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The starting point for this holiday’s journal was my middle one, who is doing ‘A’ level Art and is creating some very interesting and effective work stitching into photos and paper. I’ve been really inspired by this and to go along with the paper theme, I decided to alter a book as the journal. Here is the first spread,

Frosty lake tree 1

I used the top of the image on the left which I transferred to a piece of indigo dyed cotton with gel medium. The medium dried quite opaque, giving the image a very evocative, misty feel.

Frosty lake tree 2

Then I used a single strand of Caron Waterlilies variegated silk thread in a very loose stem stitch to pick out some of the detail.

Frosty lake tree 3

Really enjoyed my experimenting.

Having finished the border for the pulled thread sampler…

Pulled thread sampler - border

…I started to fill it in with a selection of pulled thread stitches. First, Waffle Stitch:

Pulled thread sampler - waffle stitch

Using a single thread of stranded cotton pulls the scrim into lacy, open octagons. Next I wanted something a bit denser, so I chose Diagonal Cross Filling:

Pulled thread sampler - Diagonal Cross Filling

Close up you can see how the equal-armed crosses have been distorted by the tension.

Pulled thread sampler - Diagonal cross close-up

I really like the overall denseness of this pattern. Now for something completely different: Ripple Stitch, which is based on double back stitch (gives herringbone stitch on the wrong side).

Pulled thread sampler - Ripple Stitch

About half way finished. Another heavier stitch next, I think…

We’ve just had a typically wet, but in spite of that, very enjoyable week sharing a cottage with friends in the Lake District. I’m on with my holiday journal which is a mix between an altered book and the found object journalling I did a couple of years ago in Cornwall. No pictures of that yet, but here are some of the lovely things that I came across in our exploration of the Lakes which have inspired me.

Stencilled Hessian wall covering, Blackwell House, Bowness:

Stencilled Hessian wall covering, Blackwell House, Bowness

 

Just one example of the stunning stained glass at Blackwell House.

Stained glass, Blackwell House, Bowness

 

Inlaid detail on a bureau:

Detail of a bureau, Blackwell House, Bowness

 

A period Arts and Crafts sofa:

Arts and Crafts sofa, Blackwell House, Bowness

…and the plasterwork between picture rail and ceiling:

Decorative plasterwork, Blackwell House, Bowness

Beautiful whitework on a pillow:

Whitework, Blackwell House, Bowness

…and the pieced patchwork hexagon fans of the 1911 quilt on the same bed:

Patchwork bedspread, Blackwell House, Bowness

Wet slate roofs in Chapel Stile:

Slate roofs, Chapel Stile

 

Crewelwork bedspread at Brantwood House near Coniston, the home of John Ruskin.

Crewelwork bedspread, Brantwood House, Coniston

An example of Ruskin lace, a type of drawn threadwork introduced by Ruskin to the Lake District as a cottage industry.

Ruskin lace, Brantwood House, Coniston

I love these cheeky sheep – one of the sculptures at Grizedale Forest.

Sethera, Grizedale Forest

Sethera, Grizedale Forest 2

 

It feels quite odd to be home – I could have happily stayed another week!

 

A bit more work on the crazy patchwork cushion. First a wiggly line of chain stitch in a variegated perle:

Threaded chain stitch 1

Threaded chain stitch 2

Which is then loosely threaded with some fabulously soft ultramarine-coloured lightly twisted silk thread.

Threaded chain stitch 3

I like that you can get very different effects with this stitch depending on how tightly you pull the threading thread to the chain stitch foundation. I prefer mine fat and loopy!

Threaded chain stitch 4

Ignore the key – I didn’t like it even when I was stitching it down and it’s long gone!

Usually once I’ve finished a technique I want to do something else as far away from it as possible, but not so with the pulled thread. I think it’s because for the sea glass piece I was limited to ripply stitches and there were so many that I wanted to work that wouldn’t have fitted. But now I get my chance to showcase the must-haves!

This is the start of my new piece, which is an A5 sized sampler of the pulled thread embroidery technique for our exhibition on the summer.

Pulled thread sampler border 1

The stitch doesn’t have a name but is nine parallel diagonal satin stitch lines within a square, identical to canvas work cushion stitch, just pulled tightly.

Pulled thread sampler border 2

By the end of the day I’d managed to complete the border:

Pulled thread sampler border 3

And now for the fun bit of choosing the first stitch to showcase.

In the end I secured the sea glass with the same thread that I used for the embroidery, but I tried to echo the geometric shapes of the pulled thread in the way I wrapped the glass nuggets.

Pulled thread beach 1

At first I really wasn’t sure, but the addition of pattern and texture has grown on me and now when I look back at the earlier photos I feel there’s something missing.

Pulled thread beach 2

Pulled thread beach 3

Pulled thread beach 4

Pulled thread beach 5

This is the dyed velvet I chose to back it with:

Pulled thread beach 6

and the two were attached with tiny diagonal stitches across the criss-cross of the warp and weft all the way around before I sealed the edges with modge podge and cut the finished piece out.

Pulled thread beach 7

The modge podge has completely stopped the fraying and has dried pretty much invisible and I also used it to stick the finished piece into my travelling book.

Pulled thread beach 7

My inspiration page:

Pulled thread beach 8

 

And the finished piece.

Pulled thread beach 9

I’m ready to get stuck into pulled thread again for my technique piece for our summer exhibition.

Thank you all for your kind words about my pulled thread work. It’s actually a lot easier than it looks. All you need to concentrate on is accurate counting (as in any counted thread work) and even pulling of the thread and the shapes and effects sort of produce themselves. And it builds up nice and quickly too.

Here’s the next phase: more triangular stitch on the top left side.

Pulled thread phase 3:1

And after a couple more rows of the triangular stitch, some random diamond stitch at the top to complete the main part of the pulled thread section.

Pulled thread phase 3:2

All the sea glass etc is stuck on at the moment, so the next job was to stitch the fabric pieces down invisibly to make them sit flatter against the scrim. You can hopefully see the difference between the larger leaf green piece on the left, which I’ve already stitched and the smaller ocean green piece which is still to be done.

Pulled thread phase 3:3

Eyelets next and then I have to bite the bullet and think of some sort of extra (but still in keeping) fastening for the real sea glass as I don’t think just glue is going to keep them secured well enough during their travels.

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