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Posts Tagged ‘long and short stitch’

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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The dragonfly pouch commission is complete and I’m delighted with the result.

The back stitched wing veins took a long time lining them up with the source photos to make sure they felt accurate but it was definitely worth it. I just wish I could capture the shimmer of the fused fabric wings.

I hope the recipient likes it as much as I do!

I’ve also finished the silk cocoon and driftwood pendant I started a couple of weeks ago. I added seed beads, freshwater pearls and tiny turquoise nuggets to the end of the points to give a bit of weight and a change of texture.

Then I lightly sanded and waxed the chunk of driftwood and carefully glued the cocoon to the top.

Next I fabricated a hanging loop out of an old odd sterling silver earring wire and recessed that through the top of the cocoon and into the wood to carry the jump ring bale. The vintage sterling silver belcher chain is a perfect weight to match the chunkiness of the pendant, although the driftwood is actually a lot lighter than it looks.

A real statement piece of jewellery; available here in my Etsy shop.

Lastly, a sneak peek of my next embroidered upcycled jewellery project.

Going for something a bit more seasonal!

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I still haven’t found the iridescent fabric I managed to tidy away, but I did find something I think turned out better in the end, and so the dragonfly for the second pouch is well underway. I stitched the body in satin stitch blocks…

…and the thorax in a sort of long and short stitch with detached chain stitch and french knot legs and clustered french knot eyes.

Then onto the wings. While looking for the iridescent fabric I had in mind, I found some purple hand dyed silk organza and an iridescent organza. I fused them with bondaweb and ended up with the perfect fabric for the wings!

I’m using it with the purple uppermost but there is still plenty of subtle sparkle. Veins in back stitch, following the lines you would find on a real dragonfly’s wings.

I have a real hankering to make some more of these sea glass watch case pendants.

But when I went looking for the watch cases I found this:

A box of clock hands I bought ages ago at a car boot sale and forgot about! I had a lovely quiet afternoon sitting on the patio sorting them all out.

Most of the really ornate ones are singletons, but there were a surprising amount of pairs and I chose a couple of simple geometric hands to turn into a pair of upcycled earrings with a bit of a steampunk vibe.

The hands are very light – probably aluminium – and those gorgeous purple art glass beads give them enough weight to hang nicely in the ear.

The earhooks and all the other metal is sterling silver and they are available here in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

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One or two finished and ongoing oddments.

First, the little blackwork project I started back in November with Alison Larkin. Interlaced border next…

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…nearly there…

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…completed!

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I can’t believe the last bluework update I posted was at the start of October! It’s gone slowly from this:

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to this:

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Eyelets as spiky abstract daisies at the bottom.

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And another shaded long and short stitch flower.

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Creative mending has been on the agenda as well. I needed to mend a slit right at the front of one of my favourite tops where a thread had given up the ghost. There was no way I was going to make it invisible, so I did the darning…

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…and added some embroidered trims over the top to make a feature. It’s so good to be wearing this top again, and the motif looks like it was always meant to be there!

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And lastly, the piece I started as a work in progress for the Stitch Play workshop. It’s so nearly done, I really ought to get it finished!

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Especially as I have a plan for a biggish stitching project in 2018…

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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

Bracken 2

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

Bracken 3

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

Bracken 4

Windows cut in the previous page give glimpses through.

Bracken 5

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I wondered what would happen if I took this scrap of fabric (about one inch by two) that I couldn’t bear to throw away, applied it to another piece of fabric (in this case some vintage evenweave), started stitching on the fabric with matching thread and then continued onto the evenweave?

Extended pattern 1

This was an out and about fragment project, using threads I had with me, hence the variegation in the stitching.  

Having had enough of cross stitch, I wondered what would happen if I tried the same idea but used long and short stitch?

Extended pattern 2

The way the pattern distorts into something more abstract is certainly an interesting outcome. Two more pieces for the sketchbook.

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