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Posts Tagged ‘seed beads’

I’ve been continuing the autumn colours with some ribbon embroidery sunflowers. I love the textured deep brown centres you get from clusters of French knots. All was going pretty well until I realised I only had enough golden yellow ribbon to stitch one sunflower – possibly two if I really used every centimetre. You can see on the bottom one that I ended up using ribbon where the edges were really a bit too worn just to complete the flower.

This was then followed by the very unfamiliar feeling of going online to buy some more ribbon. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t able to find what I wanted (or something close enough) in my somewhat extensive stash but yellow silk ribbon is something that for some reason I simply don’t have. (Any other colour, yes, but strangely not yellow.)

Unable to complete the last flower until I had the ribbon, I made a start on the next part of the design, a meandering line of Hungarian Braided Chain stitch. It’s a fabulous stitch but this is the first time I’ve worked it in anything stranded – in this case four slender strands of a very slippery pure silk so in places it was somewhat less than perfect!

The ribbon arrived a couple of days later so I was able to add the last sunflower. It’s less golden yellow than the others but I like the variation in colours and the ribbon stitch works well for the petals. No two stitches are the same, which is perfect for the slightly shaggy effect I wanted.

Satin stitch leaves over split stitch outlines.

I’m very pleased with the result, and am hoping to incorporate it into some upcycled jewellery, although the next time I do a meandering line it would probably be best to draw it out carefully first, instead of doing it by eye…

I’ve also managed to get a bit further with my beaded jellyfish. Last seen, it looked like this:

I’ve finished setting the spangles on the front and worked the first round of the opening.

It’s hidden the wobbly couched edge rather nicely which was an unexpected bonus and reminded me how much I’ve enjoyed stitching it so far, so perhaps I can make the time to push on with it now.

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I’ve been wanting to create some more watch case pendants for a while and last week I finally got round to hunting out the box they live in. I was also determined to do one at a time that I could actually finish, rather than planning all of them at once and overfacing myself.

I had a lovely little rounded piece of driftwood that I wanted to use for this one and teamed it with a pretty gold flecked batik cotton.

Seaweed first, in good old feather stitch and some overcasting with added cast on stitch picots to help hold the driftwood in place.

Then some maidenhair stitch and beading. Maidenhair stitch is a feather stitch variant where you stitch three loops gradually increasing in size on the same side before stitching three on the other side, rather than alternating as in ordinary feather stitch. It’s a new stitch to me and I really like the effect it gives, especially when you curve it like a plant stem.

Some more feather stitch and Palestrina stitch to give a different texture.

After one more swirl of Palestrina knots with a touch of purple, time to add the sea glass. The sea glass nuggets are held in place with a dab of superglue just to make sure they don’t go anywhere before I work the holding stitches over them.

Lastly I gathered the design over a piece of pelmet vilene before setting it into the watch case.

It just needs a silver plated chain attached (somehow…) and it’s a finish.

My not so little, little one turned 16 at the weekend and as I was completely out of inspiration for an original card, I used a pattern from the internet to cross stitch one of her favourite characters from Star Wars:

I was reminded how long it takes to cross stitch even a relatively small and simple design (best part of four hours for this one and I don’t think I was stitching particularly slowly) but it was worth it – she loved him.

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I’ve had the idea of turning an old pocket watch case into a pendant for a while now, but it wasn’t until yesterday, when after a challenging morning helping my 11 yr old to muck out her bedroom, I felt in need of something simple and soothing to stitch. The watch case itself was ready to go, I just needed to find the fabric…

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…then track down the Dinky Dyes variegated silk I knew I had that would go with it, select three tiny nuggets from my sea glass collection…

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…and I was good to go. Seed beads first.

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And then the embroidery – feather stitch using one strand of the silk and scattered trios of french knots.

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To finish I layered a piece of wadding over a circle of card and snipping the edge of the fabric, I wrapped each tab round the card and lightly glued them to the back before setting the whole thing in the watch case.

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It’s been a long time in development, but I’m absolutely delighted with the result.

If you’re interested, you can find it here.

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Back in May we had a goldwork initial workshop with Brenda Scarman and I started to work a letter ‘O’ for a birthday card for my mother. As it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago I can finally reveal something I’ve finished!

At the end of the workshop I had got this far:

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I simplified the scrolls in the middle due to the thickness of the double couching thread and added more chips of silver purl, silver seed beads, turquoise bugle beads and french knots to the border.

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Not happy with the squashed spiral on the lower left, so I restitched that.

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Carried on beading and french knotting…

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…until it was finally finished.

And then I decided I preferred it up the other way!

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Simply framed with grey card to become a special birthday card. And a finish!!

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I’ve also upcycled an odd clip on earring front to make a beaded brooch

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…and turned some of my huge collection of sea glass and china into rings.

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Loads more projects still to get stuck into though!

 

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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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Both of our last two Embroiderers’ Guild meetings have been workshops and lovely ones at that. In April we had a talk by Brenda Scarman which was followed by her ‘Elizabethan embroidery’ workshop to make scissor cases with Tudor style embroidery.

The main rose motif was stitched in detached buttonhole stitch, which I have used in the past and really enjoy, so I was able to actually finish all the petals of my rose in the session.

Scissor case 1

It’s stitched in two strands of a lovely hand-dyed mercerised cotton, which felt quite unusually thick, but had great coverage.

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The petals are outlined in chain stitch rather than the back stitch I’ve always used, which gives a much better finish as you have one side of the chain to stitch into and the other side gives a lovely even edging.

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The tendrils are chain stitch in an ordinary stranded cotton. And I really must get it finished!

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Then on Saturday we had a fantastic beading workshop by Gwen, one of our members, on how to make a St Petersburg chain for a bracelet. Gwen’s instructions were so good that I came in a little late, sat down and was able to work straight away from the sheets she had prepared.

It’s a lovely pattern to bead and so easy to drop into the rhythm and I was delighted to finish my bracelet in the session.

St Petersburg chain bracelet 1

I have a weakness for iridescent beads and although the beads weren’t very evenly sized, these moonlight and evening sky coloured seed beads work so well together.

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I even had time to start another chain with some much smaller delicas just to see what difference it made, if any, to use a better quality bead.

St Petersburg chain delicas

Not enough yet to tell, but I enjoyed it so much I’m already trying to work out how I can incorporate pieces of reticulated metal!

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Now I’ve started to get the hang of reticulation, it’s actually quite hard to get the holes I was intially looking for, so when I produced this (mostly unholed)piece, I decided to cut shapes out and find ways of working them into jewellery.

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My first idea was to cut circles and use them a bit like shishas, but the strong fan shape at the top was too tempting to resist, so I cut that out too.

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A bit like half a leaf.

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During the long drive home, I started to play with ideas involving using the metal as one side of the leaf and having the other side embroidered. To give a solid textured finish, I went for one of my favourite embroidery stitches, detached buttonhole stitch in hand dyed mercerised cotton on dark green silk dupion.

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With the barrelled and polished brass section.

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And with the stitching completed.

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Long bullion knots had worked very well on the Volcano pendant for holding the metal in place. Here I thought they would look like stylised veins on the leaf.

The green thread worked well and was very forgiving over such a long distance and then I had a brainwave of going for a mirror image effect by using gold thread over the detached buttonhole stitch.

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Using the gold thread was pretty nerve-wracking as it was stiffer and a lot trickier to pull through layers of fabric and thread while keeping the wraps even. It also made a horrible noise as it came through as if it was stripping the metal off the core, but in spite of that it also behaved remarkably well.

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And laid down much more neatly than I expected. Seen this close up there seems to be an awful lot of the yellow silk core showing but it looks a lot more sparkly and evenly covered in real life.

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At this point I was really pleased with the effect and moved on to cutting out a matching leaf shape from some Vilene and covering it with the metal and embroidery.

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The same silk as the background was used to cover another piece for the back.

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But I didn’t like it. Without the green silk surrounding it, the leaf looked and felt chunky and blocky. It definitely needed some sort of border or edging to set off the central embroidery. I didn’t want to have to undo it all and add in extra fabric, so I went for a simple line of seaweed green seed beads around the edge and worked a border of light green beads accented with metallic dark copper into that.

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It was exactly the finishing touch it needed, offsetting the heavy embroidery of the centre and lightening the whole thing.

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Not quite finished though. It’s actually only 4.5cm/just under 2 inches long. Is that too small for a pendant? Would it be better as a brooch?

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This is how the block stood the last time I blogged about it, with long loopy stitches and a big mistake in the middle…

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And once you spot an error, then it becomes the first thing your eye is drawn to every time you pick the piece up. So the stitching had to come out, but that made it the ideal opportunity to add the seed beads I’d been thinking about.

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I threaded them randomly onto each stitch and let them fall into a natural pattern both along the stitch and with the beads on the adjoining stitches.

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Then I went back with the same thread and caught the long zig-zag stitches down onto the fabric with tiny single-thread-wide stitches at each end of the bead clusters, both keeping the beads in place and stabilising the long stitches.

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You can just about see the little stitches, but for the most part the bulk of the beads hides them quite successfully.

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I used some of my absolute favourite aurora borealis matte delicas bought from ebay several years ago. The brownish ones (called ‘Nuts’!) worked so well I’ve decided to use them in the next block too.

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