Posts Tagged ‘canvaswork’

There is a huge antiques centre about 20 minutes away from where I live and towards the end of the summer, my husband and I decided to pay a visit since it was far too long since we had last been for a good look around. The cafe there is pretty good too, which helped.

We bought a few smallish bits and pieces and one of the many things, big and small, which caught my eye was this unusual antique backgammon table.


Not only because I like playing backgammon, but because I realised that the game board was worked…


…in tent stitch.


I can only assume that the household weren’t big backgammon players, as it’s in lovely condition. It was also marked up at an eye-watering price. “I don’t think it would be that difficult to adapt an old table,” I muttered as I crawled underneath to investigate the underside of the top. My husband seemed indecently keen for us to look at something in the next room at this point.

Can’t imagine why.

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I showed you this amazing book


in my last post. Without even opening it, it’s a thing of beauty, from those William Morris-esque willow leaves sprawling across the spine and cover to the black and gold DMC logo end papers. And so small, only 5 and a half inches high, 4 inches wide and an inch and a half thick so it sits snugly in the hand.

Rachel is right – I have so much I want to do that I don’t think I’ll get round to any of the projects any time soon, but it is just lovely to sit and browse through.


Although I am very tempted to try out this canvaswork Shell Stitch.


Knitting is covered…


…as is crochet…




…embroidery on netting…




…various types of lace…






…and so much more.

I’ve done some more finishing of small projects. Firstly the french knot encrusted blue velvet spiral brooch from the sample piece I started on the Lush, Plush and Crush workshop we did at the Guild with Josie Storey a few months back. From this:


to this:


I’ve also created a pair of silk strip wrapped and beaded hoop earrings using some lovely ombre dyed silk strips from Stef Francis and vintage seed beads and sequins over a pair of vintage plastic earrings.




Having fun!

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I enjoyed the canvaswork knot garden so much I carried on planting my beds.

More knot garden 1

Rhodes stitch on the left and a composite stitch of upright cross stitches within boxes in green with diagonal cross stitches over the top in variegated orange on the right.

More knot garden 2

Crossed cushion stitch – I love this one, especially as I was able to use a thinner thread over the top and so let the threads underneath peek through.

More knot garden 3

Final beds planted top right and bottom left with a Smyrna cross stitch variant. The Smyrna crosses are worked in a trio of variegated green/yellow/orange threads. This leaves space for little upright crosses in between the larger ones, which I added in using the russety coloured stranded thread that has turned up in most of the designs.

More knot garden 4

Just the central section to go. The original design was for a glass shisha ‘pond’ attached with shisha stitch, but I only had large flat sequins at home and they were nearly as wide as the central space so I cheated and covered a brass ring with buttonhole stitch to hold them in place.

More knot garden 5

The space in the corners was filled with French knots in the same thread.

More knot garden 6

Ready to make up now, but it’s been put to one side by two new projects. Firstly, turning this Country Living freebie notebook into a holiday journal:


And secondly, winning this sad and sorry box from eBay.

Sad box 1

As you can see, it’s lost a fair amount of veneer and someone has had a cunning plan to encrust the spaces with odds and ends – an old watch face, a couple of broken earrings, a Renault emblem and other esoteric fragments. It must have once been beautiful. What’s left of the flame mahogany veneer is stunning – or could be, with polish and tlc.

Sad box 2

I couldn’t resist and it was mine for a little over a fiver, including P&P. Off have come the oddments.

Sad box 3

And I’ve made a template for the missing piece of veneer on the lid with some pelmet vilene.

Sad box 4

I’m going to make it beautiful again.

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This was the project at our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting before our summer break and it was exactly what I needed after a very hectic last week of work. Nothing like sitting quietly with the calming regularity of canvas stitches to restore your soul a little. At the end of the day I had managed to stitch most of the ‘hard landscaping’ of the paths in cushion stitch and ‘planted’ two and a half beds.

Canvaswork pincushion 1

Two in rice stitch…

Canvaswork pincushion 2

…and the half in eyelet stitch.

Canvaswork pincushion 3

I was enjoying myself so much I took it along to our theatre club panto script reading that evening to stitch the rest of the paths and do some more ‘planting’.

Canvaswork pincushion 4

It’s been the perfect project with which to unwind into the holidays.

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I was given a Moleskine notebook for Christmas and decided to use it as an ad hoc journal. I wrote a page in the local leisure centre cafe in January when I was waiting for my little one to finish her tennis lesson and decorated the facing page with some of my latte. A couple of months later I added a splash of Twinings Apple Crunch tea and then decided to use the string snipped off the teabag to cross stitch through the page.

Why? enquired my bemused husband. To echo my teenage middle one: just ’cause I can!

Teas and coffee! 1

Last week I had vivid pink Cranberry and raspberry tea and as I was finishing off a canvaswork brooch, I also had some offcuts of canvas. Not only could I add the colour to the page, I could use the teabag to dye the canvas and the string of the tea bag and then use one to stitch on the other!

Teas and coffee! 2

So there you have it: cushion stitch in fruit tea dyed tea bag string on a fragment of fruit tea dyed canvas with a pale lilac splodge of the same tea in the background.

Teas and coffee! 3

Just ’cause I can!!

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…is all I seem to have managed this half term.

I finally got round to giving the silk thread I had painted with silk paints a more thorough coat of yellow, going from this, with too many pale areas:

Silk thread dyeing 1

To this, dried, fixed and all neatly wound and ready for use:

Hand dyed yellow-green thread

I found a piece of tiny cross stitch knot garden work that I’d started at an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting ages ago and finished off the back stitch on that. I’m not sure what the count of the aida is, but each motif is about an inch square and is worked in a single strand of stranded silk.

Cross stitch knot garden

I also rediscovered a canvaswork brooch from a kit that I’d worked all apart from the edging last Easter. I didn’t like the sparkly black chainette the kit contained for the edging and so I substituted a thick soft silk in a very dark blue.

Canvas work brooch 1

I might well have rejected the chainette on the grounds that it would be difficult to sew with – the silk is a complete nightmare! You get one easy stitch (the first pass through the canvas) and then it snags, twists and knots on everything from the edges of the canvas to your fingers. No wonder I didn’t finish it at the time! But now I’m so close to a finish, I’m using very short lengths and using it as an exercise in patience and acceptance!

Canvas work brooch 2

I also found a strand of beachcombed rope from our last holiday which was too long to make it onto this: Beach debris 1

So I decided to let it star in its own piece of stitching, curled into a spiral and caged with feather stitch in sandy shades on a hand dyed piece of cotton in toning colours.

Reclaimed by the Sea 1

Beads and dangles are caught in the feather stitch like snagged debris.

Reclaimed by the Sea 2

The organic shape and natural colours of the feather stitch and the way it was partially hiding the rope strand, made me think of the way sea life grows on and around the waste we dump into it and led to the split stitch caption: reclaimed by the sea…..

Reclaimed by the Sea 3

Back to work tomorrow, but I’m hoping most of the children in my class will have completed the Artists’ Trading Card challenge I set them for half term homework.

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At our Embroiderers’ Guild AGM in September I think most members were a bit nonplussed when asked to put our chairs into a circle to play the paper and pencil game ‘Consequences’. But it was Consequences with a twist: Embroidery Consequences!

We were asked to write down a dimension, then fold it over and pass it so many places on, then write the name of a shape on the new piece of paper before passing it on again and then in succession, a colour, a type of thread, an embroidery stitch, a theme and lastly a notion.

At the end they were all mixed up and we each drew one out with the challenge to stitch something containing all the elements on the sheet we’d drawn for the December meeting. My elements were as follows:

Dimension: 8cm

Shape: square

Colour: red

Thread: fine perle (this was actually one of the things I’d written down so I got my own back there!)

Stitch: chain stitch

Theme: buildings

Notion: button

It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what I was going to stitch.

Embroidery consequences 1

At the same meeting we had some lucky dip bags on sale for £1 each, each containing a selection of embroidery items kindly donated by the family of one of our members who sadly died during the summer. I decided to use the yellow canvas and sparkly red lame fabric I found in one of mine as part of the design.

Norwich stitch, one of my favourites, in a mixture of fine perle and mercerised cotton.

Embroidery consequences 2

Embroidery consequences 3

Trying out two vintage mother of pearl buttons for the moon.

Embroidery consequences 4

Hopefully now you can see the bones of the idea – the Norwich stitches as lighted windows in blocks of sky scrapers against a sunset sky with a rising moon.

Embroidery consequences 5

Next the covering of black felt to make the silhouette. I carefully cut holes in it and stab stitched around the openings in black cotton…

Embroidery consequences 6

…before my opportunity came in the shape of another LTC committee meeting and I was able to get the rest of the stitching completed. The black felt skyscrapers were stitched down onto the red lame background.

Embroidery consequences 7

Lines of red chain stitch in fine perle became low back-lit sunset clouds with the bigger of the two buttons becoming the moon.

Embroidery consequences 8

And my embroidery consequence is finished.

Dimension: 8cm (8cm wide)

Shape: square (windows)

Colour : red (sky and clouds)

Thread: fine perle (some of the windows and the clouds)

Stitch: chain stitch (the clouds)

Theme: Buildings (skyscrapers)

Notion: button (the moon)


Embroidery consequences 9

Well, apart from the final finishing into something. I have ideas, but not sure whether I also have the time to carry them out before Saturday’s meeting.  Lovely idea and I loved doing it!!

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