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Posts Tagged ‘silk dupion’

The snowflakes brooch take two is completed and has worked much better this time around. The blue silk makes the snowflakes really stand out and the actual snowflakes are definitely better executed. I finished it by gathering it round an oval of buckram to stiffen it…

…and then made another plain piece to cover the gathers on the back. I ladder stitched them together and then stuck the resulting ‘sandwich’ into the brooch setting.

I also got round to making the practice piece for the Chihuly Reeds to trial the alcohol inks. I was concerned that they might either run off the metallic fabric and bleed into the back ground or the applique stitches would wick the ink down into the fabric, but in fact, neither happened. There is some bleeding, but that was where I touched the tip of the brush onto the fabric – not easy to avoid, given the size of the piece.

Onto the main piece, feeling much more confident. I did catch the background fabric in a couple of very minor places but I think the variegation of the back ground fabric helps to hide it.

Then I added the dried grass around the bases. I’m really happy with the way the combination of the metallic fabric and the translucent inks has captured the shimmering glass. Success number two!

And success number three is that the lovely The Old Stables Studio in Horncastle is going to stock my upcycled jewellery! I had a scenic run out there last week and met Kate, the owner, who is passionate about upcycled and handmade and happy to stock a selection of my jewellery. So that’s where Snowflakes Take Two will be going, as will this underwater themed locket which I finished this morning.

Fingers crossed – that’s all I can do at the moment.

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Well, almost two, as I’ve only just restarted it. I also decided to stitch onto silk and found a scrap of this lovely midnight blue silk dupion to use for the second take. The snowflakes are also neater this time round, so perhaps it was all for the best anyway.

Part of the reason that the snowflakes brooch is only partly completed is that I’ve finally managed to get all the padded applique reeds done for the Kew Memory Journal.

Next I need to stitch a sample one and see if I can carefully colour the metallic fabric with alcohol inks without it running into the background fabric to get the red/orange flame colours of the Chihuly glass.

I was looking for fob watch cases a few weeks ago and after having been distracted by finding the box of clock hands that was with them, I finally started sorting the fob cases out this week. In with them was a lovely mid-century silver tone ladies watch case which sparked off an idea to upcycle it into a pendant.

First I stitched a silk ribbon rose and rosebuds onto a scrap of pink silk dupion and added foliage in fine green silk thread.

Then I gathered it round a couple of circles of buckram the same size as the watch case….

…before inserting it into the case. Luckily the front section comes off easily.

Then to finish it off I added a sterling silver chain and found a little silver and marcasite swallow to hang from the bottom loop.

This isn’t available in my Etsy shop at the moment because I’m hoping that some of my upcycled jewellery will be stocked by a shop in Horncastle which champions in upcycled items and if I’m successful, this will be one of the pieces that will go there. Fingers crossed!

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Thanks for all your input on the indigo book. I was starting to lean towards the boro mend myself, so it was good to have that thought supported. Hopefully I should get it finished today.

James’ blue crazy patchwork cushion continues to evolve slowly. I found another scrap of commercially embroidered fabric which I added to the left hand side of the strip to break up the expanse of the piece at that end.

More blue crazy patchwork 1

The printed Japanese cotton had curious spirals within the faux tie-dye shapes, so I enhanced them with spirals of chain stitch in white silk.

More blue crazy patchwork 2

The new piece of embroidered brocade now has a seeded background.

More blue crazy patchwork 3

And the other commercially embroidered patch has had heavy soft silk couched around the shapes prior to adding some extra detail in probably fly stitch and French knots – not quite decided yet.

More blue crazy patchwork 4

The little yachts will be getting their own frames of chain stitch spirals in variegated thread.

More blue crazy patchwork 5

And the ultramarine silk dupion has waves of kantha stitch.

More blue crazy patchwork 6

Slowly making progress.

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And that’s not easy to say after a couple of drinks! In the summer I finished this:

Fused fabric cushion

a cushion cover featuring a panel of fused fabric embroidery on blue silk dupion background.

My son, who is just starting his second year at university in London was very disappointed that it was going to our Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition to be sold and to my amazement, asked me if I’d make him a cushion cover featuring my embroidery for his new flat ( a very expensive bedsit).

Together we designed three long panels of crazy patchwork in shades of blue and white which will go on a white silk dupion background and I’ve started stitching.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 1

I normally highlight blue with yellow/gold, but as James has gone for mostly white furniture (it was the cheapest finish at IKEA and he knows how to make his pennies go as far as possible!) I’m going to use white and silver as accents.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 2

 

Lots of silk as usual, both fabric and thread.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 3

Japanese cotton yukata fabric and a vintage print.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 4

Hand dyed shibori indigo, batik and embroidered silk.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 5

Scraps of silk and cotton: plain and printed; commercial and hand dyes.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 6

 

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 7

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 8

These are a great size to put in my travel sewing kit and work on while I’m out and about. I’d almost forgotten all the things I love about crazy patchwork: working with fragments of gorgeous fabrics, having mini canvases to stitch into and enhance and sections small enough for me to not get bored before the next idea strikes.

Blue crazy patchwork cushion 9

I’m so touched that my son actually wants some of my work on display in his bedsit. Oh and the fused fabric cushion didn’t sell, by the way, so I surprised him with it just before he went back for the new term. He was delighted.

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While on holiday in Cornwall this year I beachcombed a number of very thin round fragments of slate with the intention of using a shisha stitch to attach them to fabric. These are the results so far:

On turquoise silk with calico underneath and surrounded with kantha circles.

Slate shishas 1

In close up…

Slate shishas 2

…and in the journal.

Slate shishas 3

On shot blue/gold silk dupion embroidered with hand dyed silk thread by Chris.

Slate shishas 4

And in close up.

Slate shishas 5

On a fraying fragment of red shot green silk dupion with green perle.

Slate shishas 6

I stitched this one by artificial light and now I’m not sure about the colours, so I think I’ll redo it, probably in a vivid red.

Slate shishas 7

Trio on crinkled gold satin with a Caron thread.

Slate shishas 8

I love the concept, but I think the thicker threads don’t work quite as well and certainly I need to be a lot neater in my execution!!

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As usual, and with the excuse of the last session of my jewellery course looming, I’ve been rushing to complete another project with a deadline. Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild is having a ‘Showcase’ Open Day on the 27th of July and the organisers had requested us to stitch 2 and 3D owls for display.

Several weeks ago I cut these out at home and quickly hammered and polished them during one evening at my course.

Windy Rupert 1

As I’ve moved into metalworking I wanted to be able to include elements in the work that reflected my current skills and interests, and I also wanted to go back to the crazy patchwork that was my early way into embroidery.

He’s pieced from a pattern in one of my youngest’s books, using a mixture of silks and cottons in greys and black, with gold highlights, on a black silk dupion background.

Windy Rupert 2

The hammered brass eyes are held down with long stitches in gold thread over raw edged patchwork pieces with feather stitched seams and blanket stitched edging.

Windy Rupert 3

For his beak I found a triangle of reticulated brass.

Windy Rupert 4

This was attached with more long stitches in gold thread, this time criss crossing to keep the shape in place.

Windy Rupert 5

You might notice that by this point I’d replaced the grey/white piece of silk on the top of right wing, which wasn’t working, with another piece of matt grey silk from an old blouse which does.

Windy Rupert 6

By this time it was 5 hours to the Guild meeting where I needed to hand him over, finished, mounted, labelled etc. No pressure then.

Gold purl feet. Not as neat as I would like, but the clock was ticking.

Windy Rupert 7

Neither was some of the blanket stitch up to my preferred standard, but no time to take it all down. The silk dupion was laced over a piece of thick board and then stuck onto another slightly larger piece of thick white card to form a frame of sorts.

Meet Windy Rupert. It’s a long story, you had to be there, but take it from me, naming my little fat owl Windy Rupert caused a lot of hilarity in the house. I wanted to call him Bunter, but no one these days seems to have heard of the Fat Owl of the Remove.

Windy Rupert 8

I hope what he lacks in technicality he makes up for in charm. 🙂

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Rather than cutting a shape from already reticulated brass, I cut this half leaf shape first and then reticulated it.

Leaf pendant 1

As with the beaded leaf I used detached buttonhole stitch to create the embroidered side of the leaf and long bullions to hold the metal in place.

Leaf pendant 2

Following a suggestion from a friend, I replaced the gold bullions over the green side with lengths of gold purl.

Leaf pendant 3

They were a lot easier than doing bullions in metallic thread but I feel they’re a little skimpy looking. Then I gathered and laced it over a double thickness of pelmet vilene cut into a leaf shape.

Leaf pendant 4

I wanted to leave a bit of the background fabric (silk dupion) as a buffer between the leaf and the edge of the pendant.

Leaf pendant 5

No spare silk dupion in this colour for the back, so I covered a slightly smaller leaf shape in pelmet vilene with a scrap of hand dyed habotai silk.

Leaf pendant 6

This just needs a bale to finish.

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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.

Beaded leaf 1

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.

Beaded leaf 2

A bit like half a leaf.

Beaded leaf 3

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.

Beaded leaf 4

With the barrelled and polished brass section.

Beaded leaf 5

And with the stitching completed.

Beaded leaf 6

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.

Beaded leaf 7

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.

Beaded leaf 8

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.

Beaded leaf 9

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.

Beaded leaf 10ame

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

Beaded leaf 11

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.

Beaded leaf 12

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

Beaded leaf 13

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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Back in March I finished this embroidery on a piece of blue and gold fused fabric I’d started several years ago as I intended to use it for a cushion to sell at our local Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition in the summer.

Fused fabric cushion 1

Then it went on hold for adventures in jewellery making and also the fact that I didn’t have a cushion pad – until last weekend.

Fused fabric cushion 2

It was a very straightforward finish. I cut out the circle using the hoop as a guide line and machined it onto a piece of gold/blue shot dupion silk. Then I made some shell edging from toning blue organza ribbon and hand stitched it around the outside of the embroidered piece to hide the edge.

Fused fabric cushion 3

The stitches, both gathering and the ones holding it down, look horribly huge in close up. But actually the effect is less obvious, as in this shot.

Fused fabric cushion 4

After that it was easy to machine stitch the front and back pieces of silk dupion together, pop the cushion pad in and ladder stitch the opening closed.

Fused fabric cushion 5

I know it doesn’t exactly go with the silvery cabbage green of the garden bench but I am inordinately pleased with it! I think the pleasure is as much about how well the finished item works as well as the fact that this has been hanging  around for sooo long and now it can see the light of day and give someone else some pleasure – I hope.

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Sewing subversively away in the back of a large induction meeting at the begining of term, I finished the covers of the boro-style notebook with at least 45 minutes to go before lunch. There was no way I was going to be able to sit still for that long, so I delved in the depths of my travelling sewing kit to see what else there was that I could do.

A few stitches finished this:

More fragments 1

A fragment of cotton, barely an inch square which made me think of grainy over blown-up black and white winter landscape photos. Seeding stitches extend it onto a gorgeously soft scrap of cream silk matka.

The ‘wintry’ piece was finished, but there was still about half an hour left to go. Now I was down to starting something new. It became frustratingly obvious at this point that I really do need to improve the range of scraps in my travelling kit, but I found a piece of shot silk dupion, a tiny piece of bronze ‘leather’ for goldwork and a piece of silk paper that had separated  into three layers and they seemed to want to be together…

More fragments 2

With feather stitch in variegated soft green silk to meander through the middle and tie it all together. I think I had a much more useful morning than anyone else. 😮

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