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Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild is having an exhibition at the end of June and a week last Saturday was the deadline for handing in completed pieces of work from the last couple of years to the organisers. We had very helpfully been given a list of all the meetings and workshops to jog our memories so I went down the list, annotating each one as to whether I hadn’t been at the meeting, hadn’t finished it or if it was finished, where it was. There seemed to be two main outcomes – didn’t finish, or made into a card and sent to somebody! The only finished pieces I could lay my hands on for the last two years were my faux driftwood piece…

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…the Chris Gray amulet…

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…and the Brazilian embroidery rose I’d made up into a card but not sent because I couldn’t bear to part with it!

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So it ended up a busy week, so busy that I forgot to photograph both the nuno felting which I turned from this:

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…into a simple seascape and a piece of the paper stitching we did with Alice Fox recently which I mounted as a card.

The kantha fish…

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…was the first to be finished by stitching him onto a piece of indigo dyed fabric with rows of running stitch that merged into the kantha and then mounting over a 7 x 5 inch canvas.

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I also finished a selection of little stitched fragments for my Alice Fox book.

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But the really big finish was my English paper piecing. I get bored easily with the piecing process and when we did the workshop, I chose small equilateral triangles – probably not the best shape in the circumstances! At the end of the day I had a pile of triangles in shades of browns and indigo and absolutely no idea what to do with them.

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Seeing the workshop on the list I wondered if it was even possible to finish the project, but I had what promised to be a lengthy committee meeting that week and repeatedly stitching together triangles looked like the perfect way of passing the time. It was: by the end of the meeting I had all the finished triangles stitched together and an idea very firmly in my head.

Without using half triangles the shapes you can make with equilateral triangles are rather limited, so I created a diamond which I planned to stitch onto this gorgeous piece of hand dyed indigo with some quilt wadding in between and a plain piece of indigo dyed cotton for the backing.

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My trusty Frister and Rossmann coped easily with quilting through all the various layers along the lines of the triangles.

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Then I joined a number of strips of woodland themed fabric in three different brown colourways to get enough and had a go at a tutorial I found online (where else?!) for adding a binding with mitred corners as you go. It worked!!

 

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I tidied the ends up, wrote (no time to embroider) a label…

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…added a hanging sleeve and couched some glittery thread around the edge of the diamond to hide the line where I had machined it down. In hindsight and with more time I would have appliqued it invisibly to the top.

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From a handful of triangles…

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…to a mini quilt…

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…in about three days. I still can’t believe it!

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Embroidery as promised. I not only finished off the faux driftwood piece I stitched at our sea-themed Embroiderers’ Guild March workshop…

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…but also found a framed ceramic plaque for £1 in a charity shop which after a bit of sanding and dry brushing with some pale blue emulsion paint yielded the perfect frame.

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The beaded fish is now nearly a name badge. I just need to add a brooch back, ladder stitch the two sections together and bead it round the edge.

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On Saturday it was our April Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and an opportunity to revisit the embroidery we produced in March after Mary’s workshop. It was lovely to see such a variety of outcomes.

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This was followed by a fascinating talk by Alice Fox, learning about her creative journey and focusing on her ‘Findings’ body of work. Anyone who beach and pavement combs and turns the oddments she finds into works of art is a woman after my own heart. We had a workshop booked with her on the Sunday but I’m going to blog about that separately.

I’ve also been embroidering more pieces of silk carrier rod to inlay into upcycled jewellery – two lockets and a pendant. The pendant was first: vibrant green carrier rod with a crimson ribbon embroidery rose circled by five little leaf stitch leaves.

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This went beautifully with a stamped filigree brass frame to become June Rose.

Then I moved onto the smaller of two gold tone lockets. I used a wintry blue carrier rod and embroidered it with tiny snowflakes in two weights of silk thread. 20180426_114304_HDR.jpg

It really is very small – the central oval is about 2cm by 1.5cm and the finest thread is thinner than normal sewing cotton. The snowflakes aren’t quite well stitched as I wanted, but embroidering something that intricate freehand was quite a challenge.

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Snowflakes is available here.

For the second locket I returned to a familiar design, an undersea landscape of waving feather stitch fronds of coral or seaweed and tiny nuggets of sea glass.

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I chose a variegated pink and turquoise thread as a starting point and teamed it with turquoise/blue carrier rod, three nuggets of multi-coloured Seaham sea glass and a couple of darker pink threads.

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The Coral Garden locket is quite a bit bigger than the Snowflakes locket at about 4 by 4.5cm. I really like the colour combination. I wouldn’t have necessarily put the two colours together but they worked so well in the variegated thread.

I really love stitching these little vignettes and using them to make bits of junk jewellery into things of beauty again.

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On Saturday our Guild meeting was an all day workshop led by Mary, one of our members. It was themed as ‘The Sea’ and Mary provided not only inspiration in the form of some lovely examples of her own work on the subject…

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…assorted books, magazines etc. but also masses of fabric, shells, stones, beads, paints, printing blocks, silk waste; you name it… basically a complete treasure trove of stuff.

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And we all know how much more deliciously tempting other people’s stuff is than our own!

As a topic, the sea is completely in my comfort zone, so much so that my initial problem was where to start. There was so much I wanted to do! But as Mary talked us through her goodies, inspiration was initially triggered by a cloud of bright orange silk throwster’s waste and then confirmed by some foam core board. With a very definite idea in my head, I nipped in, grabbed a few bits and bore my loot off to my table.

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The lovely pale marbled fabric was a perfect base for my wrapped and back stitched  foam core board driftwood. I just cut it roughly to the right shape and then back stitched through the boards and several layers of dyed muslin, pulling and pleating the fullness of the fabric to give the impression of wood grain. It was easy to stitch invisibly to the background, where I used Inktense pencils to enhance the pattern of the fabric.

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The orange silk said rust to me, so I created a rusty square-headed bolt from a sandwich of silk carrier rods, the throwster’s waste and a street-scavenged washer I just happened to have in my bag, wrapped in an off-cut of the brown muslin I’d used for the  driftwood and stitched down with my favourite semi-metallic thread.

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The last element was some lovely aqua sea glass nuggets I also had in my bag. I nestled them in the curves of the marbled fabric pattern…

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…and after gluing them in place, stitched them down with a toning machine rayon thread.

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I couldn’t believe I’d actually finished a project within the workshop and still had time to start another one. There was a leaping fish stamp that I liked the look of, so I used metallic blue acrylic paint to stamp some images of it onto more of the grey marbled fabric.

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Then I stitched beads in the spots and some short bugle beads for his underbelly to make him sparkle. I’m adding my name underneath to turn him into a name badge. We are supposed to have one and wear it at meetings, but to my eternal shame it’s something I’ve never quite got round to – until now.

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A good day’s work.

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I know that some members prefer to have a bit of a project set out, but this free for all rummage through Mary’s treasures was perfect for me, and thanks to her skilful facilitation, gave me a wonderful day’s stitching.

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Our Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting for February was an all day Indian embroidery and fabrics talk and workshop led by Julie.

The Young Embroiderers started off at 9:30 with a kantha stitching around animal shapes project. My little one loves sea animals of any kind, so she chose to do a turtle. Liz, the leader of the group suggested a spiral pattern in the quarters of the shell which is looking very effective.

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Julie had borrowed one of the Guild folios as a base for the display and she and other members added to it with items of their own, making a very colourful and tempting taster for the talk and workshop to come!

Samples from the folio:

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And our own additions:

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So to begin the day, we had a talk given by Julie based on her visit to a recent exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London giving a good overview of different types of fabrics, stitching and how the finished embroidery was used. I particularly liked the short videos that she had interspersed through the presentation which brought some of the elements to life.

After lunch we had the choice of two projects. Either a shisha mirror centred flower – these are Julie’s lovely sample pieces…

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…or something more like the Young Embroiderers were doing, an animal or similar surrounded by kantha stitching. I outlined my fish in chain stitch using a heavy variegated slate blue cotton thread.

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Then for the background I chose some variegated stranded cotton in pale blue, pink and yellow to tone in with the background fabric.

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It was good (but surprisingly difficult!) to deliberately work larger running stitches. When I usually do kantha style work my stitches tend to be tiny –  these are about 2mm long.

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And it takes ages! But the above piece is only about and inch by an inch and a half so I deliberately stitched larger on this one to match the size of the design and it was good to get some quicker results!

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It was interesting to notice how calm and quiet the atmosphere in the room was as we all sat stitching our pieces. There is something very mindful about running stitch…

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My Travelling Book page was quick, easy and finished a full day before the Guild meeting, which is virtually unheard of!

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My Frister and Rossmann rose to the occasion yet again, stitching happily through a sandwich of cotton calico and crinkle rayon with cotton in the bobbin and golden coloured rayon in the top to define the edges of the fish.

Seeing how well it coped with the rayon, I thought I’d try metallic Gutermann thread to just highlight the inside of the fins and the main body. Metallic thread? Piece of cake.

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Silver sequins and pale blue beads for the eyes and they were finished!

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I know they are gold but they made me think of the herrings – the ‘silver darlings’  – which were such an important part of the economy of East Anglia and in the lives of my dad’s side of the family, who were trawlermen. And then it was a short step to the words of a folk song I grew up with: Windy Old Weather.

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So on Saturday off the silver darlings went on the next round of the Travelling Book project!

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