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A hat

Our upcoming show at Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club is an adaptation of Pinocchio in September and I said I would help with the costumes. My first task was to turn a floppy black felt hat which was styled like a classic musketeer’s hat into one for a carabinieri. The director provided me with a picture from the internet and I made a start.

First I had to unstitch all the ostrich feather plumes and steam the hat to get it back to a neutral shape. It had a nasty hole near the crown but I managed to mend that by needle-felting some black fleece into and around the hole. Then I could stitch both the back and the front of the brim to the crown and make start on the rosette.

The rosette on the front was created from lengths of red, white and blue grosgrain ribbon which I stitched onto individual card circles and then layered together.

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Yes, I know the colour of the inner ring is wrong – in my defence, it wasn’t a close up shot and it looked like blue to me! And having finished it before I realised my mistake, I was not taking something which is only a stage costume for a minor character to bits, so it will have to stay (and annoy me for not having checked my facts before I started…).

The flaming grenade in the middle is made from a picture of one of the cap badges which I stuck onto card and then added layers of gesso to give the impression of something more 3D before finishing it off with silver sharpie. Behind it I used an oddment of silver braid which was a brilliant last minute find at the point where I thought I was going to have to layer several other ribbons and braids together and use the silver sharpie again to get something similar.

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I was able to cut up and lash together two of the original ostrich feathers to make the plume, which is nowhere near as fluffy as the real thing, but again, will be close enough on stage.

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The director was delighted and the guy who will be playing the role was even more pleased that it was a good fit!

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Not sure I’m cut out for making stage costumes. I think I’m too much of a stickler for nailing the sort of detail that you just don’t see on stage. I’m pleased enough with it though, and very pleased that I managed to do it all from stuff I already had!

After completing the ruched brooch I made with supplies from my Dad’s shed, I still had some scraps of the muslin left. Inspired by the Casalguidi workshop, I decided to add some random pulled work to one of the scraps using four sided stitch and eyelets.

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That reminded me that I hadn’t rusted anything for a while and I had some gorgeous bits of rusty iron just begging to be wrapped. I think those big spirals may be part of an old clock mechanism.

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After a week or so outside in the alternate pouring rain and baking sun of a typical British summer:

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Lots of possibilities!

I’ve also done a little more of the blue work piece and the second shaded flower is nearly completed.

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Getting there slowly…

Our Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild June meeting was an all day workshop on Casalguidi work. It was led by Pauline,  who bravely stepped into the breach as the lady who was supposed to be leading it was been seriously ill this year. We started off with a display of examples not only of Casalguidi but also other types of whitework, including some Ruskin lace, from one of the Guild portfolios.

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The Ruskin lace was stunning and equally as good as any of the pieces at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

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But it was the heavier Casalguidi work that we were focusing on.

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Pauline had provided plenty of threads, linen in different weights and worksheets for us to practise some of the basic stitches, such as four-sided stitch, a pulled thread stitch used to create the background texture of the embroidery, and raised stem band.

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So, after we had oversewn round the linen to stop it fraying, it was time to practise. Four-sided stitch at the top and two raised stem bands, one showing the foundation stitches, at the bottom.

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I started off in a neutral coloured thread, but after using an oddment of variegated perle in yellow, leaf green and cream to mark out the little bag we were going on to make…

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I couldn’t resist ditching the beige thread for something a bit more interesting. In the end, after working a couple more samples, I decided to make a start on the main design for the bag. It’s not a quick stitching project as it’s a form of counted stitch work and not only do you have to concentrate on making sure your counting is right, but you also have to make sure the pulling is even and the stitches in the right order. So my results, even after a bit of stitching since, are not very exciting.

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It’s getting there slowly as I need good light and not to be tired when I’m sewing, but I am enjoying it and looking forward to getting the four-sided stitch ground finished so I can play with some of the other elements.

Sorry I’ve been awol. Issues with work kicked off at the end of May and I’ve really been struggling to get my head round them. In fact, I’ve struggled to do anything much, including sew, but I do have a couple of bits to show.

Firstly, the bluework is coming on slowly. I wanted a section that looked like a fragment of blue and white china from another piece of pottery so I used an old embroidery transfer picture and copied the central part of that into the right hand section.

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I’ve used split stitch to outline the flower shapes and am filling them with a sort of cross between satin stitch and long and short stitch.

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My usual mixture of threads. Some silk, some cotton and some a complete mystery.

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Heavier weight and lighter toned threads on the larger flower which I plan to finish off in white stranded silk.

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I’ve also made another brooch from some of the wooden offcuts and rusted painting cloth I brought back from my Dad’s shed at Easter to go in my Etsy shop.

This one is made from a square of rusted muslin that he was using as a paint cloth. I ruched it onto a much smaller piece of hand dyed cotton with french knots in a rusty-coloured variegated thread which gives it a lovely fluid, tactile surface.

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I’ve mounted it into a square of apple wood left over from one of his chopping board projects.

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The wood is smoothed but not polished and I love that understated background against the contortions of the bunched up fabric.

 

 

The holiday journal is finished and just waiting for me to add some extra papers, pockets etc. to the inside.

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Doing blanket stitch so close together took longer than I bargained but I like the effect.

Then I moved onto another one of my samples for my upcoming Embroiderers’ Guild workshop later in the year. Grey on grey felt embroidered in pale blues.

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Fly stitched edge, straight stitches in a radiating pattern and french knots:

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Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:

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And I’ve turned what I think might have been a vintage money clip into an upcycled sea glass pendant. First of all I sawed off the long bit of the clip following the lines of the design at the bottom.

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Then I pierced and cut out the middle section with a very fine saw, again following the edges of the design, and leaving three tabs to attach the sea glass to.

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A lot of fiddly filing happened next, to really shape the central section and tidy up the tabs before I could set it with a lovely piece of deep turquoise sea glass.

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I love using the piercing saw and the fiddlier the design, the better. I really need to get back to making some more of my original jewellery…

When I went to visit my parents at Easter I spent some time with my dad in his workshop. He turned me a couple of pairs of knitting needles from yew last year…

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…and I used one pair to knit him a hat but the knobs on the end were a bit too small and they were a little on the short side so he turned me a version 2:

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in lilac wood

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with laburnum collars over the ends to make the knobs a better size.

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Laburnum is a fabulous wood. Who could have guessed that the small slender trees which rain down their clusters of golden flowers in suburban gardens at this time of the year have such rich dark wood. I’m not sure where my dad has managed to get so much laburnum from, but you can really see the deep colour of the wood and the dark, spiralling grain in a mouse and egg he made years ago.

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Anyway, whilst in the workshop, to my dad’s bemusement,  I managed to score an assortment of scraps and offcuts of various woods. This is apple, which he has used to make some gorgeous chopping blocks.

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I added some kantha style rusty doodling. (That rusted sheet came from the workshop too, as I remember…)

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With some pieces of watch mechanism added…

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I think this will probably become a brooch.

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Also time I was thinking about upcycling a random notebook – the sort of thing that comes full of gorgeous pictures and inspiring ideas inside glossy lifestyle magazines – into a holiday journal. Usually I just fuse fabric to the inside, but there was more writing on the front than I wanted, so I made a cover sandwich, with fabric inside…

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…and outside.

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I’ve just started to blanket stitch the edge for decoration, to keep the edges of the fused fabric from flapping up and also for adding strength to the cover.

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I’m using a slightly lighter weight perle that I have done before with these journals and so have put the stitches closer together which means I need to concentrate on keeping the spacing neat!

It was our Embroiderers’ Guild Meeting the Saturday before last and between taking my little one for her tennis lesson and not checking the timings on the extremely clear and useful newsletter which our secretary always sends out just prior to the monthly meeting, I managed to roll up late as usual.

By the time I sidled in, everyone was engrossed in their English Paper Piecing project set up by our chair, Ruth, in the morning. As well as providing fabric and sheets of templates, Ruth had brought a fabulous display of books, works in progress and completed projects to inspire.

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Debbie had been inspired by one of Ruth’s patchwork pouches and was well on with her own version in some glorious sunflower fabrics.

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I had gone for some oddments of prints and hand dyes in coffee shades with some indigo dyed cotton for my fabrics.

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Since I’ve been working with hexagons in Auntie Sheila’s patchwork project I decided to go for equilateral triangles for a bit of a challenge.

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I really enjoyed getting quite a few pieced in various fabrics so I could play around with some arrangements and I even got some stitched together, but not entirely sure where I’m going to take this next, which is irritating as it was a really good workshop and I like the colour and shape combinations. I’m sure something will come to me when I’m thinking about something else!

In June the Embroiderers’ Guild are having a stand at the annual Lincolnshire Show and members from various branches in the area have been asked to make some little bits and pieces which could be sold to raise funds and at least cover the cost of the stand. I had seen some little pincushion brooches on Pinterest which were made from puffs of stuffed fabric on a flat metal brooch type background. It just so happened that I had some new flat brass discs among my jewellery making kit, so I used a scrap of silk, a length of vintage crochet thread, a gold bead and a small amount of stuffing and made a prototype.

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There were ten of the stamped brass discs in the packet, so I decided to use all ten. Works in progress…

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And a couple of the finished articles.

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They are now all neatly packed up and ready for the Show. Apparently our branch alone has amassed nearly a hundred items to sell!