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The pulled thread work for my travelling book is coming on nicely. I’ve filled in most of the right hand side and am moving up the left.

Pulled threads 1

Triangular stitch: interesting little v-shaped clusters of herringbone stitch produce this subtle diamond-like effect. And an odd eyelet. I’m going to scatter a few more of these around towards the end.

Pulled threads 2

 

Above the ripple stitch, more freely rendered diamond stitch waves and another section of reeded stitch.

Pulled threads 3

Pulled threads 4

About three quarters done and really enjoying it.

For my first travelling book piece I wanted to use pulled thread work around the sea glass and faux sea glass to look like ripples in the sand. I’ve dabbled in pulled thread before and I love the way the fabric distorts to create textures. So I hooped up my sea glass…

Beach ripples 1

…and found a fantastic thread almost the same colour as the scrim to work with. This is ripple stitch.

Beach ripples 2

And this is diamond stitch, although I’ve worked it as single zig-zag rows.

Beach ripples 3

First stage:

Beach ripples 4

Then some more diamond stitch rows to join the ripple stitch section.

Beach ripples 5

Next, reeded stitch joining the diamond stitch ripples.

Beach ripples 6

End of the second stage:

Beach ripples 7

Loving this, so it was a real delight when I randomly picked a technique to work for our Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition in the summer and found it was pulled thread work!!

During Panto week (which seems a long time ago now even though I only finished washing costumes and putting them away yesterday!) I also made a start on a 17th birthday card for my middle one. She’s very much into all things alternative and I’d found a small, simple cross stitch pattern quite a while ago for a little skull. I decided to stitch a few and dress them up like Day of the Dead candy skulls.

Skull with spirals

Autumn skull

Spring skull

My first three, all stitched during panto week and on target for the birthday.

Three Day of the Dead skulls

And the last two, all ready to be decorated.

Cross stitch skulls

But then work and other things happened and with the best will in the world I could not manage to get round to the final finishing until this week.

Waves skull

Roses skull

 

Then the making up, surrounding each skull in a riot of hessian flowers with sparkly middles on a very dark green card background.

Day of the Dead birthday card 1

 

Day of the Dead birthday card 2

 

DSCN6982

It was rather late, but she liked it.

 

I thought I’d neatly avoided all the winter germs (having the constitution of a rock troll helps…) but no. I succumbed to a nasty bout of tonsillitis last week and all I really could rouse myself to do (apart from read) was some quiet zentangling in my travelling book. The initial design soon filled out:

Contact details page 1

 

Contact details page 2

Contact details page 3

Contact details page 4

Contact details page 5

Contact details page 6

 

Thank goodness its nearly half term!

I’ve been looking forward to the January meeting of our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild as it’s the start of our travelling books project. I’ve always been interested in the idea of round robins and I’m really looking forward to not only getting my own book back in 6 months time, but also to stretching my creative practice by working in other people’s books within their rules.

We’ve all started with a spiral bound A5 sketchbook to which I need to add a cover, especially as I managed to drop some chutney on it from my lunch… I’m going to have a welcome and guidelines page on the back of the front endpaper and then there was a spare page facing, so I’ve started to put my name and quick contact details there in Zentangle style. (There are full contact details on the inside of the back cover)

Contact details page

Then I started on my first piece. I’ve decided that I’d like a theme to my travelling book and so have chosen one close to my heart – the sea. This of course, led to play-time with the bagful of glass I beachcombed from Polperro last summer.

Travelling book sea glass 1

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s something a little odd about some of the nuggets in the photo above. If you look closer…

Travelling book sea glass 2

 

…there are imposters…

Travelling book sea glass 3

…in hand dyed silk and indigo shibori cotton.

Travelling book sea glass 4

The background fabric is a lovely natural coloured scrim and I plan to use pulled thread work around the pieces of ‘sea glass’ and ‘pottery’ to give the impression of them being scattered in the sand of the beach.

As well as doing the costume for our panto last week, I was also the dame’s ‘dresser’. Those elaborate costumes can be difficult to put on, especially with hoops underneath some of the full-skirted frocks, and constant changes of wigs, shoes, jewellery etc. so we always have someone whose specific job is to help. This, naturally, means being at the theatre for every performance.

Spending every evening backstage for a week is a bit of a long haul after a full day’s work, but there are advantages. Firstly, I was on hand for all the last minute costume tweaks and any mends that became apparent over the course of the run and secondly, in between costume changes and when there was no mending, I could actually get on with some of my own work.

First of all, I finished off the second strip of James’ patchwork cushion. Here it is, alongside the first.

Blue crazy patchwork strips 1 and 2

And then I started the feather stitching on the third strip:

Blue crazy patchwork strip 3

Blue crazy patchwork strip 3 close up

Blue crazy patchwork strip 3 butterfly end

I also finally finished off the second denim cuff book (the one with lazy daisy flowers) with a beaded spine.

Denim cuff book 2

Denim cuff books

Denim cuff book beaded spine

Denim cuff book 2 open

More to come, including a birthday card I can’t unveil until the weekend!

Sorry, everyone, but Panto just happened in this neck of the woods and this year I volunteered to costume it. (My middle one was Principal Boy and is the tallest one in the middle of the shot (between the princess and Puss In Boots) with the dodgy medieval hat and my little one is the kitten closest to the camera on the left)

P1110947

Even though I’m lucky enough to belong to a club with its own premises and huge stock of costumes, it was still quite an undertaking. Back in November, shortly after casting, I was creating a costume plot, liaising with the director to come to a shared vision of what these characters would look like on the stage. In this scene, the dame is cleaning, so I wanted to make a costume that reflected that. She has a duster bow on her mob cap, washing up sponge/scourer buttons and rosettes of j-cloths with pan scourers centres around her skirt.

P1110782

Then there was hunting out and finding/sourcing and making. Luckily I didn’t have too many costumes to physically make, but the 17 ¬†children in the cast had 46 separate costumes alone (variously villagers, fairies, kittens, ghosts and skeletons) and they all needed hunting out of stock and fitting.

P1110734

Since Christmas it has been crazily busy, and last week I sewed solidly for 4 days, ¬†making accessories and altering a whole load of costumes including this massive and very heavy dame’s dress (which had to have the pink modesty panel stitched into the front as well as a large insert in the back)

P1110747

and a boiler suit for the dame’s Ghostbusters costume.

P1110872

Unfortunately this is the best of several very poor shots of it – a friend of mine made the most amazing ‘screen-accurate’ proton pack complete with ‘gun’ to wear on the back and with heavy duty elbow pads, the Ghostbusters logos (which are on the tops of the sleeves) on full view, and marabou trimmed heavy gloves in the belt, it looked amazing.

Last Sunday was the get in – two trips from our Guildroom to the theatre to transport all the costumes and three plus hours steaming them (an alternative to ironing). Then I spent all week backstage mending and being the dame’s dresser until the get out last night.

P1110927

Normal service will be resumed very soon. Surprisingly enough I’m not sick of a needle yet!

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