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Posts Tagged ‘lazy daisy flowers’

On Saturday I taught my first workshop to our new Independent Stitch Group: Scunthorpe Embroidery and Textile Association or SEATA, formerly known as the Scunthorpe Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild. I had decided to teach my Scrappy Nine Patch Rings workshop (in the Workshops tab under Found Objects) based on this piece I stitched back in early 2019. The idea is to use up those tiny precious scraps which you can’t bear to throw away by layering them in strips and as frames/backgrounds to help showcase the different ways to attach the plastic/brass rings.

As well as the nine patch, which I finished as a mini quilt, I also spent most of last week making some individual samples to demonstrate some more ways of attaching the rings to the backgrounds. A scrap of dyed aida was the inspiration for this one and I created a blackwork style pattern for it which served to stitch down the ring in a rather attractive pattern that I hadn’t anticipated.

I was determined to use a grass printed offcut from the Dames’ cow dress for the next one and I had just the vintage trim to go with it. This ribbon trim dates from the 1970s when my mother allowed me half a yard of ribbon or lace if I was good on the occasional shopping trip instead of sweets. My childhood self would much rather have had sweets, but my adult self has made good use of the trims! It was pretty rather than practical, as when you cut it, the flowers all unravel, which is why so much of it still survives.

I added lazy daisy stitches and French knots in green to the trim to help attach it as well as lazy daisy daisies and kantha around the machine embroidered butterfly and hand dyed purple flannel. It’s backed on a piece of stormy lilac colour catcher

This one was purely about the combination of fabrics and I also wanted to try out the possibility of using bullion knots to hold down the ring. The answer to that is yes, the bullions work, but there is some trial and error involved in getting them the right length, so some of mine (bottom right) are a bit slack. And also because I used such a fine cotton, you have to look very closely to see that they actually are bullions and not just a thick corded thread, which rather defeats the aim of using them!

I played about with back stitch and herringbone to enhance the machine embroidered silk scrap and added metallic feather stitch to the crinkled hand dyed organza scrap.

The final sample was started so I had something to work on in the session, although I didn’t actually get to set needle to fabric until well into the afternoon. The printed central piece is another offcut of the medieval tiles print to stitch piece form February 2019 – I really am getting the most out of every scrap of that fabric – and I outlined it in back stitch before blanket stitching the ring on top. Seeding next.

Lastly, the final update on February’s Move It On Project, my Chihuly chandelier. Unfortunately because of the workshop preparation I wasn’t able to add any more stitching to it this week, but again, the aim of the project has succeeded. I wanted to see if I could make the design work and end up anything like the real thing and the answer to that is yes, using back stitched spiders webs and crocheted circles. I’ve not finished it, but I know what I need to do to complete it in the future. Now to decide what I’m going to choose for March’s entry into the Move It On Project.

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It’s been a lovely Christmas with all the children together for a couple of days. Now the older two have gone back to their respective homes, it feels more like normality and I’ve started to think less about producing the next meal for the hungry hordes and more about the New Year and where I want to take my stitching.

I’ve largely managed to free myself from the need to finish everything I start, but as well as the unfinished pieces that have served their purpose, whether that’s, “What happens if…” or, ” Given it my best shot but I still really don’t like it…” I still have partly worked projects that I would like to complete. So my focus this coming year is to work with what I have, start new things when it’s appropriate, but be more mindful about moving on the stuff that is still ongoing. In this spirit, here is the Bluework bowl I started in March 2012, which scarily makes it almost a decade old. The last time I posted about it (which was also the last time I actually worked on it) was July 2018 when it looked like this:

Not a lot left to do really, apart from finishing off the cherry blossom and thinking what to put in the final section. The biggest problem with the cherry blossom was finding the thread, or at last a close match, for the branches, but it looks like I’ve either already had that problem or deliberately used slightly different shades to give the impression of depth and shading. I extended the branch into the space above and scattered it with cherry blossom in French knots – a few too many in hindsight as the space looks crammed. I think I’ll probably take them out and restitch the crowded section when I get better light for the unpicking.

I ran through lots of ideas for the last section before settling on a recent favourite – woven feathered chain stitch in what I think is a very softly spun silk. It made the weaving a bit interesting as even with a canvas needle it was almost impossible not to keep piercing the foundation stitches but the sheen on the woven leaves is lovely.

I finished it with woven spiders’ web wheels for flowers in a darker blue Gloriana silk. Apologies for the awful photos but it’s impossible to get decent photographs at the moment – even when it’s light the weather has been so horrible over the last few days that photos outside are nearly as bad as those inside.

So after almost ten years, it’s finished. Well sort of. I’ve already decided to re stitch the cramped cherry blossoms and there are some sections where I’m wondering if it’s a bit too busy and others where perhaps its not busy enough.

Perhaps I’ll keep it on the in progress pile but I certainly will try and get some better photos of it.

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What with my blog anniversary and last week’s Blog Award, there hasn’t been much stitching to show. To be honest, between work and getting things ready both for a new stockist and an older one, there really hasn’t been that much stitching full stop.

At the end of last month I was delighted to get a place in the gorgeous Bricktree Gallery in Caistor, a lovely little market town on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The gallery is home to dozens of local artists and makers and my little corner of it is a shelf unit created from a stack of vintage apple boxes! It’s the biggest space I’ve rented yet and took quite a bit of pre-planning to sort out what I could fit on the various shelves while making sure everything would still be visible to customers. It all looks easy to see from this angle, but I’m crouching down!

The ‘back stories’ on the cards have proved a very popular feature. I’ve found that the sort of people who are interested in upcycling like to know where the various components of their jewellery come from and for the brooches, it provides a sturdy display card into the bargain.

I used vintage doilies, place mats and napkins etc to dress the shelves just to give a bit of a theme and also soften the rough wood of the apple boxes. This shelf is blue themed.

And these shallower shelves are ideal for displaying my clock hand earrings. They are a pain to get to sit neatly on the story cards!

Lastly, the bottom shelf. As it’s the most difficult to see under normal browsing circumstances I went for a few more brightly coloured pieces which I put nearer the front.

Fingers crossed they do well. The gallery is really well curated with a great range of items and although it’s a little bit out of the way down a windy little historic lane, there is a great sense of cooperation among the small businesses in the town and they all try and put business and customers each others’ way.

Then last week I was in Cleethorpes again for my monthly shift at Arttopia. I think it was about the only gorgeous day in the last fortnight and as I was a little early I walked down to the front for a look at the sea – well, estuary really, but it was lovely anyway.

I have a much smaller space – a single shelf – at Arttopia

…so it’s a challenge to fill it as efficiently as I can.

I was over the moon to have sold two pairs of upcycled earrings since last month and while I was there I put the finishing embroidery touches to a silver and felt bead bracelet I’ve been working on.

It started as a sterling silver bracelet with a damaged filigree bead in the centre.

I removed the bead and carefully wrapped some fleece around the chain between the smaller silver beads which are soldered in place.

A mixture of wet and needle felting firmed it up into a flat cuboid shape so it lies nicely against the wrist and then I added the lazy daisy flowers.

I love turquoise/teal and it goes as well with silver as it does with rusty tones. Available shortly in my Etsy shop .

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Mainly because much of the embroidery I’ve been doing this week really isn’t interesting enough to share! More split stitch round the edge of the ’tiles’ on the medieval tiles piece and I’ve also made myself pick up the baby leaf-tailed dragon kit again but that’s all couching round the outline, so not much to see.

The birthday for which I’m stitching the floral initial is fast approaching, so I’ve prioritised work on that. I keep trying to persuade myself that I’m half way through but I suspect that’s just wishful thinking. Single strands of stranded silk do not work up very fast.

So jewellery it is, starting with a piece of pressed brass which I think might have been part of an Art Nouveau frame or mount.

I’ve had a couple of ideas for it but keep returning to earrings. So I sawed it into two similar but not identical sections and created these earring drops with the addition of some silver mounted pearls. I’m just waiting on some gold plated sterling silver ear hooks to finish them off.

Then I found a broken silver ring in my scrap box.

I realised that two of the broken sections had the same design, so I flattened them before sawing and filing the excess parts of the design off to make a pair of earring drops. These just need a session in the barreller before I choose some beads to finish them off.

Then there was the collection of classic brutalist 1970s pewter components which someone had half turned into a necklace. The cabochons look like lapis lazuli but in fact are beautiful pieces of art glass with flecks of gold leaf to look like lapis.

The large section felt too big and chunky to keep as a pendant and the pattern of holes suggested that it might have had further sections hanging from it, which would have made it very heavy both literally and visually. Then inspiration struck!

I carefully sawed the big pendant into three pieces. This gave me a smaller pendant with two cabochons and two double circle sections which I could use as part of the necklace. Once I’d tidied them up, the necklace went together perfectly, with a length of reclaimed chain finishing it off at the back. I think it still has a Seventies brutalist feel but it’s a bit more wearable now. It’s here in my Etsy shop.

This left me with four sections which I used to make a matching pair of earrings with silver earhooks. Also available in my Etsy shop here.

I’ve also managed to make up four more boxes for the kilt pin brooch kits, so there are now six listed in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

Blue-green, lilac, purple and silver

Dusty pink, pale green, gold and russet

Purple, green, red and white

Russet, gold, brown and red

Peach-pink, yellow, brown, gold and silver

Red, green, brown, gold and yellow

Hopefully the stitching will be a little more photogenic next week!

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Christmas is coming and so there has been less stitching and more making and wrapping presents and seasonal cooking. I’ve strained the home made sloe gin I made with the huge sloes (or possibly bullaces) that we foraged on one of our Lincolnshire Wolds walks in late September. They were so big and fleshy I was able to make two jars of sloe gin jam with the strained pulp.

I used a new recipe for the gin this year and I was a bit unsure about the amount of sugar. Having tasted the result it’s still nice but very sweet so I’ll need to annotate the recipe or track down the one I’ve always used before. A drawback of having so many cookbooks!

This Christmas Cake is a present for my brother who loves rich fruit cake but doesn’t have time to make one for himself. One of my favourite childhood Christmas memories is Christmas and Boxing Night teas with my Nanny and Auntie Sheila. Every year they tried out a different Christmas cake recipe, always looking for that perfect moist, crumbly slice. (One year Nanny’s cake was so dry and hard it was only rendered edible by the layers of icing and marzipan!)

The search ended in the late 1970s when a Home Economics teacher who worked with my mum gave her a copy of the Christmas cake recipe she made every year with the 5th year ‘O’ level classes. It was and is idiot proof and we’ve made it every year since. It was even used for all three tiers of my wedding cake.

My little one has decorated gingerbread Christmas jumpers from Morrisons.

I’ve managed a few lunchtime stitching sessions while on supply to add some more lazy daisy flowers to my stitched initial. It’s been a useful exercise as I’m now sure that the flowers are far too small compared with the stems and a two hour workshop would not be long enough to get very far with this design. I’ll make this one into a birthday card and work another sample, this time using perle rather than one strand of stranded silk!

And lastly, a couple of assemblage brooches. The first one was a bow brooch with pendant drop that had been languishing in my shop for a while. I’d originally created an embroidered drop for it but I’d never liked it very much – it’s too big for the bow and the colours are decidedly dingy and I deactivated it a few months ago.

Gold tone items can vary massively in colour and the bow brooch is quite a light brassy shade so I was delighted to find a vintage heart locket that matched it nicely. With the addition of some dangles made from a broken necklace it’s now here in my Etsy shop.

The other new make started out as a strange looking vintage brooch rather like an old-fashioned dip pen. It had the perfect recess in the end to inlay something and I wanted to add a finishing touch to the top too.

Gathering some ideas together.

I bought a job lot of porcelain jewellery pieces from eBay a while ago and partnered one of the lustre discs with an odd earring to make the end piece. I decided to go for the embossed silk carrier rod rather than the felt to inlay into the top section. Once the choices were made, the actual making up of the brooch was pretty quick.

And it’s available here in my Etsy shop – still time to shop before Christmas!

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Since half term at the end of October, I’ve finally been picking up some supply work. It’s been much needed financially but quite stressful with all the different Covid protocols that each school has and it’s difficult not to resent the way it’s eaten into my stitching and jewellery making time.

However, I realise I’m lucky to be getting work at all and so I’m working hard at appreciating a few minutes or a few stitches here and there and trying not worry about how slowly (if at all) some of my projects are moving.

So quick finishes are good, like the broken bracelet sections I upcycled into this sparkly pair of drop earrings with the addition of silver tone maple leaves and sterling silver ear hooks.

I’ve been taking some stitching into the schools where I’ve been working so I can take advantage of any spare lunchtime to sew. This initial will be filled with whipped running stitch stems and lazy daisy stitch flowers and leaves in variegated single strands of silk thread on silk dupion. It’s a potential workshop idea or if I’m not convinced, it might become a birthday card for my middle one.

I found this cross stitch motif which I must have stitched well over twenty years ago, in a workbox at the weekend.

I rather liked it. What if I could somehow stitch it onto another piece of fabric so none of the aida shows? The stylised cross stitch could be an interesting contrast with more textured embroidery stitches…

Subtly variegated silk thread french knots make great bushes and the sheen of the silk complements the more matte quality of the cotton thread I used for the tree.

Bushes and grass at the bottom are relatively easy but I can’t surround the whole tree in them, so now I’m experimenting with satin stitch sky. Apologies for the horrible photo. Today is grey and rainy and this is the best I could do indoors. The sky won’t end there. I might use a version of long and short stitch to extend it and I am planning some trees and/or clouds as well.

Making it up as I go along!

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I seem to have had a spell where I keep finding the right pieces of jewellery to successfully upcycle and last week I managed a hat trick of embroidered pieces.

First of this batch to be upcycled was a vintage pendant mount I bought a while ago from the sales table at Guild and which has just turned up in the bottom of my sewing bag. I have a small bag of patchwork quilt trimmings which I bought a while ago from eBay and they are a great starting point for embroidered pendants like this one. I used the mount as a viewfinder to pick what I thought was the best area to embroider.

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And a few hours and a fair bit of unpicking later, I had an embroidered oval to go into the mount – with a thumb for scale!

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The kantha on the middle strip was an easy stitch, as was the lazy daisy floral section on the left, where I just followed the fabric pattern, but I had more of a problem with finding the right weight of both thread and stitch on the heavier fabric to the right. The Palestrina stitch in a teal perle was fine, but I tried various stitches in pink perle and pink stranded cotton which were just too heavy before I settled on more lazy daisy stitches in the same fine variegated silk as on the left. As the pendant had never been used it was easy to mount it into the frame using the folding metal tabs and very effective I think it looks too.

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Taking the embroidered section away from the rest of the patchwork enables you to really focus on the stitches and somehow the three completely different pieces of fabric become a harmonious whole. It’s currently available in my Etsy Shop here with free UK postage and packing.

Next to be upcycled was a lovely brass filigree brooch which seemed to be missing something in the middle. I had the very thing – a gold tone rope edged odd earring, also missing its middle. Despite probably a good forty plus year age gap, I think they go together perfectly.

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I embroidered some silk ribbon rosebuds onto a piece of silk carrier rod and gave them split stitch stems and lazy daisy leaves in fine silk thread…

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…before setting the tiny piece into the earring centre of the brooch.

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It was nice to do a variation on the blowsy ribbon roses I usually stitch and it’s now available here in the Upcycled Brooches section of my Etsy shop with free UK postage and packing.

The last of the week’s hat trick was an upcycled locket and this turned out so well I’m almost tempted to keep it. I’ve done a few lockets with rose bushes and trellises and I was keen to try some lavender. I chose a piece of my hand painted pelmet vilene which looked like a summer sky for a background…

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…and then chose some hand dyed stranded silk with a wonderful sheen for the flowers and a bluey green cotton thread which was a good match for the foliage. I’ve no idea where the green came from – I found literally one needle full in a tangle of oddments and was sweating the whole time I was stitching that I would have enough!

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The silver tone locket was a perfect setting.

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And it too, is available here in my Etsy shop with free UK postage and packing.

And a quick update – the Singer 28 is now with its new owner and she loves it. I think the lady from Number 12 would have been pleased…

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I just had a couple of items to finish off for the Craft Fair at Gainsborough Old Hall on Sunday, one of which was another embroidered locket. I started off with some silk carrier rod, variegated soft silk thread and french knots and lazy daisies.

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The french knots reminded me of the spires of goldenrod that ran riot in the garden of our old house.

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Lazy daisy leaves in buttonhole twist silk. The twist has a wonderful lustre and always makes me think of the mice in ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ – no more twist!

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I had plenty enough fortunately and after adding stems and leaves to the goldenrod, the little panel was added to the locket.

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Creating these little embroidered panels to upcycle lockets is one of my favourite things to do and a perfect use for my silk carrier rods. This trio were much admired at the Fair, (although I do wish people would look with their eyes, not their fingers!!) but sadly, only the snowflakes locket sold so the other two are back in my Etsy shop.

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I had a good day and learned a lot, including the need to bring a shawl (we were in Victorian dress and the Old Hall is seriously chilly!) and lights for my stall. It was very gloomy and that’s not helpful when people are trying to look at small piece of jewellery.

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But it was lovely to chat to people about my jewellery. I was quite surprised how many people were actively interested in the upcycling aspect and as well as the sales, I also made contact with a WI who are interested in having me as a speaker and someone local who has suggested another possible craft fair. All good!

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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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This is a project I started with a group of girls whom I call ‘Tall Poppies’. Bright, articulate children who often experience negativity from their peers due to their abilities. Coming out of the classroom to do some sewing gave them chance to chat in a safe place where no one was going to belittle them for being amazing.

I’d seen some lovely little felt pouch necklaces on Pinterest with hidden positive messages and decided that this would be a great project to work on.

I made various templates and they used pinking shears to cut them out of felt. Then I showed them how to stitch on a snap, keeping it as neat as possible on the other side before they created their own designs, largely based on lazy daisy flowers, thinking about the three sections of the pouch and what would be visible when it was stitched up. I always sew alongside them and this is my pouch.

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After scattering simple lazy daisies across the lower front, I decided to create a more complex design on the back, nesting lazy daisies inside each other to make bigger petals and adding chain stitch tendrils.

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I neatened up the stitches attaching the snap with rings of buttonhole stitch (on the flap)…

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…and chain stitch on the underside.

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The lining is a scrap of gorgeous hand dyed silk dupion which has been caught down with the blanket stitch along the sides, tiny running stitches along the front edge which you can just see in the photo above, and blanket stitch under the flap.

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I’m not sure now about using blanket stitch to sew up the sides and am probably going to take it out and use a neat double running stitch instead.  On the front it looks nice, but I don’t like the effect on the back.

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Seeing something through a photo is so good for showing up the issues you don’t seem able to spot with the naked eye.

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