Posts Tagged ‘spiral’

It seems odd to be thinking about Christmas in the middle of the summer, but I’m currently in the middle of creating unique upcycled jewellery for various Christmas markets I’m booked into.

First, another felted spiral brooch. I have no idea where the initial felted dreadlock came from for this – it’s an interesting mix of colours that I wouldn’t have thought of putting together. IMG_20190718_220121.jpg

Once rolled up and stitched I liked it even more.


Finished with a beaded edging that echoes the colours of the felt.


Then with the boro and sashiko work I’ve been doing recently I had the idea of doing a tiny piece with fragments of indigo dyed fabric and a single strand of silk to go into a vintage silver tone brooch. The needle gives an idea of scale – the whole oval is the size of the pad of my thumb.


Finished and mounted in the brooch.



It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

Lastly, another locket insert on silk carrier rods. This originally had a trellis behind it but it was too fussy and the trellis looked like it was hanging in midair, so I carefully unpicked it and am going for just the rose bush.


Still not completely happy with it but it’s getting there. I’m definitely going to try and do more with the boro though.

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Only four of us in the group this time, so this one, stitched for Sandra in keeping with her flowers theme, is my last page of the round. I enjoyed discovering new stitches when I stitched Val’s leaves last month, so I went for the same Sue Spargo inspired idea in turquoise and purple/pink.

First new stitch courtesy of Mary Thomas: Braided Edging Stitch. It looks like blanket stitch from the top, but has a lovely chained effect on the edge. Getting the tension right was interesting initially, but I really like the effect.


Then whipped running stitch ‘petals’, using a very slubby pure silk thread for the whipping.


I filled two of the ‘petals’ with Trellis Stitch…


…the top one with Vandyke Stitch (not too happy with the stitching on that, but I needed to work in a thickish thread – the full 6 strands of stranded cotton – to get the right sort of coverage)…


…and the two bottom ones with Buttonhole Filling and a Woven Spiders Web Wheel to hide a multitude of sins in the middle!


The second flower had Berwick Stitch with its lovely edging knots round the outside and then I couched down a line of fabulously soft, thick, loosely twisted, variegated silk to follow the shape.


I decided to use the same thick, soft silk to work Back-stitched Spiders Webs in each of the petals. Foundation stitches first, using a template to make sure they were all the same.


Then adding this glorious silk.



Lastly I filled in the centre with a chain stitch spiral and they were good to go!


Nobody’s book to complete this month so hopefully I can get stuck into the bluework.

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Or I might make it into a hair clip. I’ve no memory of making the little dark brown felted dreadlock that forms the basis of this spiral brooch, but I found it in the pile of unfinished things I’ve been working through over half term.

Brown, blue and gold spiral brooch 1

It rolled up easily and neatly and a selection of gold, amber and blue beads worked together very well for the edging.

Brown, blue and gold spiral brooch 2

That was short and sweet. (Wish they were all like that!)


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The fabric part of the fire pendant is complete.

Fire pendant 1a

I made a couple of brass bales from scratch which will be stitched to the fabric. The one I want to use is on the right and as you can see, I didn’t quite get the bottom folded over properly before I soldered it, so that will need to be rectified next week.

Fire pendant bales

But this should give some idea of how the finished piece will look – it’ll be so nice to get some of these pieces actually finished!

Fire pendant 2a

The blue spirals piece was too big for a pendant so I finished it as a brooch. The top is gathered up with running stitch and laced over two thicknesses of pelmet vilene and then I cut, gathered and laced some more blue silk over a smaller single circle and stitched a long brooch pin to it for the back.

Blue spirals brooch with back

Then I used ladder stitch to more or less invisibly attach the back to the front.

Blue spirals brooch

A whole piece completely finished!!

Sea glass - lilac swirl 1

And if you’d like the chance to win this sea glass and embroidery canvas in  my second Blog anniversary giveaway, you still can by leaving a comment here.

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One of the options I was considering for attaching my reticulated metal to fabric was couching heavy goldwork metal threads at either side of the metal and letting the rigidity of the threads hold it in place.

I had the other section of the thin brass rectangle that had melted into two and also given me the piece I used in the fire pendant…

Blue spirals 1

…some oddments of pearl purl in two thicknesses and the last of the intense sapphire coloured silk I’d used for the Eregion pendant.

Blue spirals 2

The reticulated brass piece was stitched onto the silk with straight stitches in Gutermann metallic gold thread over some of the narrower sections just to keep it in place before I started on the main couching. It’s possible to see the stitches but they really are very well camouflaged against the metal.

It’s only the second time I’ve used pearl purl but the moment I started to couch the spirals with the same thread I’d used to stitch down the brass, I knew it was right.

Blue spirals 3

The brass sits firmly in place under the coils of wire.

Blue spirals 4

Blue spirals 5

Blue spirals 6

Blue spirals 7

Blue spirals 8

Definitely a technique I want to use again.

Next time, I need to make sure all the stitches slide down between the coils of the purl and they could also all be a little smaller, neater and closer to the purl, but I was so delighted with the effect that I was rather stitching in a hurry to see where it was going.

Blue spirals 9

I just adore the colour combination, which surprises me, because when it comes to the jewellery I wear, I’m strictly a silver lover. But this…

It’s a bit big for a pendant so I’m going to finish it as a brooch. Not my favourite part, but I need the hoop for the volcano piece.

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Felted pouch

Last November I fell in love with the felted pouch idea from this post by Threadnoodle. I’d bought some hand made crystal runes as a Christmas present for a close friend and had been toying with making some sort of fabric bag to hold them, but this was perfect! And I can post about it now, since Christmas has been and gone.

I started by wrapping a crystal sphere (a child’s ball would be better – not as heavy – but we didn’t have anything the right size) first in a layer of blue fleece which would be the inside of the pod and then in a thick layer of merino and silk  in shades of purple.

The whole parcel was liberally soaked in a solution of olive oil soap flakes and warm water, and then rolled until the fleece felted tightly round the sphere. Then I rinsed it thoroughly and alternately in hot and cold water, to help it felt further before I left it to dry.

Once dry I carefully took the scissors to the top, making five cuts so I could ease the sphere out later. Then I felted it again so the edges of the cuts would felt together and shrink back slightly.

Rune pouch 1

Rune pouch 2

There were some areas I wasn’t too happy with and I also wanted to embellish the surface of the pouch further but wasn’t too sure how I was going to do that, so I put it on one side and let my creative subconscious work on a solution…which came when I was clearing my eldest’s room prior to his return from university.

I bought some needlefelting bits and pieces from eBay a while ago but hadn’t got round to using them. However, my middle one recently had a mad fit of crafting including making a needlefelted dog she had seen in my ‘Mollie Makes’ magazine and used her brother’s room as a studio. She’s very good at getting things out but not so keen on putting them away…

As I packed the needle felting kit away, I realised it was time to use it myself and after a very pleasant evening in front of the television with some roving, beads and extra fleece. I ended up with this:

Rune pouch 3

I ‘patched’ the slightly thinner pieces of the main body of the pouch with swirls of extra purple merino/silk mix and needlefelted around the edges of the top flaps to further stabilise them. Then I needlefelted spirals of golden orange roving all over the outside.

Rune pouch 4

Rune pouch 5

For the closure I needlefelted five pieces of roving to the underside of the top flaps and fed them first through a hexagonal doughnut shaped bead of green agate, then through a round doughnut of mother of pearl and finally a cylindrical felt bead made from the same fleece as the outside of the pouch.

Rune pouch 6

It’s only just big enough to take the rune set, which is a bit annoying, but I loved the needlefelting – will have to do some more of that in the near future – and the most important thing is how much my friend liked the gift.

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Gorgeous merino silk mix fleece from a (sadly no longer there) shop at the Sherwood Forest Arts and Crafts Centre a couple of years ago became these: felted dreadlocks!

They are really quick and easy to do.

Pull out a length of fleece about the length you want the dreadlock. Then thoroughly wet and soap your hands, take the fleece and start to gently roll it between your palms as you would if you were making a plasticine worm. 

At first it feels very flat and floppy, but keep rolling gently and you should start to feel it firm up. As it gets more solid, you can get a bit more robust wth your rolling, until it becomes a tight, dense and firm sausage shape.

I love the variety of tones in this fleece and the white of the silk. It makes such interesting felt.

Rolled up and stitched, the dreads become snails.

Then the fun part. Just add beads and these…

become these:


turn into these:

And these…

end up looking like this:

…and this.

I used a fantastic book called  ‘Color Play’ by Joen Wolfrom, which brilliantly explains how colours work together, to devise some effective colour combinations for the  beading.

They will have felt circles sewn on the back to  neaten them up (hide the construction stitching!) and then be attached to brooch backs or hair grips to sell at the Arts and Crafts fair in the summer.

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Slowly growing

The embellishment of the spring is finished and the last (probably) spiral is almost done.

This one is by far the clearest and neatest spiral. I think I was trying too hard with the others. I’m more than half wondering whether to unpick the first two spirals and stitch them again…

Such a pleasure to see the last of the westering spring sunlight bring out the golden tones of thread, metal and rust.

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Slowly it expanded – not a perfect circle, which niggles slightly, but the bigger it got, the happier I was with the effect.

I did try whipping it but a solid line, even with a thin thread, was too strong for the overall balance of the design.

Another one is growing towards the top of the piece.

Slightly more even this time.

It will be a little bigger than this when it’s finished.

Someone looked at this piece of embroidery yesterday and initially thought it was machine stitched. I wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment…!

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… in spite of having a mile high pile of test papers to mark this week.

I experimented with spirals going off the edge of the calico and onto the silk…

…but I didn’t like it. It shows up better in the photo but in real life the fine perle just got lost on the coarse background. Finished the seeding though.

 So I began another spiral, based on the sketchbook idea I showed last time using the variegated metallic Madeira from the turquoise path piece.

It’s a little thin compared with the perle.

I think I’ll stitch it a bit larger and then see what the effect is if I whip it in the same thread to just make the line a little bolder.

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