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I’m on a roll!

An upcycled bracelet,

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Pisces necklace,

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Branch necklace,

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Green daisy necklace,

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Broken vintage brooch turned into a pendant

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…and another upcycled broken brooch. This one does actually have embroidery in it!

The main piece was a ring brooch in lovely condition with all the original stones intact, but no pin, so I got rid of the remains of the pin mountings and decided to fill the middle with a back stitched spider’s web, rather like a Dorset button.

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I’d got about a third of the way through the stitching when I looked on the back and decided I preferred that effect. So out it all came and I started again!

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Much better.

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Filling up the space nicely…

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…and completed.

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The thread is quite a thickish cotton and the web is really firm and sturdy. The back is neat too, but I’m pleased I chose to restitch it.

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I added a vintage bar tie-pin as the brooch back and it covers the scars of the old closure quite nicely.

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Very pleased with this!

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The only other sewing I’ve been doing is a major repair job on one of our Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club costumes – a wartime woollen coat that somebody has turned into a pirate captain type coat. Various seams have given way and the gold braid is coming adrift everywhere.

Not creative in quite the same way, but extremely satisfying.

 

Fun stuff

I’ve been upcycling jewellery recently and having a lot of fun putting bits and pieces together to make something from nothing. I had a small lot of vintage 1970s silver tone ring blanks which were crying out for some nuggets of sea glass.

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Then I used freshwater pearls and seed and bugle beads in a variety of shades of green to create a set of sea-themed dangles for my Mermaid’s Garden dangle ring. The centre is finished with a piece of ‘coral’ I beach-combed from Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye as a child in the 1970s. I always thought it was actually coral, but according to the internet it’s ‘desiccated and sun-bleached algae’ which is much less attractive sounding!

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Then an assemblage piece – Ship’s Wheel Locket. The original vintage goldtone locket had a slight depression in the front so I shaped a piece of polished broken abalone to fit into it and then added a lovely ship’s wheel charm on top of that so the sea green swirls of the abalone can be glimpsed through the spokes of the wheel.

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Lastly I reverted to embroidery for the Cottage Garden pendant. This gold tone pendant had a pierced pattern around the edge which was just begging to have some sort of thread added. I chose a heavy Caron cotton thread in lovely muted cottage garden shades and added a simple row of slanted stitches, following the pattern of the holes.

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Then it occurred to me that I could do a sort of back-stitched spider’s web around the champagne coloured diamantes and turn them into flowers, which worked very well.

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Always good when a plan comes together.

I love spiky allium heads. After having done some ‘long shots’ on a couple of the sections in my bluework bowl, I decided that I wanted the next section to be a closer view and I chose an allium head for that.

First, the main stem in herringbone stitch and the stems which carry the flower heads radiating from a central point.

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Then a solid couple of hours stitching through a committee meeting got the six petalled individual florets in lazy daisy stitch added.

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I used the same variegated silk to outline the stem in split stitch and then built up adjoining rows of split stitch to form the leaf.

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As all the other sections are in Victorian china style blue and white, I wanted to introduce other shades of blue, but I’m not entirely convinced now…

Last Saturday was our March Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and we had a talk from Mary Sleigh about some of her collection of African textiles, from strip woven West African fabrics…

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20170325_155336_HDR.jpg… to heavily embroidered wild silk ceremonial robes, bark cloth. indigo resist and all sorts of other embroidered and embellished fabrics.

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The raffia cloth fascinated me. Remembering piles of scratchy unravelling hanks in the back of art cupboards, I couldn’t quite get my head round how something like that was going to create a fabric, but although there was a slight stiffness to the cloth, it was an amazing transformation and I love these applied geometric shapes.

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My head was a bit of a shed on Saturday and although I have photos of my finished kantha fish from February’s meeting…

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…I completely forgot to photograph the other pieces that people brought in. Oops!

Only four of us in the group this time, so this one, stitched for Sandra in keeping with her flowers theme, is my last page of the round. I enjoyed discovering new stitches when I stitched Val’s leaves last month, so I went for the same Sue Spargo inspired idea in turquoise and purple/pink.

First new stitch courtesy of Mary Thomas: Braided Edging Stitch. It looks like blanket stitch from the top, but has a lovely chained effect on the edge. Getting the tension right was interesting initially, but I really like the effect.

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Then whipped running stitch ‘petals’, using a very slubby pure silk thread for the whipping.

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I filled two of the ‘petals’ with Trellis Stitch…

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…the top one with Vandyke Stitch (not too happy with the stitching on that, but I needed to work in a thickish thread – the full 6 strands of stranded cotton – to get the right sort of coverage)…

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…and the two bottom ones with Buttonhole Filling and a Woven Spiders Web Wheel to hide a multitude of sins in the middle!

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The second flower had Berwick Stitch with its lovely edging knots round the outside and then I couched down a line of fabulously soft, thick, loosely twisted, variegated silk to follow the shape.

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I decided to use the same thick, soft silk to work Back-stitched Spiders Webs in each of the petals. Foundation stitches first, using a template to make sure they were all the same.

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Then adding this glorious silk.

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Lastly I filled in the centre with a chain stitch spiral and they were good to go!

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Nobody’s book to complete this month so hopefully I can get stuck into the bluework.

Our Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting for February was an all day Indian embroidery and fabrics talk and workshop led by Julie.

The Young Embroiderers started off at 9:30 with a kantha stitching around animal shapes project. My little one loves sea animals of any kind, so she chose to do a turtle. Liz, the leader of the group suggested a spiral pattern in the quarters of the shell which is looking very effective.

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Julie had borrowed one of the Guild folios as a base for the display and she and other members added to it with items of their own, making a very colourful and tempting taster for the talk and workshop to come!

Samples from the folio:

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And our own additions:

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So to begin the day, we had a talk given by Julie based on her visit to a recent exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London giving a good overview of different types of fabrics, stitching and how the finished embroidery was used. I particularly liked the short videos that she had interspersed through the presentation which brought some of the elements to life.

After lunch we had the choice of two projects. Either a shisha mirror centred flower – these are Julie’s lovely sample pieces…

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…or something more like the Young Embroiderers were doing, an animal or similar surrounded by kantha stitching. I outlined my fish in chain stitch using a heavy variegated slate blue cotton thread.

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Then for the background I chose some variegated stranded cotton in pale blue, pink and yellow to tone in with the background fabric.

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It was good (but surprisingly difficult!) to deliberately work larger running stitches. When I usually do kantha style work my stitches tend to be tiny –  these are about 2mm long.

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And it takes ages! But the above piece is only about and inch by an inch and a half so I deliberately stitched larger on this one to match the size of the design and it was good to get some quicker results!

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It was interesting to notice how calm and quiet the atmosphere in the room was as we all sat stitching our pieces. There is something very mindful about running stitch…

I knew it was a while since I started this piece, but was stunned to check back through my archive and find it was 2012! We were doing a redwork workshop at Embroiderers’ Guild, stitching cups, plates, teapots etc. in various stitches with red threads. I’m not the biggest fan of red, so don’t have a lot of red threads and also, crockery to me always means blue and white, so I went off piste a bit and started to stitch this bowl.

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It’s a big piece for me and shortly after I took this photo, something else became more pressing and it lapsed. As the huge french knot piece is currently still in abeyance, I wanted something slightly more long term to stitch and the bluework fitted the bill. I’ve not done an awful lot more, but I have finished the leaves on the ribbon rose section, which are two lazy daisy stitches nested inside each other.

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I even managed to find a close match for the thread – there was no chance that after 4+ years I was going to remember what I’d originally used!!

My plan was that each section of the bowl would be filled with a different flower design, using different techniques and styles, so several happy hours have been spent on Pinterest gathering inspiration and I’m looking forward to getting going with it again.