Archive for the ‘Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging’ Category

At last the Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging is finished. I used time waiting on the children’s activities at the weekend to get down to completing the label, which along with the hanging sleeve, as all there was to do.


Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 1


Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 2

And the label – lettering in stem stitch using fine silk on hand dyed cotton muslin which has been softly frayed out.

Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 3

So that’s finished. I also finally got the turquoise sea glass canvas to the person who had commissioned it this week and she loved it! In fact she loved it so much she’s comissioned me to do another in golds, oranges and browns for a friend’s birthday and a bigger one for her lounge, which is wonderful. I really enjoy stitching these pieces and getting paid for them is even better!

However, the reticulated brass shisha has been a problem. I wanted to attach it to some blue silk shisha-style.

Blue shisha 1

I laid down a collar of overlapping stitches in blue mercerised cotton thread and decided to go for an oversewn satin stitch as an edging.

Blue shisha 2

It went well enough, at least at first. Nice even coverage.

Blue shisha 3

But by the time I got to the end the stitches weren’t extending far enough over the brass to hold it in place to my liking. You can see it more clearly on the left in this photo.

Blue shisha 4

I let it sit while I worked on other things but when I returned to it I still wasn’t happy so out it came – easily enough to vindicate my instinct to rethink it as the centre of a paisley.

I’ve always loved paisley shapes and I came across this one while googling leaf outlines for my friend’s buttons.

Paisley shisha 1

The silk is too dark to mark the outlines I needed so I’ve just stitched straight through the paper, which should come off easily enough when damped.

Paisley shisha 2

Split stitch in the centre, running stitch (to be whipped later) in blue and french knots on the outside edge. I’ll take the paper off when I’ve finished the french knots and should be able to fill in the other layers by eye. The shisha will sit in the very centre and I’ll finish this as a brooch.

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I’ve finally made a start on the label. I came across the perfect scrap of gently frayed deep blue fabric while I was tidying up a cupboard and made a start on the stitching.

The only problem is that I’m struggling to see the outline of the temporary marker and I’m loath to use anything darker and more permanent in case it stays visible and/or marks the light-coloured thread.

Split stitch is a great stitch for lettering. It just has that bit more texture than back stitch and I find it’s more controllable on curves than stem stitch.  Unfortunately, at the size of these stitches, it takes a while!

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It was good to get this moving again.  I’m not a fan of finishing off, and in spite of much googling, have still to find a way of bringing the fabric to the front and mitring the corners that I can do and that I’m completely happy with.  

The top half: the tideline, footprints left by my little one, ripples in the sand and the foam as the waves break on the shore.

The bottom half:  after the waves, the deeper water.

The backing fabric is a piece of quite heavyweight cotton or cotton blend with a wonderfully soft, subtle, variegated sandy coloured stripe pattern. No idea where it came from but I did feel very virtuous about being able to back the embroidery with an existing piece of fabric.

It just needs a hanging sleeve and a label.

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The last bit to do on the Bamburgh Beach hanging was the foam from the waves as they hit the beach and I had some medical gauze put aside for that job. I pinned it over the last blue section, flat at one end and feather stitched down and then layering the gauze in lines to represent the foam topped wavelets as they reach the shore.

I caught down the raw front edge with random massed french knots stitched in one strand of pale cream Caron stranded silk. Using a single strand gives a very open texture to the knots, like bubbles, which is what I was aiming for.

I finished the waves at a play reading on Saturday night.

The lines of coral stitch are still visible through the gauze and the layered wave sections are smothered in french knots which hold the pleats in place.

I added some french knots with two strands of silk, mostly on the seaward sides of the waves, to vary the texture and height.

I’m pleased with the effect: hissing bubbles inching up the beach and then falling back, exhausted, before the next attempt.

As for the issue with not being able to leave comments on Blogger, I’ve been in touch with the techie people and they believe that the word verification software on Blogger is broken for users commenting through OpenID. Their suggestion is that the Blogger bloggers should contact Blogger and report it.

So if I’ve not commented on your blog for a while, that’s why – it’s not for want of trying!

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The footprints have been finished, in between acorn cups and all sorts of other things this week.


I’m still not sure whether to leave them as they are or fill them in with satin stitch.

I still have the foam/surf to add with medical gauze and fine silk thread so I’m going to put the ‘to fill in or not to fill in’ problem away in my subconscious and see where I am when I’ve done that.  

I guess they really are my little tinker’s footprints!

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Beachcombing the tideline is one of my favourite things to do on any beach and I wanted to create a high tideline that looked like a dark scribble across the sand.

Layers of feather stitching, both underneath and on top, straight stitches, couching and needlelace created the look I wanted, with a twisted cord made from turquoise sewing cotton to look like washed up fragments of fishing nets.

More twisted turquoise cords held down wherever the other stitches crossed them and an orange needlelace section for a piece of smashed buoy.

The top section is fly stitches on vintage silk grosgrain.

The fabric pen bled badly but the outlines of the traced clipart footprints are still clear enough to see. I tried satin stitch initially but couldn’t get the sharpness I wanted so I’ve back stitched them with tiny stitches and used bullion knots and french knots for  the toes.

I might satin stitch inside the outlines after they’re all stitched and the pen is washed out to see how that works.


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I was wondering what to work on next and it was after having seen the second project at the bottom of this post from Helen Cowans that I remembered I had an unfinished piece based on the Northumberland coast between Seahouses and Bamburgh.

I started it in August 2004, on holiday in Seahouses. A sort of forerunner to my Cornish Holiday Journal. But summer 2004 came with a bit of a bombshell as three days into the holiday I discovered that I was unexpectedly pregnant with my youngest daughter.

All the vivid emotions of that time are caught up in the stitching as I struggled to get my head round being pregnant again with two older, independent children, wondering if we could do, it, if we should do it, what effect it was going to have on my health etc.

I stitched it on and off through another rough pregnancy, through two months of potential miscarriage scares and finally put it away shortly after the birth. I’ve worked on it sporadically since, but even though the result of that upheaval is a fabulously bright, sparky, loving bundle of dynamite that I wouldn’t be without for the world…

…the cloth still holds some difficult memories.

But it’s not far off being finished. In fact the only thing I realised I really I needed to do when I got it out was to embroider a line of footprints just below the high tide line and then add the surf. Stitch some good memories into it.

This is how it stands now, with the addition of some footprints which I started during the New Year.

From the bottom: back stitch on a scrap of satin from the dress my bridesmaid had for my wedding, feather stitch on coarse cotton, massed french knot clusters on denim and whipped running stitch on some permanently crinkled dress fabric (you might recognise it from the Cornish Journal!).

Seeding, woven spiders’ webs and back-stitched spiders’ webs in hand-dyed coton a broder on calico dyed with the same dye. Coral stitch in various vintage threads on coarse cotton.

Three weights and colours of silk with back stitch linking two.

More later – I’m feeling more positive about it already.

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