Sunday, December 30, 2012

Embroidery....Back to the Factory



           From the Hills to the Factory!

     As I have meandered my way through my trips to Madeira, I am now back onthe trail to finished goods!  We started at the factory, went into the hills to visit the agent and her embroideresses, and now we are back at the factory again!
     When the embroidered pieces come back to the factory with the agent, as you can imagine, they are not in pristine condition.  They have been held by hand to be embroidered, and if it is a piece that has seveal different techniques, chances are that it has been handled by more than one embroideress.
     The first thing that is done is to have it inspected to see if all of the embroidery has been not only completed, but completed to the high standards of Madeira embroidery (more about the final inspection in another post......).  Often, there will be a few touch ups made.  I mentioned in an earlier post that the embroideresses at the factory are considered to be the best of the best.  If anything needs to be done to the embroidered pieces that come in to make sure they are up to par, the factory embroideresses are the one to do it.


     You can see 2 of them here doing touch up work (and they were 2 of our teachers on both of my trips to Madeira).  They look at the embroidered piece and rework anything that is not up to par.

     Once the piece is completed, it is off to the laundry.  The blue dye has to be removed, so the pieces are soaked in a solution that will loosen the dye.  It is then scrubbed, and when I say scrubbed, I mean SCRUBBED!  We were standing with our mouths hanging open when we watched them!  They have long cement sinks with grooves int he side, kind of like an old washboard.  The women scubbed the embroidered pieces against the side of the sinks until the pieces were completely clean.
     Then they were rinsed in clean water and then run through a hand wringer (my grandma had an old washing machine that had a swing ringer onthe top with a handle, just like the one they used in the factory).


    After the washing/ringing process, they were taken to the ironing tables (you can see them in the background of this picture).  The pieces were pressed dry, and NO starch was used.
     After they were ironed, they were cataloged and then taken to the Madeira Institute of Embroidery where they were inspected. 



     Once they retruned they were packaged and shipped.  (Wish they were going to me!).



Hope you are finding this interesting!  More about the Madeira Institute of Embroidery next time!

Happy Stitching,
Vaune





Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

             From me to you.............


     Here is my wish for all of you for 2013.........

Time to spend with your loved ones, family and friends

A healthy year where you can put 2 feet on the floor (or scooter) each morning
 
Time to stitch at least a little bit each day

The ability to see the beauty that surrounds us............in people, in nature, and in our creativity

The chance to make a new friend

To remember to be thankful for all we have, especially when there are so many that have so little

   I also want to thank all of you for being my stitching buddies!  I get so much enjoyment from talking to you, teaching you, and sharing with you.  I count my blessings that I am able to travel around the country and meet so many of you and share ideas.  Fun, fun, fun!  I always say that stitches are the best, and I truly mean that.

    Have a wonderful rest of the holiday!  All of the chicks were home at the same time for a brief 48 hours - it seemed to fly by!  We also had our 26th anniversary on Thursday, so this has been a busy week!
     I also want to say so sorry!  I had all of my posts for December done early (except for this one, as we took our xmas card picture Chritmas morning) and posted them on a timer.  I did not realize that once I had the date/time set on each one that I still had to hit post, so they will be coming!

     I am also working on my newsletter, so that will be emailed soon!

Happy Stitching
Vaune





Sunday, December 2, 2012

FLOCHE

          Floche is Fabulous!

 
 
     This goes along with the whitework and Madeira Embroidery! Floche (French for floss) as we know it is a wonderful 100% cotton emmbroidery thread that is the primary thread used in Madeira Embroidery!
    It is a 5 ply, soft twist thread that has a wonderful sheen when stitched.  It is not stranded - one piece is one piece!  It is a bit haeavier than one piece of stranded cotton - 1 strand of floche is abouthte same equivalent of 1 1/2 strands of stranded cotton.  For example, when I smock, I usually use 3 strands of stranded cotton, but I would only use 2 strands of floche.  It fluffs when you wash it, so it is ideal for shadow work.  In Madeira embroidery, all of the cutwork, padded satin stitch, granitos, bullions, outline and stem stitch are all stitched with floche.  The sheen gives it a rich, full look that results in an elegant piece of emvroidery.
     On my first trip over, the first day that we went to the Imperial Bordados factory, there was a beautiful antique armoire - the piece was beautiful!  But then they opened it up!  It was full of boxes of skeins of floche in a rainbow of colors!  Keep in mind, this was in the mid 90's when floche was not readily available in the U.S., and when you did find it, it was in a braid (it is 1/3 of a skein) in a little ziploc bag.  I though I was in heaven - like a little kid in a candy shop!  The workers that were putting the kits together would come in and choose the colors that they needed - oh how I wanted to just pick up some skeins and pet them.  In case you have not worked with floche before, it is very soft - fluffy and light.  Not only does it look good, it feels good!



 

                                The original 87 colors.

     Most floche in the U.S. is made by DMC.  Anchor also makes floche, but at present there is not a U.S. distributor.  (When I talk about floche, unless I note, I will be refering to DMC floche.)  The floche skeins are much larger (150m) than a skein of stranded floss (8m).  The prices are different also - stranded floss should retail for about .75 cents a skein (although you can often find it on sale). Floche retails for $6.25 a skein and you can find specials on that also - I always have a 'Buy 5, get #6 Free' special.  While this price difference may seem huge, when you take into account the different amounts in the skeins and the quality of the thread, floche is a clear winner!  For years, it was available in 87 colors, but about 2-3 years ago, they added another 7, so it is now available in 94 colors.


                                    The 7 new colors!


     When we were on out lunch break, we went over to the drug store (one of the few businesses that were actually open during the 2 hour lunch break).  Believe it or not, the floche and embroidery supplies were sold at the local drug store (more like an old Woolworth's with medicines).  Even though I do not speak Spanish (and Portuguese is a close cousin to Spanish), thanks to Zak (my oldest) being in a bilingual class in Kindergarten and first grade, I knew my colors.  I could say rojo (red), verde (green), azul (blue), rosa (pink), blanc (white), negro (black), amarillo (yellow), and naranja (orange).  Thank heavens for kindergarten colors!
     The floche at the store was Anchor, and the skeins were only 50m, but I got my fill!  I still have some of them in my stash that I pull out every once in a while!
     Since many of the embroideries are white on white, just a heads up - DMC makes 2 different whites!  There is the tradiitonal Blanc, which I would call a soft white.  They also have B5200, which is a stark white.  When choosing your colors, it is a good idea to have a piece of your base fabric with you to see which white 'goes' better.  Many times, they are both close, with neither being a perfect match.  If this is the case, just choose the combination that you like the best!

Hope youhave found this informative and interesting!

Happy Stitching!
Vaune

 
 

    


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Zig Ziglar - Sayings to Live By

                  Right Up My Alley!

     Sadly, Zig Ziglar passed away yesterday.  He was a motivational speaker and best of all, he just made sense.  When my kids were little, we had quote that they memorized every week, and often, they were from him.  Here are some of my favorites!

Make every effort to be perceived as the most capable, not the most visible.
The best way to turn a little problem into a big problem is to nurture it with procrastination.
If we don't start, it's certain we can't arrive.
If you encounter difficulty, don't change your decision to go. Change your direction to get there.
You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else.
The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.
The way you see people is the way you treat them.
If there were no problems, most of us would be unemployed.
Every day is a great day, just try missing one!
Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love.
When you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.

You can't truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.
If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments.
If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you'll never end up with a nag.
Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.
Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
The person who will not stand for something will fall for anything.
When you do more than what you are paid for, you will soon be paid more for what you do.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.
 
He will be missed!
 
Happy Stitching!
Vaune

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vecchiarelli's Annual Christmas Sale in the L.A. Garment District

     Merry Christmas to all of you
                 Sewers!
Saturday, Dec. 8 from 9-5!

     Just a quick FYI for anyone who is in the LA area - Vecchiarelli's is hosting their annual Christmas sale!  The last time I went was 2 years ago and besides the great bargains, the food they had was wonderful!



     Vecchiarelli's supplies to 'the trade' as well as the students at L.A. Trade Tech, and has many items that you sure won't find at Joann's!  Tag board, pattern drafting paper, dress forms, rabit punches, pattern cards...  it is fun to just look at.  They also have industrial sewing machines and sergers.

Fashion Dress Forms


     They recently moved - their new address is
1203 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Phone number is
213-749-5944

Their website (isn't finished yet) is
www.fashionsuppliesinc.com

If you are in the area, it is a great day to go!
Happy Stitching,
Vaune

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ecru Embroidery from Madeira!

                       The 'Other' White!

 
 
     I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, sharing it with family, friends, and loved ones!  We were in Phoenix, AZ, for a few days, visiting John's family.  Kathy and David, his sister and brother-in-law, hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, with 2 different turkeys and briskett, as well as his traditional homemade cheesecake.  It was excellent, as usual, and of course, I ate too much!  We drove back to CA Saturday morning, and it was 88 degrees!  Way to warm for Thanksgiving!  It is supposed to cool down this week, which I am looking forward to!  I want to do some Christmas baking and it is hard to get into the spirit when it is so warm outside!  I missed last Whitework Wednesday, so here is a Whitework Sunday!
     One of the things that I noticed in Madeira is that many of the embroideries were stitched on ecru linen, or with a color of floche that is often called 'antique ecru' (it is DMC 612). This is a tablecloth and napkins that were stitched on a creme linen with the antique ecru floche.  Beautiful!


 
     This is a close up of a piece that was stitched on an ecru linen, again with the antique ecru floche.
 
 

    
     Placemats and napkins on a white linen with antique ecru floche - lots of trailing shaped into curls, as well as the cutwork edges.


 
 
     Some smaller doilies and a round tablecloth, again stitched on an cream colored linen and with the antique ecru floche.   All of these are beautiful examples of Madeira Embroidery in a color palette that is not the traditional white on white as we think of it!
 
I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
 
Happy Stitching,
Vaune



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joann Marshall's Coffee Cake

Best Coffee Cake Ever!
(or as one of my favorite little guys calls it, a coffee pie)
 
 
 
     Many years ago, at my wedding shower, one of the things all of the guests had to do was to write their favorite recipe on an index card to start my Recipe Box.  I got everything from a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (this little girl was someone that I babysat for and was their with her mother) to Joann Marchall's Coffe Cake. 
     The shower (and wedding) was in KY and everything was loaded into boxes and shipped to CA and I promptly put them in a safe place that went through 3 moves and lo and behold, 15 years later I discovered them!  As soon as I saw the coffee cake recipe, I knew I had to make one.  I remember them from the Christmas Boutique at church - she always made a bunch of them to donate.

     I whipped up a batch and popped them in the oven and De-li-scious!  I make about 50 of them every Christmas season now - that is what I give to friends and relatives instead of Christmas cards.  The recipe is below - one recipe makes a 11" x "13 pan or (2) 8" round pans.    I usually make 2 batches at a time (4 rounds) when I am doing my Christmas baking.  I buy the foil pans that come 3 in a pack at the dollar store.  When I am making them for us, I still make a double batch and then cut them up and put them in little baggies in the freezer.  Happy Baking!
 
JoAnn Marshall’s Coffee Cake
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees
 Mix until crumbled:
3 Cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margerine or butter, softened
(I use the dough hook on my KitchenAid for this -you want it crumbly!)
 
Take out 1 cup and reserve for topping
Add to remaining crumble mix:
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Grease and flour pan ( either a 9"x13" or 2 – 8" or 9" inch round cake pans).  Pour batter in pan, and drop reserved crumble mix on top.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes @ 350 degrees for round cake pans,
Bake 45 – 50 minutes @ 350 degrees for 9 x 13 cake pan.
This is wonderful for a hostess gift!  The Aluminum 8 or 9 inch round pans are perfect!
Hope this this gets you in the mood - we are heading back to Phoenix this week for Thanksgiving and I have already started my baking!

Happy Stitching!
Vaune

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A is for Aficot!

         What is an Aficot, you say?!

     I am snug and cozy here at our sewing retreat in Santa Barbara.  It is past my sewing bedtime (that is when I sew sleeves on insideout, etc.), so I thought I would post!
     Many years ago, when I was just a babe, I took a class at a SAGA convention from Nina Richardson.  She did different kinds of handwork and embroidery.  She had a tool called an aficot, which is a burnishing tool.  You would use it on satin stitch to rub the agains the base of the stitches and it really smoothed out the stitches and gave them a nice sheen.  The aficot fit perfectly on your hand and was hand carved by some guy in Texas, and of course, as we all do in class, we wanted to get his information so we could order one.  Alas, he was retiring and not carving anymore, so I was aficot-less.
     Every couple of years, I would think about that class and the aficot and wonder if I could find one, but no luck (and this was before the internet).
     Jump forward to present day.............about 10 days ago, I was in Santa Fe, NM, for the EGA Seminar Trading Post.  The table next to mine had all these beautiful tools that were hand carved. 
     I was in Santa Fe, NM, 10 days ago for the EGA Trading Post.  I have never been to an EGA function before - I met some wonderful people and saw some friends, and hope to go again.  The table next to mine had all of these had carved tools - stiletto's and such.  I was talking to Michael and his wife and mentioned how I would love to have an aficot and did he carve them, and TahDah!  There was a tray of aficots on his table.



     I started telling him about Nina and the guy from Texas, and lo and behold, the old guy was Michael's uncle!!!  Well needless to say, I was happy as a clam.  I bought my aficot and put it in my bag to take home and it is sitting on my cutting table.  Who knows when I will use it, but it is there for whenever I need it!
   Now for the good news - if you are in the market for an aficot, or any kind of carved needlework tool, Michael is NOT about to retire.  You can view his items at www.mandhhandcrafts.com    I don;t believe you can order on the website, but you can see everything, in all of the different wood options, and then email or call to place an order.  Please tell them that I sent you!


 
 
     Here are couple more of his tools.  This is a King Henry VIII laying tool - each aspect of the carving represents something.  The 6 rings represent the 6 wives, etc.
 
 
 
 
          This is the spiral carved laying tool, another beautifully carved item.   The ladies were flocking around his booth. If I need one of these, I know where to go!
 
Hope you are all well, especially those of you in the Northeast - between Sandy and the next storm, you have all been in my thoughts.  Until next time,
 
Happy Stitching,
Vaune



   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

                 Isn't It Lovely?!

     I hope you all had a lovely Halloween....I apologize for missing last week!  I watched my friend's 4 kids for 4 days while she went to Cabo and then went to Santa Fe, NM, for the EGA Trading Post - fun, busy, and wonderful! 


 

     Today I am going to share some of the sights of Madeira, starting with a picture taken from the water of the shores of Madeira.  It reminds me of Santa Barbara, CA in the climate and the terrain.  Madeira is often a stop for cruise ships that pass that way.  If you ever have a chance to go, take it!  But when you go to the island, don;t shop at the stores that are right on the water.  The better embroideries can be found in the shops that are a few blocks inland.

 
     Here is a picture (and I will post a couple more) of the landing strip for the airport on Madeira.  According to pilots, it is one of the more tricky landing strips. 
 


     The winds can blow and cause delays.  On the first trip I took, there was a 12 hour delay because of the winds.  The planes originally could land, but not take off.  The airport is so small, that they would not let us check our baggage, as they had no place to store it all day while we waited for the winds to die down. 


     Then they stopped letting the planes land, because there was no place for them to wait until the weather changed..........an airplane traffic jam!


     They have a wonderful market with fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables, fish, etc.


     It is wonderful to see everything, even though we could not really buy anything that was perishable.



     Even though these are some of the ugliest fish I have ever seen they were delicious!  They are called espada (eshpada) or black scabbard.  They swim about a mile below the surface (hence the big eyes), and are most easily caught at night.  They have been caught in Japan, Ireland, Canary Islands, and North Africa, but the only sustainable industrial levels are in C├ómara de Lobos, a few miles from Funchal.


    
     The fisherman use colorful boats to sail out into the waters to catch their fish.  The first trip, I had the traditional espada, cooked with bananas, and then another night had it with a tomato based sauce.  When I  went back the 2nd time, I had aspada every single day that we were there, cooked a different way each time.  Every restaurant that we went to had espada as one of their 'Catch of the Day' offerings.  Wish we could get it here!



     We went on a tour of one of the local wineries that produces Madeira wine - a wine that is actually heated and stays fresh and should be not be refrigerated after it is opened. This process was originally discovered when a ship returned to Madeira without unloading its wine.  Today, the wine fortified with grape spirits, oxidized and heated up to 140 degrees during the wine making process.  The the tasting room offered wines that were 100+ years old, a treat for those who wanted it!


     The toboggan rides were a blast.  Originally designed for transportation (started in the 1850's), if you lived up in the hills, the toboggan was a fast way down the mountain.  The wicker sled has runners and 2 men who push and guide the way to the bottom.  It is about a mile to the bottom, and the sled reaches up to 20-25 mph.  Don't miss this if you have a chance to go!

     More next week - sure hope I can visit again!  have fun, and I hope you exercised your right to vote!  We are one of the luckiest countries in the world to have that privilege!

Happy Stitching!
Vaune











Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Hills are Alive......

            With the Sound of Stitching!



     On one of our days, we were invited to travel into the hills to the home of one of the agents.  The agent is the go-between that takes the unfinished goods from the factory and delivers them to her embroideresses in the hills.  She also picks up the work that has been done during the previous week and delivers that to the factory.

 
     The agent had invited herembroideresses to her house also, and we had a stitchin' party!  We were sitting out in the sun, enjoying their company (even though none of us really understood what the others were saying)!



     They would look at our work (and in my case, a lot of tsk, tsk, tsk was going on), and of course, we watched them stitch!  Their talent is amazing!

 
 

     They brought out hats for us to wear so that we would not be bothered by the sun.  Here I am in the middle, sitting next to Becky Busching, of Becky B's (remember her Just for Rosemary pattern?  So sad that it is out of print).
 
 


     Here is the cutest little girl, learning her craft at her mother's knee.



     Some intense stitching going on here!

     We had a wonderful time - the agent was most gracious and the ladies were excited to meet the Americans!  We learned as we were (trying) talking to them, that most of them do not own many embroidered pieces - even though they can do the work beautifully, the linen was very expensive, so they did not tend to stitch a lot of pieces for themselves!

     I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am!  I am going to be at the EGA convention in Santa Fe, NM next Wednesday, which is also Halloween.  Once I get back I am home for a while and I know I am being optimitic when I say I will catch up on things, since I know I will have time, once I am home for a while!

     I am also watching my friend's 4 children this weekend, while they go on a little get a way - I will post pictures of Mary Frances and Sammy.  Some of you have taken my Mary Frances Daydress class - the dress was named after Mary Frances.  She has the cutest clothes, most of them smocked, and her mother doesn't sew or smock! 

Happy Stitching,
Vaune






Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pretty Whitework plus more.....

    Some things for you to enjoy.....

     I just got back from the Smocking Arts Guild of America national convention in Atlanta!  I had a wonderful time, other than the fact that it was too short!  It is hard enough to try to chat and catch up with everyone.  I am still going through my suitcases, as I am leaving Friday for ETAC (Education in the Textile Arts).  Thankfully, that one is here in SoCal, so no plane rides or long driving, but I still have to wash my clothes and stuff the freezer with cookies for my hubby.  That man can eat and stays skinny as a rail!  I made 100 sugar cookies and 2 big coffie cakes before I left for Atlanta............cookies are gone and there is about a half a coffee cake left in the freezer, so need to refill before I go.
     Normally, I love to bake, but it has been 95+ degrees here every day this week and it is supposed to be even hotter tomorrow.  Just thinking about turning the oven on is making me sweat.


 
 
     Technically, on Pacific time, it is still Whitework Wednesday, so I am including a few pictures of some embroidered goodies that I got while I was in Madeira.  This is a round doily that is embroidered with bullion roses and padded satin stitch leaves.  It is about 8-9 inches in diameter, and still has the gremio seal attached.
      The gremio (little silver seal at the top right) is attached after the embroidered piece passes inspection by the Madeira Institute of Embroidery.  Only those items that have been embroidered ON the island of Madeira and have passed inspection can have the gremio attached.
 


     This is the corner of one of the place mats that I purchased on my forst trip.  They have soo many wonderful designs and I could't make up my mind, so I decided to be a bit different and get a variety.  I have 2 different sets of china - a white on white and a white with a blue band.  I figured white on white would coordinate, so I bought 8 different placemat/napkin sets, each of a different design.  I will share them all with you at some point, but here is the first.  The base fabric is white linen, with an organdy insert.



     The napkin is not quite as elaborate - just one organdy insert motif in the corner.  Notice the gremio!

     Enjoy, more next week, and I am off to bed!  For all of you that I saw in Atlanta, I wish that I could have spent more time with you!  You all should come out for one of our Santa Barbara sewing retreats  - lots of chatting AND sewing!

Happy Stitching,
Vaune


    

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whitework Wednesday.... Pulling Thread...

        Pulling a Thread

     This is a bit out of order, but i just found the picture..............  one of the things that I found most fascinating was preparing the fabric.  I have already talked about how the designs are chosen and marked on the fabric, but even before that, the fabric has to be cut.  I know for myself, whenever I am working with the finest linen (and I use and carry Ulster linen, which is divine), I do not tear the linen!  I pull a thread and cut the linen.

 
 
 
     It may be a bit hard to see this, but the woman in the picture is holding a thread with her left hand and 'cutting' with scissors in her right hand.  She didn't actually use a cuttin motion - she pulled the thread and followed it with her razor sharp scissors, in one smooth motion.  I stood at the table and took pictures several times.  I pressed the button when she started and by the time the camera actually took the picture, she was 3/4s of the way across the fabric.  She was fast and she was accurate!  No rotary cutter for her.  As a matter of fact, this was on my first trip and I don't think I had even heard of rotary cutters!  You can see the pile of linen that she was cutting. Once cut, it would go on to the next step of getting marked.
 

     Here is a design that they were preping.  Very intricate!


 
 
     One of the workers that was marking fabric.
 
 
 
     Stacks on the table............ linen that has been marked, and the 'packets' are getting ready.  The linen is put with the floche and the applique' fabric and bundled, ready to go.
 
 
 
 
 
Stacks of marked fabric.
 
 
 
 
More fabric that is marked.
 
     Once the fabric is marked and bundled, an agent picks them up.  the agent is the contact between the factory and the embroideresses that do most of the work.  The embroideresses live up in the hills and do not get down to Funchal.  The agent takes the bundles and drops them off at her embroideresses and then picks up the completed work from the previous week.  She brings that back down to the factory to begin the next step in the production process.  We met a couple of the agents - they showed us what work they were bringing in.
 



     This is one of the goodies that I bought when I was in Madeira........... it is a blue linen pillow sham with organdy insert (the bow and flower background), shadow work (flowers, leaves), and embroidery (stems and leaves).
 
 
 


     This is the corner of a table scarf - the big fabric is a white voile or batiste, with a cutwork edge.  Cutwork is also used to applique' the scallopped linen to the inside of the piece.  Granitos are stitched in the border.  Beautiful!

I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am reliving the wonderful memories I have of these visits!  I will be in Atlanta at the SAGA convention when this posts - hope to see some of you there!

Happy Stitching,
Vaune
 





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whitework Wednesday....A Cottage Industry

 
A Cottage Industry




 
 
 
     I took this picture of a picture in one of the displays - 2 women sitting and sttiching!  While the dress has changed, the act of sitting together and stitching is timeless.  One of my favorite things to do is to get together with my friends to stitch.  Our smocking guild has several retreats each year in Santa Barbara where we can sit and stitch, sew, (read, rest, relax, or what ever strikes us!) in the company of women who love to stitch.

 

     This is one of the teachers who helped us at the Imperial Bordados, where we took our lessons.  (I was so young!!!)


     This is another one of our teachers.  I do not speak Portuguese (or Spanish, which is close), and they did not speak English, but the universal sound of tsk, tsk and the shaking of the head let us know when we were doing something wrong!
     It was amazing to watch these women with a needle - they could make it sing!  They would stand next to each other, chatting away, and would barely look at the needle or fabric as they were stitching! 
These women learned how to stitch as a child and it has been their livelihood, as well as a skill and talent.



 
 
     This cute little girls is sitting next to her mother and stitching, just as the rest of the women are.  We had a chance to spend some time stitching at the home of one of the agents (but more about that later) and this little girl came along with her momma!
     The embroidery skills are handed down from mother to daughter, through the generations.  
     Last week I showed some pictures of the patterns and the gentleman that was marking the patterns and fabric.
 
     This is the beginning version of the tea towel that we worked on - the white linen is marked with the blue pounce ball.  We used white floche for the cutwork edge and grey floche for the granitos, outline stitch, and padded satin stitch.  We had grey linen that we used the Madeira applique' technique to add the leaves.  I bought an extra kit so that I could remember what the beginning looked like!





     This is a hankie that I found at an antique mall - not true whitework, as it has color, but has the traditional whitework techniques - cutwork, granitos, madeira applique', and padded satin stitch.
     My doorbell just rang - the FedEx guy with 5 boxes of (sigh) the last issue of Australian Smocking & Embroidery - Issue 100, along with the Indexes.  I am going to run and start working on these - I am going to try to get most of them packaged up tonight.
     See you next week for Whitework Wednesday (I am going to post it before I go to Atlanta) and some of you I will actually SEE on Wednesday at the SAGA convention in Atlanta -yeah!

Happy Stitching,
Vaune