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Now I have another section of the bluework piece which is more of a turquoise blue, I’m a bit happier: it’s looking more balanced.

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The lavender now has three layers: a foreground of bullion knot lavender heads, a mid-ground of simple straight stitch lavender heads in a heavy weight perle thread, and a background layer of distant heads in a thin single strand silk.

DSCN6375.JPGNote to self. Stitch the background first – it makes slotting stems in behind the foreground elements ever so much easier…

 

This is a project I started with a group of girls whom I call ‘Tall Poppies’. Bright, articulate children who often experience negativity from their peers due to their abilities. Coming out of the classroom to do some sewing gave them chance to chat in a safe place where no one was going to belittle them for being amazing.

I’d seen some lovely little felt pouch necklaces on Pinterest with hidden positive messages and decided that this would be a great project to work on.

I made various templates and they used pinking shears to cut them out of felt. Then I showed them how to stitch on a snap, keeping it as neat as possible on the other side before they created their own designs, largely based on lazy daisy flowers, thinking about the three sections of the pouch and what would be visible when it was stitched up. I always sew alongside them and this is my pouch.

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After scattering simple lazy daisies across the lower front, I decided to create a more complex design on the back, nesting lazy daisies inside each other to make bigger petals and adding chain stitch tendrils.

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I neatened up the stitches attaching the snap with rings of buttonhole stitch (on the flap)…

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…and chain stitch on the underside.

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The lining is a scrap of gorgeous hand dyed silk dupion which has been caught down with the blanket stitch along the sides, tiny running stitches along the front edge which you can just see in the photo above, and blanket stitch under the flap.

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I’m not sure now about using blanket stitch to sew up the sides and am probably going to take it out and use a neat double running stitch instead.  On the front it looks nice, but I don’t like the effect on the back.

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Seeing something through a photo is so good for showing up the issues you don’t seem able to spot with the naked eye.

The bluework is coming along slowly. I’ve added a centre to the lighter coloured flower on the right hand side.

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However, that part of the design has lapsed as I need to redraw the rest of it and I never seem to have my fabric marker handy when I’m working on it, so I went for another section altogether. My first attempt at this type of bullion knot roses with my favourite fly stitch leaves and stem stitch stem.

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That was a relatively quick stitch, so I thought I’d stay with bullions and create some lavender.

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It looked a bit sparse, so I used a variegated perle thread in a similar colour to create some more heads in the background with nested lazy daisy stitch leaves and split stitch stems on the lavender in the foreground.

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I might use some fine silk to put the suggestion of another row in even further away when I’ve finished the perle.

And the bluework so far…

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I do believe I’m over half way!

Upcycling again. First of all, bringing vintage and modern ribbons and laces, old plastic bracelets and broken brooches together to create my version of a bracelet I saw in a shop window some years ago.

This is Blue Skies. I wrapped the bracelet in some fantastic shibori dyed ribbon for a start. Then I gathered up a length of vintage lace and vintage satin ribbon which I layered to make a rosette. Lastly I finished it off with a centrepiece of a broken vintage brooch.

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This one: Edelweiss, is made the same way but in a burgundy and cream colourway to match the vintage carved bone edelweiss brooch in the centre.

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Lastly, Green Gingham.  Another niggling idea out of my system!

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I rescued this lovely wooden veneered modern card index from being chucked out about 10 years ago and ever since then have been trying to think of something useful I could do with it. The arrival of another box of impossible to resist jewellery from eBay finally made my mind up and its fate as yet another jewellery box was confirmed. I took out the odd cards, metal pin and wooden dividers to get to this:

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Then I cut some very thick card to make a solid base for each drawer.

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And used the lovely heavy weight dark blue velvet on the left of the picture to cover the card bases. I’m afraid I didn’t lace it, I glued it. (Hangs head in shame.)

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But my measuring was spot on – they fitted with the perfect amount of snuggness.

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And are already a bit fuller than I hoped.

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My name is Alex and I have a serious jewellery habit!

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.