I’ve been working on my Shisha mirror embroidery piece recently. Each mirror takes about 22 minutes to do, or about the length of an episode of Futurama. It seemed fitting.
The second picture is what happens when you decide you don’t really need to file down the sharp mirror before you wrap in in threads… Your thread snaps and you have to start over. Oh well! It wasn’t the nicest one of the bunch anyway.
Working with very small mirrors is tricky, so you can see the first two mirrors are not as nice. If I can get the last two to look nicer, I may redo these first ones.
Another crafty resolution for this year is to try and finish as many pieces as possible. I am talking framed or hooped or made into a pillow or whatever. Finishing pieces is always the hardest, usually most boring part for me, but I’m always glad I do it. Maybe this can be my version of the &Stitched Finish-Along?
For this one I wrapped a bit of the yarn around outside hoop, just to tie in into the piece properly.
My daughter will get very interested when she sees me stitching. I usually can’t let her get too close to the needle, but when I was working with yarn, the needle is blunt so I let her have a go. I would push the needle through and she would tug on it. It was pretty adorable.
In order to work on this skill, we got her lacing beads. She can almost do it herself too! When she gets a little bit older and a little bit more focused, I want to make her up a little sewing basket like this one. Isn’t it adorable? Isn’t Pinterest great?
I’ve done some Shisha work before, but that was with coins. I wanted to try with the real thing on a doodle cloth before tackling a real project. It’s a bit of a tricky stitch because you need to keep the tension the same all around the mirror.
I have always loved Mucha’s art style. I think it’s elegant and curvy. So did I base this embroidery off his illustration? Not exactly.
I own a lot of art colouring books. These are works of art translated into simple line drawings so that they can be coloured by adults or enthusiastic children. I have a few of vintage posters, a Mucha one, and a bunch of modern ones as well, where I liked the art style and could imagine them as embroideries. Dover is a great source for adult colouring books. I’ve picked up a few of their floral and art nouveau illustrations too.
Imagine my surprise in the last few weeks when Mary Corbet showed her latest inspiration, a book called Secret Garden; I totally own that book too! Stitchy minds think alike!
The great thing about using various art books as inspiration is that the drawings are generally already simplified, which leaves you with clean lines that you can trace, but still allows for creative stitching and filing. I like using this needle sketching method because it emulates a pencil drawing, but there is no reason to not use the fanciest stitches known to man!
I finished my needle sketched knitting lady last evening. Isn’t she fabulous? I stitched her up using a single thread of machine sewing thread, thinking of it like you would a very sharp pencil, passing over each line a few times over, depending on the effect I wanted. It doesn’t make for perfect lines, which I love for fabrics and folds.
Her scarf is made with jewel coloured four strand sock yarn that I separated in half, into two swirly strands each. I only used a tiny percentage of the yarn, which is funny. The stitches are mostly messy long and short stitch, in various directions depending which bit of the scarf you are looking at. The thread to the ball is whipped back stitch.
I don’t usually like to show images still in the hoop, but outside of the hoop, the long stitches tend to bunch a bit. Keeping the fabric taught is the only way to get the real look I was going for.
My husband showed my 18 month old daughter, and she reached out and petted the scarf like it was a touch and feel book. Adorable!!
Next up I will show you another piece I made with this method – a Mucha inspired piece!
Here is a pretty lady, knitting the scarf she is wearing. She is stitched with a single thread of machine sewing thread in dark grey. It’s more like needle sketching than needle painting. Her scarf will be filled in with pinkish yarn to offset the black and white girl.
My sister Nora drew this a few years ago on a placemat in a terrible restaurant during a family reunion. I snapped a quick few pictures of it, complete with water rings and stains. I traced it in Inkscape to make up the pattern. Hopefully I will be finished this piece soon (I am already a bit further along than this picture). Lucky for me I have lots of trashy B movies to watch!