Friday, April 8, 2016

Warning - Frostings Spoiler

So if you are still waiting for your Frostings Box 2 to get out of customs - stop reading and come back when you get your box!  But from the chatter, I can tell that the bulk of the shipments have arrived at their destination and so it is time to start talking about what is in the box and explore the contents!

This box is dominated by a new line of silk thread that I have been working with Access
The larger silk thread in 714 (Light blue) is Soie Ovale as
compared to the thin Trame below it, also in 714
Commodities to get in our colors.  Trame is a very thin, untwisted filament silk that is about 1/8 the thickness of the Soie Ovale.  Unlike Japanese filament silk, Soie Ovale has a certain number of filaments that twist around the flat silk about 1 twist per foot so it is extremely hard to see, but if you are familiar with dividing flat silk and have tried, you found this out by making a huge mess.  I had heard this enough to realize that there was a desire for a thinner, shiny filament silk thread for our caskets.  Now you can use one or more lengths to make whatever thickness of flat silk you want.  And if you are thread painting, you can change the color or change the number of lengths in your needle to get effects.

Then there are the miniaturists!  Those who are stitching really small versions or want to include silk gauze embellished pieces on their caskets.  This thread is thin enough to work with multiple counts of  gauze or work satin stitched pieces in miniature.  So I am excited that we have been able to bring 18 colors of our 32+ color line to life - more than doubling the number of colors of Trame that Au Ver a Soie has made and for the first time providing a shade series in this line.

Couching over striped gimp with Trame
And there is great power in having at your fingers so many weights of thread in the same colors.  You can mix and match in texture and the Trame is the BEST for couching all the other materials we are making, especially the new striped gimps.  It is so thin that the stitches just disappear - check the picture of the couching.

So thread painting is the first application of this thread that I want to talk about and provide a project for you with the Frostings Club to try.

Royal Armory in Stockholm
While the students making caskets sometimes used very thin threads like this, especially on the drawer fronts where small details of scenes were sometimes worked, professionals in both England and the Low Countries often worked their pieces with such a variety of thread weights.

This casket top is likely a professional piece, the thin filament silk used for her face and flower garland is close to the Trame.   Thread painted flowers, especially tulips and similar bulbs surrounded by heavy gold thread framing were especially indicative of Dutch or Flemish works.  This Dutch glove in the collection of the Royal Armory in Stockholm as well as this purse at the Rijksmuseum are examples of such works.

I have worked a project inspired by the Rijksmuseum Iris for you using the Trame and gold thread in Box 2.  Included is the Cordon (striped gimp) from Box 1.  Just add a ground fabric and a couching thread (or use the Trame) for the gold thread and you have everything you need in Frostings.  The piece is just 2" square and the tiny nature of it just makes it all the more precious (as well as doable!).

New Frostings Club project - 17th Century Dutch Iris - The link to the project instruction
Now the story behind what it is. isn't finished.  I had visions of making it into a tiny purse with two stiff squares that contained a small silk drawstring bag in between that was tied shut using the blue and cream lacet in Box 1.  So why isn't it finished?  Well, let me not so briefly tell you the 'Spiralizer Story'.

Well, what happens when you get back from a major robotics competition and haven't seen real civilization for months?  The robot boy had his iPhone fail while we were gone so we decided to reward him with a new one for the non-stop work.  So a trip to the mall was had by me and the boy.  You know you have been heads down far too long when you can't find any of the stores as they have all moved!  "God - how long has it been", I thought?  Of course, I could have just looked down at the slightly stained shirt from the '90s I was wearing to tell you the answer!  So I decided to reward myself and at least walk around the mall once with him - really I was trying to acclimate myself with current trends again (I think my outfit read 'Nerd mom' to everyone who looked at us).  So we got sucked into William Sonoma with their cute Easter display and then we saw it - The Spiralizer.   It was like someone said - here is a kitchen robot, try it out!  It was complete with nice recipe books that promised that I could turn zucchini into spaghetti and my kids would eat it!  We were quickly seduced in a moment of great weakness.  Clearly we don't get out much!  So while I have a three general rules about the kitchen: (1) never buy gadgets to clutter my cabinets, (2) never, never ever buy something with a blade and (3) remember rule #2; I broke them all with the siren call of the Spiralizer.  It didn't help that when I asked the nice lady about how it folded up, my robot boy figured everything out and all its cool gadgetry.  He made those sounds that a teen would normally make seeing a hot rod go by or a cute girl.  Clearly he doesn't get out enough too!
The kitchen robot aka "the spiralizer'
aka 'no more needlework this month'

So two days later and a ton of curly fries, 10-foot long cucumber spirals and the like; I decided to use more of that robot boy labor I have around here and asked three of them to process some potatoes since I was making them dinner (Again!).  I can't tell you how thrilled they were with the results and how much they fought over who was twirling the veggies.  But before they got going, the boy pointed out that the plastic wasn't clean in a spot and, still recovering from the sensation overload that is THEM, I reached down and violated the reason for rule #2.  I tried to scratch the offending dried veggie off the plastic and ignored the fact that there was a blade.

Ok, an hour later we were still debating if I needed stitches after the pressure was just not stoping the bleeding.  My right index finger!  My most important stitching finger!!  And on top of it, in front of all the kids and my judgmental teen.  Of course he didn't realize rule #2 and why it had been a 20-year standing rule in our house.  I am not allowed near kitchen blades.  I am relegated to the dull knife.  (Don't ask why I am not allowed to grate cheese).  I will never, ever have a mandolin - seems useful but I will just change what I cook to avoid those.

What I envisioned...
So not only can I not stitch, I had to hear about my massive stupidity from the judgmental teen for a few days.  And then I re-injured it two days later trying hard to box some caskets (how can something bleed again so much?).  But there was some justice for the ridicule; that day my tall robot boy had to help me make dinner because I couldn't put any pressure on a knife and he decided to use the Spiralizer to do the deed.  Well, it only took a half hour to stop his bleeding.  So now we are both walking around here with matching band-aids and I can finally tap the keyboard with that finger to write out the story.  So maybe in a week or two it will heal enough to allow some embroidery.  Definitely two or more until finishing with thin
needles can be done.

So the iris embroidery was done, but not the finishing.  It would be lovely to put a tulip on the other side of the purse!  I will have to leave it to the club members to imagine their own finishing from my drawing.



  1. I was chuckling through your story - my sympathy for your poor finger! Cheese graters and microplanes are my worst kitchen enemies. Still, I love the Spiralizer! Zucchini "noodles" are wonderful, but best of all is Thai green papaya salad. Works great for that!

    The iris is gorgeous and I'm So Very Excited about the Trame. I can't wait to play with it! I just love seeing these threads come about! Thanks for all the hard work that has gone into them!

  2. Oooooh! I can't wait to get my Frosting box! I've just started some embroidered gauntlets of my own and this new thread would be perfect to try it out on!

  3. We have a mandolin. It's great. We use it a couple of times a year. When I pulled it out to grate potatoes for Latkes at Channukkah, I hadn't used it for a long time. I looked at that round plastic thing with spikes, and wondered what it was for. Set it aside and started swiping the potatoes. A few in, I realized what it was for. Didn't get any blood on the potatoes. Fixed it all, and started again. The potatoes were a weird color. They were turning a bit brown awfully quickly, as we used up the last of the potatoes. Oh. The bandaid,um, ick. We realized that if we were NOT going cannibalistic, a trip to the grocery was necessary.

    This was a few years ago. The mandolin is referred to as the thing hat makes red least I now know to use the round Paleocene veggie gripper don't slice your fingers thing!

  4. Great story! Reminds of the time a few years ago when my 20-something pianist son sliced his thumb open trying to open the package of a new knife he'd purchased less than a week before an audition...he drove from his house to his ours holding a pad of paper towel on it. We took the pad off and I had him back in the in the car 5 minutes later heading to an urgent care center in a snow storm! They got him bandaged up and as I remember the audition went well.

    As for Williams Sonoma, it's a dangerous place...I stay out of there as I have a weakness for kitchen stuff....

  5. Oh my word. How gorgeous is this. I love that it is tiny enough that I can drag it with me to meetings and shows. I can't wait to get started on it.

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  7. I am so excited by this Trame thread! Some friends and I just visited the Ratti Textile Center at the Met and got to see sweet bag 29.23.21 up close and personal. I wrote a blog post describing my findings and was lamenting at how thin the filament threads were and that I'd have to try and pull apart the Soie Ovale. Now I don't! This thread will be perfect to make motifs like ones on the purse. I can't post my color images of the bag unfortunately, but they do have a B&W image of it that I included in my post:
    in case you are interested. Thanks again for this club! I hope you'll have more in the future!

  8. I love the way the iris is mounted and I enjoyed following Victoria's link to see the little sweet bag at the Met. I hope your finger heals up soon so you can finish yours.

  9. Yikes! Keep super-glue in the kitchen for DIY stitches - of course, you have to be careful not to glue your fingers together!

  10. That iris is lovely! I've sliced myself royally on an old Foley slicer - absolutely no safety features on that. I'm hoping the salad shooter makes slicing veggies safer, faster and not so fiddly as the food processor. I hope you both have speedy finger healing...

  11. So, I am kitting this up to work on and can't find the Scalloped Trim Gilt. Was it called something else in our boxes?

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  13. Tricia, I usually read every word you write but I had to skip a big chunk of this post and many of the comments. I am squirming uncomfortable trying not to imagine. Rather than Spoiler alert, I needed a Squirmer alert!

    But, I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful thread and all the things it is going to be useful for. I had not intended to embroider my draw fronts but one look at your lovely iris and I immediately thought "casket interiors". I think I have just added to my stitching "to-do" list.