Posts Tagged ‘eyelets’

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?!

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One or two finished and ongoing oddments.

First, the little blackwork project I started back in November with Alison Larkin. Interlaced border next…


…nearly there…




I can’t believe the last bluework update I posted was at the start of October! It’s gone slowly from this:


to this:


Eyelets as spiky abstract daisies at the bottom.


And another shaded long and short stitch flower.


Creative mending has been on the agenda as well. I needed to mend a slit right at the front of one of my favourite tops where a thread had given up the ghost. There was no way I was going to make it invisible, so I did the darning…


…and added some embroidered trims over the top to make a feature. It’s so good to be wearing this top again, and the motif looks like it was always meant to be there!


And lastly, the piece I started as a work in progress for the Stitch Play workshop. It’s so nearly done, I really ought to get it finished!


Especially as I have a plan for a biggish stitching project in 2018…

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Wow! Thanks for all the comments on my french knots project. In light of some of the questions I thought I’d post a recap (since it started about a year ago).

This is the beautiful flame mahogany veneered Victorian box I bought for a fiver on ebay last year.

Sad box 3

The box is basically in good shape – the joints are sound, as are the hinges, but the lost veneer is a huge issue and when I got it, someone had started to upcycle it by sticking various oddments of broken jewellery etc to the missing areas.

Sad box 1

They were easily removed and I had the idea of making a series of patterns in pelmet vilene to match the lost pieces and then encrust them with embroidery. I’d done some small scale encrusting work before, mostly with my embroidered jewellery

Desert Rose ring 4  Moss pendant  DSCN1540

and I favour a mix of eyelets and french knots.

I made a pattern for the missing veneer on the top and sides of the lid and chose a selection of threads in shades of green and orange for the embroidery.

Sad box 4

Last August it went off on holiday with me and I made a start, also incorporating some of the sea glass I love by stitching the nuggets down under a piece of chiffon.

Sea glass under chiffon

How pristine the vilene looks there!!

It soon became apparent that this was going to be a very long project and I don’t do well on long projects due to a very low boredom threshold. However, what has helped is the unstructured nature. As there is no design, I just load my needle with a length of thread and work french knots and/or eyelets until it runs out. Working so many means that I can do them without thinking and as I’m placing them without spaces, I can embroider in less than perfect light levels and while other things are going on – like meetings. And boot sales, hence the progress I’ve made since last week.


Yes, all those knots are french knots,


not punchneedle, although I can see the similarity. Had it been punchneedle though, I would have completed it a long while ago!

And so you can get an idea of how it will work:



I can see the end in sight – well of this bit at least, as there are other much smaller areas of missing veneer which will need the same treatment. It’s been one of the longest continuous projects I’ve done to date and amazingly, I still don’t hate french knots!

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Sounds like something you might need to get some cream for…! However in this case it’s just an update on the embroidered veneer piece I’m working to restore the top of a Victorian mahogany writing box. Just before Autumn Term started it looked like this:

More encrustation 1

I’ve worked on it on and off around directing three nights a week and my eternally ‘interesting’ day job and I’m starting to feel like I’m finally getting somewhere with it!

More encrustation 2

As ‘Cheshire Cats’ is in theatre this week (with two small yet very appreciative audiences so far) my role is to sit back and quietly support. And of course, stitch.

More encrustation 3

Perfect for lowish light levels in the dressing rooms and working while I have half an ear on the show.

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I came back from holiday with this:

Box update 1And now have this:

Box update 2

It’s still not even as big as the palm of my hand <sigh> but one huge advantage is that it’s really easy to work. Select a length of thread, work french knots and eyelets until it’s finished and repeat. Great to take out and about, even if it is slightly on the large size to work in the hand.

Box update 3

The only downside of working out and about is people asking me what I’m doing. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to create a piece of densely encrusted embroidery to replace lost veneer on a box lid. it seems I’m the only one who thinks so…

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After making a vilene template for most of the missing veneer on the top and sides of the lid, I chose my colours. I’d enjoyed working in the green/gold and orange palette for my canvaswork knot garden so for my holiday stitching I gathered up lots of threads in that colour way and began what I knew would be the very slow process of encrusting my big chunk of vilene in french knots and eyelets.

Box - first steps 1

While selecting my threads I found a small packet of green sea glass and a strip of brown chiffon which I’d had left over from an Embroiderers’ Guild workshop the other month. I used the chiffon to hold down the glass by putting a line of back stitch around each nugget.

Sea glass under chiffon

Then off to North Cornwall – Boscastle for a week of great food, great company, walking, beaches, and just being on holiday. I stitched quite a lot in the evenings and by the time we returned home I’d got this far:

First french knot cluster 1

First french knot cluster 2

First french knot cluster 3

First french knot cluster 3

Not very much compared with the vast expanse of white vilene, but a start.

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Thank you all for your comments on the green quartz vintage necklace. I was leaning towards number 4 myself, so it’s good to know that other people liked that one too. In the meantime I’ve been playing with some more upcycling. First, a vintage brass ring which was just crying out for some embroidery in the centre.

Desert Rose ring 1

I measured the centre of the bezel, drew an appropriate sized circle on vilene and filled it with a mixture of eyelets and French knots in a variegated blue and copper coloured cotton thread.

Desert Rose ring 2

I cut it out, stabilised the back with Modge Podge and prepared to add it to the ring. It was too big. By some way. Back to the drawing board. This time I changed my mind as to the colour. The copper didn’t work with the soft gold of the ring, so I went for an old gold and dusty crimson variegated thread. (And I measured the circle more carefully this time…) In progress…

Desert Rose ring 3

…and finished and mounted in the ring. I’m so pleased with the colour this time. I’ve called it Desert Rose and put it into my Etsy shop here.

Desert Rose ring 4

Then I found a vintage brooch with turquoise/blue rhinestones around the edge but its central stone missing. I ran up a blue silk ribbon rose inside a wreath of feather stitch on some hand dyed silk dupion and mounted it over a dome of vilene to replace the centre.

Blue ribbon rose brooch 1

Blue ribbon rose brooch 2

That can be found here.

And finally I took the sad and sorry remains of a vintage brass and glass bead necklace apart and put it back together with some vintage copper/turquoise faux pearls, modern glass beads – turquoise rondelles and tiger striped ovals…

Turquoise drop necklace 1

…hand made glass beads with amber nodules on the surface…

Turquoise drop necklace 2

…and a fabulous hand made green/turquoise glass focal bead I’d been saving for such an occasion…

Turquoise drop necklace 3

…to create this:

Turquoise drop necklace 4

Which is also in my Etsy shop here.

To celebrate my little burst of creativity and the run up to Christmas, (and hopefully encourage some buyers!) I’ve created a discount code.

If you enter TOPAZ1 at the checkout from now until the 20th of December 2014 then you can get 20% off any item – vintage, upcycled or handmade jewellery – from my Etsy shop.

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The first strip of crazy patchwork for James’ cushion is finished.

Blue strip 1a

The texturing chain stitches, french knots and seeding here:

Blue strip 1b

The cluster of eyelets and french knots using up oddments of thread here:

Blue strip 1c

Soft twilight coloured silk thread couched around the outline of the design on this commercially embroidered piece:

Blue strip 1d


Blue strip 1e

Fly stitch leaves in thick variegated cotton perle on silk dupion:

Blue strip 1f

The leaves are very satisfying motifs to stitch as they’re nice and bold and work up quickly.

Blue strip 1g

One strip done, two to go and the middle one with the lovely indigo sunburst next.

Pieced crazy patchwork strips

Fingers crossed that half term gives me a bit more time to sew.

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Around finishing my hammered linked pendant last week, I also reticulated a couple of pieces of brass into holes. One had been rolled out quite thinly so as well as reticulating it holed rather too well and I ended up with two fragments. This is the end section.

Fire pendant 1

When I was choosing a piece of fabric to go with this piece, I accidentally turned it diagonally so the left top corner was in the centre and then the design of the piece just fell into place.

These pieces of brass just love vivid colours and I found an oddment of what I think is silk matka, hand dyed in the most wonderful range of reds, oranges and golds. Even better, I found some hand dyed variegated thread in reds, oranges and golds and green which matched the fabric shades so perfectly that I didn’t quite believe it!

The embroidery will start in the space at the bottom of the brass piece and then ‘drip’ down.

Fire pendant 2

Fire pendant 3

I’m so pleased with the way the thread tones so closely with the fabric and the green is a perfect complement.

Fire pendant 3

I’m using eyelets, tiny back-stitched spiders’ webs and clusters of french knots to create the texture.

Fire pendant 5

Fire pendant 6

Fire pendant 7

I’ve got a little more to do on the embroidery for this one before I make it up and I also plan to use something decorative to stitch across the brass to hold it to the fabric. I’m thinking long bullions or possibly something like buttonhole bars. Lots of exciting possibilities!!

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These have both been underway for a while but have taken rather longer to finish than I hoped as neither of them quite was going the way I wanted. However, now they feel right.

First, the eyelets block. I started it off with the eyelets embedded in french knots,

Eyelets block 1

but that was too busy and I felt the eyelet shapes were obscured, so I took all the knots out and left it as just eyelets. I covered the surface, avoiding the rust patches and it ended up like this:

Eyelets block 2

Which was better, but still, somehow, not right. It felt unfinished. So I decided to close the gaps with more eyelets in various sizes and shapes and use half eyelets around the edges.

Eyelets block 3

Eyelets block 4

It feels finished now, somehow and more coherent.

The other block came from some beads I found which, as you can see from the photo, were shaped like spools.  I wanted to do something taking advantage of that, both stitching the beads down and winding thread between them.

Spools block 1

I started off scattering the beads randomly over the fabric and then lacing between them with variegated metallic Madeira thread.

Spools block 2

I liked the crisscross lacing, but the thread was a little too thin and the long lines too loopy and then when I got round to the rest of the spools, it was just too random. So I finished lacing it anyway but by then found that the long threads weren’t stable, so then I had to think of a way of holding the threads securely and came up with french knots in turquoise silk.

Spools block 3

Some are stitched actually over the long threads and then I clumped some round the beads.

Spools block 4

I hated it. There was only one thing to do so I did it, and if you’ve ever had to unpick literally dozens of french knots… By the time I’d finished I had a clean slate and knew it was the right decision.

Take Two.

Spools block 5

Organised regular pattern of beads and turquoise silk lacing. Slightly more random and irregular straight stitches on the beads.

Spools block 6

It’s not my favourite of all the blocks but it’s much better than the way it was. And now I have nine finished and another one underway!

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