30 December 2009

New book!

Today the postman brought me a surprise... A Christmas gift from a friend!

 "Fashion ad Armour in Renaissance Europe", by Angus Patterson , a wonderful book published by the Victoria and Albert Museum ...
A rather unusual book, that analyses armours and weapons as clothing and accessories, because that was the role of the beautifully decorated suits of armour and carved weapons that noblemen were so often shown wearing  in paintings, and now are exhibited in collections and museums... Armours and weapons meant to be used in battle were usually simpler as design and without many decorations.
The illustrations are almost equally divided between period paintings or miniatures, showing armours with an amazing level of detail, and photos of objects on display in the V&A Museum: as a whole, they give a very complete view of the topic...
 Many of these items came from Milano! My city was once an important center for weapons and armours manufacturing, and Milanese suits of armours can be found in lots of museums around the world...Pity that so little remains here! A few  things at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum (unfortunately  it's the only museum I know to have a collection of weapons and armours without a _single_ note of what's on display, so it's  difficult to guess exactly periods or origins of what one is seeing... )  and at the Castle ...
Obviously I haven't yet had the time to  read the text (only the introduction!), but Angus Patterson is the Curator of European Mase Metals and Arms and Armour a the Victoria and Albert Museum, so I trust it will be excellent..
The only problem with V&A books is that the more I get of them , the more I would like... :-)

28 December 2009

Weaving, at last

Christmas is over and at last I had time to warp my loom with the red/yellow wool I had prepared so much long ago...
I've decided that after this scarf I'll start weaving something different, maybe using linen or one of the yarns I bought at Italia Invita.
I'm also putting in order my holiday photos of the last few years; I always take lots of pictures of architecture details that I plan to transform into embroidery pattern...This will be one of the good resolutions for the new year! Actually I had already done it with a floral motive in a Florentine church, but it seems I lost it in my Christmas cleanings & tidyings :-(...I'll have to do it again.

23 December 2009


It's been snowing a lot yesterday here in Milano..This was the view from my window yesterday night.

This morning  I gave up  going to work...

14 December 2009

A week later....

Wow, I haven't written for a week!
Time flies now that Christmas is getting near...
Anyway, these are the rest of my metallics.
Golds (click on the photo to zoom)

No.9 is very interesting...It's DMC &77 (one of the Precious Metal Effects threads) and it's exactly halfway between gold and silver. Actually each strand is made by two smaller strands (like all the embroidery floss), one of which is gold and the other silver. The effect is a very beautiful warm silver, or rather white gold....The look depends much on the light.

No. 10 is the gold equivalent of No. 7 silver. It's very beautiful as gold (and one of those with a less "greenish" colour), but it's loosely twisted. I guess this might not be a problem for weaving with it, but as embroidery floss it would be probably difficult to use as it would fray a lot.

No. 11  and No. 12 are tow DMCs, E 3821 and 5282...Neither of them has a very natural gold colour, they look to "cold" to appear really golden.

No. 13 is a beautiful Guterman gold  (9970) ; it's a metallic thread for sewing machine. It's beautiful, but so fine that it would almost be invisible aunless I used several strands of it, and that would complicate things...

No.14 is Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid No. PH03...Very beautiful as colour and very shiny; unfortunately also quite expensive...

No. 15 is Coats Diadem no. 0300....It's not exactly a thread but rather a sort of flat braid...It must be nice for embroidery (very shiny and does not fray) , but it's too big to mix it with wool...

I think the choice will be restricted to No. 10 and 14. I like them both very much and the choice will depends on whether I manage to find a supply of No. 10; otherwise I'll have to go for the more expensive Treasure Braid....

And at last  colour metallics, that I might use in the sea foam:

Nos. 16 and 17 unfortunately are unknown...They bear no brands nor colour indications; all I know is that I bought them at a Czech stand last May at Italia Invita ... I'll have to wait until 2011 to buy other threads like these!

No. 18 is easy to find; it's Kreinik Metallic no. 095. It's beautiful, I bought it because I liked its colours but it's definitely too colourful to be used for the sea!

No 19 is a  Gutermann metallic sewing thread, no. 71. It's nice but too fine to be used single -stranded....

No. 20 is DMC E135, one of the "Jewel effect" threads by DMC. It's remarkably similar to the Gutermann at no. 19, as colours (actually it looks almost exactly the same!), but it's twisted more loosely and of course it's a floss, that is it's formed by several strands.

No. 21 is Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid no. PB27. Very beautiful as usual, with delicate colours shimmering exactly as they should (neither too much nor too little). Also as usual, it's the most expensive thread of all the set...

No. 22 is DMC E5200  (Pearlescent Effects). It's a white thread which glitters with pale pink and blue reflections... Like all the Pearlescent Effects series, it's very beautiful to look at, but probably difficult to  use as it feels very rigid, with a rather "plastic-like" feel... I'm sure It won't be pleasant to use, although I might choose it
The same considerations apply to the remaining threads, No. 23 ( DMC E3747, a very pale blue with blue shimmers) , No. 24 ( DMC E966, a very light blue-green) and No. 25 (DMC E747 another light blue) ...All of them show beautiful reflections but are definitely unpleasant to touch and "rebellious"... But they are probably worth an attempt, after all I will use them to weave and not for embroidery...

07 December 2009

All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter....

...And not all that glitters does it in the right way!
I'm back to my Tolkien tapestry (The Shores of Faery) and the choice of metallic threads has been particulary difficult.
I decided that this tapestry would include some metallics; after all that has been quite usual for traditional tapestries, and the subject contains the Sun, the Moon and a sea that would probably glitter a bit.. So I started my search for the Perfect Metallics . I wanted something that would glitter, but not too much, I didn't want metal to become too evident and sparkling...
I bought several metallic threads of different brands, and discovered that (...guess what...) they were different!
Some are shinier, some have a dull colour...I was surprised to see that most gold threads tend to appear vaguely greenish when you couple them  to a bright yellow yarn (that could be a problem!)
Well, I took a few photos; unfortunately light isn't great (and won't be great until Spring...), but they can give an idea.  So, here are my silver threads, that I should use to give some reflections to the Moon and its rays :

No.1 is  Madeira Jewel, a holographic thread. Very interesting and definitely beautiful! But it's too sparkly and colourful, not suitable for what I want to do

No. 2 - a Spanish thread, Presencia  (col.003). A beautiful silver thread with a very natural silver colour. It seems made of real metal (instead of just polyester like the others).

No. 3 is  Rainbow Gallery - Petite treasure braid col. PH02. Maybe the best of all, very thin and very flexible, with a beautiful shine...Unfortunately it's also the most expensive of all.

No. 4 is Kreinik blending filament 001. Nice blending filament, but its silver looks too grey for my tapestry.
 The same applies to the two DMC silvers (5 and 6)  and, E168 and  E415...They have a steel-like look, not really silver-like. E415 is particularly interesting as it's matte, and it's the only metallic I've seen with that effect...But it's not what I need in this case!

No.7 has  a warm silver look, but it's a Mexican thread I received once as a gift... I have no idea where to find another similar one. I'll do some searches, I think it's worth some attempts.

No. 8 is Gutermann  41...This is a  silver sewing thread but definitely grey and steel-looking ...I'm looking for something with a definitely warmer look. Nice thread anyway, it will be useful for something else...

So these are candidates! The  best candidates are 2, 3, and 7...Much will depend on whether I'll find a source for numbers 2 and 7, otherwise I'll have to choose Rainbow Gallery.

So these were silvers, tomorrow I'll choose golds...

02 December 2009

I've decided that before starting something new, I would finish another work!  I wanted to embroider a decoration on a grey scarf, a combination of plain and leno weave. I chose to do several spiral motives in various colours, included some metallic threads. Photos are quite bad (I took them in the evening with electrical light) but can give an idea

01 December 2009

My new work

I think I need something colourful for my Etsi shop...So I've prepared the warp for a red and yellow scarf. Here it is, laid on my tapestry loom for the moment...

29 November 2009

Threads hate me....

That must be the reason why  the nice and harmless-looking  rayon skeins on the left of the photo,  soon rebel and become like the one on the right...

27 November 2009

Daily life

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life”
(William Morris , 1834 -1896)

There is going to be a lot more of "daily life" in my life! Having to leave my office job at the end of next month, and with no realistic perspective of finding another place as employee (not at my age, not with two children, not in Italy...IT jobs are migrating very far Eastwards), I guess my like in 2010 will be a lot different from now.
But this will be an occasion to try something new; to see if what had always been hobbies in my life could become my work...I would have never have the courage to try if I hadn't been obliged to, I'm sure of this. But maybe one day I will know I did the right choice.
For the moment the future is very nebulous and uncertain, and all I can do is appreciate "all the details of daily life"... William Morris was right, after all.