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Posts Tagged ‘lazy daisy stitch’

As is always the way, the final leg of the stumpwork garden only took about half an hour. First I finished the last of the kale/chard slubby silk picots. I was a little uncertain about them to start off, but they’ve worked up into a very healthy looking clump.

Then the courgette leaves. I’d already decided I was going to cut them out of some painted fabric. However, when looking for a source picture, I found countless photos of courgette leaves online, all different, which didn’t help and was probably why I left this job until last.

The first tentative one looked OK in terms of size and shape so I cut out another couple and laid them over the courgettes. They weren’t quite right. They looked flat and completely obscured the courgettes, which is what the leaves do in real life, but I didn’t want to lose the stitching underneath. I was resigning myself to stitching in minute veins to make them look less 2D when Debbie, one of the friends I was stitching with, suggested I put a tiny pleat in the base.

It was like magic. Suddenly the fold suggested veins and depth.

As there was to be no stitching of veins, the last stage passed in a flash. I pleated each leaf and used the thread to attach each one to the courgette plant. Pleating the leaves also meant they would no longer lay flat and solved the second issue about covering and losing the courgettes.

The leaves stand up beautifully (the fabric is backed with a light weight interlining to help stop it fraying which helps) and are only connected at the base of the leaf so as you move the stitching you can still see the courgettes, even though the leaves cover them. A genius solution!

My completed vegetable garden. It’s been a delight to stitch and had a lot of interest (for me!) on Instagram where it’s currently my most interacted with post, so other people seem to love it as much as I do.

I also ought to post a shot to give you an idea of scale.

And against my hand – please excuse the state of my fingers – it’s that time of year when I seem to be constantly peeling and prepping fruit and veg from the real garden.

I’m definitely going to offer this as a workshop. I’ll suggest some different vegetables and lay outs so not everyone has to stitch an identical copy and it’s a good introduction to some raised embroidery techniques. Anyone interested, shout up. Contact details are on my workshops page (tab at the top).

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Some stitched vegetable gardens came up on my Pinterest feed a little while ago and as I love stumpwork ideas, I saved them; whereupon more appeared of course… So naturally the only thing to do to get them out of my system was to stitch my own garden. It’s tiny – the piece of silk dupion it’s stitched on is 6cm by 10cm, or about 2.5″ by 4″.

Garden path first. I used satin stitch in varying scraps of greyish brown thread for the uneven slabs.

Then a darker variegated brown to edge the slabs before I started my strawberry patch. This has whipped back stitch stems, trios of lazy daisy leaves, scarlet French knot strawberries and loose white French knots for the strawberry flowers. Working French knots deliberately loose so you can put something in the centre is a little more tricky than it looks. There is a fine line between getting a firm knot with a space in the middle and a scribbly pile of threads!

Next, the peas. Feather stitch pea sticks for them to scramble over and then whipped backstitch stems. The pea pods are two parallel satin stitches and once they were completed (all 32 of them) I used a very fine pale green silk thread to give them tiny calyxes.

Then I half hid them with silk ribbon lazy daisy stitch leaves.

Onto the rows of veg next. The peas had taken a long time building up the various layers, so I went for a quicker result and three dark green silk ribbon ‘roses’ (woven spider’s web stitch) became a row of blowsy cabbages.

These were quickly joined by a little row or emerging seedlings in fine silk lazy daisy stitch – probably radishes – and then I started a group of cauliflowers with clustered French knot florets and overlapping cast on stitch leaves.

It was fiddly to work the cast on stitch leaves in such a small space and at such a small size, but leaves come in various shapes and sizes anyway.

The loose French knot practise on the strawberry flowers came in handy for the carrots.

My idea was to stitch loops which I could then cut to form feathery foliage, through the centre of the carrot tops. The smallest section of my cordonnet stick was the perfect size to stitch the loops over.

Loopy carrot tops.

Each set of threads has been fastened off separately underneath so they shouldn’t come out once I cut them. Very pleased with the result!

Lettuces and courgettes are next. It may only be a tiny piece of stitching but it’s taken a lot longer than I expected. Working small doesn’t always mean finishing things off more quickly…

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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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As promised from last week, here is the second china pot fragment, this time filled with ribbon embroidery irises, which have worked out rather nicely. The flowers are lazy daisy stitches with a stitch threaded through the bottom of the chain to give the falling petals, the leaves are done with ribbon stitch and the stems are two rows of split stitch.

I ended up finishing it late at night and the only photos I have of the finished piece have huge shadows round the sides of the pot which look like stains! Anyway, it was done in time for Mothers’ Day and went down well.

I’ve been working away on a couple of upcycled pieces of jewellery. The first was a fairly easy conversion from a broken 1907 silver and hardstone shamrock brooch to a pendant. The c-shaped catch was in good condition and substantial enough that I could twist it round to create a hanging loop. There was very little left of the pin hinge so I was able to carefully saw the remains off and neaten up the scar.

With the addition of a jump ring and a silver chain it’s good for at least another hundred or so years.

Available here in my Etsy shop.

The second make was a bit more of a puzzle. A chunk of abstract fused silver with two holes and a short length of tube on the back.

I wondered if the tube was supposed to be a bale, but it was very narrow and you would have struggled to get anything but the finest chain through it. And a very fine chain would have been out of proportion to the chunky pendant. So I decided to use the top hole as the hanging point and removed the tube. That left me with what to do with the second hole. I couldn’t hang anything from it as it was too far up, so I went through my odd stud earrings to see if there was anything to inspire me. I found a couple of round studs with semi precious cabochons in silver settings which were attractive before a little frog stud tumbled out of the bag. I’m not sure why I tried him in place, but he somehow turned the abstract chunk of silver into a sort of stylised lily pad.

He just works perfectly!

Mr Frog is available here in my Etsy shop.

As our second Mothers’ Day under lockdown in the UK rolled around, it reminded me of the memory journal of my beach walk on Mothers’ Day 2019 which I finished on Mothers’ Day 2020.

And that in turn reminded me that I have two pieces still to do for my Kew memory journal from June 2019. The recent needlelace sampler was a half hearted attempt at testing out some ideas for a piece based on the magnificent Chihuly Persian Chandelier which hung in the middle of the Temperate House.

But I’ve decided that I need to stop faffing and get on with it, so this morning I assembled some delicious Mulberry Silks, my tiny antique crochet hooks and a piece of lovely indigo dyed calico.

Time to stop overthinking and see what happens…

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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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In the end, Baby Leaf-tailed Dragon wasn’t finished for show week and in total, I only managed to put half a dozen stitches in him on stage the entire week, most of which had to be unpicked and restitched later! But ‘The Fifth Elephant’ went well and we had lots of positive comments from Pratchett fans, some of whom had travelled some distance to come and see the show.  No rest for the am dram wicked though – last performance of ‘The Fifth Elephant’ on Saturday and tonight (Monday) is the first casting reading for panto!

I did manage to get some stitching done in the interval though, so all the Bayeux Stitch is completed and I’ve started the couched outline. It neatens the edge up a treat.

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Since the Baby Leaf-tailed Dragon and his frame were props for a scene in Act 1, I had to find something else to sew before curtain up and I decided to experiment with a banner style brooch using an odd kilt pin. I had a few small pieces left of a wool jumper I felted a while ago and turned variously into a cushion cover, a pair of mittens and some earring cases.

I added some commercial grey marl felt and an odd earring drop…

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…blanket stitch, french knots…

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…sequins, a bead, split stitch and detached chain stitch…

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…before finishing with a kantha stitched back ground in shimmery blending filament, a beaded blanket stitch edging which joined it to the grey felt back and blanket stitching it to the kilt pin in stranded silk thread.

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A fun little project and I particularly like the subtle sparkle you get from the blending filament.

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I bought this little kit well over ten years ago, when the Viking Loom was still in the shadow of York Minster! It used to live in my school bag, ostensibly so that I had something to stitch in quiet moments… Hence why it was still unfinished ten plus years later. IMG_20190419_165501.jpg

But with a few last stitches during the Easter break and the addition of the black seed bead blackberries, I finally completed it…

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…and decided to add my monogram to the back using some of the leftover threads. First the A and the H in split stitch and the start of a trailing stem in back stitch.

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Lazy daisy leaves.

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And poppy red french knot flowers.

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Finally the making up, which took ages until I finally found the pinwheel for the centre but somewhere in the last ten years I have misplaced some of the pins, so it’s a partial pinwheel, which is irritating.

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Nice to have it finally finished!

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A silver Victorian brooch arrived as part of a job lot of jewellery I bought online last week. It was perfect – apart from the central dome, which was badly dented and damaged. I gently tried to smooth it out with a doming tool but the metal was too far gone and I ended up resorting to carefully removing it with a jeweller’s saw.

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After some filing and finishing this left me with a tempting little space to fill and I was soon stitching a minute silk ribbon rose onto some ironed out silk carrier rod.

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The completed rose (with a french knot cluster in the centre and lazy daisy leaves round the outside)  is about 6mm in diameter.

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The brooch is only an inch in diameter but the rose makes it look huge!

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The completed ‘Blush Rose’ brooch is in my Etsy shop here.

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I’ve also started work on another embroidered locket piece – this time a little larger but not much!! My idea for this one was a climbing rose on a trellis. Trellis first. This locket was a bit distressed inside so I lined it with some more of the silk carrier rod which you can see through the hole in the front.

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Next I started on the stems of the rose and because I couldn’t resist, have already put in some vivid scarlet roses (french knots of course) in a shade of hand dyed silk called ‘Tart’s Knickers’!!!

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The colours have turned out a bit dodgy on this photo in spite of going outside to make use of a rare bit of February sun!

If you follow me on Instagram you will also have seen the cushion cover which I made this week…

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… a good antidote to working in miniature! The crewel work embroidery is not mine but came from a ubiquitous suitcase of embroidered household linens which friends recently cleared from the house of an elderly relative.

The embroidery on this piece was finished but it hadn’t been made up into anything so there had been no wear or light damage to the linen and I was asked to make it up into a cushion cover, which having had a well-earned rest from the sewing machine and panto costumes, I was finally ready to do.

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I found some fantastic toning batiks to edge the front and create the back. That pop of turquoise makes the soft green of my beloved suite look completely washed out!

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It’s good to think that all the hard work put in by whoever stitched the original embroidery will finally be on show and admired after probably at least half a century.

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