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Posts Tagged ‘needlelace’

I was very tempted to get straight into the fun bits of needle lace and crochet, but realistically it was more important to work out the background first to make sure all the little twiddly bits were to scale. I chose this photo:

because the lines of the Temperate House glazing form an interesting but not overpowering background. I turned it into greyscale as I did with the bollock purse from the Tattershall Journal so I could focus on the lines and patterns and then transferred the design onto a piece of indigo dyed cotton.

My white pen is obviously running out but as it’s one that develops over time, I can’t tell that at the point I’m tracing the design! At least there was enough of the design marked up for me to start stitching. I decided to use very fine ribbon for the thicker bars to contrast with whatever line stitch I choose for the thinner bars and have blanket stitched the first one down with fine sewing cotton.

Unfortunately further stitching was curtailed by two and a half days supply teaching followed by my first Covid jab and 24 hours lost to feeling rough from the after effects. Looking at it again, I like the width and solidity of the ribbon but I’m not sure about using blanket stitch to attach it. It looks a bit too raised and I’m wondering if I might try stitching the next one down with tiny stab stitches to keep the ribbon smoother.

I did manage to do a bit of playing with a sample of Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch at the weekend. I’d seen someone using it on Instagram and was rather taken with the result. Mary Corbet came up trumps as usual with an excellent tutorial which you can find here and this is the result of my experiments.

I’m really pleased with the weighty, corded effect it gives and the colour changes in the variegated perle thread.

I love stitches that looks as impressive as this one but are in fact very straightforward to work. Another new one for the repertoire!

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With the outlining done on the medieval tiles piece it was time to make a decision about how to fill the space surrounding them. Seeding was a bit of an obvious go to and something I used in the last print to stitch piece, but I wanted something different. I toyed with seeding in a more distinctive stitch, like a tete de boeuf, fly stitch or detached chain stitch, but they all looked too heavy, so I fell back on an idea I had a while ago of a kantha spiral based on the centre of the motif. Typically, I chose one to start off where the motif wasn’t in the middle of the ’tile’ so I couldn’t quite see whether it was going to work as I hoped – mainly, I think, because the initial rows of single stitches were quite overpowering – until I got to the outside rows.

Stitching in circles and skipping the printed areas has pulled it up into a bit of a dome! I think there will definitely have to be something couched along the motif to try and flatten it. I think I like it. I might need to play with the couched lines before I can be certain one way or another.

I’ve finished the little needlelace sampler. Goodness knows why I thought it would be a good idea to work in wedge shapes and have to decrease as well as working the stitch. It’s not a huge problem with the Single and Corded Brussels, but created some interesting effects with the Double Corded Brussels (DCB) and the Ceylon Stitch.

I really like what happens to the lace as the stitch spacings get smaller on the DCB. The early rows have a lovely open trellis effect with the cord taking centre stage, whereas in the later ones it is much less obvious, becoming a pattern of double stitches and holes. It’s useful to see how different spacings can give you different effects.

The Ceylon Stitch loops were tiny from the start and as the spacing got smaller, I had to decrease in the middle of the pattern as that was where it was the mostly tightly packed.

It is such a lovely looking but incredibly unforgiving stitch that you can see every single place where it isn’t absolutely perfect. It also took forever and so I am not redoing it – it can stand as an useful object lesson!

I intend to carry on stitching some more needlelace but the next sampler is going to be based on rectangles. However, I might work another sample of the Ceylon stitch in a rectangle just to prove I can do it perfectly when I don’t have to keep decreasing!

I’ve not made much jewellery for a while as I’ve been trying to list a backlog of vintage jewellery on Etsy, but when an odd earring I was cleaning came to pieces, leaving me with a rather nice silver mount, I was inspired! I set it with a lovely and very unusual piece of beachcombed Victorian pottery and added a 16″ silver chain to make a unique pendant.

It’s available here in the Beachcombing section of my Etsy shop.

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I thought I’d started the Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon in 2018, which would have been bad enough, but the blog post from September 2018 when I moved him from a hoop to a frame and really got going, says I started him in 2015 – July 2015 to be precise. I did quite a lot of work on him in 2019 and even got as far as starting to couch the outline but then, like so many things last year, he lapsed and it wasn’t until last week that I picked him up and finally finished the couched outline. The next stage was to add the split stitch highlights. I’m always worried I’ll put them in the wrong places and it will look odd, so I usually prevaricate at this point, but I decided to just get on with it.

The result was a lot less difficult than I thought (it usually is…) and so his lower tail is nearly done!

I’ve also decided to get on with the last two pieces for my Kew Memory Journal. I want to base one on the beautiful Chihuly Persian Chandelier that was hung in the Temperate House.

I thought the wavy edged circles could work either in needlelace or crochet and while I decided which one would be most effective, I started a small sampler of needlelace stitches.

Corded Brussels Stitch is my go to needle lace stitch and after having worked the Single Brussels – twice – I know why. The Corded Brussels is always worked in the same direction. When you get to the end of the row you run the thread across the front, back to the start and then work over it, incorporating it into the stitch. It makes the lace firmer and because there is something to work over, more even, and the stitches all run in the same direction.

The Single Brussels is worked from left to right and then when you reach the end of the row, back from right to left. I’m not very right handed and can work most stitches both right and left handed but I could not for the life of me get the rows even. On the left to right rows I could make the buttonhole stitch loops stay open but right to left they just wanted to flatten down to the stitch underneath. The second version is better than the first, but not by much.

However, as a sampler and a learning exercise, it’s been very useful.

The last old favourite is the final two kilt pin brooch kits.

Forest green, golden yellow, and brown.

and

Orange, bronze, brown, purple and gold.

Listed today in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

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It’s reading for a new show time again and so I have managed to sit and stitch through a number of small finishes. Firstly, one of the designs Ruth produced for us at November’s Embroiderers’ Guild meeting, made up into a card.

The border is in feather stitch, the centre in a spiral of split stitch, the main oval parts of the petals in Corded Brussels stitch (needlelace) and the ends in satin stitch.

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Then I decided to make up a little magazine kit I bought from eBay in 2009. Simple stem stitch and lazy daisy stitch for the wheel barrow and the flowers/leaves.

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Then french knot middles to the flowers and my first ever attempt at a Dorset Button for the wheel.

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I was fairly pleased with it until I put the kit picture next to it for comparison…

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Obviously a technique I need to work on but it has made a nice little card.

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This was my starting point:

dscn2537The only other stipulation we were all given was that the finished article must be three- dimensional in some way. I had an initial load of over-complicated and grandiose ideas, but soon realised my best bet was to stick to what I know so I decided to make a book.

I’ve made what I call lotus-fold books before, with origami square bases stuck back to back and opening like a concertina, but several years ago my middle one came home from Guides with  one she had made which opened up and folded back on itself to make a star. I’d always loved the idea and it was perfect for this project.

I started by making a double sided copy of the carol ‘Ding Dong, Merrily on High’ and ageing it with a deftly wielded tea bag. Odd coffee granules added a foxed look and then I cut the sheets into squares and folded them into a set of square bases.

20161210_230756_HDR.jpgThe next stage was to stick the square faces together to form the star shape. You can see the gap at the bottom right hand corner which is where the covers will go.

20161210_231039_HDR.jpgNext job was to embroider the cover. I experimented with applique and various other techniques on some lovely dull gold silk  but came back to needlelace using some Mulberry Silks I’ve been saving for a special occasion. The medium and heavy weights make the most fabulous needlelace.

20161215_171828_HDR.jpgAlso, one of my required elements was couching, and the stitch is buttonhole couching.

20161215_232203_HDR.jpgMy lace element was the bow and after I had added gold kid leather clappers to the bells the cover was laced over a piece of mounting board.

20161217_103827_HDR.jpgI trapped a piece of gold ribbon between the cover and the endpapers as a closure when I stuck them together…

20161217_104141_HDR.jpg…and did the same with the back.

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As well as tying a bow to close the book up, the ribbons also hold it closed and form the hanging loop when you bring the covers together to make it into an ornament.

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And best of all, Sandra was delighted with it. :o)

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I showed you this amazing book

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in my last post. Without even opening it, it’s a thing of beauty, from those William Morris-esque willow leaves sprawling across the spine and cover to the black and gold DMC logo end papers. And so small, only 5 and a half inches high, 4 inches wide and an inch and a half thick so it sits snugly in the hand.

Rachel is right – I have so much I want to do that I don’t think I’ll get round to any of the projects any time soon, but it is just lovely to sit and browse through.

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Although I am very tempted to try out this canvaswork Shell Stitch.

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Knitting is covered…

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…as is crochet…

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…tatting…

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…embroidery on netting…

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…openwork…

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…various types of lace…

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…tassels…

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…and so much more.

I’ve done some more finishing of small projects. Firstly the french knot encrusted blue velvet spiral brooch from the sample piece I started on the Lush, Plush and Crush workshop we did at the Guild with Josie Storey a few months back. From this:

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to this:

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I’ve also created a pair of silk strip wrapped and beaded hoop earrings using some lovely ombre dyed silk strips from Stef Francis and vintage seed beads and sequins over a pair of vintage plastic earrings.

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Having fun!

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I finally decided what the waves needed to finish them off for inclusion in my Travelling Book. As usual it was very last minute but in terms of effectiveness and being exactly what I wanted, it was worth waiting for inspiration!

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I chose fine white perle crochet cotton, two tiny steel Victorian crochet hooks (one of which belong to my great-grandmother) and a canvas needle to create the foaming white tops of the waves.

The top one is a line of slip stitch worked directly into the machine stitches (seriously tricky!) with a row of double crochet on top of that and then a layer of several trebles into each stitch to give the ruffle effect.

On the right I whipped each machine stitch, went back with a row of buttonhole stitch, returned with longer buttonholes and then put 5 or 6 more buttonholes into each loop.

Bottom left is a lacier affair with lengths of chain caught down with trebles.

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The others are all minor variants of these in either crochet or buttonhole loops.

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Then the piece was stretched over card and mounted into the book with an extract describing the waves which I love from Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with words by Walt Whitman.

By this point I was working against the clock and instead of being able to tea dye the music I had to give it a quick wash of watercolour which was the wrong shade. :o(

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But I at least made the deadline and I’m really excited that my book has gone off on another adventure!

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This month our Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was a full day workshop run by a couple of our members on abstract stumpwork, focussing on getting to grips with some of the stumpwork techniques such as creating slips, needlelace etc. In the morning we practised techniques and in the afternoon we worked a little sampler piece about 6cm square using a variety of the techniques in a colourway of our choosing. Blue of course, on a lovely piece of indigo dyed calico, for me.

Stumpwork sampler 1

I’ve done raised stem stitch band before and loved the effect, so I was keen to use some variegated sashiko thread as a base and start with a line of that. But something went wrong and instead of a lovely closely woven surface, I ended up with something more open. Moral of the story: don’t assume that having done something once (in 2009!) that you can automatically do it again without the instructions!

Stumpwork sampler 2

Anyway, I quite liked the lacy effect, with the variegated thread underneath so ran a couple of lines on chain stitch down each side to tie it in to the fabric and got on with the next element, using a lovely lustrous silk thread to buttonhole stitch over a washer, which I then attached to the fabric with well spaced french knots.

Stumpwork sampler 3

My third element was a lovely piece of soft blue leather over which I’m working detached buttonhole bars in a variety of threads.

Stumpwork sampler 4

Not quite finished but despite the small size, plenty to go at!

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Beachcombing the tideline is one of my favourite things to do on any beach and I wanted to create a high tideline that looked like a dark scribble across the sand.

Layers of feather stitching, both underneath and on top, straight stitches, couching and needlelace created the look I wanted, with a twisted cord made from turquoise sewing cotton to look like washed up fragments of fishing nets.

More twisted turquoise cords held down wherever the other stitches crossed them and an orange needlelace section for a piece of smashed buoy.

The top section is fly stitches on vintage silk grosgrain.

The fabric pen bled badly but the outlines of the traced clipart footprints are still clear enough to see. I tried satin stitch initially but couldn’t get the sharpness I wanted so I’ve back stitched them with tiny stitches and used bullion knots and french knots for  the toes.

I might satin stitch inside the outlines after they’re all stitched and the pen is washed out to see how that works.

 

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I know what textile art in the house is my own work, but when my youngest attributed a large machine embroidery hanging by the Cornish artist Karen Howse to me several months ago, I decided that if only for the family’s benefit I would try to sign and date my work.

For the North Cornwall Wallhanging I decided to make a traditional quilt label by adapting one of the designs from a Bareroots Quilt and Stitchery labels pattern I picked up on eBay a while ago.

It’s stitched on some of the same silk dupion I used for part of the front of the hanging in a mixture of hand-dyed cotton perle (for ‘handmade by’), stranded Gloriana silk (for ‘Alex 2011’) medium weight hand-dyed silk for the border and coton a broder for the seashell.

I think the original design had a heart at the bottom but I wanted to continue the sea theme that plays such a big part in our holidays to Cornwall and the memories stitched into the blocks on the front so I decided to replace it with a stumpwork scallop shell.

It’s padded with dark pink felt (I started it at a rehearsal and that was all I had in my bag!) and then I backstitched radiating lines along it to keep it in place and also as guidelines for where I wanted to put the ribs of the scallop later.

In between the ribs I worked rows of Corded Brussels Stitch to cover the felt.  the little ‘wings’ at the bottom are buttonhole stitch fans.

The ribs were then whipped with a slightly darker coloured stranded cotton. to make them stand out.  Keeping them straight when all the stitching is raised and textured was difficult!

Finally, french knots in some of my favourite yellow medium weight silk. The original design had just one at each ‘stalk’ end but that looked a bit sparse so I went for trios with the gold and blue scheme echoing the colours on the front.

Ready to be mitred and stitched onto the back of the hanging.

 

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