Posts Tagged ‘beading’

If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.









Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.


Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.


Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.


It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.


I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…


…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.


Measure twice, cut once…


Hold your breath and hope…


…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.



I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.









They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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I’ve had the idea of turning an old pocket watch case into a pendant for a while now, but it wasn’t until yesterday, when after a challenging morning helping my 11 yr old to muck out her bedroom, I felt in need of something simple and soothing to stitch. The watch case itself was ready to go, I just needed to find the fabric…


…then track down the Dinky Dyes variegated silk I knew I had that would go with it, select three tiny nuggets from my sea glass collection…


…and I was good to go. Seed beads first.


And then the embroidery – feather stitch using one strand of the silk and scattered trios of french knots.


To finish I layered a piece of wadding over a circle of card and snipping the edge of the fabric, I wrapped each tab round the card and lightly glued them to the back before setting the whole thing in the watch case.


It’s been a long time in development, but I’m absolutely delighted with the result.

If you’re interested, you can find it here.

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My little one has just started secondary school and has gone from packed lunches to school dinners. This has suddenly given me 10-15 minutes extra in the mornings and so I’ve started doing a little stitching before I head off to work.

The huge french knot piece is heading for the last leg. Last time I shared it, I’d got this far:


But a summer’s worth of stitching at boot sales, meetings and these new morning stitching sessions has got me to this point:


The bottom edge is now complete, the second corner defined and all I have left to do is the final edge. That said, there is probably hours of work still before I can put in the final stitch!

The other thing I’ve worked on is my amulet, although I’m thinking it’s more likely going to be a book cover. At the end of the workshop in July I’d feather stitched and beaded the printed fabric to the background felt and used beaded blanket stitch to attach a rusty washer to the centre.


Since then I’ve used my favourite metallic Madeira thread to back stitch all round the printed design. Just enough metal wrapping around the core thread to give a subtle sparkle. It’s twinkly rather than blingy!



To fit in with the found washer in the middle, I’ve added some large textured gold tone loops from a short section of chain. Each one is couched down and then french knots added at the ends of the couching stitches.



I’m amazed at how much I’m getting done in these little sessions, although it is extremely tempting to just do a few minutes more – and then end up late for work!

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Back in May we had a goldwork initial workshop with Brenda Scarman and I started to work a letter ‘O’ for a birthday card for my mother. As it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago I can finally reveal something I’ve finished!

At the end of the workshop I had got this far:


I simplified the scrolls in the middle due to the thickness of the double couching thread and added more chips of silver purl, silver seed beads, turquoise bugle beads and french knots to the border.


Not happy with the squashed spiral on the lower left, so I restitched that.


Carried on beading and french knotting…


…until it was finally finished.

And then I decided I preferred it up the other way!




Simply framed with grey card to become a special birthday card. And a finish!!


I’ve also upcycled an odd clip on earring front to make a beaded brooch


…and turned some of my huge collection of sea glass and china into rings.

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Loads more projects still to get stuck into though!


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As our meeting on the Saturday afternoon was to be followed by an all day workshop with Chris on the Sunday, at the end of the meeting we got a tantalising preview of all the goodies we were going to be using – piles of gorgeously dyed fabrics, threads, and beads, paints and box upon box of intricately carved wooden stamps all laid out ready. Talk about whetting the appetite!

The next day our task was to choose two pieces of the lusciously dyed fabrics that Chris had provided and print them up with one of Chris’ blocks to stitch into an amulet. If we had any of our own spare fabric, we could print that as well to take home.

Chris had told us a tale of a lady who never did any stitching on one of these workshops – she spent the whole day printing – and after experiencing the fantastic crisp images the blocks produce…


…I completely understood where she was coming from.


Everywhere I looked was another block I wanted to try.


I’d come out of the house in a hurry (as usual) and grabbed a handful of scrap fabric to print on rather than the whole bag. Ultimately this was a good thing because had I grabbed the bag instead I don’t think they would have got me away from the blocks.  Even so, I printed on everything I had. When the calico was covered, I printed on silk dupion, which turned out pretty well in spite of its slubby surface…


…printed and patterned fabrics,


odd shaped scraps and oddments…

…and I even ended up printing on ironed out silk carrier rods, scrim and chiffon and emptying out my workbag in case there was anything else remotely usable hidden in its depths. The scrim and chiffon were a revelation. We were printing with emulsion paint – no fancy textile inks or paints  – using blocks with very fine detail and the results were amazing. First the scrim:


Close up you can see how crisp the image is despite the crinkled nature of the weave.


Then the chiffon. I didn’t expect much of a result with emulsion paint on such a fine fabric, but I was over the moon with how well the blocks printed on it.


By this time pretty much everyone else was already stitching, it was nearly lunchtime and the blocks were being washed and packed away, so I resolved not to try and cadge any more fabric from anyone else and sat down to stitch the print I had chosen for my hand dyed fabric piece. Medieval tile pattern on turquoise of course and feather stitch around the edge to attach it to the black felt behind.


I love the rust-coloured patches in this fabulous thread and once the block was feather stitched down, I went back and beaded it with matte iridescent delicas in similar tones.


A rusty washer was perfect for the centre.


I attached it with beaded blanket stitch, using some more of the same beads and another favourite thread, my bronzy metallic Madeira.



Next step is to back stitch around the design in the Madeira thread.

Chris posted some more images of the lovely work done by everyone else here. And then if her generosity of knowledge and enthusiasm wasn’t enough, she presented us with this lovely amulet to be raffled at our AGM at the end of the month.


Thanks Chris, it was brilliant!

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We had the OFSTED call this week. That acronym might not mean much to anyone who hasn’t been involved in the British education system but OFSTED carry out school inspections. And anyone who has been involved with them will know that they pretty much sow terror, despair and misery in their wake.

I head up our Nurture/Learning Support team and am also the behaviour specialist so it was decided by senior management that the few hard core behaviour problem children we have in school would be taken out of their various classes and corralled in the Nurture Room where instead of lessons they would do something interesting, arty and creative for the duration of the inspection (a day and a half) under my tender care. What I think about this is pretty much unprintable, but as these six boys are often violent and abusive, no one wanted to risk the outcome of the inspection on one of them kicking off.

So I decided that we would felt. First  I showed them some pieces of handmade felt and demonstrated how to pull tufts of fleece and lay them out in layers to form a big piece of flat felt (about 70cm by 70cm) for the base of the design. They used blue and white fleece to create a stream running diagonally from one corner to the other and I showed them how to ‘paint’ with tiny wisps of different coloured fleece to make pebbles in the stream.



Then they added different greens all around the stream for grass and bushes and started to create the felt. While they took turns in pairs to roll the huge sausage of felt, bubble wrap, net curtain and fleece, I started the rest off rolling fleece around small balls to make flowers. Once the fleece had felted tightly around the balls I cut slits into the top to make petal shapes and they carried on rolling, watching the slits become holes and the felt gradually shrink further and further down the balls until they became little tight cup shapes.


The next day they made a piece of green felt about 40cm by 30cm and designed some leaf templates. I cut leaves out of the felt while they added stitches and beads to make the centres of the flowers.



Most of them had never embroidered before so we had to give quite a lot of initial support, but several of the boys really took to it and once all the flowers were done they began to add central veins to the leaves with whipped and threaded running stitch.


Once each element was finished they told me where they wanted them putting and I needlefelted the flowers and leaves in place, which worked brilliantly and was much quicker than stitching!

The finished piece:


They are extremely proud of it and I’m just pleased we managed to keep a powder keg dry for the best part of two days.

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Our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was an all day workshop with Brenda Scarman on goldwork. Our aim was to transfer into fabric and then stitch an ornate letter using different goldwork techniques. For me this was an ideal opportunity to use up some of the goldwork threads I’ve accumulated through eBay over the last few years! Just as very small selection…!


I chose the letter O not because it was an easy shape, but  because I hope to stitch this for a birthday card for my mum, whose name is Olwen. And as it was an easy shape I lazily copied it free hand onto this gorgeous hand dyed silk.


Couching some sort of thread I had round the outside of the outline.


And the inside.


Then the silver leather. There is a single layer of felt underneath to give it a slightly raised feel but I wanted it to stay inside the outline.


The next technique we were shown was chip work. That was fun! I started with dense chip work leading away from the leather, and then started to gradually add silvery clear beads and the odd french knot in turquoise.


Gradually I lessened the silver and increased the turquoise, introducing more french knots and bugle beads.


It was my first attempt at goldwork (I don’t count the pearl purl work I did on some of my hand made jewellery a couple of years ago) and I really enjoyed it. Now all I have to do is to get it finished for my mum’s birthday.

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