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Posts Tagged ‘bullion rose’

It’s been a lovely Christmas with all the children together for a couple of days. Now the older two have gone back to their respective homes, it feels more like normality and I’ve started to think less about producing the next meal for the hungry hordes and more about the New Year and where I want to take my stitching.

I’ve largely managed to free myself from the need to finish everything I start, but as well as the unfinished pieces that have served their purpose, whether that’s, “What happens if…” or, ” Given it my best shot but I still really don’t like it…” I still have partly worked projects that I would like to complete. So my focus this coming year is to work with what I have, start new things when it’s appropriate, but be more mindful about moving on the stuff that is still ongoing. In this spirit, here is the Bluework bowl I started in March 2012, which scarily makes it almost a decade old. The last time I posted about it (which was also the last time I actually worked on it) was July 2018 when it looked like this:

Not a lot left to do really, apart from finishing off the cherry blossom and thinking what to put in the final section. The biggest problem with the cherry blossom was finding the thread, or at last a close match, for the branches, but it looks like I’ve either already had that problem or deliberately used slightly different shades to give the impression of depth and shading. I extended the branch into the space above and scattered it with cherry blossom in French knots – a few too many in hindsight as the space looks crammed. I think I’ll probably take them out and restitch the crowded section when I get better light for the unpicking.

I ran through lots of ideas for the last section before settling on a recent favourite – woven feathered chain stitch in what I think is a very softly spun silk. It made the weaving a bit interesting as even with a canvas needle it was almost impossible not to keep piercing the foundation stitches but the sheen on the woven leaves is lovely.

I finished it with woven spiders’ web wheels for flowers in a darker blue Gloriana silk. Apologies for the awful photos but it’s impossible to get decent photographs at the moment – even when it’s light the weather has been so horrible over the last few days that photos outside are nearly as bad as those inside.

So after almost ten years, it’s finished. Well sort of. I’ve already decided to re stitch the cramped cherry blossoms and there are some sections where I’m wondering if it’s a bit too busy and others where perhaps its not busy enough.

Perhaps I’ll keep it on the in progress pile but I certainly will try and get some better photos of it.

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Not much stitching this week as I’ve been dealing with the end of term in various ways, but the miniature garden now has some bullion knot lettuces in a very subtly variegated thread:

And I’ve started some courgettes. I think I might cut the leaves out of some fabric like I did with the pumpkin pendant…

…rather than embroider them as they are quite big. The only other way I can think of is to make them as needle lace slips and I don’t really want to go into that level of complexity. I’ve tried out an experimental courgette made from the tiniest raised stem band with a trio of lazy daisy stitches for the flower. Hopefully the head of the pin gives an idea of scale!

The wind sculpted tree has gone from this:

To this:

I needle felted a sheep for a birthday card:

And finished a doodle with some of my reticulated brass scraps and gold pearl purl on sapphire blue silk.

Must try harder!

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Bullion roses first. In fact this is quite an old finish (early lockdown rather than later!) but one I haven’t blogged about at all. I began another tiny locket insert on silk carrier rod well before last Christmas, using silk buttonhole twist to make bullion knot roses.

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It stalled as other projects took priority but finally at the end of April I decided to crack on and get it finished.

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I was aiming for an asymmetric look but without it appearing to be unfinished and I am very pleased with the result which you can find here in my Etsy shop.

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Back to the Tattershall Castle memory journal. ‘It Rained’ is completed and I am really pleased with it. First the split stitch leaves and couched perle thread stalks.

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Then I added the raindrops. Flat backed teardrop shaped beads with an iridescent coating. They were the perfect finishing touch and I think this might be my favourite of all of the Tattershall pieces.

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This meant that I was now ready to assemble the memory journal, put it away and move onto the third one, documenting my visit to Kew last summer. I blanket stitched a border around the bollock purse…

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…and stitched into it with tiny stab stitches to attach it to the page.

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Everything else went on really smoothly but then I came to the canvaswork piece…

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Unfortunately I trimmed it really close to the edge and this has given me no leeway now I need to stitch it in place. I’m pretty sure that even if I try to invisibly stitch it down the handling will be enough to loosen the last thread on each edge and in any case, I don’t want the spiky bare canvas as an edging.

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So near and yet so far! So, dear readers, any thoughts, ideas or inspiration? All suggestions very gratefully received!

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I first had the idea for putting a pamphlet stitched booklet inside the cuff of a shirt or jacket about 6 years ago and although I’ve since seen images on the internet, I’m proud to say it was it was an idea I had all by myself!

Denim cuff books

It’s a great method for making notebooks to carry around in a bag or pocket as the button (or snap) on the cuff holds the pages closed and you have the length of the cuff to decorate.

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So I was delighted to be asked to teach it as a workshop for Brigg Allsorts group last week.  Men’s shirts, my main source of cuffs, often are patterned in stripes or checks and the patterns are a great set of guidelines for keeping your stitches straight, so I chose a checked one and decided to have a go at some chicken scratch embroidery with cross stitch and rice stitch.

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I also replaced the boring button with one covered in scarlet silk. It’s fascinating how adding even simple stitches can alter your perception of the background design so much.

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One of the early projects on the seven week crazy patchwork course I’m running for North Lincolnshire Adult Education at Ashby Link was to piece three tiny scraps of fabric together with feather stitch and enhance them with stitches to make a crazy patchwork brooch. This is my example. Black and gold silk covered with lace on either side of a scrap of printed Japanese style cotton with a gold coloured metal motif stitched onto it.

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Kantha stitch knocks back the brightness of the print in the middle. Whipped back stitch and threaded chain stitch to the left and bullion roses with stem stitch stems and nested lazy daisy leaves on the right.

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I went for a very closely worked blanket stitch edging as the pieces of silk fabric were fraying very badly. It took a lot longer to finish, but I think the neat effect is worth it.

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One thing about teaching these courses, I have to get things finished to keep up with the learners!

 

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The bluework is coming along slowly. I’ve added a centre to the lighter coloured flower on the right hand side.

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However, that part of the design has lapsed as I need to redraw the rest of it and I never seem to have my fabric marker handy when I’m working on it, so I went for another section altogether. My first attempt at this type of bullion knot roses with my favourite fly stitch leaves and stem stitch stem.

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That was a relatively quick stitch, so I thought I’d stay with bullions and create some lavender.

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It looked a bit sparse, so I used a variegated perle thread in a similar colour to create some more heads in the background with nested lazy daisy stitch leaves and split stitch stems on the lavender in the foreground.

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I might use some fine silk to put the suggestion of another row in even further away when I’ve finished the perle.

And the bluework so far…

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I do believe I’m over half way!

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It was a pleasure to finish the little Bossa Nova Rose from our Embroiderers’ Guild Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery workshop last weekend. I didn’t follow the instructions when it came to the leaves, going for fly stitch over blanket stitch and not adding the fine pale green edging it suggested because I felt the sheen of the thread gave enough definition.

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And then quickly finished as a card.

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My first sea glass and pocket watch case pendant positively flew out of my Etsy shop and I’ve started another one to go with a harlequin case of a gold coloured collar and engine turned back. I’ve got some tiny pieces of very rare yellow sea glass and some ordinary brown to add to this.

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I also turned some off cuts of hand dyed fabric, the batik I’m using above and some cotton print in shades of brown into some strip patchwork which I used to cover a grotty looking cabochon pendant…

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…turning it into an upcycled patchwork pendant with added vintage lace and flower trim.

Lots going on!

 

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Our October Meeting at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild was an all day workshop with Ann Stalley on Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery. Knowing that it involved rayon thread, which in my experience is some of the most evil stuff on the planet, I was in two minds about the workshop. However, I can never resist a go at something new and so armed with a big block of beeswax for beating the rayon into submission, I headed off to the meeting to admire Ann’s work…

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…before she told us about her creative  journey. Hard to believe when looking at work like this, that Ann has only been doing Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery for eighteen months.

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She also assured us that the special threads (Edmar) used for this type of work are nothing like ordinary rayon thread (but still I had my beeswax ready just in case!).

Then it was our turn. For the morning session we would practise some of the basic stitches and then stitch a design using those basics in the afternoon. We each had a pack with some of the thread, two substantial milliners’ needles and some calico.

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First, bullions. I can do them but they’re not one of my stitches of choice. We put five pairs of dots in, all about a quarter of an inch apart. Our first bullion was ten wraps and pretty much filled the gap. That’s when I found it easier to work out of the hoop. The second one, to go in the same space, was twenty wraps, then thirty, forty and fifty, getting progressively loopier the more wraps we did.

I take it all back about the thread. The Edmar is a delight to work with. The loops slide smoothly over the needle and even though my bullions could be a lot more even, they were an awful lot easier to work than with ordinary thread.

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Next was a bullion lazy daisy. It’s an interesting technique as the little bullions are formed as part of the stitch, rather than being like the running stitch that tacks a normal lazy daisy down and took some practise.  They also would have been a lot neater if I’d hooped the calico back up!

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Lastly was cast on stitch which once I got a rhythm to casting on the loops, I absolutely loved.

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So much so, that I had a go at creating a sort of flower with cast on stitch petals in perle over lunch. It worked, but wasn’t as crisp a finish and just didn’t stand up as well as the Edmar.

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Using the perle illustrated perfectly what it is about the springiness of the rayon thread that makes the dimensional elements work so well. I was definitely ready to start the afternoon’s design of the bullion rose spray.

However, I struggled to place the first rounds of bullions properly and halfway through, although I was pleased with the quality of the bullions, I wasn’t happy with my scrappy rose.

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Luckily the outer bullions managed to neaten things up, and with the addition of a bead centre, managed to salvage it from being a complete disaster.

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Next the leaves. The design used buttonhole stitch but I love the way close fly stitch works up into leaves and I thought that this would suit the lustre of the thread.

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Very pleased with the result and by the end of the afternoon I had two leaves added to the spray.

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Not much to do to finish, and despite my slight misgivings beforehand, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I’m seriously thinking about investing in some Edmar threads and I fancy seeing if I can stitch some dimensional sea shells.

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