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Posts Tagged ‘running stitch’

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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The follow on course from the kantha and boro was boro and sashiko and as well as showing various pieces I’ve stitched over the years, I created a new sample piece for this, illustrating how a piece of boro could start to become sashiko.

First, arranging scraps of kimono fabric and indigo dyed cottons onto a cotton base layer. before tacking them down. The partly stitched piece in the middle is a scrap of unfinished sashiko from a very long time ago (2011 to be exact…).

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Simple running stitch becomes a rectangular spiral.

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The partial sashiko becomes rice stitch and I try my hand at keeping free hand cross stitch regular.

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Putting fabric marks in helped with the cross stitch, but I ended up aligning each row of stitches to the previous row and that worked better.

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The even rows became boxes.

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And a tiny scrap needed some bamboo leaves.

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It’s still not quite finished, but it was a pleasure to sew in that rhythmic, mindful way and I do prefer this type of boro/sashiko to stitching the beautiful but almost ‘paint-by’numbers’ of the intricate sashiko designs you get in kits.

And incidentally, our Fabric Fair was a huge success. Considering this was a relatively niche market in small town North Lincolnshire on a Sunday morning, we had a great turn out with locals and people coming from much further afield. There were some great traders with a wide selection of items and it was really positive to see so many people with a love of textiles gathered together.

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The fish is my name badge for Embroiderers’ Guild and another quick finish. Well, quick is a relative term. Technically it was as long in the making as last post’s hedgerow pinwheel given that I’ve been a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild for ten years now and it’s taken me that long to finally getting round to stitching my name badge…

The fish was printed at a Sea themed workshop led by one of our talented members, Mary, in March 2018 and I actually did the vast majority of the stitching and beading in the workshop.

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I finished split stitching my name and laced the fabric over two circles of pelmet vilene…

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…but so close to the finish, it stalled and languished in my projects bag until Easter, when I finally found the time to finish it with a beaded ruff and a brooch pin.

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I’ve just started working as a casual tutor for North Lincolnshire Adult Learning and taught my first full day workshop on kantha and boro stitching last month. The elephant was my sample kantha piece for the afternoon activity.

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He’s cut from a scrap of Indian printed silk scarf and blanket stitched onto a piece of painted/dyed cotton that I acquired from somewhere. The background is then covered in running stitch using some softly variegated green and purple perle thread.

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I love the way the kantha tones down and smooths out the colours of the fabric behind and it is so incredible tactile.

I also stitched a little modern kantha sample using some circles of Harris tweed in vibrant oranges and golds on a piece of heavy weight cotton.

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Not my usual colour palette at all but it was interesting to move away from my blues and greens and also to stitch with Harris tweed, which is a new one for me.

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That’s just my Kamal Kadai work! I did wonder a few weeks ago what would happen if I used a very tight tension on the needle weaving bit of the Kamal Kadai work and since I had a partly worked piece from the workshop, I decided to find out. This is what it looks like when you ensure the weaving isn’t pulled tight:

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And this is how it turns out when you pull each row up tightly:

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French knot middle in rayon thread. It’s the perfect colour, but behaved appallingly. I really hate rayon thread!

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I’ve also started a piece incorporating found objects – plastic rings of varying materials and ages – and fragments of fabric on a hand dyed indigo background.

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Exploring different ways of attaching the rings.

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It’s exercising my ingenuity and very gently pushing at the edges of my colour comfort zone. I still couldn’t bring myself to use a riot of every colour in the scrap bag but it isn’t just blues and aquas!

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I’ve just started teaching a monthly embroidery class at Jaylaurs, a fabulous fabric and sewing shop in the nearby small market town of Brigg. I worked with three lovely ladies at the end of last month, all of whom enjoyed experimenting with some new stitches and I hope that they and some others will come along to the next one on the 30th of November. I created some more Stitch Play samples using more basic stitches, mainly based round running stitch, chain stitch and split stitch…

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…but it was the more complex stitches like knotted buttonhole stitch, Pekingese Stitch and feather stitch that they wanted to try out!

Jayne, who runs Jaylaurs, asked me to create some purse flyers to give to people who expressed an interest in the classes and while looking for some suitable images and ideas I found some work I had done as examples of lessons I taught to Y5s and 6s a few years ago based on couching and whipped and threaded variants of running stitch.

They had been doing some batik and I wanted to get them to embellish some of their test pieces. This one is my sample piece with simple leaf shapes.

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I had just bought a load of fancy threads for textile work and threaded and whipped running stitches were great ways of using threads that were far too thick and slubby to be used to stitch with themselves. The chenille thread on the left works particularly well.

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The other sample was again to use the fancy threads, but this time couching them down in various patterns.

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The thread with the fluffy ‘flags’ was very fine, so I remember couching it down backwards and forwards along the line to build up a thicker layer and seeing where the ‘flags’ fell as I worked along the thread. I hadn’t planned it, but they seemed to always end up together in clumps!

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And then I found this: an early bit of found object work, using various bits and pieces that I had picked up around school. It includes an odd stud earring (flanked by two short screws) that was never claimed after PE and finally found its way into the school piano and a broken trouser fastener (centre) kindly donated for use in the piece by the lad in my class at the time. His trousers had suffered a catastrophic fail as a result of an overenthusiastic tackle in football at break and he spent the rest of the day in his PE shorts. The fastener was recovered from the playground following the incident.

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A bit of fun and some good memories of some of the amazing children I have taught over the years.

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I was very taken with an article in Stitch magazine some years ago (still available online as a downloadable PDF, I’ve just discovered, with a little light googling) about making something called a bushkiri bag from a folded embroidered square of felt. After doodling a design, I stitched one with cotton perle threads on felt.

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It was a nice little project for children and I taught it a few times at school. When I cleared out my sewing things I found I had a few partly worked pieces left, so thought they would be fun and straightforward to stitch while we were on holiday over half term.

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This one had the central woven spider’s web, an off centre line of running stitch and  some of the radiating wiggly pink lines already stitched, so I just evened those elements up, added some chain stitch, lazy daisy stitch and blanket stitch fans in the corners…

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…and blanket stitched a piece of grey poly cotton to the back for a lining.

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The pink one just had a diagonal line of large wobbly running stitches, so I took that out and made it neater before finishing it as whipped running stitch in the cafe at Honister slate mine.

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I also managed plenty of plein air stitching at Stagshaw Garden, with a blaze of azaleas behind me…

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…and a gorgeous view of Windermere in front.

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Despite the midges, I stitched happily on…

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…adding alternate rows of chain and whipped running stitch.

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This one just needs a lining and then I can start on the lighter blue one. It already has a square drawn in the middle so I think I’ll probably go with that and develop it into a pattern of overlapping squares.

Some nice, steady holiday stitching.

 

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Our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild is having an exhibition at the end of June and a week last Saturday was the deadline for handing in completed pieces of work from the last couple of years to the organisers. We had very helpfully been given a list of all the meetings and workshops to jog our memories so I went down the list, annotating each one as to whether I hadn’t been at the meeting, hadn’t finished it or if it was finished, where it was. There seemed to be two main outcomes – didn’t finish, or made into a card and sent to somebody! The only finished pieces I could lay my hands on for the last two years were my faux driftwood piece…

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…the Chris Gray amulet…

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…and the Brazilian embroidery rose I’d made up into a card but not sent because I couldn’t bear to part with it!

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So it ended up a busy week, so busy that I forgot to photograph both the nuno felting which I turned from this:

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…into a simple seascape and a piece of the paper stitching we did with Alice Fox recently which I mounted as a card.

The kantha fish…

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…was the first to be finished by stitching him onto a piece of indigo dyed fabric with rows of running stitch that merged into the kantha and then mounting over a 7 x 5 inch canvas.

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I also finished a selection of little stitched fragments for my Alice Fox book.

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But the really big finish was my English paper piecing. I get bored easily with the piecing process and when we did the workshop, I chose small equilateral triangles – probably not the best shape in the circumstances! At the end of the day I had a pile of triangles in shades of browns and indigo and absolutely no idea what to do with them.

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Seeing the workshop on the list I wondered if it was even possible to finish the project, but I had what promised to be a lengthy committee meeting that week and repeatedly stitching together triangles looked like the perfect way of passing the time. It was: by the end of the meeting I had all the finished triangles stitched together and an idea very firmly in my head.

Without using half triangles the shapes you can make with equilateral triangles are rather limited, so I created a diamond which I planned to stitch onto this gorgeous piece of hand dyed indigo with some quilt wadding in between and a plain piece of indigo dyed cotton for the backing.

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My trusty Frister and Rossmann coped easily with quilting through all the various layers along the lines of the triangles.

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Then I joined a number of strips of woodland themed fabric in three different brown colourways to get enough and had a go at a tutorial I found online (where else?!) for adding a binding with mitred corners as you go. It worked!!

 

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I tidied the ends up, wrote (no time to embroider) a label…

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…added a hanging sleeve and couched some glittery thread around the edge of the diamond to hide the line where I had machined it down. In hindsight and with more time I would have appliqued it invisibly to the top.

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From a handful of triangles…

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…to a mini quilt…

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…in about three days. I still can’t believe it!

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