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Another committee meeting gave me the time to crack on with my crazy patchwork bead.

Crazy patchwork bead 1

Scattered lazy daisy stitches in variegated green silk with occasional french knots.

Crazy patchwork bead 2

Lines of herringbone stitch which I may or may not lace.

Crazy patchwork bead 3

And the start of some chain stitch stems which will have wheat ear stitch tops.

Crazy patchwork bead 4

Very close to a finish!

Bracken

This is the second piece for the journal I’m creating for our Lake District holiday. It was inspired by the intense rusty orange of the dead bracken stalks on the side of the fell as viewed from the lounge.

Bracken, Great Langdale

I used a mixture of three different threads on my needle, a single strand of silk floss, a single strand of cotton floss and a length of variegated very fine mercerised cotton. A square of paper was backed with masking tape to stabilise it and I used free cross stitch, french knots and long and short stitch to fill the space as the dead bracken stalks filled the fellside.

Bracken 1

Blocks of ‘stone’ were created by building up layers of gesso which were then painted to echo the colour of the green Langdale slate

Bracken 2

Underneath the embroidery I used some of the amazing pencils I bought from the Lakeland Pencil Museum in Keswick to make colour swatches.

Bracken 3

And I also stuck in a beech leaf, found on the aborted walk in question, which fitted in with the colours I was using.

Bracken 4

Windows cut in the previous page give glimpses through.

Bracken 5

I’ve finished the beaded blanket stitch on the edge of the purple square and am very pleased with it. In fact, I’m very happy with the whole overall look.

Purple square with beaded blanket stitch 1

But… I keep thinking of the instruction to bling it up and wondering if I should do any more. I’ve thought about various forms of beaded feather stitch across the spiral or rows of french knots either side of it; back stitched lines running through the spiral with french knot ends or oglala stitch beading over the spiral.

Purple square with beaded blanket stitch 2

Really not sure, so I’m returning to the crazy patchwork bead for a bit.

Lazy daisy leaves

Any thoughts?

As usual, I was slightly late to our April Embroiderer’s Guild meeting and so missed the important details about how we had all come to be given an unassuming little piece of heavy damasked fabric which we were told should be lavishly embellished in either purple, silver or gold. Never adverse to lavishly embellishing something small, I’ve made a start.

Purple square 1

A piece of silver cord, couched down into a spiral with pale grey silk thread

Purple square 2

The edges aren’t fraying massively, but I wanted to get some blanket stitch over them to keep it all stable. Beaded blanket stitch was the obvious choice, but this time with three beads to each stitch, to give little picots all along the edge.

Purple square 3

At the moment I’m struggling to find a needle with an eye big enough to take the purple perle thread but small enough to let the beads slide through. It’s a delicate balance.

I saw the idea for covering a large focal bead with crazy patchwork some time ago and it was something that I knew I wanted to have a go at, but it wasn’t until I found a very large wooden bead a week or so ago while hunting for something else that I had my chance.

First I pieced together some scraps of silk in greens and browns.

Crazy patchwork bead 1

Then I used feather stitch in single strands of brown silk to secure the patches to the calico backing and started to embellish the first patch with spirals of kantha stitch in a variegated blue-green-brown silk thread.

Crazy patchwork bead 3

It looks more blue in the photos than in real life.

Crazy patchwork bead 3

Just need to work out what I’m doing on the other sections now. As it’s going to be a pendant drop, I want the embroidery to be flat, rather than raised, which counts out several favourite go-to stitches!

After the rows of Ripple Stitch I moved on to Cobbler Filling. I love the little windows effect of this and its more geometric look was a good contrast to the more curvy stitch above.

Cobbler Filling

Next Reeded Stitch. This is one of the few pulled thread stitches I’ve used more than once and I am still yet to work it without a mistake!

Reeded Stitch

 

It’s not so much the counting but whether the double back stitch begins in the the same row as the vertical stitches before it, or the next row. I concentrated very carefully but alas, there is still an error. Even I struggle to find it, so I’m afraid, not being able to face taking down three rows of tightly pulled stitching, I left it.

Reeded Stitch close-up

 

Following the long waves of Reeded Stitch I wanted to do one of the Greek Cross Stitch Filling stitches. I really liked the way that you got not only little fat quatrefoil crosses, but also the impression of interlocking circles.

Greek Cross Filling

It was quite challenging in the weight of thread that I’d chosen to use and I think would generally work better in a heavier thread.

Greek Cross Filling close-up

 

And last, just to finish off, a simple row of Double Faggot Stitch. Each stitch is worked over twice, which helps to pull it in more tightly.

Double Faggot Stitch

All finished and very pleased with the result.

Pulled Thread sampler

I deliberated over how to finish the sampler and in the end trimmed off the frayed edges, sealed the newly cut edges with Modge Podge and simply laced it over a board to which I’d glued a piece of light brown velvet before handing it in at our Guild Meeting last Saturday, realising as I did so that I’d forgotten to take a photo of the finished article!

The starting point for this holiday’s journal was my middle one, who is doing ‘A’ level Art and is creating some very interesting and effective work stitching into photos and paper. I’ve been really inspired by this and to go along with the paper theme, I decided to alter a book as the journal. Here is the first spread,

Frosty lake tree 1

I used the top of the image on the left which I transferred to a piece of indigo dyed cotton with gel medium. The medium dried quite opaque, giving the image a very evocative, misty feel.

Frosty lake tree 2

Then I used a single strand of Caron Waterlilies variegated silk thread in a very loose stem stitch to pick out some of the detail.

Frosty lake tree 3

Really enjoyed my experimenting.

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