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Archive for the ‘General Embroidery’ Category

It seems that a lot of the last couple of weeks has been about creating cards. As well as the Fathers’ Day card I showed in the last post, I was also asked to make a first birthday card…

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…and a birthday card and anniversary card. For the birthday card I decided to revisit one of the experiments I did with some Angelina fibres, rubber stamps and an iron back in February 2012 and still have hanging about! I just added some simple gold herringbone and straight stitches. The Angelina is so blingy that I think less is definitely more.

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The anniversary card is one of the dozens of prints I took from Chris Gray’s huge wooden printing block collection when she led a workshop for our Embroiderers’ Guild back in 2016.

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I used just three threads in shades of green and purple to fill in the design with chain stitch, satin stitch, fishbone stitch, detached chain stitch and of course, french knots.

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Having had all these to put together, as well as one for my own dad, is partly why the pulled thread I had planned for the Kew memory Journal hasn’t progressed very far. The weather also hasn’t helped as I’m stitching in cream on cream…

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… and good daylight is a must. It just hasn’t been nice enough to sit outside and stitch very often.

Once I’m in the swing of counting I find pulled thread work has a very pleasing rhythm but unfortunately it seems that I’ve just got settled when at least one member of the family needs something – usually feeding!

I wanted a heavily raised stitch to echo the raked gravel of the Japanese Zen garden where Chihuly’s Niijima Floats were exhibited and I think the Diagonal Raised Band I chose does that very successfully.

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The picture has been transferred onto silk with transfer medium and will be stitched into the top corner.

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Now all I need is some decent light and a family who can feed themselves…!

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I bit the bullet! I finally plucked up the courage to steam and cut the canvas round my Sue Hawkins needlebook and once that was done, the rest just fell into place. The waste canvas folded back a lot flatter than I thought it would and blanket stitching the felt down was a breeze.

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The rest of the felt gave me four internal pages and a finish.

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It feels very odd to have a roomy book to leaf through looking for needles instead of a scrap of felt half the size of a credit card!

Another finish was this broken vintage brooch…

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…to which I added some 3D beading on a piece of dyed pelmet vilene.

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The beading was set into the long channel down the spine of the brooch and I set cats eye beads instead of diamantes into the cup shaped settings.

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A jump ring and a gold plated chain completed the transformation into what my middle one calls the ‘fancy pea pod’ pendant!

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It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

The other finish is another upcycled pendant created from a section of broken vintage bracelet and a single vintage earring.

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This one is available here in my Etsy shop.

The fresh start is the third of my memory journals. Now Tattershall has been put to bed I can concentrate on the Kew journal, remembering one of the hottest days of the year last July when I visited the Chihuly glass exhibition with my son. I’ve completed the cover, another stitched on paper piece which I blogged about back in last August but now I can focus on the Kew pieces rather than being distracted by having all three on the go as I did last summer. So here it is ready to be filled.

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The first piece is based on an image of the Niijima Floats in the Japanese Garden. Hopefully I will have something to show by next week!

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I’m not exactly sure where the last week has gone. A lot of it gobbled up in household chores and eBay/Etsy listings, I suspect. I know it’s important not to get obsessed by what we have or haven’t done given the continuing situation but I am a bit irritated with myself that I haven’t progressed further with my stitching projects.

The last Tattershall piece, ‘It Rained’, has had a few more veins added.

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I’ve also had what I modestly consider a genius idea to attach the micro quilt so you can still see the back. I stitched on press studs!

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And then discovered it wasn’t centred… :o(

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The canvaswork needlebook is also finished. Well, the canvaswork bit of it is and I also made the closure cords.

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Next is the making up and I’ve stalled on that. I know I’m not alone in this but why is it that we so often baulk at the finishing off stage of a project? I really need a needlebook too, so you’d think that would give me the incentive to crack on and get it finished, but no, I’m dragging my heels like my youngest when reminded that she has flute practise to do instead of WhatsApping her friends.

I’ve made a few more bits of upcycled jewellery as well. A silver 1970s coin pendant, vintage carved bone disc and single silver earring…

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…became this:

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Available here in my Etsy shop.

I also restored a lovely 1950s diamante bib necklace section with a replacement diamante (the small blue one in the middle) and some reclaimed chain…

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…to make it into this:

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Also available here in my Etsy shop.

In fact, not too shabby for a week’s work, I suppose!

 

 

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The last Tattershall piece is underway and coming out exactly as I wanted, even though I wasn’t sure what I did want! I’d set my heart on using a transfer I’d made from a photo in the booklet of some of Tattershall’s bricks but it was what to do with it that had me baffled. Then I thought back to the first visit with my youngest and I immediately recalled the rain storm which we sat out under one of the trees by the shop. Leaves and raindrops, I remembered and it all fell into place.

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The background is some more of the batik I did at our last Guild meeting and the tiny leaves are cut out of some hand painted fabric backed with stabiliser.

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I’m stitching them down with split stitch veins in fine silk before I add the raindrops.

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I’ve also done a fair bit more on the Bright Pyramids needle book. The double dark blue line is the spine and I’m already onto the last hearts and flowers panel. After that I just have four more rows of long-legged cross stitch:  two vertical and two horizontal along the whole width to do before making it up.

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Am still swearing but less often, which must mean I am improving.

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I made a little pair of upcycled butterfly earrings recently which sold to a friend almost as soon as I’d posted about them on Instagram.

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I then had a lot of fun turning a card booklet which had contained a free sample tea bag into bespoke packaging for them!

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The felt on the left is to cushion them when the booklet is shut.

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Contact details on the back and a ribbon attached to the spine with a miniature paper fastener as a closure.

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A very satisfying little make.

 

 

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The last brick piece is on hold. I sort of know what I want to do with it but the details of how are still a bit sketchy. Instead, I’ve started attaching some of the completed pieces to the accordion book and am awaiting inspiration…

So back to small projects. I found some printed motifs obviously cut from a larger piece of fabric the other day, but as usual I have no idea where they came from. They are the perfect size for cards though and as I have a Cancerian friend and one of the prints was a crab, I decided to embellish it with stitch and make it into a card for her birthday.

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I used some wadding behind to give a bit of three-dimensionality to the body sections when I outlined them in back stitch. I used split stitch down the middle of each leg and claw section, french knot eyes and Pekinese stitch and an eyelet across the back of the shell.

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Then I moved on to a kantha sample for a workshop that was postponed from March but which I’m still hoping to teach at some point.  It’s made up from calico, a batik cotton print and twinkly organza layered together and stitched with a variegated stranded cotton.

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I like to put an applique shape in the middle and work the kantha stitching around it and this time it was a leaping fish.  The batik was spotty so I followed the lines of spots with my stitching which gave it a watery effect that I was hoping for.

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The last little project was inspired by a fantastic tutorial for stitched ori-nui shibori on the V&A Museum’s Instagram account. I didn’t have any indigo but I did have a small amount of avocado, which was very disappointing on this scrap of calico:

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And some very out of date saffron which worked much better. I love this and wish I’d used it on the first piece instead of the avocado.

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And it even sort of overdyed some pale indigo dyed sheeting I had, if you look very hard.

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One out of three ain’t bad, I suppose.

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First I added the couched outline in dark green. I always find this part of the process a bit nerve wracking. On one hand, the couching neatens everything up but on the other hand, I always worry that I’ve chosen the wrong colour and it will end up having too much or too little contrast.

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I used couching rather than split stitch for the folds of the purse as it gives a smoother line and french knots represent the knobbly bits on the edges of the belt loop and purse lid.

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Then it was time to add the highlights in cream split stitch – I was so nervous that it wouldn’t look right! The highlights on the yellow knobbly bits are done in silk rather than crewel wool. This is another very small piece worked in a 4 inch hoop and the wool was just too thick.

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It took a while before I was happy with the highlights on the purse lid and then there were just the yellow dots on the belt loop to add.

I’m really pleased with it as a representation of the original design.

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And it means that there is only one Tattershall piece left to create – back to the bricks!

 

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In the early fifteenth century Tattershall Castle passed to Ralph, the third Baron Cromwell, who became Treasurer of England in 1433, prompting a serious upgrade to the castle. In many places, including all over the huge fireplaces, he included the image of a medieval purse to indicate his status and the source of his wealth and good fortune.

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This type of purse is sometimes called a ‘bollock purse’ for obvious reasons – this one clearly says mine is bigger than yours…!

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Much more modest.

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The purpose of the pieces in the memory journal is to spark off a memory or story linked to that day and the purse does that in a number of ways. First as a symbol of the powerful man who created the castle we see today, but it also reminds me of the second visit we made to see a medieval living history encampment and tournament a plaisance.

Walking round the encampment, I spotted a lady embroidering and we soon got chatting. Among other things she had stitched and completed the baby leaf tailed dragon from Tanya Bentham at Opus Anglicanum and made him into a cushion. So I decided to stitch the purse in the same style to remind me of our chat as well.

First I tweaked the above photo to emphasise the contrast before turning it into a pattern.

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Then couched and laid Bayeux stitch in crewel wool for the body of the purse.

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Knobs.

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And the belt loop and edge of the top flap. I like the way the diapered effect really shows up in the strong sunlight.

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And finally the detailing at the bottom of the belt loop.

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Next stage is to couch round the edges and add the details with split stitch.

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A quick finish to complete all the stitching on the bricks.

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Then I sandwiched it together with a scrap of batting and another bit of the crackly fabric I used under the bricks before machine stitching round the bricks to quilt it together.

Next stage, trimming it to fit in the accordion book so I could bind it. It ended up just 8cm by 9cm (about 3″ by 3.5″!!) so the binding was slightly fiddly.

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I love that citrus bright fabric for the binding!

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I always use a fantastic tutorial I found on the internet several years ago for binding my quilts. Even given the tiny dimensions of this one, it still worked beautifully with folded mitres which naturally fall into place at the front…

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…and some folding to be done to neaten it off at the back.

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Then a nice little hand stitching job outside in the sun.

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Finished with a tiny quilt label. I think I could be excused for not embroidering this one!

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One completed micro quilt and four out of the six pieces for the Tattershall memory journal finished. The next piece, which I’m designing now, will actually be a departure from the bricks!

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Mainly the title, which is finished, and some more on the bricks micro quilt. For the title I wanted to use part of the little folded information sheet you are given when you get your ticket. Partly because it had Tattershall Castle on it, but mostly because I loved the geometric design superimposed over a soft focus image of the bricks and I wanted to stitch over it. I put a piece of fabric behind the paper to strengthen it and started to back stitch over the design.

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I wasn’t completely happy with the stitching somehow, but I stuck at it, hoping that by the time I finished inspiration would strike. Eventually I realised that I was finding the holes in the paper quite large and intrusive so I whipped the back stitch with the same thread, which smoothed out the lines and made the holes far less of a feature.

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I added some black thread to the thicker strokes of the lettering to finish the piece.

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The micro quilt cover has all the bricks blanket stitched down and all the names split stitched. Just the dates to do and then I can start to make it into a tiny quilt.

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Not much embroidery progress this week because I have been making a load of double drawstring pouches for a friend to store her crystals in.

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Using up all sorts of odds and ends of silk kimono fabric, sari fabric, silk dupion and fleece. I will be glad to get away from the machine and back to hand stitching!

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I finished the Tattershall canvaswork brick piece a while ago but forgot to show it.

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I managed to find a very subtly variegated grey/beige/white stranded cotton which was perfect for the mortar.

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So on to the third brick inspired piece, but these are more metaphorical. I was very taken by a couple of hangings in the impressive Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity at Tattershall which you pass on the way from the car park to the castle. The idea was that people who make up a community are like bricks that make up a wall, so I decided to put together a miniature hanging with appliqued bricks, each one signed by the people who were part of the visits.

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I planned to put the dates in the two half bricks but there was still a full brick left over until I had a brainwave.

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It’s a tyre track drawn on with a fine liner and then each section is back stitched round in black thread. It represents Rupert, my beloved Volvo S80 who took us there on both occasions. He is definitely part of the family!!

Next stage is embroidering over the signatures in split stitch and blanket stitching the ‘bricks’ down.

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As usual this is tiny – the hoop in the picture is just 4 inches in diameter!

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