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Posts Tagged ‘accordion book’

Another way of working round Embroiderers’ Block I suppose, is to do something that you fancy doing, so I’ve started a third design for the Kew Memory Journal, based on English Paper Pieced patchwork.

First of all I cut a rectangle of paper slightly smaller than the page of the book and divided it into a few smaller rectangles. One needed to be big enough to be the background for a vintage 1990 Kew Gardens stamp, and I fitted the rest around it.

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I usually cut the pieces out one by one so I don’t forget what order they go in and put them back into the design when they’re covered. Taking process photos also helps in case of disaster!

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Then the pieces need stitching together. I use ladder stitch because I like my stitching to be as invisible as possible.

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Once the pieces were all stitched together I gave them a quick iron to press the edges under so they would stay when I took the papers out, and then ladder stitched round the outside edge to attach it to a piece of pale green felt.

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This stabilises the edges, gives the whole thing a bit of body as I’ve used a variety of weights of fabric including some very fine silk and means I have a firmer background to attach it to the page.

I trimmed it next and carefully back stitched the stamp in place. The pink and blue tones in the stamp don’t quite work with the greens, but I had to remind myself that this is a memory journal and the Pagoda is part of it.

The memory it holds is of having lunch in a shady grove of trees near the Pagoda and then, as it was one of those two insanely hot days last July, we sat on a seat under the bottom tier and decided it was much too warm to go up all those steps!

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I like embroider on these types of patchwork pieces as I did with my 2012 Cornwall Holiday Journal (August 2012 in the ‘Recent Posts’ part of the sidebar if you’re interested) so I’m probably going to add a branch to the top right hand corner.

I’ve also made the middle of a flower on the buttonhole rings piece. The big ring is attached with french knots, the inner one with invisible stitches to pull it down inside and the centre is filled with a few french knots.

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Now I need to decide not only on the colour of the rings that will become the petals, but also whether to keep them as circles or stretch them into petal shapes.

 

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As I continued to stitch the Diagonal Raised Band I became less and less sure that it was right for the piece. It’s a lovely and relatively simple stitch to work as it’s based on diagonally placed cross stitches and the lacy background is beautiful, but in spite of all its good points, it still didn’t feel right.

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It was too stiff and just didn’t reflect the soft curves of the raked gravel cradling the Niijima Floats in the Zen Garden. So I finished it off…

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…and started stitching into some silk noil. It’s difficult to see as it’s double running stitch in cream silk thread on cream silk noil but it’s supposed to be a series of parallel channels like the rake lines.

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I planned to experiment with trapunto quilting by stuffing the stitched channels with thick wool. And to my delight, even though the only wool I could find in the right thickness was green, it worked!

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Stuffing the other channels which aren’t open at both ends has been an interesting task but with the help of a stiletto I managed to get this far.

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And with the transferred picture.

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Suddenly it works. The lines of trapunto quilting even almost match up with the lines of gravel (which was a complete accident). I’ve been fighting the pulled thread work all week but when the right technique falls into place it just comes together so easily that I actively want to stitch it instead of it being a chore.

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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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Finally finished, thanks to all your help, advice and ideas. I settled on a frame of brick fabric over an interfacing core to finish off the canvaswork bricks and a touch of Inktense to intensify the colours. It’s tacked in place here…

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…and slip stitched in place here.

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A closure of some grosgrain ribbon printed with maple leaves and a vintage snap was the final finishing touch, and I can now proudly present the Tattershall Castle Memory Journal.

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Unlike the Anderby Creek Journal this one is folded as a triptych with the bollock purse in the middle.

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And the reverse. The ribbon is stitched to the two folds and passes under the micro quilt which is press studded in place.

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I’m delighted to have finished it and am ready to move onto the third in the series – the Kew Gardens Chihuly Exhibition memory journal. I just have to find the black hole that my evenweave fabric has disappeared into first…

I also had fun making a Fathers’ Day card for a friend’s dad. I really object to the tired old football, beer, cars tropes that get trotted out every year, especially as neither my dad nor my husband are into any of those and neither is my friend’s dad. But he does love the Lake District, so I gathered some scraps of hand dyed fabric and started to experiment.

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A little bit of ironing later and I had this:

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It was a good way of showcasing the different textures as well as the variations in colour and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.

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It went down very well apparently, so another satisfied customer!

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The pesky last Tattershall piece is still not working out so I started to attach some of the already completed finished pieces to the accordion book in the hope that they would help inspiration to strike. The front cover is glued as it’s paper with a bit of stabilising calico behind.

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Then I added more stitching to the batik bricks in order to sew it to the brick fabric background.

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But still nothing, and I’m not sure how to attach the bollock purse or the canvaswork either, so that has ground to a halt. So I decided to do something completely different and start one of the two Sue Hawkins kits that have been my lock-down treat. The first one is the Bright Pyramid needlebook, purely because I need one and am too lazy to design my own!

There have been a few counting issues and associated bad language, but I’m just over half way through the design and it’s starting to come a bit more easily as bits of the pattern start to repeat.

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I know that the first two lines are not quite long enough – that was an issue I didn’t realise until I had stitched quite a lot of the hearts and flowers band. There was a lot of bad language at that point… I’m working up the enthusiasm to unpick the ends and restitch them.

On the plus side, I really like the braided effect of the long-legged cross stitch bands.

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And if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve just become the besotted owner of two more vintage hand cranked sewing machines.

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Sadly one of our elderly neighbours died recently (not Covid) and over the last few days it has been quite upsetting to hear relatives clearing the entire contents of her home into a skip. But with charity shops shut and no boot sales, what else do you do with the remains of a life? However, I was able to rescue, among a few other bits, these incredible machines. As both were locked I had no idea what would be inside until I got them home. It was like opening a treasure chest.

It was the fantastic inlaid but badly damaged case that alerted me to this one:

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The base is damaged as well, but I’m sure I can sort it out. No idea of the maker but I suspect it’s late 1800s, early 1900s in date. And it has mother of pearl flowers inlaid into the base plate!

And as the case was very simple, I almost left this stunning Singer in the skip! Opening the case was a revelation – the chrome is immaculate, the decals and bright and clean and it even has a Singer tin of bobbins etc. in the base compartment.

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We are lucky enough to have a fantastic local sewing machine repairers and once things are closer to normal, this one will be serviced and has already been claimed by my daughter.

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I still need to clean them and look at them properly, but I alternate between elation at how beautiful they are and horror that they very nearly went into landfill.

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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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The all day batik workshop/play day we had at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild for our February meeting seems a lifetime ago now but I’ve been working on one of the pieces I created during the session.

With the Tattershall bricks in mind I used a tiny Polish kitska, usually used for creating fine wax resist designs on eggs, to draw a little brick design which I then overdyed with silk paints. 

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 Not too many blobs, but I had plans for them anyway. Covered with masses of french knots, they become patches of moss.  Rough back stitch and odd straight stitches neaten up the batiked lines of mortar. 

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But then it occurred to me that if I covered over all the batik lines there was really no point in the batik. It might as well be embroidery on hand dyed fabric.

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So I decided to embroider part of it but let it fade off at the edges. Ripping the fabric helps too.

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Second piece finished, but I’ve not finished with the bricks quite yet…

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