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Posts Tagged ‘cross stitch’

I’ve been stitching various experimental pieces recently and enjoying different ways of working. I’d seen someone on Instagram who had been embroidering fantasy aerial landscapes and I really liked the idea so I printed out a satellite image of part of a walk I enjoy along the River Ancholme between the villages of South Ferriby and Horkstow and decided I’d stitch the section from Horkstow Bridge along the lane to the road.

I drew it free hand onto some calico and then started to fill in the fields with satin stitch and the hedgerows in french knots. I used a slightly slubby silk on the longer field and an odd almost cord-like thread on the smaller one.

I then moved onto stranded silk which gave smoother looking fields. I like the contrast of the slightly textured silk but not so sure about the corded thread…

I also realised that I needed to vary the shades of green in the hedgerows and copses.

The lane from the bridge to the road was added in split stitch. Really not liking the corded thread at all now, but as the French knot hedgerows went right through the edges of the stitches I wasn’t going to be able to easily undo it at this point, so I’m living with it!

Lastly I added the River Ancholme and the drain that runs parallel with it in split stitch. Horkstow Bridge, which is a very early Victorian suspension bridge, is two French knots and a couple of satin stitches (bottom left corner) and I included part of the fields across the river. Off the hoop the tension isn’t great, but it was a lot of fun to do.

Back in 2010 I stitched a piece for our Embroiderers’ Guild Summer Challenge, for which we were given some blue thread, aida and the prompt ‘Blue Pot’. My response was to create some cross stitched ‘shards’ of Victorian blue and white china lying in the ‘soil’

I don’t have it any more because it’s on the cover of the 2010 scrapbook but I do miss it.

So I decided to stitch a mini version featuring the most iconic part of the willow pattern design – the birds.

Once I’d stitched it, I laced it over a couple of pieces of pelmet vilene for rigidity and started to couch various fancy threads around it for the soil.

I also added some patches of split stitch to vary the textures as I’d done with cross stitch on the original.

I wouldn’t normally stitch the same idea twice, but it’s good to have my own miniature version.

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I’ve been wanting to create some more watch case pendants for a while and last week I finally got round to hunting out the box they live in. I was also determined to do one at a time that I could actually finish, rather than planning all of them at once and overfacing myself.

I had a lovely little rounded piece of driftwood that I wanted to use for this one and teamed it with a pretty gold flecked batik cotton.

Seaweed first, in good old feather stitch and some overcasting with added cast on stitch picots to help hold the driftwood in place.

Then some maidenhair stitch and beading. Maidenhair stitch is a feather stitch variant where you stitch three loops gradually increasing in size on the same side before stitching three on the other side, rather than alternating as in ordinary feather stitch. It’s a new stitch to me and I really like the effect it gives, especially when you curve it like a plant stem.

Some more feather stitch and Palestrina stitch to give a different texture.

After one more swirl of Palestrina knots with a touch of purple, time to add the sea glass. The sea glass nuggets are held in place with a dab of superglue just to make sure they don’t go anywhere before I work the holding stitches over them.

Lastly I gathered the design over a piece of pelmet vilene before setting it into the watch case.

It just needs a silver plated chain attached (somehow…) and it’s a finish.

My not so little, little one turned 16 at the weekend and as I was completely out of inspiration for an original card, I used a pattern from the internet to cross stitch one of her favourite characters from Star Wars:

I was reminded how long it takes to cross stitch even a relatively small and simple design (best part of four hours for this one and I don’t think I was stitching particularly slowly) but it was worth it – she loved him.

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The cross stitch motif piece I showed last week has progressed reasonably well. I was initially unsure about the sky, but as I moved round the tree, I was able to get the coverage more even – it’s turned out as more of a long and short stitch than a satin stitch in the end – and now I feel the combination of the motif and the hand embroidery is working.

I wanted the tree to have other greenery around it, so the next part of the ‘evolving in my head as I stitch’ plan was to add a tree on the right. I used free cross stitch, which I love using as it gives a very textured effect, with a split stitch trunk.

Then a bit more sky and french knot bushes on the lower left. I’m not sure whether to put a bit of another tree in the top left corner or leave it as just sky, so it’s stalled a bit while I wait for my subconscious to finish churning the possibilities over.

I’ve finally listed an embroidered upcycled brooch I made last November here in my Etsy shop. Not sure how it slipped through the net, but at least it’s there now. I love the subtle sparkles in the hand painted fabric and metallic thread but they are really difficult to photograph!

I’ve also made some more of the clock hands earrings, with a wintry blue and silver colour scheme. They’re not in my Etsy shop as I took them across to Arttopia in Cleethorpes this morning to restock my display. The aluminium hands are very light and the art glass beads at the top help to give them enough weight to hang nicely. It’s quite a balance to end up with a pair of earrings that are heavy enough to move with you but not so heavy that they pull on the ear lobe.

It seems to be a real struggle to get anything much done these days and Christmas fast approaching is generating its own pile of work! I’m looking forward to the after Christmas period before term starts when I can hopefully get back to the memory journals and other projects.

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Since half term at the end of October, I’ve finally been picking up some supply work. It’s been much needed financially but quite stressful with all the different Covid protocols that each school has and it’s difficult not to resent the way it’s eaten into my stitching and jewellery making time.

However, I realise I’m lucky to be getting work at all and so I’m working hard at appreciating a few minutes or a few stitches here and there and trying not worry about how slowly (if at all) some of my projects are moving.

So quick finishes are good, like the broken bracelet sections I upcycled into this sparkly pair of drop earrings with the addition of silver tone maple leaves and sterling silver ear hooks.

I’ve been taking some stitching into the schools where I’ve been working so I can take advantage of any spare lunchtime to sew. This initial will be filled with whipped running stitch stems and lazy daisy stitch flowers and leaves in variegated single strands of silk thread on silk dupion. It’s a potential workshop idea or if I’m not convinced, it might become a birthday card for my middle one.

I found this cross stitch motif which I must have stitched well over twenty years ago, in a workbox at the weekend.

I rather liked it. What if I could somehow stitch it onto another piece of fabric so none of the aida shows? The stylised cross stitch could be an interesting contrast with more textured embroidery stitches…

Subtly variegated silk thread french knots make great bushes and the sheen of the silk complements the more matte quality of the cotton thread I used for the tree.

Bushes and grass at the bottom are relatively easy but I can’t surround the whole tree in them, so now I’m experimenting with satin stitch sky. Apologies for the horrible photo. Today is grey and rainy and this is the best I could do indoors. The sky won’t end there. I might use a version of long and short stitch to extend it and I am planning some trees and/or clouds as well.

Making it up as I go along!

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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.

Leaves book cover 1

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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A charity shop near the premises where my amateur theatre group meets has started leaving bits and pieces outside on the pavement at night for people to take. The other week when I arrived for a rehearsal (I’m currently directing Blackadder Goes Forth) I noticed an eclectic mix which included a child’s scooter and a fish tank! When I came out of rehearsal the scooter was gone, but it wasn’t until I was pulling out of my parking spot that I noticed something propped sadly up by the wall and half-hidden by the lonely fish tank. Something that was enough to make me brake and jump out of the car to rescue it.

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As I only have one frame like this and there is a very old and very long term project hogging it, I was over the moon to acquire a new (to me) frame. It’s missing one of the bolts but that should be easy enough to replace. The cross stitch design on it, which looks to be almost finished, must have taken hours.

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So sad that it ended up on the pavement, but the frame at least has gone to a good home. If anyone is interested in giving the cross stitch a good home then please drop me a message either in the comments or via email (scroll down to ‘Contact me at:’ on the right hand side of the blog) and I’ll happily post it out worldwide.

Like buses, these things never come along singly. I dropped off a bag of stuff at the charity shop yesterday and as I turned away from the counter, I spotted this sticking out of a miscellaneous box, priced up at £2.

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To be fair, it was the partly worked canvas work design which attracted me first and reminded me that I quite fancy doing a bit of canvas work.

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And what’s £2 these days? So now I have a frame I can actually use and a nice little piece of mounted up canvas work to have a play with.

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Saturday sort of got away from me. I knew I wasn’t going to make the morning session of our Embroiderers’ Guild meeting but I had high hopes of making the afternoon. That was a mistake. I finally walked through the door at about 3pm and by the time I’d caught my breath, looked round at all the various boards, tables and displays and sorted my travelling book there was only enough time for chatting (always good, though) and putting literally a handful of stitches in one of the activities that our new chair, Ruth, had organised for us.

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Pauline had finished her bookmark and was happy to let me photograph it.

 

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Another group was stitching heart shaped decorations. This one is Julie’s:

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Debbie and Janet pulled together their matryoshka with the examples Ruth had already stitched for me to photograph.

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There was also another flower shaped decoration or similar but I didn’t manage to find any worked examples of that. It looked like a nice selection of fun things to stitch and even though I only had an hour, it was lovely to relax with some straightforward stitching and good company.

I’ve also been making some more ribbon roses to turn into pendants. This one has fly stitch leaves, stem stitch stems and lazy daisy sepals in variegated coton a broder with a woven spider’s web rose and french knot buds in pale blue silk ribbon.

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And this one has fly stitch leaves, split stitch stems and lazy daisy sepals in variegated perle with a woven spider’s web rose and french knot buds in crimson silk ribbon.

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A weekend of nice quick little projects.

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The theme for Liz’s Travelling Book was nature or architecture. Most of the previous entries were nature themed so I decided to choose architecture and I had just the piece to fit the theme – this exotic domed building in cross stitch:

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There wasn’t much to say about the technique so I decided to go for a rich background, smothering the page with shocking pink and turquoise Stewart Gill Byzantium metallic paints and using embossing paste to create a frame.

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On the facing page more shimmery paint, overprinting in gold, architectural details cut from magazines and the opening lines of Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’.

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Except that every time I read the first line my mind constantly wants to replace ‘decree’ with ‘erect’. I entirely blame my love for the ’80s band Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their song ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome‘!!

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Handwriting could be a lot neater but I think it’s got the Byzantine opulence I was looking for. Off to find more Frankie on YouTube and relive the discos of my youth…

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During Panto week (which seems a long time ago now even though I only finished washing costumes and putting them away yesterday!) I also made a start on a 17th birthday card for my middle one. She’s very much into all things alternative and I’d found a small, simple cross stitch pattern quite a while ago for a little skull. I decided to stitch a few and dress them up like Day of the Dead candy skulls.

Skull with spirals

Autumn skull

Spring skull

My first three, all stitched during panto week and on target for the birthday.

Three Day of the Dead skulls

And the last two, all ready to be decorated.

Cross stitch skulls

But then work and other things happened and with the best will in the world I could not manage to get round to the final finishing until this week.

Waves skull

Roses skull

 

Then the making up, surrounding each skull in a riot of hessian flowers with sparkly middles on a very dark green card background.

Day of the Dead birthday card 1

 

Day of the Dead birthday card 2

 

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It was rather late, but she liked it.

 

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This really is going back some time, but when I found the pictures of this project, I remembered how proud I’d been of it and thought I’d share.

In the summer of 2009, our Embroiderers’ Guild Summer Challenge was to be given a piece of aida and a skein of blue stranded cotton and asked to stitch something on the theme ‘Blue Pot’. It was one of those rare times when inspiration strikes instantly.

Not only do I love beach-combing and street-combing, I’ve also, ever since I was a child, hoarded scraps of Victorian (and older) china which come up in the garden. I found three different blue and white china-type cross-stitch patterns in a big embroidery book and used masking tape to mark off a shard section to stitch. I added some recently acquired stranded silk Gloriana threads in shades of blue and white and stitched five pieces from the three patterns.

First, two pieces in a Victorian floral:

Victorian floral shard 1

Victorian floral shard 2

Then two in a Chinoiserie/Willow Pattern:

Chinoiserie shard 1

Chinoiserie shard 2

And lastly one from a blue and white tile pattern:

Blue and white tile shard 1

The pieces were laced over pelmet vilene to give them some body, and then I turned my attention to the background – the soil.

I coloured another square of aida in shades of brown (can’t remember what with – something highly unsuitable probably) and stitched the china fragments to it. Then I began to couch a variety of textured brown threads around the fragments, changing direction and thread frequently and also adding in patches of cross stitch in the couching thread.

Soil texture 1

Soil texture 2

The textured thread hid the edges of the fragments nicely and made them look as if they were bedded into the soil. It was one of those incredibly rare occasions when the whole project comes together exactly as your original inspiration.

Blue pot fragments

In September I handed it in and it was very different to anything else anybody had done. The other blocks, in beautifully embroidered forms of counted work, were earmarked for cushion panels. I’m not sure the committee initially knew quite what to do with it! But they kindly took it anyway.

In May 2010, we held our Millennium +10 exhibition. I was wandering round when I found the display of our branch scrapbooks. And I did a classic double take.

Scrapbook cover 1

It was my piece! Expertly finished, but my piece, and I had no idea that was where it had gone!

Scrapbook cover 2

And inside:

Dedication

So proud! :o)

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