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I’ve changed my mind about these ‘shishas’,  cut from reticulated brass, several times.

Reticulated shisha

I originally wanted to attach them with shisha stitch but my first attempt failed and then I decided a brass paisley shape would work better than a round one in the middle of the paisley design I’ve been stitching so they’ve been waiting in my box of treasures for the eureka moment.

I was spring cleaning one of my many sewing boxes and a scrap of gold shot greenish blue organza came to light. It was sheer enough for the detail of the brass discs not to be obscured when I laid it over them and it was there that the eureka moment happened.

Doubloons 1

I realised that I could sandwich the discs between the organza and another fabric and stitch around them to trap them in place. So after another trawl, I found this fantastic hand dyed silk in purples, blues and turquoises, and when I layered the elements up it made me think of scattered doubloons from a wreck, lying in dappled sunlight on the sea bed.

Doubloons 2

Especially when you see the effect of full sunlight on that organza.

Doubloons 3

I used lines of running stitch in gold Gutermann machine thread, which I find is very resilient to hand stitch, to trap the discs between the fabrics. And one long, hot committee meeting later…

Doubloons 4

…the doubloons were finished.

Doubloons 5

Doubloons 6

The whole thing measures about 4 x 3 inches; the biggest piece I’ve created from my metalworking, so the next thing is to decide whether to finish it as a brooch or a pendant.

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At last the Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging is finished. I used time waiting on the children’s activities at the weekend to get down to completing the label, which along with the hanging sleeve, as all there was to do.

Front:

Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 1

Back:

Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 2

And the label – lettering in stem stitch using fine silk on hand dyed cotton muslin which has been softly frayed out.

Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 3

So that’s finished. I also finally got the turquoise sea glass canvas to the person who had commissioned it this week and she loved it! In fact she loved it so much she’s comissioned me to do another in golds, oranges and browns for a friend’s birthday and a bigger one for her lounge, which is wonderful. I really enjoy stitching these pieces and getting paid for them is even better!

However, the reticulated brass shisha has been a problem. I wanted to attach it to some blue silk shisha-style.

Blue shisha 1

I laid down a collar of overlapping stitches in blue mercerised cotton thread and decided to go for an oversewn satin stitch as an edging.

Blue shisha 2

It went well enough, at least at first. Nice even coverage.

Blue shisha 3

But by the time I got to the end the stitches weren’t extending far enough over the brass to hold it in place to my liking. You can see it more clearly on the left in this photo.

Blue shisha 4

I let it sit while I worked on other things but when I returned to it I still wasn’t happy so out it came – easily enough to vindicate my instinct to rethink it as the centre of a paisley.

I’ve always loved paisley shapes and I came across this one while googling leaf outlines for my friend’s buttons.

Paisley shisha 1

The silk is too dark to mark the outlines I needed so I’ve just stitched straight through the paper, which should come off easily enough when damped.

Paisley shisha 2

Split stitch in the centre, running stitch (to be whipped later) in blue and french knots on the outside edge. I’ll take the paper off when I’ve finished the french knots and should be able to fill in the other layers by eye. The shisha will sit in the very centre and I’ll finish this as a brooch.

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