Posts Tagged ‘SEATA’

It was our monthly SEATA (Scunthorpe Embroidery and Textile Association) meeting on Saturday and we had an all day workshop with Eve Marshall on wet felting, specifically creating flower/garden pictures. Unusually, we all worked through the stages of the process together, rather than having a demonstration and then going off to work at our own rate and it worked extremely well. There were only 16 of us and the (huge) room was warm, bright and almost silent, as we got our heads down and cracked on, which made it extremely calming and mindful experience.

First we made two prefelts, one in shades of pink and the other blues and purples. I forgot to photograph the purple one (I used all of it in my piece), but this is the pink which is so much nicer in real life. It has a much wider and more subtle variety of colours and the light coloured diamond in the middle is a piece of silk hankie, which has a wonderful shimmer.

Then we were given a large piece of green prefelt for our background and some scraps of coloured prefelt to add to the pieces we’d just made before setting about creating our flower piece. I went for alliums. I’ve always loved alliums and some of my earliest work on this blog (go to the side bar and scroll back to May and June 2011) is based on them. After a lot of snipping, I had this laid out on my prefelt.

I did remove the white strips later and then wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, but they were very thin and I was concerned that if they moved during the felting process they would spoil the design. Then I added some more distant flowers, covering some lilac prefelt circles with a handful of the tiny offcuts from my petals with some fleece over the top.

After lunch we had to carefully take all our bits off, which for me was a nightmare, so we could build up the background layers. I used more clumps of my petal offcuts to make some alliums in the further distance.

Ready for the prefelt flowers.

I did my best to replace the central allium as I had had it originally, but I ended up with a whole floret’s worth of six petals left, which I had to fill in somewhere. We also had a little pack of odds and ends of silk and other fibres to add extra texture and colour.

Eve had recommended that we put some fleece over the prefelt areas to encourage it to ‘stick’ together and as I had so many tiny pieces I was concerned about getting the right balance between holding them in place and obscuring the design. Luckily Eve saw what I’d done just before we were due to start the main felting process and dived in to remove that lilac cloud.

Instead, she showed me how to use the tiniest of swirls.

I was so pleased with my design that I really didn’t want to start felting! Soapy water next and given the amount of wet about, this is my last process image.

And the finished piece. I’m mostly pleased. Some of the distance alliums aren’t really visible and the stems have vanished, but I was always intending to stitch into it anyway and hopefully a little judicious embroidery will just redefine some of the fuzzy areas.

It’s also huge for me – at least 30cm square – and I’m thinking that if the embroidery works, I might actually frame it.

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Into lino printing! At SEATA (Scunthorpe Embroidery and Textile Association) today, we enjoyed a half day workshop from Hannah Turlington looking at lino printing on fabric. I was pretty sure I had a set of lino cutting tools somewhere and the evening before the workshop I actually managed to lay my hands on them and a bonus in the form of some oddments of traditional hessian-backed lino.

I’ve only ever done lino prints once before and that was in 3rd year (Y9 in new money) Art at High School, so I was curious to see what I could do with the tools before I got as far as the workshop. I had some small offcuts so I decided to do a bit of doodling on one of them, just playing with curving lines. I dimly remembered it being quite hard to do, but either the tools were very sharp or I’ve got a lot more strength in my hands than I had at 13, as I was surprised and pleased to find that it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I also found it strangely calming, almost mindful – I love the way the blade feels in my hand as it glides through the lino and the bits curl away from the line I’m carving. I was quite sorry when I had to stop because there was literally nothing more I could cut away! I do like the little wavy abstract block I created.

I have a bit of a thing for medieval tiles, particularly the ones that have a partial design that you can tesselate to make larger patterns, so I was keen to do something along those lines in the workshop. I used a medieval design from a book as the basis of my design and made sure I measured carefully and used straight lines and templates as much as I could to try and make sure everything would line up. Nothing like going in at the deep end! Hannah provided us with some modern soft cut lino for our blocks, which was very much easier to carve than the traditional stuff.

I was quite concerned that I might not have left enough of the fine lines on my design and so it was with trepidation that I did a test print on an oddment of fabric that Hannah had provided. The line widths were fine, but I was disappointed that my circle was well out of true.

Since I already had the printing stuff out, I decided to make a trial print of the block I’d carved the previous night and was delighted to find that it printed beautifully.

This cheered me up enough to return to the medieval tile pattern and try and print a set of four more accurately to see if I could get the circle to line up any better, which I did to an extent as the circle is not even on both sides. This is printed on a piece of silk taffeta, which is crisp and gives a lovely finish to the print.

Then I wondered what would happen if I rotated the block and put the quatrefoils centre stage. I much prefer this one because as I was able to measure the straight lines, they all match much better than the quarter circles which were done a bit best guess as I didn’t have a compass.

Lastly we were given canvas tote bags to decorate. I wasn’t confident to print with the medieval tile block by eye, and I didn’t have time to measure up the bag to make sure they would be straight, so I decided to go back to my wavy abstract block and print it as a top and bottom border. I had to cheat the pattern in a few places to make sure it fitted, but I really like it.

Definitely something I would like to do more of. Not just as a basis for stitching, but because I really enjoyed the process. However, first I really do need to work out how to get those extra eight hours squeezed into a day…

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Firstly, the Brantwood House Victorian wallpaper motif I’ve been stitching since last July is finished! I had a real push on it this week and was delighted to set the last stitch on Thursday.

We also have had some sunshine, which really brought out the effect of the padded satin stitch.

So the finishing touch for the wallpaper motif is to lace it over a piece of firm plastic and mount it into the altered book that I’m using for this particular Holiday Journal. I’m not sad to see it finished, but I will be a bit lost for something to stitch when I’m out and about.

The other finishing touches are courtesy of February’s meeting at Scunthorpe Embroidery and Textile Association (SEATA). We had borrowed some folios of embroidery examples of edgings, tassels, insertion stitches, stitched buttons etc. from the Embroiderers’ Guild to inspire us and I was so inspired I completely forgot to take any photos of the beautiful work on show.

I started by making a cord with a lucet. I’d never used one before and it took a bit of getting started but once I was underway, I fell into the rhythm of it quite easily. It’s very much like a tight version of French knitting, but on two prongs instead of four nails, so there is no hollow middle and it cones out square/diamond in cross section rather than round.

Unfortunately instead of starting with something simple like just wool, I decided to use up some sparkly thread, so the results are not really fit to be seen, but I enjoyed it enough that I’m now mooching at lucets online.

I’m quite intrigued by insertion stitches, but after the morning making a lucet braid I wanted to stitch something more straightforward after lunch, so I folded some oddments of fabric and experimented with some blanket/buttonhole stitch edging variations.

They are tiny as usual – each sample is about 2 inches long – but long enough to see how the pattern works up and to give some ideas for the future…

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On Saturday I taught my first workshop to our new Independent Stitch Group: Scunthorpe Embroidery and Textile Association or SEATA, formerly known as the Scunthorpe Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild. I had decided to teach my Scrappy Nine Patch Rings workshop (in the Workshops tab under Found Objects) based on this piece I stitched back in early 2019. The idea is to use up those tiny precious scraps which you can’t bear to throw away by layering them in strips and as frames/backgrounds to help showcase the different ways to attach the plastic/brass rings.

As well as the nine patch, which I finished as a mini quilt, I also spent most of last week making some individual samples to demonstrate some more ways of attaching the rings to the backgrounds. A scrap of dyed aida was the inspiration for this one and I created a blackwork style pattern for it which served to stitch down the ring in a rather attractive pattern that I hadn’t anticipated.

I was determined to use a grass printed offcut from the Dames’ cow dress for the next one and I had just the vintage trim to go with it. This ribbon trim dates from the 1970s when my mother allowed me half a yard of ribbon or lace if I was good on the occasional shopping trip instead of sweets. My childhood self would much rather have had sweets, but my adult self has made good use of the trims! It was pretty rather than practical, as when you cut it, the flowers all unravel, which is why so much of it still survives.

I added lazy daisy stitches and French knots in green to the trim to help attach it as well as lazy daisy daisies and kantha around the machine embroidered butterfly and hand dyed purple flannel. It’s backed on a piece of stormy lilac colour catcher

This one was purely about the combination of fabrics and I also wanted to try out the possibility of using bullion knots to hold down the ring. The answer to that is yes, the bullions work, but there is some trial and error involved in getting them the right length, so some of mine (bottom right) are a bit slack. And also because I used such a fine cotton, you have to look very closely to see that they actually are bullions and not just a thick corded thread, which rather defeats the aim of using them!

I played about with back stitch and herringbone to enhance the machine embroidered silk scrap and added metallic feather stitch to the crinkled hand dyed organza scrap.

The final sample was started so I had something to work on in the session, although I didn’t actually get to set needle to fabric until well into the afternoon. The printed central piece is another offcut of the medieval tiles print to stitch piece form February 2019 – I really am getting the most out of every scrap of that fabric – and I outlined it in back stitch before blanket stitching the ring on top. Seeding next.

Lastly, the final update on February’s Move It On Project, my Chihuly chandelier. Unfortunately because of the workshop preparation I wasn’t able to add any more stitching to it this week, but again, the aim of the project has succeeded. I wanted to see if I could make the design work and end up anything like the real thing and the answer to that is yes, using back stitched spiders webs and crocheted circles. I’ve not finished it, but I know what I need to do to complete it in the future. Now to decide what I’m going to choose for March’s entry into the Move It On Project.

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