Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘couching’

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, at In The Stitch Zone we’ve been working on what I’ve called the SpringBoard Project. My 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 as I’m keen to encourage new people to join. I have shared some glimpses of my responses to the prompts but as I’ve completed two of them this weekend, I thought it was time for a dedicated catch up.

Week 1: Wrap

My initial idea for this was to wrap some lengths of plastic drinking straw with some scraps of fabric and then add beads and then just see where things led me. A couple of weeks ago this was as far as I’d got.

Sue, one of the ladies in the class, gave me some threads she didn’t want which were the perfect colour and that gave me the idea of wrapping the whole bundle in and out of the straws and couching them down. It would also help keep the straw sections in place.

Once I’d got this far I realised I needed a bit more space so I moved it onto a piece of furnishing fabric and a bigger hoop before I spread out and couched down the ends of the thread bundle, adding some one-wrap French knots for texture and then wrapped more beads over the ends of the loops.

I had one straw section left, so I cut it into three, wrapped each one in the rust and turquoise thread I’d been using for the couching and stitched them down with long straight stitches.

Finally I tore a strip of cloth I rusted in the summer and wrapped it with a length of perle cotton I’d used to tie the bundle up and couched it round the outside of the silk square I’d used for the background. First one finished!

Week 2: Fold

My response for this prompt was the American smocking panel I shared a couple of weeks ago. It had a lovely reception on Instagram with several people thinking it was a pastry lattice pie crust on first glance!

Week 3: Knot

My initial thought for this one was that it was an opportunity to finally get to grips with colonial knots, which I’ve been promising myself for a while but I was also quite taken with an image I found on Pinterest of layers of knotted fabric so I knotted some strips, found a random scrap of background fabric and layered them up with lines of Palestrina stitch.

I’m less happy with this sample – mainly because it’s the closest to my comfort zone. I’ve not used a new technique or given a twist to something I already knew how to do – the seaweedy curving lines are very ‘me’. However, it meets the prompt and I don’t have to love all my samples. I’ve also decided that when I find a suitable piece of fabric to mount it on I’ll have a go at a row of colonial knots or mixed colonial and French perhaps round the edge to attach it.

Week 4: Twist

This was last week’s prompt and as I spent the session struggling with what I though was a chest infection I only got this far with the base grid for Twisted Lattice Stitch from Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. I’ve stitched it in mercerised cotton on linen so I could use the weave to keep things even but I suspect it’s a bit on the small side. (No surprise there…)¬†¬†Mary Thomas shows it worked as a diamond so even though it looks rectangular it does have the right number of thread on each side – eventually…

The chest infection? After miraculously avoiding it for nearly three years (not bad given I’m a supply teacher, my husband works in two schools and my little one has been in school and college) I tested positive for Covid the next day. Week 5 of the Springboard project (‘Cut’) is postponed until a week on Monday!

Read Full Post »

I finally finished the couching on the shishas piece this week. The last time I blogged about it I’d got as far as here and thought it wouldn’t take much longer to complete.

That was three weeks ago and it’s been surprisingly slow progress for something that is straightforward and stitches up relatively quickly. Having started in the middle I decided to complete the top edge first, right up to where the lilac silk fabric stops.

The turquoise fabric had a flat back diamante attached and I decided to make it into a miniature shisha by making a buttonhole ring to go round it. The size (it’s about 4mm in diameter) was quite an issue as it meant I had to scale down the thickness of the thread and I have a nasty suspicion that I twisted the ring as it isn’t sitting straight in spite of the row of fly stitches I added round the edge to try and disguise any shortcomings!

Once I’d finished the top edge I continued to the bottom – it took quite a lot longer than I thought it was going to and by the time I reached the bottom edge I was heartily glad to see the back of it.

It is extremely tactile though – everyone who has seen it has got really touchy feely with it – and with all that heavy thread, in spite of it being only about 7 inches square, it weighs a ton!

In complete contrast to the loose, abstract style of the couching, I’ve also been working on my Brantwood wallpaper motif. I’m using an unlabelled single strand silk with a very subtle variegation.

The stems are either chain stitch (centre and far right and left) or split stitch (middle right). This is the point where I should say something about how the different stitch treatments are all about design choices, but the truth is that between stitching the far right spray and the middle right spray, I forgot what stitch I was using. So I rushed ahead with the second spray and it was only when I finished and looked at the stems more closely (and in daylight…) that it was obvious that I’d started in chain stitch, not split… It’s not really a problem, just slightly irritating that I didn’t check more carefully and I am certainly not taking it out.

This is as far as I’ve got at the moment. You can see the subtle changes in the colour of the thread and also that the satin stitch isn’t all going in the same direction…

Sod it: life’s too short.

It’s a design choice.

Read Full Post »

I’m not much of a one for kits usually as I have more than enough of my own ideas that I’m yet to get round to stitch, but some years ago I couldn’t resist a Liberty canvaswork card kit for 50p in a local charity shop. It was a slightly odd design – I’m still not completely sure what it’s supposed to be beyond a flower/flower bud of some kind – but an unopened Liberty kit for 50p was a no-brainer.

I started stitching it pretty much straight away, but soon came up against the first problem. The instructions suggested you use three strands of the six-stranded cotton provided, but I felt the coverage was far too thin so I upped it to the full six strands. As there was not an overly generous amount of threads in the kit to start with (and I bet it wasn’t cheap originally…) I soon realised that the chances of me running out of some of the shades of peach thread were pretty high. I’d probably have some matching thread somewhere but that would require turning out far too many boxes and bags… So that’s where it stalled and that’s where I picked it up last week for this month’s Move It On project.

After the stress of the Ruskin lace I thought a bit of canvaswork would be nice and soothing. Of course it wasn’t. It’s counted and anything counted has the potential to go seriously awry. I started by playing the peach thread chicken to see exactly how much I would need to find and in which of the four shades. The thread use wasn’t helped by the fact that the kit specifies tent stitch, which due to the extra thread across the back, uses up more than good old half cross stitch. As I neared the end of the threads, I wished that I had ignored the instructions and done it all in half cross stitch from the beginning. Especially as after having congratulated myself on completing all the pale peach and peach stitches, I discovered as I added the dark peach, that I had counted wrongly and the middle section of the lower right petal was out in at least two places.

I took out the scrap of peach before reason kicked in and pointed out that it wasn’t the end of the world and no one would really know if I just worked the dark peach and brick red round my ‘mistake’. However, the scrap literally was just enough to cover the few stitches – no room for a needle to work it – so now I was looking for peach as well. Luckily there was enough brick red but the dark peach has come up short.

I also couldn’t understand why I’d stitched some of the cream perle outline and not the rest, so as a break from trying and failing (of course…) to find a distinctly salmony-peach thread among the literally hundreds I own, I decided to finish the perle. Which is when I found the second counting error on the top left hand edge of the left-hand petal. This time I decided just to work round it and alter the last stitch to make the petal join. I really don’t think it’s noticeable so not unpicking was the right call. But so much for it being soothing and easy!

The shishas and couching pieces has moved on to here:

And I’ve been working on more of my upcycled jewellery pieces. This one has been a particular joy. It started off as two odd pieces of two separate mid-century belt clasps or clothing clips.

But one happened to be one with the ‘hook’ and the other had the ‘eye’, and when I idly put them together, they fitted beautifully and I loved the asymmetric shape they created.

Next I reset the missing stones. I was originally going to stick with the original clear diamantes but after finding that some vintage faux coral stones fitted some of the spaces perfectly and gave a fantastic pop of scarlet, I reset them with a combination of the two.

Lastly, I needed something to fill the curved spaces on the left. I had some pieces of a silk cocoon in the same bright red as the faux coral left over from this pendant I made a couple of weeks ago.

Cutting them to shape was a bit of a challenge but they have a lovely subtle texture and silk sheen which was almost impossible to photograph.

I’m delighted with the result and I hope it finds a good home when I list it in my Etsy shop later this week.

Read Full Post »

It’s taken two months, but I have sort of moved the Ruskin Lace on. When I showed you the project at the beginning of June I’d worked the hem and had started to withdraw some of the threads.

And there it sat for two months while I tried to find the courage and opportunity to move it on. Which I finally did this weekend. Carefully re-reading the instructions and checking what I’d already done, I withdrew the remaining threads for the four-sided stitch border. I’m still not quite sure if they are required for anything in the design so I’ve just pinned them back for now.

Next, the four-sided stitch border. This was a little different to the four-sided stitch I’ve used in Casalguidi and other pulled thread work as the working thread wraps around each group of threads twice. But once I got into the rhythm it stitched up nice and quickly. I’m using a natural linen thread which is nearly the same colour as the linen and as the weave is very open, it’s made much more of a feature of the stitch.

So this is as far as I’ve got with the Ruskin lace and it isn’t really even the actual lace bit yet! It looks like I need to do a whipped inner border next but I’m not sure whether that happens before or after I withdraw the central square. I need to go over the next stage of the instructions very carefully again but that will be at some point in the future. August needs a new Move It On Project and I have yet to decide on what I’m doing for that.

At the Stitch Zone we’ve been learning how to attach shisha mirrors using both shisha stitch and a ‘cheat’s’ way which involves buttonhole stitching round a ring and trapping the shisha underneath it. I also worked over some large sequins and an old coin for variation and added a fly stitch border to one of the ‘cheaty’ shishas.

The couching element is sari silk thread – one of those sort of things which you buy at the Knitting and Stitching Show and then never quite know what to do with it. It’s lovely and thick with a fabulous sheen and a random sprinkling of colours along each length which makes it work perfectly with the sparkle and multicoloured stitching of the shishas.

It’s a nice change to work more freely than you have to with any type of drawn thread work, but now I’ve made a start on my Ruskin lace, I’m much more tempted to keep at it than I was, which surprises me. Watch this space!

Read Full Post »

Finally I can show a project that has been ongoing since I was asked in February to create an unusual ribbon embroidery workshop for Lincolnshire Textiles (formerly Lincoln branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild). The remit was for something ‘richly textured’ but after some heavy googling and falling down Pinterest rabbit holes, I was fed up of looking at flowers, lovely though some of them were, and completely lacking in inspiration. It wasn’t until I was working on one of my sea themed upcycled pendants a few weeks later that a germ of an underwater idea took root.

I did some doodling with some oddments of silk ribbon just to see what was possible. French knots are definitely textured but quite greedy on ribbon. However, I liked the idea of ruching up ribbon on the surface using French knots – perhaps working them in thread rather than ribbon.

The loose twisted ribbon stitches for the tentacles of the anemone worked well from the start, although I was less pleased with the satin stitch body.

What I had taken away from this doodling was that an underwater themed piece would definitely work. The anemone was a definite, if I could create a smoother body and I wanted to use the ruched ribbon for brain coral. Doodling take two. On the right, a shorter satin stitch body. Still not right as the ribbon gathers as it goes through the fabric, leaving rough top and bottom edges. On the left, an idea for surface couching inspired by something I saw on someone’s Instagram of a section of a Jenny Adin-Christie kit. I’ve no idea how the effect was worked, but it was a wide flat thread of some type folded in a zig zag pattern and after a bit of trial and error, I managed to get the ribbon to behave and couched it down to produce the smooth edges I was looking for as well as giving an interesting textured effect.

Time to finally draw the design and use the anemone body I’d just trialled to make a prototype.

Some feather stitch and threaded chain stitch seaweed gave the design a bit of balance and added more textural interest. This was enough to give me a finalised design which I finished stitching this week.

That’s the easy bit – instructions complete with diagrams next! Good job the workshop isn’t until September…

Read Full Post »

At the end of my two days at the Artisan Market at The Collection two weeks ago, my lovely neighbour, Lisa, gave me a couple of pieces of hand made felt she had left over from some wet felted vessels, in case I could do anything with them.

I certainly could! I decided to cut the pink piece into a front and back for a mandala brooch and the larger more orangey piece into an abstract shape for a barrette.

I used a variety of oddments for the mandala brooch, starting with a vintage bead cap and bead in the centre of a brass connector from a broken necklace. I added a second round with some more vintage bead caps, seed beads and some little springs which I salvaged from broken earhooks.

I did wonder whether to add a further round but I wanted to show off the felt rather than obscure it, so I stopped there and joined the front to the back (adding a circle of pelmet vilene inside for strength) with a simple beaded blanket stitch.

I’ve not had chance to do anything further with the barrette but I’m thinking of doing couching with some decorative chains… Another fun collaboration and I have a decent sized scrap left over which I can use for other things and some trimmings which I’ll wet felt into some dreadlocks. Nothing goes to waste.

I stitched the ring of leaves for another cauliflower in the block of three I’m planning for the stumpwork garden and while I was doing that I decided to take the French knots out of the one I’d already done. They were not only too white, but more importantly, too flat and even. I need to find a more suitable weight thread to stitch them back in.

And as you can see from the bottom left hand corner of the photo above, I’ve started fuzzing up my carrot tops.

It takes quite a while to carefully undo the twist of the coton a broder threads, so I’ll be saving that job for the next long committee meeting!

Read Full Post »

I bought some traditional and brightly coloured modern Harris Tweed from eBay back in 2020 and dabbled with this little experimental kantha piece:

It wasn’t a complete success as the lovely variegated thread didn’t really show up, but I really liked stitching into the thick tweed – so much of what we stitch on for hand embroidery is either calico or something of a similar weight and it was a lovely change to work with a fabric that is significantly different both in feel and how it responds to stitch. I filed it away for a possible future idea.

Nearly two years later, that idea has resurfaced in the last two workshops I’m teaching for the Stitch Zone before Easter. Last week we used small tweed circles and stitched straight over them to meld them into the background. Because of the thickness of the wool you don’t get the same sort of crinkling of the fabric that you do with kantha but it does pull the little circles down into the back ground fabric which gives a very pleasing texture.

This week we’re using larger circles and going round them, rather than over them. The sample piece I’ve been working on has taken longer than I planned as I initially used one strand of thread and found that in spite of it being bright blue on grey, it pretty much disappeared into the back ground, which meant I had to go over each stitch again with a second thread to bulk up the stitches enough to be seen.

As there was so little distortion of the fabric in the sample with the parallel lines I was somewhat surprised to find that the concentric stitching around the blue circles pulled it into distinct mounds. I’m not sure if I like the effect or not, but it’s certainly interesting!

There is movement on this month’s Move It On Project too. I found the iridescent cord I’d used for the couched spirals and loops and although I’m not sure where the sewing cotton I used to stitch it down is now, I found a close enough match. I unpicked the cramped area I was unhappy with last week:

And restitched it to fill the space more evenly.

I’ve also added another layer of felt over the nibbled one.

Next stage is to put the grey silk over the top and that means needle-turned applique. I’ve only had one go at this technique before and I did not enjoy it. I think the pieces of fabric I was using were a bit on the small side and I just couldn’t seem to get a nice smooth edge, in spite of my best efforts and smallest stitches. I’m hoping that as this will be a bigger piece of fabric with more seam allowance and gentler curves, that it goes a little better.

Read Full Post »

I don’t think I’ve ever actually shown the piece of stitching I’ve chosen as this month’s Move It On Project on this blog despite the fact that I started it in 2012. This of course was the year of the London Olympics. Each branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild was allocated a different participating country and their members were asked to stitch postcards inspired by that country which I believe were displayed in the Olympic Village (not sure, as I never saw mine again…). I decided to reuse this idea when I taught Year 6 textiles in the summer of 2012 and when the children and I did the draw for the countries, I ended up with Eire.

I didn’t get very far with my design during the term we stitched the postcards and my Newgrange inspired stitching stayed at school. I did most of the work on it during interminably long Sports Day afternoons when I was always allocated the delightful job of doing crowd control in the House ‘pen’ – trying to manage hot, bored children who had done their one race of the afternoon hours ago and were now making their own ‘entertainment’. It’s hard to crack down too heavily on these activities when you’re even more bored then they are. Anyway, the stitching came home with me when I left and has been in a drawer ever since. Time to move it on.

I started by couching down some amazing iridescent green cord in random swirls and spirals to give the feeling of the spiral carving on the Newgrange stones.

My plan was then to built up layers of felt padding with grey silk over the top and then quilt it with more spirals to look like the Newgrange stone. I’d got as far as stab stitching the first felt oval down. I have no idea why it has a chunk cut out of it and am wondering if that is going to make any difference when I put the next layer on or whether I should just leave it.

Apart from the nibbled felt, the first thing that occurs to me now I’m looking at it properly, is that I either need some more spirals top right, or I need to unpick that section and restitch it as it is rather lumpy and cramped. Luckily (and very unusually), I know exactly where that lovely green cord is. Finding the matching green couching thread, however, will be another matter entirely…

Thanks to another committee meeting, I now have the second Move It On finish of the year. The spiral seeding on January’s Print to Stitch medieval tiles piece is completed and I’m very happy with it.

However, this has turned into another job. I want to finish it as a notebook cover which will involve edging it – ideally with a quilt type binding. Unfortunately, as you can see, there is very little space along some of the edges and I’ve now stalled again while I mull over ideas of how to make a binding actually work and not lose any of the stitching. Any ideas very welcome!

Read Full Post »

With stock drops and Christmas markets upcoming, the stitching has been pretty limited at the moment, but I did finish my example for the workshop I taught on Woven Feathered Chain Stitch at The Stitch Zone last week. I’ve used this stitch before to create plants in pots made from bits of beach pottery…

…and I thought it would be a nice little single session project. Variegated thread works really well to give the variations in the leaves and different weights of thread alter the look of the leaves as well.

After having used silk ribbon French knots and tiny woven spiders’ web stitches for the flowers in the two examples above, I decided to go for simple straight stitches into a central hole to create the flowers on this one – thumb for scale!

I’ve also been trying to tidy up and complete projects, including the beaded jelly fish I started back in August. The last time I posted on its very slow progress in October, it looked like this:

However, a bit of a push has added a couple more rows to the inside of the bell…

…before starting on the fun bit of the tentacles. The source inspiration picture had loads of layers of tentacles which appeared to be loose, but I decided to couch mine down.

Each one is caught down with a tiny stitch in between the seed and bugle beads using the Nymo I’ve been using to thread the lengths of beads. It’s a very pale blue, so is pretty much invisible.

I feel like I’ve made quite a lot of progress towards a finish for this piece in a relatively short space of time. I’m going to add some partial rows on either side of the tentacles to fill in the gaps, although I’m now not sure whether I should have filled the bell in first before I started on the tentacles. At the moment you can see the base fabric through the top layer of clear beads, but on the other hand, it would have made it tricky and possibly quite bulky to start the tentacles over the top of a layer of beads. And I suppose they could have looked like they were sitting on the top instead of coming out from inside the bell as they do here, so I think I’ve answered my own question.

Sequins would have worked though… The new question is, do I really want to unpick all those tentacles to add something behind?!

Read Full Post »

It only a took a couple of stitching sessions in the end but after six years Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon is finally complete! When you last saw him back in February he looked like this:

I was struggling to stitch tiny neat split stitch circles along the line of his neck and in the end just gave up and let other projects come to the fore. But Baby L-T D was promised as a director’s gift for a show we did in 2019 and he really needed to be finished to be presented at a Memorial Concert in early November. Time to get stuck in.

I finished the circles on the neck first. They really highlight how uneven the wavy line is, but I don’t dislike the way they’ve ended up in pairs.

The his clawed and feathered feet. The feathery bits at the back remind me of the ‘feathers’ around the hooves of a shire horse. I did hope that I was getting better at the circles, but I’m not so sure about that, looking back at the photos.

And lastly the top section of his double tail. Highlight lines first and then more circles inside the trefoil leaves.

Finally, the veins on the large leaf and the last of the circles along the base of the tail to complete the stitching!

Then I removed him from the frame so I could see him in all his leafy glory for the very first time. I’m so pleased with him and a little bit sad that he’s going to go to someone else.

Now I need to sign and mount him – another job I tend to prevaricate about because I worry about getting it perfectly right…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Stitching Diaries

Level 3 Stitched Textiles Embroidery with Distant Stitch

summerholiday111

stitching, creative textiles, inspiration

hertstitch

for embroiderers and textile artists in hertfordshire and beyond

karensstitchography

Embroidery & other craft

re:retro

collecting retro

View From Our Hill

Textile, Mixed Media, Yarn, Books and Beads

Things I find in the garbage

I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.

Stitched up with Thread

Slowly threading things together through stitch

Lincs In Stitches

Creative ramblings in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Kiln Fired Art Blog

Crafts and the outdoors - slow living involving handmade ceramics, painting, textiles, walking and good food

Hillview Embroidery

Teaching and Learning One Stitch at a Time

Dreaming In Stitches

a mingled yarn

sunshine and celandines

These are a few of my favourite things.

LucyAnn &Luna craft

crafting,dachshunds including other bits & bobs

Carlseapatch's Weblog

A log of progress (I hope)and fun in textile arts

seafieldview

Life on a Cornish cliff

late start studio

Late . . . in taking my creativity seriously.

Shibori Girl

....practicing the fine art of shibori

Pomegranate Studio

- because making is good for us

Fall from Grace Crafts

A blog on my craft journey highs and lows...

opusanglicanum

one Englishwoman's work

Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Chasing the Paper Rabbit

Chrissie Freeth - Tapestry Weaver

Blog of artist and tapestry weaver Chrissie Freeth

debbidipity

into textiles & beyond

KDD & Co

Award-winning Scottish publishing and design