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Posts Tagged ‘cross stitch’

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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In the wonderful haul of craft stuff I got last autumn I picked up some rollers for pricking holes in paper for stitching patterns and with a page in my altered book talking about the “richly embroidered and jewelled copes of the cathedral clergy” I had the perfect place to experiment with them.

Richly embroidered page 1

There are three different rollers: one gives a grid pattern of holes which can be used for a variety of stitches, as well as the cross stitch I used here, one gives the looped pattern and the third, little scallops.

Richly embroidered page 2

I used a bronzy green chainette, various stranded threads in different shades of pink with glittery filaments and a variegated green-blue stranded silk for the Pekingese stitch across the middle.

Richly embroidered page 3

Then, after the stitching, I used Stewart Gill paints to further bling up the page!

Richly embroidered page 4

Lovely metallic Byzantium paints  to highlight the key words and glitter medium in pale gold and sky blue.

Richly embroidered page 5

The completed page:

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And the full spread.

Richly embroidered page 7

There’s something very satisfying about stitching through paper and it’s a great place to use the sort of gorgeous threads I’ve been hoarding but unable to use because they really don’t like being pulled through fabric.

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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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I wondered what would happen if I took this scrap of fabric (about one inch by two) that I couldn’t bear to throw away, applied it to another piece of fabric (in this case some vintage evenweave), started stitching on the fabric with matching thread and then continued onto the evenweave?

Extended pattern 1

This was an out and about fragment project, using threads I had with me, hence the variegation in the stitching.  

Having had enough of cross stitch, I wondered what would happen if I tried the same idea but used long and short stitch?

Extended pattern 2

The way the pattern distorts into something more abstract is certainly an interesting outcome. Two more pieces for the sketchbook.

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