi 2 mai 2018

WIPocalypse - April 2018

Hi everyone.

(Late) WIPocalypse time, hosted by Measi's Musings

This month's WIPocalypse is more GradSchool-ocalypse. End of April is not the end of the world for the common student but the end of the semester (I'm lying, it feels like the end of the world).

Between all my projects I had to submit, my exams, papers, grading exams (Teaching assistant job) and everything related to my Master but not the courses, I found some times there and there to stitch procrastinate. Productive procrastination. Mostly Japanese Embroidery.

So my project from last WIPocalypse was there

And now it looks like this

-Paperbag foundation is done, i will add some decoration on top after my group meeting in May.
-Blue iris is done.
-Chrysanthemum is almost done. It needs knots and layers in the middle. I hate knots so much, so it will wait until the end, when i will have no choice but to do them.
-Worked on Yellow Valerian for my monthly groupe meeting. I also had a blue flat silk thread that I didn't want to throw away, i stitch it on the chrysanthemum I'll be doing later ( I need to do the left one before, because it's on foreground)

My goal for May will be finish the yellow, and maybe pinks if I have time.

But maybe it won't happen :  I have a new full time session with courses and more Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant contract beginning in May. I just received a very big scholarship for my grades, so all this hard work of stiching studying pays off :) ... so i will find time to stitch probably. Surely. I always find time. Even if i should be writing.

So far I have put more than 25 hours in this. Including the removing. I began to track my time in February, so it excludes Class time and everything before February ( But I really had no time to stitch before that, so maybe a 5 or 6 hours max ? It won't make a big difference in the end I suppose). It's really time consuming but also very rewarding. I feel like I do not only put a needle in a fabric endlessly without reason, I am learning more each time the thread plunge into the fabric. 
And I am also very slow stitcher, contemplating my piece everytime I have to take the decision where i should put my stitch. I hate doing mistakes. I really hope i will finish this piece before next year.

For the question of the month :

April 29 – Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO

Eeeeeeee. Well. My longest WIP/UFO/WIP (working on and off) is Elegance of the Orient, from Dimensions Gold.

It was my first very big project, I laid my first stitches on it in May 2014 (Almost 4 years !!).  Why did it became a UFO ? I think it's because of Aida 18 ct fabric. When i first stitched on linen 32 ct, I knew i would never come back to Aida. This why lady was sometimes put on the side while i was working on other projects. Also, after summer 2016, i didn't stitch for more than 1 year due to illness. I gradually came back to embroidery last automn.

Last picture i was there

Maybe I should seek to finish it this year, or 2019. I don't know. I do not feel the urge to work on it. I don't like to set unrealistic goals I deeply know I wont respect. I prefer listening to my innerself about it what I really want to accomplish, and this piece is not on my main to-do list. I have other priorities for the moment. (sorry !) So... maybe someday. 

This girl i've been following for long time had just finished it recently. It looks wonderful, you should have a look at it.

I hope you had a better month of stitching than me, and that I get more time in May. 

Happy stitching :)

lundi 16 avril 2018

JE Blue Iris Flower is done !! :)

Grad students first problem : I should have been writing. Instead, i've been doing some useful/productive/fun procrastination!!

Blue Iris Flower is done !  

The left outter petal was quite a challenge

The tip of this petal was very hard to do. Because of the inclination of the petal, it was not exactly like the center one. It took me 3 or 4 time to do the left part. I am satisfied with this result, since it's the best i could do.  

And some other pictures. It was very sunny this week in Montreal.. but still freezing/snowing/icy wathever. It should be called «second winter», not spring.  

Et voila !!

The right inner petal was very hard too : because it's part under the right outter petal, you have to guess where to land your next stitches to create something balanced. I was not satisfied with my first result, and had to remove 3 times my stitches. I feel what is there is not the best it's possible to achieve, but it's the best i could do at my level of embroidery beginner.

I learned great thing with this iris, i feel my eye knows better where my stitches and my needle should go to create what i want. 

Also, while having a very hard time, this crossed my mind  : «If it's easy, then you are learning it wrong. »

I felt like a ghost was looking above me, and telling me to perseverate.  I can assure this thought didn't came from me. I am a little bit of a lazy person who loves when everything is easy. I would never ever think of something like this ! 

Next thing : 
I have a group meeting on the last week of April. Maybe i will work on my pinks or the orange chrysanthemum. I was supposed to be working on top layers of paperbag, but my friend Dima won't be here, and I don't want Nancy to give two times the same instructions. I hope to have some improvements to show after this meeting !

A little bit about my group :
In Montreal, there is a group of ladies from the Embroidery Guild who follow the JEC cursus. I think we are about 10 people working on different phases. Nancy is the lady who organize the group meeting at her house. She received the Phase X formation but she doesn't teach. She is giving us advice when needed about our stitching since she is the most advanced. She is precious help for me and Dima... and everybody I think. On our monthly group meeting, she sometimes don't even have time to stitch because there is always someone calling her for help and suggestions :)

If you are in Montreal and interested to see Japanese Embroidery or even take courses, the group sometimes receive teacher from other places! Next time will maybe be next spring (2019) depending on the group progress on their projects.

lundi 2 avril 2018

April 2018 JE Report

Hi ! I hope you had a great time in March. 
Between studies and other things, I had a group meeting for Japanese Embroidery at the beginning of the month, and unfortunately i had to remove a lot of work. 

When i came to the meeting, it looked like this :

Where to begin ... 

First : Byebye Pinks. All of it.  As I understand, Japanese Embroidery has very strict rules, but you can do some variation of your own when you are more skilled. My pinks were not done the traditional way, I was very unhappy with how it looked (not the same as it should be), and a fellow stitcher suggested to remove it if not satisfied.

So i did it. I cut everything :( It was so sad at first, but i am okay with my decision. It's for the best.

Second : Byebye paper bag. Well, not all the stitches, but 75% of what i did. Problem is, I left a big space in the middle for cords. After discussions with other stitchers, stitching the cords on top of the bag is part of the exercise, and meant to be hard, because there will be a lot of surimposition in other phases. This one is just a practice.
So I did it, i removed the thread. Almost. All. Of. It. 
Catastrophe !!!

It was like this.

Then like this ( I want to cry ) .

Then throw away this unusable ORT's (SO MUCH THREAD... i am actually crying )

Fortunately, i could re-use a part of those threads, this time stitching the good direction : from left to right. (I was stitching the wrong way). So here is what a complete day of stitching looked like : a day of unstitching. Not a single new thread was added to my work. I was SO sad. The only time I had to sitch in one month was to remove ALL of the past work. 

I felt very crappy for some days. I was in mid semester time, had a lot of papers to submit for my Master then, and I was impatiently waiting for my stitching day to relax. never happened. I did what i had to do, then put my work in my case until i could find courage to redo everything. After 3 weeks, when i found time between my studies, I felt urge to stitch, so i put my frame on the stand, and went back to work. 
I could add a little 5 hours of stitching, so here is what it looks like as today.

I had to remove a little part on the middle, but it will be very fast to stitch. 

The big problem is, with this mistake of not doing the paperbag the good way at first, i had to throw away so much thread... now i don't have much left :

Eeeek ! I love to live dangerously.

Our next group meeting is at the end of April. I was given a goal, if possible : finish the paperbag (while finishing my Master courses :/ ). Since i still have brown to put on it, and so little left, I want to wait for the group discussion to not mess up more things and risking to not have enough if i still do mistakes. I will wait, and work on something else Knowing my friend Dima won't be here in April, I will probably be working on something else, and wait for her to comeback in May, so we could do this together. She also had to redo her paperbag and is also short on thread.
I suppose the best for me would be to finish the iris and chrysanthemum... ans those removed pinks.

Oh, and a i did had a little bit of green on a long leaf, but my little finger is telling me will have to remove it when the littles seeds on top will be stitched

Should i remove or not ? To be continued....

Then, this is what it looked like at the end. 

Well... almost. I didn't took a picture of the paperbag finished. Without the pinks, my embroidery looks so empty :(

Next month is another month. Things should go better by then. Never give up.

Happy stitching :)