Posts Tagged ‘North Cornwall’

Just got back from a slightly different but very much needed and enjoyable week in North Cornwall. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen photos of our walks and beach excursions in my stories and I even managed to get some stitching done as well.

First, a piece of blackwork from a gorgeous design I found on Pinterest several years ago. I’m afraid I don’t know the designer, so if anyone does please can they let me know so I can credit them. This is stitched in a single strand of Gloriana silk thread on 28 count natural Cashel linen and yes, it is tiny! Most of the motifs are about 1cm square.

Stitching al fresco in Boscastle while my husband and little one went snorkelling in the harbour.

And again at Tintagel while we waited for our slot to cross the new bridge onto the headland.

Finally finished. I still love the design and I’m glad I stitched it, but I’m ready to move onto something else!

I’ve decided to stitch a Memory Journal style diary for this holiday. I’m going for images and memories from the whole week, rather than one piece to represent each day as I’ve done in the past. We went to Crackington Haven on the Sunday evening to watch the sunset.

And to have a little beachcomb – although as the tide was well in, it was only a little one. I love the slate pebbles of this beach with their scribbly quartz inclusions.

So the first piece I created was using the pebble fabric from the Anderby Creek Memory Journal and some flat slate pebbles from Crackington Haven beach over which I stitched my own quartz inclusions.

I’ve also been very taken with the way the prevailing winds sculpt the trees on the north coast. (Taken through the windscreen of the car, so not the best photo, but I love the shape of that tree.)

Start of my sculpted tree piece. I’m planning to couch the strands of cotton down to make the outline of the branches and then clothe it in leaves – possibly a few less than on the original so you can still see the framework of branches.

We visited a few beaches during the week but the beach finds were generally a bit sparse. However, I’m planning to use some of these bits I picked up at Tintagel for various stitching and jewellery projects.

Plenty of inspiration and hopefully now I’ve had a week’s recharge, I have the energy to get stuck into them.

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Glad you enjoyed the first part of the tour through my journal. Here’s part two.

Journal Tour 2a

Journal Tour 2b

Journal Tour 2c

Journal Tour 2d

Journal Tour 2e

Journal Tour 2f

Journal Tour 2g

Journal Tour 2h

Journal Tour 2i

Journal Tour 2j

Journal Tour 2k

Journal Tour 2l

Journal Tour 2m

Journal Tour 2n

Journal Tour 2o

Emulous waves 1

Journal Tour 2o

Reclaimed by the sea 1b

Finally finished. I really enjoyed the random nature of this, with days all over the place and some days contributing more ideas and pieces than others. No rules – my favourite way of working.

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It’s finally finished, and as Rachel pointed out, more or less in time for this year’s holiday! Just thought it might be interesting to take a virtual tour through the pages.

Holiday journal tour 1

Holiday journal tour 2

Holiday journal tour 3

Holiday journal tour 4

Holiday journal tour 5

Holiday journal tour 6

Holiday journal tour 7

Holiday journal tour 8

Holiday journal tour 9


Holiday journal tour 10

Holiday journal tour 11

Holiday journal tour 12

Holiday journal tour 13

Holiday journal tour 14

Holiday journal tour 14

Part two coming soon.

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…is nearly complete.

I think I blogged my progress part way through this piece using a long strand of wavy beachcombed rope, but it’s now finished…

Reclaimed by the sea 1a

…and stuck in place inside the back cover.

Reclaimed by the sea 1b

I didn’t like the big gold coloured three holed bead that was previously on the right; it was far too big and bright and angular when everything else was round or wavy, so I cut that off and finished the text with a swirl of french knots.

Reclaimed by the sea 1c


I did plan for this to be the last piece in the journal until I was turning out a drawer and found an odd piece of painted watercolour paper in the front of a long-forgotten sketchbook. Nice and thick to stitch through. I cut some wave shapes, chose some tiny scraps of silk and toning thread and started to play.

Emulous waves 1

Looking at those undulating curves, I couldn’t get the Walt Whitman quote (via Vaughan-Williams’  Sea Symphony) out of my head, so that went on too.

Emulous waves 2

Emulous waves 3

I’m very pleased with my unexpected find! Just one more job to do, but I can’t do that until I can get together everyone who went away with us.

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Driving down a tiny Cornish lane towards our cottage for the first time. Dog tired after 7 hours on the road but fizzing with excitement and anticipation for the week to come. Trees are encircling the lane: crowding overhead but never oppressive. Sections of dark velvety shade alternate with bright patches where sunlight streams through the leaves.

It was enchanting and I felt I had to somehow capture it as the first piece in my journal.

Shade and light 1


I started with watercolour on calico to mark out the road and the patches of light and shade and then used free cross stitch in variegated stranded Stef Francis silk to loosely cover the painted areas and add texture.

Shade and Light 2

After consideration I decided to keep the darker green section in the middle and the road as plain painted fabric to give contrast to the layered and overlapping texture of the stitches.

Shade and Light 3

The stitching was pretty straightforward but the words took longer.

Shade and Light 4

Still doesn’t quite express what I wanted to say. Perhaps I’ll never quite manage to capture in words the way my heart soars when I travel down these lanes but I can still feel an echo of it when I look at this tiny scrap of embroidery.

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As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a great lover of found objects. I love finding them just as much as I love using them and I was determined to source some debris pieces from the beaches we visited (Polzeath, Hawker’s Cove, Tintagel and Constantine Bay) to go into my journal. But of course, they had to fit in with the colour scheme of blues and greens!

Beach debris 1


I gathered a real selection of weathered and broken oddments, bits of fishing tackle and scraps of shredded rope and a selection of very funny looks as I went grubbing around in the tideline.

Beach debris 2

Back home a piece of bubble fabric in rusty gold with a scribbly pattern of green was the perfect background. I layered it on some hand dyed cheesecloth for extra strength and then began to arrange the (cleaned, scrubbed and dried) debris.

Beach debris 3

Overlapping elements, particularly the fragments of frayed rope, helped to hold other pieces in place as I was using no glue and trying to go for minimal visible stitching.

Beach debris 4

It wasn’t blue or green, but I loved the shape of the grey ring pull type thing at the bottom. The green and red rope was already bent so it fitted perfectly around the edge.

Beach debris 5

Shells, already thoughtfully holed by the dog whelk which ate the occupant, were chosen from my existing collection to be stitched on. The scraped and scoured plastic nuggets are beautifully tactile.

Beach debris 6

I’m so pleased with this piece. It came together quickly and easily and the bubble fabric works brilliantly as a background. It’s satisfyingly substantial in the hand, too.

Beach debris 7

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, they say.  🙂

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Early in our holiday we walked the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow and while in Padstow visited the National Lobster Hatchery as my youngest wanted desperately to adopt a lobster. I bought a gorgeous retro-styled tea-towel in the shop which came with a hand stamped tag depicting the two lobsters of the Hatchery logo that I had to incorporate into my journal.

Lobsters hiding in seaweed was my first thought.

I started with a base of light-weight hand dyed calico with splodges of deep green and then added some strips of dark green hand dyed scrim, which was all bunched up and curled up on itself. I stitched the scrim strips loosely to the background with blanket stitch and then cut round the fronds I’d created with a pair of sharp scissors, also adding some fronds of the base fabric to fill in any spaces.

Lobster Hatchery tag 1

I had some of the pale green silk organza ribbon I’d used to edge the cover left, so I cut it into shapes and used it to back some of the fronds by couching a line of green chenille thread down the middle of the whole frond.

Lobster Hatchery tag 2

I pierced holes in the edge of the tag and stitched through them with a simple running stitch in turquoise which I then whipped twice with a slubby thread.

Lobster Hatchery tag 2a

With the tag in place on top. The stamp hadn’t quite printed the whole image so I completed it in pencil and added black ink later.

Lobster Hatchery tag 3

Next, I cut a lobster claw shape from vilene and coloured it with water-soluble oil pastels. Reaching cautiously out from under the seaweed…

Lobster Hatchery tag 4

Stuck in place in the journal.

Lobster Hatchery tag 5

And the full spread.

Lobster Hatchery tag 6

Just need to add some text, possibly using one of the tags I made when I created the journal.

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I’ve mentioned before about how I love the herringbone effect Cornish slate walls. These are in Tintagel, bordering one of the car parks.

Slate wall, Tintagel 1

Great pattern and texture and something I wanted to explore again.

Slate wall, Tintagel 2


The day I took this picture, my husband walked from Boscastle to Tintagel to meet us and also photographed a similar wall on the coastal path, his one thick with leafy blue-grey lichen which gave me the the final image for my next journal piece.

Cornish slate wall 1

I decided to create the texture of the wall by using gesso on calico, dabbed on in three or four layers, building up the depth of the stones.  This was then coloured with watercolours which ran nicely into the cracks and crevices and gave it light and shade.

Cornish slate wall 2

Emboldened by the success of the stone effect, I decided to add a background, painting directly onto the calico with the watercolours.

Cornish slate wall 3

Variegated green thread in random straight stitches for the vegetation at the base of the wall…

Cornish slate wall 4

And short strands of blue-grey slubby thread, un-plyed (if you get what I mean) and couched down in little bows to mimic the lichen. It was interesting, stitching through the gesso-slathered calico!

Cornish slate wall 5


Stuck into place in the journal.

Cornish slate wall 6

This was so far out of what I normally do with the mixed media of gesso, paint and stitch, but I really love it – it all just worked exactly as I’d envisioned it.

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Some of the slate fragments I picked up on the various beaches we visited in North Cornwall had split into sheets as thin as card. Sheets thin enough to easily drill; I hoped. On returning home I pressed my trusty bow drill into action and was impressed with how easily it put holes through the slate. (Not sure what it’s done for the sharpness of the drill bit, mind you…)

Stitched slate on sand 1

I chose scraps of hand dyed sandy brown and green fabric with a coarse weave and used a stranded silk to stitch the slate with simple straight stitches through the pre-drilled holes onto the layered fabric bits beneath.

Stitched slate on sand 2

I wanted this piece to be all about the texture so I added a seeding mixture of french knots and straight seed stitches to the scraps of sandy coloured fabric in the same stranded thread.

Stitched slate on sand 3

Then stuck it into my journal…

Stitched slate on sand 4

…before turning my attention to another piece I’d drilled.

This time I used one of the drilling templates I’d made during my jewellery course for feather stitching through brass. The holes are 1mm across.

feather stitched slate 1


I used variegated silk thread for the feather stitching onto a scrap of turquoise habotai silk backed with calico. A hand dyed cotton shading from greens through browns and purples to turquoise couched down the fantastic slubby thread I’d unearthed whose shades echoed the colours of my journal so well.

feather stitched slate 2

Then I cut the backing fabric to follow the lines of the couched thread before it too went into the journal.

feather stitched slate 3

I love the ease with which these came together. Slate as shishas is another possibility.

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Below the headland of Tintagel is a little beach, edged by water tinted a deep turquoise blue from the copper in the rocks, with the depths of  Merlin’s Cave beckoning to the adventurous.
Tintagel beach 1

The previous times we’ve visited I’ve not been able to get onto the beach, either because of the tide or time constraints but this time we scrambled down onto the dark sands and while the others went rock pooling or exploring the cave, my eyes were immediately drawn to the sand.

Tintagel beach 2

I found it quite a difficult beach to find sea glass on as one of the things I look for is the way the light comes off the white/pale sea glass and as much of the stone on this beach is slate, it actually reflects light in a similar way. Several times I found myself spotting what I thought was glass but was actually a piece of slate and in the end my small (about 15 pieces) haul of sea glass was almost all green pieces which were much easier to spot.

Most were pretty small so to go in my journal I made a miniature version of my usual sea glass pieces.

Tintagel sea glass 1

Meandering feather stitch on crystal organza over calico for stability. I used a lovely variegated cotton thread with a fabulous range of tones. With the small size of the glass nuggets, beading would have swamped them so I used the same thread to stitch simple patterns over them.

Tintagel sea glass 2

I like the way the thread wrapping looks – definitely something to use on the smaller pieces of glass on my sea glass canvases.

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