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Posts Tagged ‘french knots’

The little free cross stitch of the rhododendrons at Stagshaw Gardens from our Lake District holiday in May is completed, as is the journal itself, something of a super-quick finish given that I’ve only just completed my journal for our last family holiday in Dorset last July!

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The bluework has crawled on from this:

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To this:

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Not much change, apart from the beginning of some umbellifer-type flowers in split stitch, free cross stitch and french knots near the foot of the bowl.

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And as I went down to London at the end of last week to see my foster daughter get her PhD at the Barbican, I needed something small and easy to transport and work on. The result was some not blackwork.

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I had some oddments of blue Aida and decided that gold on blue would be nice. The patterns were freebies from the internet which I stitched as a repeat rather than single motifs. Sometimes it’s nice just to do little odds and ends.

 

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Some of the near finishes I blogged about recently in ‘Brooches etc‘ have become actual finishes!

First the Chris Gray amulet from summer 2016. It’s gone from this:

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To this:

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I sandwiched the felt backed front and a piece of black felt for the back on either side of a piece of very firm stiffener than Chris provided us with to give the amulet body. Then I blanket stitched the three pieces together with the same variegated thread I used for the seeding stitches.

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I added a ribbon loop at the top and a cluster of beads, chains, sea glass, shell etc at the bottom from an assortment of broken jewellery.  The long blue tyvek or similar bead was one of two we were all given as part of the original workshop.

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The Knot Gardens pendant is also finished. I coloured the pelmet vilene around the knots to look like soil/paths and sandwiched both knots together with another circle of vilene inside to make it thick enough to sit in the swivel part of the fob properly.

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It’s in my Etsy shop here.

I also completed the second of my autumn leaves embroidered and beaded brooches. The first had a green and copper bead surround:

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The second has a fiery gold and orange sunburst surround. I love doing these beaded edgings – they work up quickly and look really effective. I’ve got my fish name badge to do next.

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And lastly, an empty watch face pendant and a piece of embroidered felt came together to create another upcycled pendant which is on Etsy here.

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It’s really good to get so many quick finishes sorted, or may be it’s displacement activity because I have some mending that needs doing…!

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Work of course. First a quick update on the current state of the bluework. Not an awful lot, but from this: DSCN8921to this:

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The bunches of flowers across the foot are completed – the far right one needs a bit of tweaking to give it the same balance of light and dark as the others…

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…and I’ve added a partial folk art style flower to the bottom right section.

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I’m working some pulled thread samples as well. I love pulled thread work and was itching to do some again. I bought some large self covered buttons from a charity shop recently and was toying with the idea of covering them with pulled thread work backed with bright pops of silk.

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However, the linen I’m using is too thick to gather properly, so I’m toying with other ideas. I still like the idea of silk behind though.

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Something to experiment with in odd moments.

Lastly, I’ve found a perfect match for a piece of embroidered felt I found when I was sorting through some samples I’d made for felting lessons at school. I added a vintage brooch setting and taking this section out of a bigger (and very busy) piece actually looked better than the whole.

The leaves are an earlier version of the more tightly closed fly stitch leaves I’ve been using recently and they help to frame the lazy daisy flowers with their french knot middles.

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It’s in my Etsy shop here.

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Etc. first. I’ve finally completed all the seed stitch background for an embroidered print I started with Chris Gray in July 2016 and last blogged about eighteen months ago, where it looked like this:

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It currently looks like this:

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Not sure whether to seed stitch the inner circle as well…

I don’t think I’ve shown this piece of upcycling before. One of my mixed lots of junk/vintage jewellery contained a gorgeous brass spinning fob, to which I decided to add some embroidery based on knot gardens.

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It’s now got as far as this:

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French knot hedges and eyelet stitch flowers in variegated silk.

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Near enough to get on and finish now!

Brooches next. I loved the closed fly stitch falling leaves design I stitched for my friend Debbie’s necklace catch a few months ago and decided to do it again on two odd vintage stud earrings which were the same shape and size, but different colours. The initial plan was to make a pair of earrings by covering them with embroidered fabric.

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I stitched one and covered it and started on the second.

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But the second wasn’t close enough in design  – the leaves were further spaced out. Added to that, the gathered fabric and more crucially, the covered pelmet vilene backs, really made them too bulky to be successful as earrings.

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So the posts came off, were replaced with brooch backs and Plan B went into action.  I worked a beaded edging in pearlescent green and metallic copper beads to frame the design and am very pleased with the result which can be found here.

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The second one is still in production! Most of this stitching was done over the Easter weekend at my parents’ in Suffolk which had to include some beachcombing. I was only allowed a short spell under the pier at Southwold, but still managed to find three nice nuggets of sea glass, a piece of carnelian, a big chunk of tile which has weathered to a lovely faux Medieval feel…

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…and some small pieces of driftwood, including one which had a gently shaped front and a flat back perfect for turning into a brooch. I auditioned a fair few piece of broken jewellery to put with it, but when I found this single broken vintage clip on earring of a swallow, it was a perfect match. The plate of the clip was still attached and I used it to mount the swallow onto the driftwood so it stands slightly away from the base, which I like.

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I’ve called it One Swallow (in hope of some more to make a summer!) and put it into my Etsy shop here.

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They started as part of a five piece graduated set of wedge shaped pendants. The central sections had been filled with glittery golden sticky backed plastic – horrible but easily removed to give a blank space full of possibilities.

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As you can see from the above photo, I already had one idea brewing – to use some of the scraps of fabulous yew wood veneer I scored from my Dad’s workshop a while ago. I liked the look of the wood against the gold coloured edging, but felt that to do all of them the same would be too much and just one wouldn’t showcase the wood enough. So I decided to make a trio of pendants, using the two smallest and one of the medium sized sections.

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I cut the veneer to shape and carefully finished the pieces with clear Danish oil and micro-crystalline wax before insetting them into the pendants, adding a gold plated chain and listing them here in my Etsy shop

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That left the largest and one of the medium sized sections for something different. I really enjoyed working with ironed out silk carrier rods recently and I had just found three bags of them I didn’t know I had (hangs head in shame…) in my favourite colours – blue, green and turquoise – so that was the next design sorted. I cut a piece of the green to fit the largest section and started to create a little garden corner. Straight stitch stems and french knot flowers in various weights of silk thread.

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Then an overhanging branch in stem stitch…

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…with lazy daisy stitch leaves…

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…set into the pendant which can be found here.

A piece of mottled blue/turquoise carrier rod was a good start for a sea themed pendant. I added feather stitch in gold silk thread and three tiny nuggets of rare yellow sea glass.

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They were stitched down with fine silk thread and I added another swirl of feather stitch to link them.

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I’ve called this one ‘Sunlit Zone’ and listed it here.

Stitching on the ironed out silk carrier rods is lovely. They are firm, like a heavy paper, but much more forgiving if you put the needle through in the wrong place. Pelmet vilene is great too but the colour and sheen of the silk is just very special. I think they have loads more potential in my jewellery work so this won’t be the last you see of them!

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As promised, I have finally finished sulking about it and there is progress on the upcycled Victorian Box Project! I finished the remaining veneer with a light sanding…

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…followed by the magic of clear Danish Oil and beeswax polish.

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Then at the weekend I added some more french knots onto the edges to help counteract the shrinkage, sealed the back and applied the scissors!

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I knew it was never going to be a perfect fit, but it’s looking acceptable.

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I used a pva type glue both to seal the back and to attach it to the box. It’s not too harsh and seems to have stuck pretty well.

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There are a few small gaps to sort out…

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…but mostly, the fit is pretty good.

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This is by far the largest piece that needed replacing, so I should now be able to get on with the patches and the smaller pieces and fingers crossed they work up a bit more quickly!

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The ‘beginning’ is my Dorian Gray book. Finally happy with the piece I wrote from my research on saffron, I used a mixture of handwritten and printed sections to go with the first lot of samples I’d dyed.

I used four pieces of the saffron dyed muslin, layered up, as a background for the chain stitch title on the first page. I created the yellow blotches on the pages by dropping the wet saffron onto it after I’d dyed the fabric.

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I’d written a lot about references I’d found to saffron and saffron-dyed clothing in Greek literature so that was printed in a little booklet on the next page, where I tried to write saffron in both Arabic and Greek. Apologies to native writers…

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The samples form the bulk of the next pages, interspersed with information on the etymology of the word and the technicalities of how it dyes.

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The ‘middle’ is more of the bluework, thanks to a couple of meetings.

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Seeding to knock back the blanket stitched flowers, as they were a bit too brash.

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Next I used a pretty composite stitch along the foot of the bowl. It starts with bundles of long detached lazy daisy stitches which are then wrapped around the middles to pull them in, a little like sheaf stitch. Clusters of french knots in a variegated thread are finally added to look like flower heads.

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The ‘end’ was the sample piece I stitched during my stitch play workshop in December. It was nearly finished, just needing the blanket and trellis stitch on the dark green petals, and made the perfect Mothers’ Day card.

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In other news, I think I have finally stopped sulking about my Victorian box project and am hoping to be able to show you some progress next week!

 

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