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Posts Tagged ‘couching’

After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…

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…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…

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…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..

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I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).

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I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.

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The next prompt was cutting and patching.

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So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.

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As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.

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By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.

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Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.

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My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.

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With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…

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…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

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My inspiration for my page in Janet’s Travelling Book came from finding the rusted fragments I was working on for an art quilt a while ago, including a fragment of very old soft sheeting scattered with rusted marks. I added a scrap of rust coloured silk, variegated thread, silk ribbon and some rusty washers and sat down to stitch.

I started by attaching the silk with a line of back stitch and the largest washer was couched down with metallic Madeira thread.

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Then I added parallel lines of kantha stitching with the variegated thread, weaving around blobs of rust and paint, (I think the fabric was part of an old paint cloth I ‘borrowed’ from my dad’s workshop when I brought home a load of rusted bits a few years ago!) the washer and the silk scrap.

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French knots on the silk strip in a variegated turquoise and rust coloured silk ribbon were joined by metallic thread straight stitches and then I couched some brass watch cogs into some of the spaces.

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I added an explanatory paragraph with little photos of some of my rusted fragments…

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…and attached the finished rusty piece to the next page.

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Janet’s spattered page backgrounds work really well with the colours of the fabric and threads.

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Little shy bird is a joy to stitch and has become a huge favourite with my girls. Such a favourite that I have had to change my plans for him. He was being stitched for the next Travelling Book page I’m working on, but when I mentioned that he would be leaving us at the end of the week, there was such an outcry that I daren’t part with him!

I’ve finished the Bayeux Stitch for his wing…

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And added couched down stranded thread for the edging to his wing.

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More crewel wool for his tail.

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These stitches are going to be held down with couched stranded thread and flystitch/lazy daisy stitch hybrids to echo the markings on the glass bird’s tail

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He’s fast becoming a member of the family and I have to admit I would have been very sorry to see him go.

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Now all I have to do is create something new for the Travelling Book – in 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…!

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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.

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

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And the inside.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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At our Stitch Club last Saturday I was all set to begin some Ruskin lace work for my last year’s Lake District journal. That was until I realised I’d forgotten to pack a frame. So instead I selected a piece of hand dyed vintage handkerchief, an oddment of slubby thread, a piece of calico to stabilise it and a fine thread to couch with and started to doodle.

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It wasn’t entirely aimless. I’m in the middle of some upcycling ideas and one of those was to create a rich jungly background for a single plastic orchid earring and then turn it into a barrette. After I’d doodled the slubby thread all over I added trails of feather stitch over the top in a variegated cotton, made up a pad of felt and pelmet vilene and began to lace the embroidery over it.

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Then I stitched on some gorgeous little polymer clay beads – more dangles really – that I’ve had for ages.

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Next the orchid went on.

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Finally I attached a commercial new barrette clip to a piece of grey felt and blanket stitched it to the back…

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…before popping it into my Etsy shop here.

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So pleased with it – that earring was just too pretty not to have a new lease of life!

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Firstly, a quick update on the french knot marathon. It’s still trailing around with me and has gone from this:DSCN0222 to this:

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I’m focussing on finishing the shaped bits at the top first, while also adding gradually all the way round.

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Our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting before Christmas was a lovely quiet laid back affair in the midst of the rush with wonderful food, courtesy of our Chair, Mary, and some steady stitching for name badges. We had some stamped calico to work from and I chose the rabbit/hare.

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I used some slubby thread in dark grey for his outline, couched down with a variegated stranded cotton, and a thick stranded silk for his coat, couched down in spirals with my favourite variegated metallic Madeira thread. Where there is an area too small to be included in the spirals I’m going to add something like eyelets or perhaps a woven spider’s web.

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Another piece on the go is an aside from our ‘Lush, Plush and Crush’ workshop with Josie Storey in the autumn. I cut a spiral from Bondaweb and stuck it to the velvet, added some gold markal stick and then some french knots for texture.

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This is destined to provide the upcycled centre for an vintage brooch.

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And there’s my “inspired by poetry” piece for the Travelling Book this month. Plenty to be going on with.

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I’ve finished the beaded blanket stitch on the edge of the purple square and am very pleased with it. In fact, I’m very happy with the whole overall look.

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But… I keep thinking of the instruction to bling it up and wondering if I should do any more. I’ve thought about various forms of beaded feather stitch across the spiral or rows of french knots either side of it; back stitched lines running through the spiral with french knot ends or oglala stitch beading over the spiral.

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Really not sure, so I’m returning to the crazy patchwork bead for a bit.

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Any thoughts?

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