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Posts Tagged ‘Lake District’

Nothing big this week – instead the focus seems to have been on taking the old, broken and unloved and breathing new life into them. The vintage postcard to which I gave extra autumn colour with dozens of French knots gradually went from this…

…to this – with the help of numerous podcasts…

…and finally to this:

I combined a 1970s watch strap and a broken brooch to make a statement bracelet which is currently in my Etsy shop here.

And some jasper and art glass beads and vintage clock hands to make some more statement earrings.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the starting point for this pretty little pendant, which had the longest journey of all.

It literally started off a small chunk of a much larger broken brooch and I only knew that because it still had the hinge and pin, which was twice as long as the flower, attached. It was filthy, missing all the stones and had a couple of bits of metal sticking off at random angles.

After removing the pin, tidying up the shape and drilling a hole for a jump ring so I could turn it into a pendant, I gave it a thorough clean and polish before resetting it with tiny blue vintage paste stones and a vintage pearl with a wire attached which went into the hole I discovered in the middle of the ‘bell’.

That really was treasure from trash!

It should be in my Etsy shop shortly. There is nothing quite like turning literally a piece of rubbish into something that hopefully will be loved and cherished for years to come.

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Stitching quicker and quicker as we realise we’re going to run out of thread (or wool – I’ve done it with knitting too…). Why do we do it?! It makes no sense at all – the thread will run out when it runs out!

My bout of Embroidery Chicken happened this week when I started stitching the ‘mortar’ round the medieval tiles, I was using a subtly variegated perle that was a one off skein from a long defunct independent seller.

I started filling in the spaces between the corners and then realised that there wasn’t a lot of thread left. So I started to stitch faster and faster, trying to estimate how much was left and how much I could reasonably get done; which would be the most important lines to do in the primary thread; whether I could find the matching stranded cotton; whether it would be better to match the colour or the thread type… My mind going round in circles until I got to this point…

…and realised that I was going to be able to outline all the blocks after all. Not with a lot to spare, but it was achievable. At which point my stitch rate virtually halved!

Luckily I still have plenty of the silk thread left for the boro pendant. The two sections are now ladder stitched together, stuck into the gold ring and I’ve made a start on the boro stitched cylinder beads for the bib section.

The smaller rectangle on the left of the strips is what will be seen when they are rolled up and that’s where I’m going to stitch. Tiny patches of indigo on indigo.

I’m also back onto birthday cards again and a Lake District themed one for a friend’s dad. Adding autumn colour to a vintage postcard of the Langdale Pikes with French knots in one strand of stranded cotton.

I’m glad I started in good time, because the knots are taking a long while as usual, but it is quite effective and I’m really pleased with the colour match of the variegated thread.

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Our family holiday in the Lake District was over a month ago and despite the persistent rain, we had a fabulous time and I managed to get some stitching done to go in my holiday journal.

I still love to combine found objects, paper and stitch and that’s what I did with a couple of fragments I picked up from the shores of Grasmere.

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The wheatear stitch has a lovely weight to it and works really well for holding down the ring pull.

I insisted on having a day at Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House, near Windermere and as the girls and I managed to persuade the men to go on a walk without us, we were able to spend a leisurely day there, just wallowing in the utter beauty of the Arts and Crafts rooms and furnishing without being chivvied on. My little one drew, mostly on her phone but also with a real pencil and paper (!)

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Her older sister sat in an inglenook and wrote.

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And I found a window seat in the Great Hall and sewed.

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I’ve worked embroidery inspired by Blackwell before, namely a whitework sample I stitched back in 2015 for my altered book holiday journal…

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…based on a pillow case, which you can just about see on the other page of the book spread.

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The entire place is just stuffed with inspiration in every craft discipline, but this time I was very taken with an embroidered runner in the Great Hall which had a repeating pattern of sycamore keys.

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So I decided to work my own version for the holiday journal. It felt rather odd, but was a real treat to be able to get up and walk over to the original for reference instead of working from my photos!

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Outline in stem stitch.

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Then the solid part of the seeds in satin stitch.

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My single sample is rather bigger than the originals though and the satin stitches were too long and loose in this scale, so after trying various couching methods, I went for good old Bayeux stitch.

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I also decided to stitch a bit of fun, to represent the amazing meal we had on the way at the Brown Horse in Coley. We always stop here for lunch (and have never been disappointed with the food) on the way up to the Lakes. For us it’s where the holiday starts. So…salad leaves…

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… with Stilton…

 

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…pepper salami and parma ham!

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I will be adding olives later!

 

 

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We went away for a week to the Lake District not long after the Alice Fox workshop. The work I’d done with papers and found objects really whetted my appetite to get back to some found object work of my own as part of the journal I usually make to hold the memories of our time away.

At the end of the first day I wandered along the edges of Langdale Beck while the children splashed about in the already low water levels (and this was in May, before the long hot June and July we’ve had in the UK.) I was delighted to find this crumpled piece of metal with holes already nicely placed for stitches in close shades of green silk.

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It went very well with a thickish piece of beautifully textured hand made paper with inclusions of leaves and stems.

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On a visit to Stott Park Bobbin Mill I was fascinated by the offcuts of wood thrown out by the different machines in the process of turning chunks of wood into bobbins. The initial machines created a basic bobbin shape from the blanks, shaving off pieces a few millimetres thick. So I picked up a few bits and made them into my own bobbins!

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The next process shaved the rough bobbin down to the proper shape, throwing out endless translucent ribbons of wood which piled up around us on the floor. I definitely needed some of that! Different woods behaved differently. The one towards the top split pretty much wherever I tried to fold it, whereas the paler one was more like paper, holding at least some of its bends and folds without splitting. I want to add some more needle weaving to vary the widths of the holding stitches and some ‘chips’ in a needlepoint ribbon to the background.

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Playing with a printed National Trust logo from a paper bag and some scraps of hand made paper.

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Later in the week we visited Honister Slate Mine and I picked up a few slate chips from the car park. I painted some more of the hand made paper with watercolour to echo the colour of the slate and just had a bit of a play.

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I’m really pleased with the way the paper echoes the texture of the rock.

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Free cross stitch in various silk threads to echo the rhododendrons of Stagshaw Gardens. This one just needs finishing.

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And at the end of the holiday, a quick beachcomb on the shores of Coniston Water revealed this lovely fragment of verdigrised copper which I mounted on two pieces of paper left over from my Alice Fox work.

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I really enjoyed finding objects I could stitch into and around and the relatively quick way many of them came together. And of course, the memories they have captured. Slightly different to some of my other holiday journals, but I like to be different!

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More from my Lake District 2015 Holiday Journal. A very simple lay out this one, just to remind me of the well-earned drink we had at Sticklebarn on the valley walk we took at the second attempt!

Sticklebarn layout 1

Sticklebarn layout 2

Whipped back stitch around the shadows of the fells in the background.

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And moving swiftly on…

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During our Easter holiday in the Lake District we visited Blackwell, an amazing Arts and Crafts house near Windermere and among the inspirations photos I took were a couple of the lovely whitework embroidery on one of the pillows.

Whitework pillow at Brantwood

Perfect to work as a sample for my journal. I’ve used the corner of an old chair back, which is a nice heavy cotton and a couple of different thicknesses of white perle thread.

Whitework beginning 1

It’s meant to be similar, not identical. The grass-type spray is bullion knots with long tails on a stem stitch stalk. The flowers are padded satin stitch, in this case satin stitch over a chain stitch outline. The centres are just five straight stitches with a french knot in the middle.

Whitework beginning 2

Then I moved onto a flower created from a cluster of French knots. I’ve used the thicker perle in the centre and then started round the edges with the thinner perle to give a domed shape.

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First time I’ve tried traditional white work and it’s coming along nicely.

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This is the second piece for the journal I’m creating for our Lake District holiday. It was inspired by the intense rusty orange of the dead bracken stalks on the side of the fell as viewed from the lounge.

Bracken, Great Langdale

I used a mixture of three different threads on my needle, a single strand of silk floss, a single strand of cotton floss and a length of variegated very fine mercerised cotton. A square of paper was backed with masking tape to stabilise it and I used free cross stitch, french knots and long and short stitch to fill the space as the dead bracken stalks filled the fellside.

Bracken 1

Blocks of ‘stone’ were created by building up layers of gesso which were then painted to echo the colour of the green Langdale slate

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Underneath the embroidery I used some of the amazing pencils I bought from the Lakeland Pencil Museum in Keswick to make colour swatches.

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And I also stuck in a beech leaf, found on the aborted walk in question, which fitted in with the colours I was using.

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Windows cut in the previous page give glimpses through.

Bracken 5

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The starting point for this holiday’s journal was my middle one, who is doing ‘A’ level Art and is creating some very interesting and effective work stitching into photos and paper. I’ve been really inspired by this and to go along with the paper theme, I decided to alter a book as the journal. Here is the first spread,

Frosty lake tree 1

I used the top of the image on the left which I transferred to a piece of indigo dyed cotton with gel medium. The medium dried quite opaque, giving the image a very evocative, misty feel.

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Then I used a single strand of Caron Waterlilies variegated silk thread in a very loose stem stitch to pick out some of the detail.

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Really enjoyed my experimenting.

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