Feeds:
Posts
Comments

One or two finished and ongoing oddments.

First, the little blackwork project I started back in November with Alison Larkin. Interlaced border next…

DSCN7440.JPG

…nearly there…

DSCN7570

…completed!

DSCN7578.JPG

I can’t believe the last bluework update I posted was at the start of October! It’s gone slowly from this:

DSCN6374

to this:

DSCN7902.JPG

Eyelets as spiky abstract daisies at the bottom.

DSCN7901.JPG

And another shaded long and short stitch flower.

DSCN7903.JPG

Creative mending has been on the agenda as well. I needed to mend a slit right at the front of one of my favourite tops where a thread had given up the ghost. There was no way I was going to make it invisible, so I did the darning…

DSCN7912.JPG

…and added some embroidered trims over the top to make a feature. It’s so good to be wearing this top again, and the motif looks like it was always meant to be there!

DSCN7914.JPG

And lastly, the piece I started as a work in progress for the Stitch Play workshop. It’s so nearly done, I really ought to get it finished!

DSCN8083.JPG

Especially as I have a plan for a biggish stitching project in 2018…

I learned a lot stitching the samples for the Stitch Play workshop and it wasn’t just adding new stitches to my repertoire.

I know that thread makes a significant difference to how the stitch looks and sits on the fabric, but I don’t often take the time to experiment. Usually, I start stitching, realise it isn’t right for the look I’m trying to achieve, and restitch it in the ‘right’ thread. The samples gave me the opportunity to really explore the different effects of different threads, especially the heavier threads which I tend to use less.

My first sample piece was based on the leaves and flowers pairs I stitched for Sandra and Val in the last round of Travelling Books. I liked the way the satin stitch worked up in the variegated thread and also the effect of the knotty Portuguese Stem Stitch.

DSCN7793

After having worked some bigger shapes with multiple stitches used on each, I wanted to showcase smaller shapes with just a couple of stitches used but a different stitch to edge each one for my second sample piece.

DSCN7788.JPG

I enjoyed using these wintry blues and am particularly pleased with the effect of the sheaf stitch around the edge of the central circle.

I thought it was also useful to label the samples with the name of the stitches used.

DSCN7787.JPG

Two samples in, I started to look for shapes to include on the worksheet and found some lovely vase silhouettes.

DSCN7795.JPG

Having worked on finding lots of different edging stitches for the spots piece, I went back to simple blanket and Berwick Stitches to hold the vase shapes down. Then I could go to town on linear stitches to create the bands across the vases. Chain Stitch is the only repeated stitch on this piece.

DSCN7796.JPG

I really liked the effect of the four legged knot stitch (3rd row up from the bottom).

DSCN7798.JPG

I looked at my three samples so far and sighed as I realised that once again, I’d stuck to my favourite green and blue palette and each one was stitched in shades of a single colour. I decided that for the last sample I was going to use rows of bright clashing colours. Yeah, right…

DSCN7800.JPG

I simply couldn’t do it! But at least there are other colours than blue and green going on…

The Guilloche Stitch at the top is a composite stitch, with french knots, stem stitch top and bottom and a threaded thing going on down the middle. It’s a stitch I would never use normally, but it was perfect for the band going along the edge of the cup.

DSCN7803.JPG

I love the feathered chain/chained feather stitch along the top of the mug and I also reused a few stitches from the vases sample. The raised chain band (5th row down) was worked in all six strands of a stranded cotton, as opposed to the perle on the first green vase (also 5th row down) and the effect is much richer and fuller.

I also found that using a heavier weight perle on the scroll stitch (2nd row down) than I did on the second green vase (also 2nd row down) helped it to sit better.

DSCN7807.JPG

They were fun to stitch, but I was ready to return to something different by the time the workshop came round!

First of all, Happy New Year to you all!  As promised, now the holiday period is out of the way, some more images of the stitch play workshop I ran at our December Embroiderers’ Guild meeting. I managed to stitch and mount four example pieces which between them showcase 48 different stitches, many of which were completely new to me.

DSCN7809.JPG

I provided everyone with a two-page worksheet containing the instructions and sixteen simple shapes from leaves and flowers to a star, bird, Christmas tree, heart etc to use as the base for their stitch play.  The results were fabulous.

20171216_153144_HDR.jpg

The background felt for Janet’s little robin was sparkly, which isn’t obvious in the photo, but made him look very festive!

20171216_153115_HDR.jpg

20171216_153053_HDR.jpg

20171216_153043_HDR.jpg

20171216_153029_HDR.jpg

20171216_153017_HDR.jpg

20171216_152958_HDR.jpg

20171216_152929_HDR.jpg

Pauline combined the stitch play idea with a felt project she already had on the go.

20171216_152917_HDR.jpg

All my pieces were stitched on light coloured felt so I could use a marker to keep my lines straight and equidistant, but pencil/markers don’t show up dark coloured felt so I made note of Sally’s use of guideline tacking stitches to keep her work level.

20171216_152852_HDR.jpg

20171216_152833_HDR.jpg

20171216_152754_HDR.jpg

20171216_152652_HDR.jpg

20171216_152635_HDR.jpg

20171216_152551_HDR.jpg

20171216_152520_HDR.jpg

20171216_152506_HDR.jpg

I admire the bravery of anyone, who like Christina, has a go at Rosette Chain Stitch, especially in stranded cotton!

20171216_152456_HDR.jpg

20171216_152423_HDR.jpg

20171216_145116_HDR.jpg

Don’t know why this one insists on going sideways!

20171216_135744_HDR.jpg

20171216_135733_HDR.jpg

Mary was also working on a project which lent itself to the stitch play.

20171216_135617_HDR.jpg

As a workshop it seemed to go down very well indeed. Pretty much everybody tried at least one stitch they hadn’t worked before/hadn’t worked for some time and everyone, from the most to the least experienced of us, was able to work and achieve at our own rate and ability level, which is what I had hoped would happen. :o)

Our December meeting was held last Saturday and was an all day Stitch Play workshop sort of in the style of Sue Spargo which I led – hence why so much of my recent stitching has been under wraps! There are so many images of the work that came out of it that I’m going to leave you hanging until after Christmas for a report on the workshop and instead just show the results of our Christmas Challenge, which was set at the AGM in September to create a Christmas tote bag suitable either for an adult or a child.

We voted for our top five in each category by putting beads in a saucer.

20171216_121702_HDR.jpg

20171216_121718_HDR.jpg20171216_121710_HDR.jpg

20171216_121724_HDR.jpg

20171216_121731_HDR.jpg

The winner of the children’s bag section was Sally, with her intricate gingerbread house and biscuit button topped roof on the right in the photo.

20171216_121706_HDR

Hazel’s bag (far left) is fitted with fairy lights in the middle of each star which actually light up!

20171216_121633_HDR.jpg

20171216_121640_HDR.jpg

20171216_121648_HDR.jpg

20171216_121651_HDR.jpg

20171216_121655_HDR.jpg

The competition in the adult’s bag section was extremely close but Pauline’s Holly and the Ivy bag, on the left, won by a well-deserved whisker. I’m relieved that we had five votes because I could not have chosen just one.

20171216_121628_HDR.jpg

If I’ve missed anybody’s bag, my apologies! I’ll leave you with a long shot of the Challenge Bags in the background and a glimpse of my table set up with materials and examples…

20171216_121617_HDR.jpg

Have a fabulous Christmas!

This week it was bitterly cold but bright – perfect for sanding the drawers of my ’60s teak chest of drawers outside.

Starting point: tired, faded, stained.

20171208_104003_HDR.jpg

20171208_111152_HDR.jpg

Simply sanded as close as I could get to the handles. The handles are amazing. Most furniture has at least one loose handle. Not this one. Every single handle is rock solid, glued, screwed or whatever, but it’s a good job I love the original handles because they were NOT coming off…

20171208_104022_HDR.jpgThen laborious sanding down by hand to get to this:

20171208_105617_HDR.jpgThree more to go before the Danish Oil could work its magic. And what magic! I was prepared for it this time but it still blew me away.

20171208_144531_HDR.jpg

20171208_144549_HDR.jpgThree coats of Danish Oil and a thorough polishing with beeswax later, it was transformed from this: 20171126_105438_HDRTo this:

20171210_104643_HDR.jpgIt’s now in my bedroom filled with Christmas presents and fabric. I absolutely love it! :o)

I’ve also had a bit of a metalwork session. I loved the effect of the printed silk carrier rod behind the rescued gold tone bib, so I hunted out some of the brass I impressed when I did my silversmithing course several years ago…

DSCN1726.JPG

…and started to play.  This is going to be a pendant.

DSCN7586.JPG

And this, a brooch.

DSCN7587.JPGI love cutting fiddly shapes with the piercing saw, letting it and the texture of the metal dictate where it goes and making these pieces has been a joy. I have an oval pendant on the way too. More photos to come.

In my bedroom I have a grotty inherited two drawer chest of IKEA drawers which is only still there because it holds an inordinate amount of fabric. I’ve been looking vaguely for a replacement for some time, preferably one with a few more drawers in it… I imagine I’m not the only person who is always looking for more storage!

I love 60s/70s teak furniture with simple stylish lines and was delighted to find the perfect item in one of our local charity shops. So, for £40 including delivery, I have become the proud owner of nearly double the amount of storage in the form of this lovely teak veneered chest of drawers made by the Somerset based company Avalon.

20171126_105438_HDR.jpg

I’ve been watching far too many upcycling programmes and although it was clean and serviceable, I couldn’t resist trying to restore it to its original glory. It had obviously been standing in sunlight and the finish was badly faded and the top had the usual quota of water stains, dints etc.

20171126_105445_HDR.jpg

So, out with the sander and caution as among the information I’d been able to turn up online about Avalon furniture were warnings about the relative thinness of the veneer compared with other bigger names of the day such as Nathan and G-Plan.

The light varnish came away easily and I was easily able to sand out the damage to the top. The sides also came up really well too and I was over the moon at the beauty of the wood.

20171126_124825_HDR.jpg

Then out with the Danish Oil and…wow. Just wow. I could not believe the depth and beauty of the natural colour of that wood. I haven’t used a stain to get that colour, just clear Danish Oil.

20171126_124830_HDR.jpg

I am so in love! I also discovered that the solid wood legs unscrew (WIN!) so I was able to unscrew them and give them a proper sand, stain and polish. The carcass has had three coats of oil and been buffed up with a beeswax polish and I just have the drawer fronts to do when I get a nice day which isn’t perishingly cold. Working outside at this end of the year is a bit of a lottery!

As the recent snow and chilly weather has brought a halt to the chest of drawers, I turned my attention to upcycling jewellery which is a much warmer indoor activity. Buoyed up by the successful result I got from upcycling a couple of pairs of odd earrings into a unique necklace, I selected some more oddments and let my imagination loose.

Firstly, two brass earrings.

20171129_141708_HDR.jpg

I completely deconstructed the bottom one into the chain and the hammered brass leaves and removed the bottom curve and fringe section of the top one to form the bib section of the necklace.

DSCN7513

To finish it, I added some more gold coloured chain and some odd brass and blue glass beads.

DSCN7516

And ended up with this: my Bold as Brass necklace.

DSCN7444

I forgot to take a photo of the original earrings that went to make up this one, but the elements I reused were the laminated abalone teardrops and the central cloisonne teardrop bead.

DSCN7510.JPG

With the addition of various lengths of silver tone chain and some toning cats eye beads, I created Sea Greens.

DSCN7447.JPG

And finally, the left over beads from this earring, which had provided most of the components for a necklace already…

20171112_122229_HDR

…were added to a gorgeous art glass bead to make a tassel pendant.

DSCN7502

The pendant was then hung on a chain made, again, from oddments of reused silvertone chains and the last beads from the earring; each individually threaded onto headpins to make a feature where one chain section changes to another.

DSCN7500

The result looks like this!

DSCN7459

The embroidery, I’m afraid, is all still under wraps until December’s Guild meeting, but if you like the jewellery, it’s all in my Etsy shop here along with dozens of other vintage, original and beachcombed pieces.

The lovely acorn tile black work design that I started at Guild a week last Saturday has grown steadily from this:

DSCN7322to this:

DSCN7440.JPG

I’ve just got the interlaced border to complete and as I’m enjoying it, I’m in no hurry to finish!

One other very lovely thing that happened at last week’s meeting was that I received my prize for winning the Yorkshire and Humber Embroiderers’ Guild regional competition for a piece of embroidery to be made up into a card: this fabulous book.

DSCN7318.JPG

For our July branch meeting we were asked to submit pieces of embroidery for the Regional Competition, the idea being that one piece would be selected from each branch and those pieces would go on to the regional AGM to select a final winner. I entered my North Cornwall Wallhanging, a piece of crazy patchwork that I pieced over several summer holidays in Cornwall and finally made up a few years ago into a hanging.

DSCN5206.JPG

I’ve blogged about both the individual pieces and the making up and if you’re interested you can search ‘North Cornwall Wallhanging’ and find a load more posts and photos.

Anyway, to my utter amazement it was selected by Scunthorpe branch and taken off to the the regional AGM where it was chosen as the final winner. Apparently, because there is so much going on, instead of just having one design, they are going to choose different areas and do several. I know which bits are my favourites, so it will be interesting to see what other people choose!