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Posts Tagged ‘buttonhole rings’

I’ve had a few meetings over the last week which have borne fruit as far as the Victorian wallpaper motif is concerned. When I blogged about it a couple of weeks ago, I was a little worried about the coverage of the single strand red silk thread and wondering if two strands would work better.

As I’d worked a symmetrical section, I decided to change to two strands for the next one down and see how things went. And they went perfectly. The strands worked well together and I think the coverage is much smoother and neater. However, there is a definite difference in height between the two sections, so I’m wondering whether to restitch the three sections I’ve already done.

Especially as I checked back with the original photo – spot the not deliberate mistake!

I am definitely going to have to restitch the middle section, although I might just see if I can use the existing red stitches as padding, satin stitch over it in black and make it a slightly more raised block. Loving the way the silk shimmers in the sunlight.

At In The Stitch Zone, the class I teach on a Monday afternoon, we have just started the SpringBoard Project. The idea is that we all stitch something which incorporates the prompt for the week. It can be as complex or simple, obvious or tenuous as you like and therefore, hopefully accessible by anyone at any level of ability. We’re a week out of sync due to the Bank Holiday for the Queen’s funeral, so started last week with the first prompt, which was ‘Wrap’.

Even up to the start of the session I had no clear idea of what I was going to do. I had threads, fabric, beads and some other bits and pieces which included a section of plastic drinking straw. So I picked out some fabric in my favourite shades and started to play; literally doodling with the materials in front of me. And I ended up with this:

The bright turquoise is frayed habotai silk and I have caught it down with beads over sections of the straw.

I only had a small piece of the straw so I’m trying to use every scrap!

Loving this doodle and definitely going to carry on with it.

Lastly, as we’re at the end of yet another month (how did that happen?!) the round up for September’s Move It On Project. Not finished, but definitely moved on. I’ve learned some things, made choices and again, ended up with something that is worth continuing and finishing when the time is right.

I’ve bit the bullet with October’s Project because it’s actually something that has not yet been started. It’s not just my project, it’s a three way collaboration that started in lockdown and I’m painfully aware that I’m holding the job up, so I’m using this as a way of holding myself accountable. There will be pictures and a fuller confession to follow.

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I called the felted, beaded upcycled brooch ‘Clematis’ and finished it late last night – hence the rubbish lighting in the photo. I put it on its story card and took it to the Eco Fair at the Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber today and it sold. To tell the truth I was a bit gobsmacked and am feeling strangely bereft. I was so pleased with the design but it feels like I barely had the time to get to know this piece before it headed off to a new home. Very strange emotions. I’m also wondering if I under-priced it, which I suspect I did, given the amount of work in it… Anyway, lesson learned.

After the summery clematis flower I went more autumnal with the piece of jewellery I was working on at the fair today. Our stitch group (SEATA) always has the most fabulous Sales Table at each meeting with donations from other members to be sold for the group’s funds. Other people’s stuff is always much more interesting than your own! A few months ago I bought a load of machine stitched, embroidered, layered and melted autumnal fabric leaves which I could really see being used in upcycling projects but it wasn’t until a leaf shaped stick pin turned up in a recent lot of broken jewellery…

…that things started to come together. I chose two of the leaves.

And then combined them to make a spray with the leaf at the top of the pin becoming part of the base of one of the leaves. I’ve stitched them together going over the machine stitches in a very fine thread so they are firmly attached but the join is pretty much invisible.

And of course, the other ongoing seasons-related thing in the pipeline is September’s Move It On Project which is based on the four seasons. Summer has been moved on a bit, from here:

To here, with the addition of some stem stitch stems and buttonhole ring leaves.

I’m enjoying the simplicity of these shapes and as each flower makes up relatively quickly, it’s just what I need to feel I’m making some progress in spite of the limited hours in a day.

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It occurred to me as I stitched this month’s Move It On Project this week, that how much moving on each of these projects gets seems to depend largely on their portability. If I can pick it up and take it with me to an appointment, meeting or wherever, then I work on it more. If not, like the Ruskin Lace, which requires concentrated effort, then there is much less moving on.

September’s project, happily, is easily portable and therefore we have progress. Adding veins and a stalk in stem stitch and straight stitch has improved the basic leaf shapes in the Autumn section. I will be adding some more, and possibly some swirls of wind, but I wanted to see if the extra details would work first.

I already had one flower in the Summer section made by combining a yellow ring with a with a smaller green one inside and adding French knots for the centre and also to catch it down. I liked it as it was, but also quite liked the idea of adding lazy daisy stitch petals.

However, after experimenting with some lay outs, I felt that adding petals would make the flower much bigger, so I could only fit a couple in the section, or I would have to layer them. As well as that, the sections I had stitched already are quite simple. The idea is to showcase the rings and what you can do with them, so disguising the ring with extra stitches all round the edge, although a good idea for something else, isn’t right for the premise behind this piece. So there will be three flowers all in a neat row along this section, using some of the rings I’ve already made. I like the heavy sheen of the rayon cord on the left.

So things are moving on quite well.

I also had a lovely day with Lincoln Textiles Group on Saturday…

…teaching this design for the Richly Textured Ribbon Workshop I’ve been working on over the last six months.

The five pages of instructions, including drawing my own stitch diagrams like this one for the twisted ribbon stitch used for the tentacles of the anemone…

…and creating a photo sequence for the zig zag couching I developed for the body, took a lot longer than the actual stitching of the sample, but all the hard work paid off as the designs took shape around the room with minimal input from me. There are still a few tweaks needed but it went down extremely well and overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome of a lot of very hard work!

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September’s Move It On Project dates back to August 2020 and I blogged about it in a post here. I don’t appear to have mentioned it since, but back in 2020 and at the beginning of the month when I picked it back up, it looked like this:

I’d had the idea following a workshop on making buttonhole rings, of doing a piece with manipulated rings based on the four seasons. So Spring is top left, represented by spring showers making ripples in puddles…

…and Summer has been started far right, with a flower created from a tiny green buttonhole ring nested inside a larger one in yellow perle and filled with French knots.

I also had a little collection of random rings I’d worked in the workshop as examples. Autumnal coloured ones for the falling leaves I had envisaged for Autumn and a beaded buttonhole stitched one for Christmas baubles for Winter. Or I might do some small white ones and make snowflakes. Or possibly I could somehow have both!

While I mulled over the respective merits of sparkly beaded baubles and intricately stitched snowflakes, I decided to start on the autumn leaves. It’s proved a bit more tricky than I hoped to shape one end into more of a point, but I think if I add a central vein to each one it might help.

Thank you all for your support on the satin stitch direction for the Brantwood wallpaper motif piece. It’s not niggling at me any more and I’m enjoying the different way the silk catches the light, depending on the angle of the stitching. So much so that I’ve finished all the blue and moved onto the red. I decided to stick with silk thread but I don’t have any red of the same type and weight so I’m using the thinner but fabulously named ‘Tart’s Knickers’ from HDF.

The Brantwood piece is proving the perfect portable stitching which is why it’s moving on at a reasonable rate despite the actual stitching being pretty mindless – outline shape, satin stitch over shape, repeat. But sometimes it’s good to have that choice from challenging projects that demand your full attention right the way along the spectrum to the straightforward ones which you can do with half an eye on something else. Yet another of the many joys of stitching.

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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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Or at least one jump ring! And there were quite a lot to undo and then replace when I took a couple of odd earrings…

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…deconstructed them…

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…and with the addition of some reclaimed chain and a load of jump rings, reconstructed them into an upcycled bib necklace.

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The gold tone sections are nice and light so even though the whole thing has quite an opulent look, it isn’t too heavy to wear. It’s available here in my Etsy shop with free UK postage and packing.

I have managed to set a few stitches too. After the mini workshop I taught on making buttonhole rings at The Stitch Zone last December I had an idea for manipulating some rings to create a four seasons piece.

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It seemed like a good way back into stitching since the Kew pieces are still proving problematic. I came across Quaker Stitch here on Mary Corbett’s Needle n’ Thread recently and was looking for an excuse to try it out.

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It’s a cross between stem and split stitch and really sits up beautifully on the line. Then I made a load of rings in various shades of blue and couched them down to form puddles or ripples.

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They don’t quite make sense until you add the rain…

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…and that’s Spring done! One stitch at a time.

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And turquoise.

This is another fragment piece I’ve been playing with. It also gave me the opportunity to use some gorgeous chunky, slubby hand-dyed silk thread that was far too thick to stitch with and to experiment with making buttonhole rings on a ring stitck that my Dad turned for me.

A piece of very old, very well-worn and soft sheet turned dustsheet/rag which I rusted last summer was scrunched up and stitched down onto another piece of the same fabric – a more stable piece which is in fact a wide end seam – with variegated metallic thread.

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The stick has three different sized sections and so I experimented with making different sized rings in a couple of different threads and then nestling them in the folds of the rusted cotton before couching them down.

Instead of finishing off the ends I left them trailing and they were couched down with a sort of uneven armed cross stitch which I believe is called thorn stitch.

I really like the soft fraying ends of the cotton.

It was while I was working on this one that I had a sudden vision of a piece comprised of various sized embroidered/embellished fragments of rusted fabric and sashed in turquoise.

So I rushed into this:

The rusted fabric is bigger than the calico square underneath so the idea is to use french knots to gather it up in folds and layers until it fits the underlying square.

I like the look, but because the french knots need controlling as you lay them down, it makes the gathering/ruching harder to control, so I finished off the length of thread I was using and now plan to catch the rest down with tiny stitches which can be hidden with french knots over the top.

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