Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Experimenting’ Category

The applique for Lady Margolotta’s bat themed blouse is finished!

IMG_20190923_112131.jpg

The biggest ones took 20-30 minutes each to stitch on and the smallest ones 10 to 15, so all twenty together have been quite a long job. Stitching with black thread on black felt has also limited when and where I can stitch, but in spite of that, it’s done with time to spare, thank goodness.

Baby leaf tailed dragon now has leaves sprouting from his lower tail.

IMG_20190923_112555.jpg

He would have had another leaf completed but after a busy evening rehearsing and stitching, I went to put the couching stitches in and realised that I had put a whole leaf’s worth of laid stitches in vertically, instead of horizontally… He learned some new rude words that night.

IMG_20190923_112605.jpg

Before the summer break, our ever-inventive Chair gave everyone who wanted to take part a pack of odd and interesting found objects to create a piece of found object embroidery. She included an instruction/guideline sheet as well, which I did refer to, noting that the finished piece should be no more than 7 inches by 5. However, I didn’t note that it was to be due in for November’s meeting. I assumed it was for the AGM last Saturday. Result – frantic stitching last week until a friend who had read the instructions properly, pointed out that I was two months too early. Moral of the story; don’t skim read and make the gaps up as you go along, Alex!

There was a load of thin plastic tubing in the pack and that suggested spirals to  me straight away.

IMG_20190918_091936.jpg

It’s couched down with gold thread for some sparkle and then I played with widening some of the lines with more of the tubing to give the spirals a bit more weight.

IMG_20190920_172552.jpg

Next to be added from the pack was a very large metal ring which I also couched down with gold thread in a starburst pattern. The broken earring front fitted perfectly in the middle of it and I love copper and green together.

IMG_20190920_172602.jpg

Then I added a holed limpet shell from my own collection  to echo the shape of the loop of tubing.

IMG_20190920_172607.jpg

At least I’ve made a start and hopefully won’t be rushing to complete it for November’s meeting!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Are all you need to make jewellery! I bought a lovely vintage fruit spoon at a car boot sale recently. The heavily raised pattern of fruit and foliage in the bowl reminded me of some glass and polymer clay fruit beads I had been saving for just the right project.

First I removed the handle and smoothed and shaped the stub left.

IMG_20190906_112929.jpg

Next, I drilled holes in the stub and the end of the bowl to take jump rings for the chain and the beads.

IMG_20190906_155623.jpg

The beads were clustered with some fabulous little polymer clay leaves onto a head pin to echo the cluster of fruit in the centre of the spoon bowl.

IMG_20190906_164401.jpg

Lastly I added a vintage silver tone chain. It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

The zip pulls came from a Studio Ghibli ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ backpack that my middle one had used to complete destruction but the heavy brass zip pulls, each embossed with Totoro were still in perfect condition. The rest of the bag was only fit for the bin, despite my best efforts, but with the addition of two picture jasper cushion beads and some vintage brass coloured findings, the pulls became these:

IMG_20190906_100257

Also available here in my Etsy shop.

Read Full Post »

‘Pattern’ is the name of the Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition, currently on at North Lincolnshire Museum. Those of us who took part all chose an object from the Museum’s collection and created a piece of embroidery in response.

When I went in January with four friends, we had an interesting discussion about the items we were drawn to and whether or not we should deliberately work out of our comfort zones and choose an object that didn’t appeal to us. There is definitely a time and a place for that, but I suspect that working on something with which I didn’t have a natural connection might have made it a bit of a chore. So unsurprisingly, I went Roman and chose my favourite thing in the whole museum: The Winterton Cup.

IMG_20190415_124211cropped.jpg

The Winterton Cup is decorated with rows of enamelled squares on a copper alloy base. Some of the enamel has been lost, but the original pattern of diagonal rows of alternating yellow, red, blue and turquoise can still be made out.  Enamelling on metal is a technique found in the Romano-British tradition which carries on into the Roman period and the Cup is one of a small group of enamelled vessels which are apparently souvenirs brought back by soldiers from Hadrian’s Wall.

The squares immediately said reverse applique to me. I had some amazing silk which was hand dyed with natural dyes and a silk scarf dyed in dark blues with flashes of pink and gold which reminded me of the oxidised metal. I would do the stitching with my sewing machine and it would be a reasonably quick job. Famous last words…

I started by cutting a piece of tracing paper to the same size as the scarf and made a template for the size of squares I wanted so I could draw it all out life size. Then I cut out the hand dyed silks and began laying them in place.

IMG_20190325_143354.jpg

So far, so good.

IMG_20190325_153022.jpg

Very pleased with the result.

IMG_20190325_155647.jpg

Next to pin the scarf over the top, ready for the machining.

IMG_20190325_160806.jpg

This is where the photographs of the process stop. My beloved Frister and Rossmann decided that this was the one thing that it wasn’t going to stitch and ate the fabric instead. Once I had rescued the silk and managed to straighten out most of the chew marks, this left me with forty-eight squares to hand stitch round as well as attaching the other silk scarf I had chosen to back it with.

Let’s just say that there were a number of stupidly late nights before I got to this stage.

IMG_20190415_091216.jpg

I am happy with the concept – that is exactly what I initially envisaged, but the double running stitching really doesn’t bear close inspection (as you can see in the photo below – which is the closest I am prepared to show!) and I just didn’t have time to fray check the cut silk, so I am a bit disappointed with myself over all.

IMG_20190415_091204.jpg

Definitely better at a distance in one of the exhibition display cases.

IMG_20190415_123927.jpg

 

Read Full Post »

Apologies – March has been mad. Between trying to shake illness and most of my workshops and courses all coming at once, things have been crazy. So, to catch up!

The found objects plastic rings piece I blogged about back in February, came together like a dream. I wanted to use it as a sample piece for a Found Objects Workshop I taught at Hull Embroiderers’ Guild at the end of March. (There is a lovely post about the workshop on their Facebook page.) It was a lot of fun trying out different ways of attaching the rings, including lazy daisy stitch, sheaf stitch and chain stitch.

I finished it as a quiltlet, with a border of strip patchwork, which makes it nice and robust to handle.

dav

Love the indigo dyed back.

dav

I also taught a Beaded Oglala Stitch workshop with Brigg Allsorts (a local stitching group) the same week, so after having made a sampler of variants of the stitch…

IMG_20190318_122937.jpg

…I started another found objects piece I could use with both workshops as it combined Beaded Oglala with found objects. It worked surprisingly well as a method of attaching the vintage key and I’m very pleased with the effect.

IMG_20190319_164854.jpg

I had a fabulous time teaching the workshop with the ladies in Hull and they produced some lovely work.

IMG_20190323_163136.jpgIMG_20190323_163133.jpg

IMG_20190323_163140.jpg

IMG_20190323_163148.jpg

We also had a fantastic workshop ourselves at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild in February, doing Print to Stitch with Jan Dowson.

IMG_20190223_112225.jpg

Jan had made us some great kits with paisley shaped printing blocks in them as a main focus…

IMG_20190223_112220.jpg

…but I had a couple of my own stamps that I wanted to use as well. Medieval tile first.

IMG_20190223_114826.jpg

Then the paisley. We used acrylic paints and instead of rollering it onto the block, I dabbed random areas of paint to get a mottled effect.

IMG_20190223_115838.jpg

Jan had also put some pieces of compressed foam into the kits. You can cut them with scissors into any shape and then drop them into water to get a sponge printing block, which is how I got  the over-printed tear drop shapes inside the paisleys.

IMG_20190223_121107.jpg

Lastly I had a shell stamp from home to play with.

IMG_20190223_122028.jpg

I love the look of the paint on the stamps…

IMG_20190223_122035.jpg

…and on the palettes.

IMG_20190223_122012.jpg

Once we had our printed fabric…

IMG_20190223_130449.jpg

…time to stitch. The border of the paisleys was a perfect place for Pekinese Stitch. Rayon back stitch for a bit of shine, interlaced with all six strands of a variegated stranded cotton thread.

IMG_20190223_150749.jpg

I will try harder on here, honestly! It’s all Susan from Stitchery Stories‘ fault – she recommended I got myself onto Instagram and I have been properly sucked in. It is so much quicker when you are busy – or lazy!!

Read Full Post »

We went away for a week to the Lake District not long after the Alice Fox workshop. The work I’d done with papers and found objects really whetted my appetite to get back to some found object work of my own as part of the journal I usually make to hold the memories of our time away.

At the end of the first day I wandered along the edges of Langdale Beck while the children splashed about in the already low water levels (and this was in May, before the long hot June and July we’ve had in the UK.) I was delighted to find this crumpled piece of metal with holes already nicely placed for stitches in close shades of green silk.

DSCN1053

It went very well with a thickish piece of beautifully textured hand made paper with inclusions of leaves and stems.

DSCN1052.JPG

On a visit to Stott Park Bobbin Mill I was fascinated by the offcuts of wood thrown out by the different machines in the process of turning chunks of wood into bobbins. The initial machines created a basic bobbin shape from the blanks, shaving off pieces a few millimetres thick. So I picked up a few bits and made them into my own bobbins!

DSCN1054.JPG

The next process shaved the rough bobbin down to the proper shape, throwing out endless translucent ribbons of wood which piled up around us on the floor. I definitely needed some of that! Different woods behaved differently. The one towards the top split pretty much wherever I tried to fold it, whereas the paler one was more like paper, holding at least some of its bends and folds without splitting. I want to add some more needle weaving to vary the widths of the holding stitches and some ‘chips’ in a needlepoint ribbon to the background.

DSCN1057.JPG

Playing with a printed National Trust logo from a paper bag and some scraps of hand made paper.

DSCN1058.JPG

Later in the week we visited Honister Slate Mine and I picked up a few slate chips from the car park. I painted some more of the hand made paper with watercolour to echo the colour of the slate and just had a bit of a play.

DSCN1060.JPG

I’m really pleased with the way the paper echoes the texture of the rock.

DSCN1061.JPG

Free cross stitch in various silk threads to echo the rhododendrons of Stagshaw Gardens. This one just needs finishing.

DSCN1063.JPG

And at the end of the holiday, a quick beachcomb on the shores of Coniston Water revealed this lovely fragment of verdigrised copper which I mounted on two pieces of paper left over from my Alice Fox work.

DSCN1064.JPG

I really enjoyed finding objects I could stitch into and around and the relatively quick way many of them came together. And of course, the memories they have captured. Slightly different to some of my other holiday journals, but I like to be different!

Read Full Post »

After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…

20180429_155900_HDR.jpg

…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…

20180429_100347_HDR.jpg

…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..

20180429_113213_HDR.jpg

I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).

20180429_113207_HDR.jpg

I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.

20180429_113200_HDR.jpg

The next prompt was cutting and patching.

20180429_143352_HDR.jpg

So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.

20180429_151208_HDR.jpg

As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.

20180429_151157_HDR.jpg

By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.

20180429_155257_HDR.jpg

20180429_155321_HDR.jpg

20180429_155402_HDR.jpg

20180429_155442_HDR.jpg

20180429_155448_HDR.jpg

20180429_155552_HDR.jpg

20180429_155558_HDR.jpg

Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.

DSCN9927.JPG

My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.

DSCN9931.JPG

DSCN9932.JPG

DSCN9936.JPG

With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…

DSCN9925.JPG

…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

Read Full Post »

The first item on Dorian Gray’s list is: “the great crocus-coloured robe, on which the gods fought against the giants, that had been worked by brown girls for the pleasure of Athena.” So my first job was to do some research and produce some crocus-coloured fabric. It seems that wool and linen were the most common fabrics, with silk and cotton available later in the ancient period, so I sourced some matka silk, wool and linen as my primary fabrics.

20180214_165914_HDR

Although crocuses are more often purple, I suspect crocus-coloured in this instance means saffron-coloured and certainly in Ancient Greece saffron robes are associated with women and ritual clothing, so my first choice of a dye stuff was saffron. Turmeric is also an ancient dye and gives a similar colour, so that was my second choice and my third was ‘false’ saffron, or dyer’s safflower.

This would give me nine different fabric and dye combinations to choose from, so I cut swatches of my fabrics and started dyeing. One of the really nice things about this is that all three dyes are food stuffs and none need mordants, so I was able to dye in the kitchen using my own pans.

First, the saffron. The extra piece on the left is the cotton muslin I put the strands into. Then, from left to right, wool, silk and linen. Lovely soft, sunshiny, golden shades.

DSCN8597.JPG

Next, the turmeric. From left to right, wool, silk and linen. Fantastic deep rich golds.

DSCN8593.JPG

And lastly, the dyer’s safflower. Disappointed with these shades, especially on the linen, but it was probably my dyeing technique that wasn’t right. From left to right, wool, silk and linen.

DSCN8602.JPG

I love the way the wool took up the dyes but it feels a little heavy and ordinary for a ceremonial robe. From left to right, dyer’s safflower, saffron and turmeric.

DSCN8608.JPG

The silk is lovely but the matka which I’ve chosen has a very nubbly texture, which would make embroidery a little more challenging. From left to right, dyer’s safflower, saffron and turmeric.

DSCN8607.JPG

So I’m leaning more towards the linen, which was very widely used in classical times.  From left to right, dyer’s safflower, saffron and turmeric.

DSCN8606.JPG

As undyed linen isn’t white, it didn’t appear to take up the dyer’s safflower much and made the saffron look a bit muddy, but the turmeric has worked well and looks very similar to the colour of the saffron on silk, so at the moment, that is my choice for the fabric. Another bonus is that I have plenty of cheap and easily obtained from the supermarket turmeric left!

DSCN8596.JPG

The dyeing is the easy bit – researching the background information on my three dyes to add to the book and putting it into a short piece in my own words takes a lot longer, but I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading, researching, referencing and cross-referencing.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »