I enjoyed the canvaswork knot garden so much I carried on planting my beds.

More knot garden 1

Rhodes stitch on the left and a composite stitch of upright cross stitches within boxes in green with diagonal cross stitches over the top in variegated orange on the right.

More knot garden 2

Crossed cushion stitch – I love this one, especially as I was able to use a thinner thread over the top and so let the threads underneath peek through.

More knot garden 3

Final beds planted top right and bottom left with a Smyrna cross stitch variant. The Smyrna crosses are worked in a trio of variegated green/yellow/orange threads. This leaves space for little upright crosses in between the larger ones, which I added in using the russety coloured stranded thread that has turned up in most of the designs.

More knot garden 4

Just the central section to go. The original design was for a glass shisha ‘pond’ attached with shisha stitch, but I only had large flat sequins at home and they were nearly as wide as the central space so I cheated and covered a brass ring with buttonhole stitch to hold them in place.

More knot garden 5

The space in the corners was filled with French knots in the same thread.

More knot garden 6

Ready to make up now, but it’s been put to one side by two new projects. Firstly, turning this Country Living freebie notebook into a holiday journal:


And secondly, winning this sad and sorry box from eBay.

Sad box 1

As you can see, it’s lost a fair amount of veneer and someone has had a cunning plan to encrust the spaces with odds and ends – an old watch face, a couple of broken earrings, a Renault emblem and other esoteric fragments. It must have once been beautiful. What’s left of the flame mahogany veneer is stunning – or could be, with polish and tlc.

Sad box 2

I couldn’t resist and it was mine for a little over a fiver, including P&P. Off have come the oddments.

Sad box 3

And I’ve made a template for the missing piece of veneer on the lid with some pelmet vilene.

Sad box 4

I’m going to make it beautiful again.

This was the project at our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting before our summer break and it was exactly what I needed after a very hectic last week of work. Nothing like sitting quietly with the calming regularity of canvas stitches to restore your soul a little. At the end of the day I had managed to stitch most of the ‘hard landscaping’ of the paths in cushion stitch and ‘planted’ two and a half beds.

Canvaswork pincushion 1

Two in rice stitch…

Canvaswork pincushion 2

…and the half in eyelet stitch.

Canvaswork pincushion 3

I was enjoying myself so much I took it along to our theatre club panto script reading that evening to stitch the rest of the paths and do some more ‘planting’.

Canvaswork pincushion 4

It’s been the perfect project with which to unwind into the holidays.

Thanks to everyone who chipped in and gave me their thoughts on my publicity image for ‘Cheshire Cats.’ It obviously did the job which was what I needed to check. Brownie points go to those of you who saw the breast cancer ribbons as stylised people walking through London. :o) And special thanks to Fiona who not only hit on the Moonwalk but also gave me some wonderful food for thought about another way of looking at the title. Thanks, Fiona – I’m going to share that with my cast at tonight’s rehearsal.

So if you’re wondering quite what the story is,  here is my blurb for the back of the flyer:

“Come on, Cheshire Cats! Best foot forward…or should that be breast foot forward?” A group of Cheshire women united by cancer form themselves into a fund-raising team called ‘The Cheshire Cats’. Donning their decorated bras, putting plenty of Vaseline on their pressure points and laying in a good supply of padded plasters (for blisters of course), they set out to do the 13-mile Moonwalk through the streets of London to raise money for Breast Cancer charities. However, their planned ‘girly weekend’ away doesn’t quite go the way they expected.

Will Hilary get the record time she wants to prove how much she loved her mum? Will Maggie’s bad back hold out and is Yvonne really going to wear her snazzy new trainers without breaking them in first?

Hilarious, heart-warming and heart-breaking by turns, this award-winning play by Gail Young will make you laugh and cry – sometimes both at once!

..paints a thousand words… I’ve been struggling with the publicity image for the show I’m directing at the moment, “Cheshire Cats”. Since the title gives nothing away about the show, I wanted the image to help. It’s sort of what I had in mind but I could do with some outside opinions.

Here it is:

Cheshire Cats

What would you assume the show is going to be about?

Thanks to last night’s committee meeting the blue stumpwork piece now looks like this:

More blue stumpwork1

I’ve closed the centre of the spiral trellis stitch. That was wonderful to work and I’ll definitely be doing it again!

More blue stumpwork 2

Then I added a couple of stylised leaves in corded Brussels stitch on a chain foundation.

More blue stumpwork 3

I want to add a 3D stem of buttonhole stitch worked over a pipecleaner or small stick or something similar and had nothing suitable with me so at this point, nearing the end of the meeting, I turned my attention to the Brantwood whitework.

Whitework leaf 1

Not a huge amount to show, but I’ve almost done half the padded satin stitch on another of the leaves.

Whitework leaf 2

I was almost sorry when the meeting ended promptly! In case you were wondering, I do contribute to these meetings – last night I gave three reports and chipped in on all discussions. It’s just that I find it easier to concentrate when my hands are doing something and I do get loads done!

I fell in love with this design of a baby leaf-tailed dragon from Tanya at Opus Anglicanum some time ago and sent for a kit, but like a lot of things, it ended up a good way down my list of priorities. However, a few weekends ago a local church with links to the Magna Carta put on a festival which involved the theatre group to which I belong. I wasn’t acting, just sitting there in costume encouraging people to sign up to our mailing list, and it seemed a perfect opportunity to start the little dragon. My costume might have only been stage-medieval, but the embroidery was the real thing!

So this is as far as I got during the day.

Baby leaf-tailed dragon green section 1

He’s stitched on the most gorgeous lightweight woollen fabric. I’ve never stitched on wool before and it’s fabulous, as are the hand dyed wools that came with him. I just love the natural variations in the dyes.

Baby leaf-tailed dragon green section 2

It occurs to me though that he’s not actually a dragon. Dragons have four legs in addition to a pair of wings and this little guy only has two, which makes him a wyvern. A baby leaf-tailed wyvern.

Baby leaf-tailed dragon green section 3

I really ought to get on with him…

First, an addition to my abstract stumpwork piece from Guild a few months ago. I’ve wanted to have a go at spiral trellis stitch for a while.

Spiral trellis stitch 1

It’s worked on a double running stitch base, simply putting knots into the foundation stitches and then as it spirals round, into the spaces between the knots.

Spiral trellis stitch 2

I wanted mine quite flat so I worked in a steady decrease (missing out the odd space between knots) from the beginning. Unfortunately, this has meant some breaks in the nice spiral of knots, but not bad for a first attempt and I think some of them can be nudged over a little to hide some of the spaces.

Spiral trellis stitch 3

The Brantwood pillow whitework is also coming along. I’ve put all the elements in, at least in outline, so I can get rid of the disappearing pen.

More whitework 1

The centre of the French knot clusters are worked in a thicker thread than the outside to give a more rounded shape.

More whitework 2

Not too sure about the shape of the middle section of the leaf. The original is much closer to the outside edge but the outside edge of the original is less bold/bulky than mine.

More whitework 3

I think I’ll work the outer border of the other two leaves first and then see how I feel about it.


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