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Posts Tagged ‘sashiko’

I worked a bit more on Shy Bird at Stitch Club last Saturday at the beginning of a fantastic two days of embroidery which I’ll blog about a bit later, and his wing is now completed.

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Now that he’s firmly fixed as part of the family, he came out with us to lunch yesterday at Mount Pleasant Windmill, Kirton Lindsey. The girls and I had worked extremely hard all morning and I decided we deserved a treat. As all the sandwiches are handmade to order, it’s not the place to go if you’re in a hurry, but we love it and were happy to just sit and enjoy a rest and chat while I worked on Shy Bird.

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In order to fit around the curves of his eyes, I started following the outline of his head in split stitch, using the same crewel wool that I used for his tail and wing.

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When we got home, another hour stitching in the garden until I got rained off got me this far:

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You may remember that he was originally going to be a travelling book piece and that I had to come up with something new at short notice. I decided to go for a piece of work based on a Sashiko exhibition I saw in York back in 2009. I transcribed my sketchbook notes and sketches…

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…gathered some pieces of fabric in shades of green and machined them onto a piece of water soluble fabric. The first layer:

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And then I completely forgot to photograph the second layer, which incorporates the interlocking v-shapes or the finished piece when I’d washed the stabiliser away, or the final spread. I shall just have to wait until the books return in September and try and get a photo then!

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I’ve finished a couple of samples for my sketch book. First, the slightly sashiko inspired stitching on the screen printing I did here. It was a piece cut from my last print of the day and unwashed, like the other bits.

Slightly sashiko 1

Inspired by a ukiyo-e print of people with umbrellas scuttling through the rain, I stitched the dark areas with long running stitches in natural undyed silk and then following the waves imagery I added french knots to the edges of the curling shapes.

Slightly sashiko 2

Slightly sashiko 3

Then I had a page of notes about ruching fabric but no samples as I’d used the one I made as part of my rusting quilt, so a piece of hand dyed purple muslin and a square of gold silk dupion later…

Purple ruching 1

I do like this effect. Scrunching up a much bigger piece of fabric into gentle folds in a smaller space and then nestling french knots clusters into the valleys and crevices.

Purple ruching 2

The soft texture of the muslin works perfectly for this type of work.

Purple ruching 3

Just a sketchbook sample with scraps, but I had fun with it.

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Last weekend at our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, we had a whole day screen-printing workshop with Dionne Swift, working on images with the theme of ‘Waterways’. I chose a ten year old photograph of one of my favourite places,  Snape Maltings in Suffolk, to work from.

Apologies for a photo of a photo, taken in failing light and light drizzle but it does give some idea of the silvery blue East Coast light that I love, with the reed beds of the River Alde in the foreground and the Maltings, turned into a world renowned concert hall by the composer Benjamin Britten, behind.

Snape Maltings

Dionne’s method involved painting the Procion dyes directly onto the screen, letting it dry and then using Manutex (a seaweed based gel medium) squeegeed across the screen to transfer the print to calico. There was enough oomph in the dyes to give one dark and one fainter impression.

Snape screen print 1

It’s not a bad simple representation of the Maltings but I just can’t get my head around the bright tropical colours. Even the paler impression looks garish against the subtle tones of the source photo.

Snape screen print 2

It was fun to try something new, but not everything suits everyone and this definitely isn’t for me. I had more fun with the second masking method we tried in the afternoon. For this we cut or tore paper to make masks which we laid between the calico and the screen. Then I used a mix of Manutex and procion dyes to create a print with the paper mask.

I’d been doing some art at school based on Japanese ukiyo-e prints, particularly those showing water in various forms and this wave picture by Hokusai was my inspiration…

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…for this:

Hokusai inspired screen print 1

I was so delighted with the result of the first pull I went for a second but one of the spiral pieces (top right) moved.

Hokusai inspired screen print 2

Then I just went delving in my bag and printed on other bits of cotton I had! This one I washed out when I got home to take out the stiffness from the Manutex. The dye has faded to a wonderful indigo.

Hokusai inspired screen print 3

And finally the very last of the ink on the piece of cheesecloth I was using to mop up with. I cut part of the design out to do some experimental stitching and you can see the difference in the washed and unwashed fabric.

Hokusai inspired screen print 4

With the whole Japanese inspiration and the indigo colour of the ink, I couldn’t resist some sashiko inspired stitching on a section of the print in a cream silk thread.

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And french knots for the foam.

Hokusai inspired screen print 6

Closer to the comfort zone. A good day, all in all, and Dionne was an excellent tutor. Looking forward to our next day to play.

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Our February Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was an in-house workshop on sashiko. It’s been a while since I did any sashiko stitching, I was looking forward to it and I wasn’t disappointed. There was plenty of support in the form of loads of sashiko patterns and templates to copy/adapt and crib sheets showing how to stitch the designs corectly.

We started with a 4.5″ square and then had free rein on the design to use in the middle. I wanted a design I hadn’t stitched before but as I hadn’t brought a ruler or compass with me, I needed something I could draw or construct freehand. This fan shape was one element of a larger pattern based on diamonds but I could see it sitting  nicely inside my square.

Sashiko fan 1

It was easy to draw out and the straightforward lines also meant that I actually finished in the time allowed!

Sashiko fan 2

I was pleased not only with the design but that I also managed to use some indigo dyed fabric of my own without having to buy any more, which was an added bonus! Many thanks to our chair, Penny, for organising it.

I’ve also been knitting, both for myself, using up some lovely hand dyed wool I bought ages ago and teaching my youngest. She’s doing really well although the stitches are so tight on the needles that they squeak! So as a result I haven’t done much more than start the next block for the rusting fragments quilt. This one is eyelets and french knots.

Rusting - eyelets and french knots

A mix of hand dyed variegated cotton from Caron and Stef Francis single strand silk. Just doodling around the rusty patches.

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Monday’s response to our ride along the Camel Trail was very close to being finished as well; so a few stitches later this…

…became this.

The top stitching on the ‘river’ is quite random…

…but the pattern of the leaves has turned out rather more in the style of sashiko stitching.

And this handsome beauty turned up in the garden today just when I had the camera in my hand.

He/she is a Peacock butterfly and was resting before going on to enjoy the flowers of our huge buddleia.

What a stunner!

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Now the Christmas crazy patchwork is away, I’ve been able to finish a couple of small projects.

The first was the embroidered rock. Last seen looking like this:

I cut off the excess fabric, gathered it round the edge with running stitch and fitted it over the pebble which had been bound with the offcuts of calico to make it a better size.

You can see the calico underside better in this photo. It’s laced across the bottom to give a snug fit.

The flat embroidery has adapted to the curved surface of the pebble even  better than I hoped.

I used a lovely smoky grey piece of commercial knitted fabric rather than felt for the underside as it was soft and flexible, making it better suited to following the curves of the pebble.

The grey fabric was also gathered with a running stitch but the raw edge was folded inside, leaving the folded edge to be ladder stitched to the calico, just under the line of the embroidery.

I’m very pleased with the finishing. The knitted fabric was very forgiving and happy to be eased into nooks and crannies and the embroidery just fell neatly over the top.

It’s about 4″ long and 2.5″ wide and sits perfectly in the palm of my hand.

The second was a small project rather than finishing an existing one; a card for my husband’s birthday and it proves that the sashiko bug is not yet out of my system.

This time, rather than working a kit, I chose a scrap of indigo dyed cotton and used a shippo variation pattern from Susan Briscoe’s book ‘Japanese Sashiko Inspirations’. I drew it out on paper first to make sure I understood the construction and then used a fabric marker to transfer the design to the fabric.

I stitched the design in some of the variegated sashiko thread I bought at Harrogate in November.

Then I used another piece of indigo dyed cloth to back and frame the piece.

It’s just been mounted onto a piece of card and hidden away until Saturday.

The decks are cleared now for me to finish something that has been hanging around since the summer of 2004. More details to follow!

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Sashiko bag

I bought a couple of Japanese sashiko kits on ebay a while ago and fired with enthusiasm after the sample turned out so well, I decided to stitch one of them – a simple shoulder bag – for a Christmas gift.

Stitching in the corner of an already sewn up bag is…interesting!

I love the contrast of the regular block pattern with the flowing lines of the plum blossom.

Finished.

Just in time for the last posting to the States.

I’m all sashiko-ed out for the moment. Christmas crazy patchwork next, I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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