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Saturday sort of got away from me. I knew I wasn’t going to make the morning session of our Embroiderers’ Guild meeting but I had high hopes of making the afternoon. That was a mistake. I finally walked through the door at about 3pm and by the time I’d caught my breath, looked round at all the various boards, tables and displays and sorted my travelling book there was only enough time for chatting (always good, though) and putting literally a handful of stitches in one of the activities that our new chair, Ruth, had organised for us.

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Pauline had finished her bookmark and was happy to let me photograph it.

 

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Another group was stitching heart shaped decorations. This one is Julie’s:

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Debbie and Janet pulled together their matryoshka with the examples Ruth had already stitched for me to photograph.

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There was also another flower shaped decoration or similar but I didn’t manage to find any worked examples of that. It looked like a nice selection of fun things to stitch and even though I only had an hour, it was lovely to relax with some straightforward stitching and good company.

I’ve also been making some more ribbon roses to turn into pendants. This one has fly stitch leaves, stem stitch stems and lazy daisy sepals in variegated coton a broder with a woven spider’s web rose and french knot buds in pale blue silk ribbon.

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And this one has fly stitch leaves, split stitch stems and lazy daisy sepals in variegated perle with a woven spider’s web rose and french knot buds in crimson silk ribbon.

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A weekend of nice quick little projects.

My Travelling Book page was quick, easy and finished a full day before the Guild meeting, which is virtually unheard of!

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My Frister and Rossmann rose to the occasion yet again, stitching happily through a sandwich of cotton calico and crinkle rayon with cotton in the bobbin and golden coloured rayon in the top to define the edges of the fish.

Seeing how well it coped with the rayon, I thought I’d try metallic Gutermann thread to just highlight the inside of the fins and the main body. Metallic thread? Piece of cake.

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Silver sequins and pale blue beads for the eyes and they were finished!

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I know they are gold but they made me think of the herrings – the ‘silver darlings’  – which were such an important part of the economy of East Anglia and in the lives of my dad’s side of the family, who were trawlermen. And then it was a short step to the words of a folk song I grew up with: Windy Old Weather.

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So on Saturday off the silver darlings went on the next round of the Travelling Book project!

I’m still vaguely irritated about not being able to finish the french knot project so have been knitting socks instead and trying not to think about how fast I seem to be hurtling towards Christmas. Then I realised it was Guild this Saturday; time for the Travelling Books to set off on their third round and I still hadn’t done mine. I’m going to use some of the printing I did at Chris Gray’s workshop in the summer and it’s got this far:

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Not a single stitch in it. Oops. Guess what I need to do when I finish writing this…

But first I thought I’d share some of the pages that other people have stitched for me on the theme of The Sea.

Pam’s beach huts on a pieced patchwork background:

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Lorna’s paper string technique:

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Eilleen’s ‘Water Babies’ inspired underwater scene:

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Helen’s Rod Stewart ‘Sailing’ ships against a textured painted fabric background.

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Pauline’s impression of the Barrier Reef from a recent visit. The background is transfer printed using wrapping paper ironed onto calico!

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Mary gave me this delicious looking 3D crab.

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And finally Debbie interpreted one of her lovely photos taken at Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire in layers of fabric and stitch.

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They are all delightful – thanks everyone!

It seems that you can’t get away from Black Friday even in this country, so if you can’t beat them, join them. I’m offering a 25% discount on orders over £5 in my Etsy shop until the 5th of December. The code to enter at the checkout is: IFYOUCANTBEATTHEM

 

I put the final french knot into my huge piece for the Victorian Box Project  two days ago and after nearly 15 months, it was a fabulous feeling!

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I stabilised the back before I sent to bed so it could dry overnight and the next morning got the box out ready to attach the stitching. So excited! I laid it over the top of the box and stretched it over the sides and that was then I discovered that it had shrunk somewhere and wasn’t going to fit. Fortunately I have some leeway around the edges, but it’s back to the drawing board for the moment.

So to cheer myself up I picked up the brown and gold sea glass watch case pendant I showed a couple of posts ago.

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I love those tiny nuggets of very rare yellow sea glass I picked up at Seaham and the colours work perfectly with the watch case.

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I’ve also started a real upcycled piece, creating something from nothing. I started with an offcut of some hand made felt I was cutting up for another project and a piece of bent gold coloured wire that came out of a job lot of broken jewellery. Trimming the felt slightly I evened up the shape and attached the wire with straight stitches in fine silk thread. The longer stitches were topped with french knots – what else! – in a heavier mercerised cotton and I used the same thread for running stitch around the edge.

 

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I attached a pelmet vilene backing with beaded blanket stitch…

 

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…and an odd link I took off a vintage rolled gold watch strap yesterday will make the perfect bale to turn it into a pendant.

This was my last piece for someone else’s travelling book before we started a new journey and Debbie’s brief was to create something to do with letters.

I already had a piece of embellished sheet music left over from a workshop we did last year with Fran Holmes. The bigger piece had gone to cover the steampunk journal I made for a friend’s wedding…

 

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…and I had the smaller piece left, which I had started to cover in seed stitch.

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I finished the seed stitch, which was a bit of a marathon to say the least,

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and as the finished piece was nicely sturdy, with layers of fusible vilene, thick paper, chiffon and heavy stitching, I decided to turn it into the cover of a journal which could be sent as a letter. I took the idea from a book I’d recently bought and for card and paper substituted fused fabric and kimono silk.

I fused a piece of chiffon to the back to stabilise the stitching when I cut it and also to neaten it off a bit.

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Then I cut three sets of pages from vintage Japanese kimono silk…

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…and pamphlet stitched them into the cover, which I had already cut to shape.

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The left flap folds under and the tapered section on the right slots into the slit on the left.

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I copied the instructions to go with the journal and made an envelope for it to go into using a photocopied piece of the instructions which hadn’t printed properly.

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Next was the bag. Debbie had made a bag for her travelling book to go in at the beginning of the project, when we all had nice slim books. Three rounds later there was no way her book was going back into the bag, so she asked me to alter the bag as if it was an envelope that had been to and fro through the postal system.

I used some postal themed rubber stamps and found some slightly shiny fabric which looks a bit like parcel tape, slit the bag up the sides and started to add sections of the parcel tape fabric to enlarge the bag. Then I stamped all over the front and back and stitched it all together.

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Now I need to put another piece into my own journal before it wanders off on another round of travels.

It was a pleasure to finish the little Bossa Nova Rose from our Embroiderers’ Guild Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery workshop last weekend. I didn’t follow the instructions when it came to the leaves, going for fly stitch over blanket stitch and not adding the fine pale green edging it suggested because I felt the sheen of the thread gave enough definition.

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And then quickly finished as a card.

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My first sea glass and pocket watch case pendant positively flew out of my Etsy shop and I’ve started another one to go with a harlequin case of a gold coloured collar and engine turned back. I’ve got some tiny pieces of very rare yellow sea glass and some ordinary brown to add to this.

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I also turned some off cuts of hand dyed fabric, the batik I’m using above and some cotton print in shades of brown into some strip patchwork which I used to cover a grotty looking cabochon pendant…

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…turning it into an upcycled patchwork pendant with added vintage lace and flower trim.

Lots going on!

 

Our October Meeting at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild was an all day workshop with Ann Stalley on Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery. Knowing that it involved rayon thread, which in my experience is some of the most evil stuff on the planet, I was in two minds about the workshop. However, I can never resist a go at something new and so armed with a big block of beeswax for beating the rayon into submission, I headed off to the meeting to admire Ann’s work…

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…before she told us about her creative  journey. Hard to believe when looking at work like this, that Ann has only been doing Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery for eighteen months.

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She also assured us that the special threads (Edmar) used for this type of work are nothing like ordinary rayon thread (but still I had my beeswax ready just in case!).

Then it was our turn. For the morning session we would practise some of the basic stitches and then stitch a design using those basics in the afternoon. We each had a pack with some of the thread, two substantial milliners’ needles and some calico.

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First, bullions. I can do them but they’re not one of my stitches of choice. We put five pairs of dots in, all about a quarter of an inch apart. Our first bullion was ten wraps and pretty much filled the gap. That’s when I found it easier to work out of the hoop. The second one, to go in the same space, was twenty wraps, then thirty, forty and fifty, getting progressively loopier the more wraps we did.

I take it all back about the thread. The Edmar is a delight to work with. The loops slide smoothly over the needle and even though my bullions could be a lot more even, they were an awful lot easier to work than with ordinary thread.

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Next was a bullion lazy daisy. It’s an interesting technique as the little bullions are formed as part of the stitch, rather than being like the running stitch that tacks a normal lazy daisy down and took some practise.  They also would have been a lot neater if I’d hooped the calico back up!

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Lastly was cast on stitch which once I got a rhythm to casting on the loops, I absolutely loved.

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So much so, that I had a go at creating a sort of flower with cast on stitch petals in perle over lunch. It worked, but wasn’t as crisp a finish and just didn’t stand up as well as the Edmar.

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Using the perle illustrated perfectly what it is about the springiness of the rayon thread that makes the dimensional elements work so well. I was definitely ready to start the afternoon’s design of the bullion rose spray.

However, I struggled to place the first rounds of bullions properly and halfway through, although I was pleased with the quality of the bullions, I wasn’t happy with my scrappy rose.

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Luckily the outer bullions managed to neaten things up, and with the addition of a bead centre, managed to salvage it from being a complete disaster.

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Next the leaves. The design used buttonhole stitch but I love the way close fly stitch works up into leaves and I thought that this would suit the lustre of the thread.

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Very pleased with the result and by the end of the afternoon I had two leaves added to the spray.

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Not much to do to finish, and despite my slight misgivings beforehand, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I’m seriously thinking about investing in some Edmar threads and I fancy seeing if I can stitch some dimensional sea shells.