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Posts Tagged ‘stitch play’

I’ve just started teaching a monthly embroidery class at Jaylaurs, a fabulous fabric and sewing shop in the nearby small market town of Brigg. I worked with three lovely ladies at the end of last month, all of whom enjoyed experimenting with some new stitches and I hope that they and some others will come along to the next one on the 30th of November. I created some more Stitch Play samples using more basic stitches, mainly based round running stitch, chain stitch and split stitch…

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…but it was the more complex stitches like knotted buttonhole stitch, Pekingese Stitch and feather stitch that they wanted to try out!

Jayne, who runs Jaylaurs, asked me to create some purse flyers to give to people who expressed an interest in the classes and while looking for some suitable images and ideas I found some work I had done as examples of lessons I taught to Y5s and 6s a few years ago based on couching and whipped and threaded variants of running stitch.

They had been doing some batik and I wanted to get them to embellish some of their test pieces. This one is my sample piece with simple leaf shapes.

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I had just bought a load of fancy threads for textile work and threaded and whipped running stitches were great ways of using threads that were far too thick and slubby to be used to stitch with themselves. The chenille thread on the left works particularly well.

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The other sample was again to use the fancy threads, but this time couching them down in various patterns.

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The thread with the fluffy ‘flags’ was very fine, so I remember couching it down backwards and forwards along the line to build up a thicker layer and seeing where the ‘flags’ fell as I worked along the thread. I hadn’t planned it, but they seemed to always end up together in clumps!

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And then I found this: an early bit of found object work, using various bits and pieces that I had picked up around school. It includes an odd stud earring (flanked by two short screws) that was never claimed after PE and finally found its way into the school piano and a broken trouser fastener (centre) kindly donated for use in the piece by the lad in my class at the time. His trousers had suffered a catastrophic fail as a result of an overenthusiastic tackle in football at break and he spent the rest of the day in his PE shorts. The fastener was recovered from the playground following the incident.

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A bit of fun and some good memories of some of the amazing children I have taught over the years.

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The ‘beginning’ is my Dorian Gray book. Finally happy with the piece I wrote from my research on saffron, I used a mixture of handwritten and printed sections to go with the first lot of samples I’d dyed.

I used four pieces of the saffron dyed muslin, layered up, as a background for the chain stitch title on the first page. I created the yellow blotches on the pages by dropping the wet saffron onto it after I’d dyed the fabric.

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I’d written a lot about references I’d found to saffron and saffron-dyed clothing in Greek literature so that was printed in a little booklet on the next page, where I tried to write saffron in both Arabic and Greek. Apologies to native writers…

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The samples form the bulk of the next pages, interspersed with information on the etymology of the word and the technicalities of how it dyes.

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The ‘middle’ is more of the bluework, thanks to a couple of meetings.

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Seeding to knock back the blanket stitched flowers, as they were a bit too brash.

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Next I used a pretty composite stitch along the foot of the bowl. It starts with bundles of long detached lazy daisy stitches which are then wrapped around the middles to pull them in, a little like sheaf stitch. Clusters of french knots in a variegated thread are finally added to look like flower heads.

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The ‘end’ was the sample piece I stitched during my stitch play workshop in December. It was nearly finished, just needing the blanket and trellis stitch on the dark green petals, and made the perfect Mothers’ Day card.

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In other news, I think I have finally stopped sulking about my Victorian box project and am hoping to be able to show you some progress next week!

 

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If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.

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Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.

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Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.

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Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.

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It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.

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I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…

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…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.

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Measure twice, cut once…

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Hold your breath and hope…

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…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.

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I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.

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They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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One or two finished and ongoing oddments.

First, the little blackwork project I started back in November with Alison Larkin. Interlaced border next…

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…nearly there…

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…completed!

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I can’t believe the last bluework update I posted was at the start of October! It’s gone slowly from this:

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to this:

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Eyelets as spiky abstract daisies at the bottom.

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And another shaded long and short stitch flower.

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Creative mending has been on the agenda as well. I needed to mend a slit right at the front of one of my favourite tops where a thread had given up the ghost. There was no way I was going to make it invisible, so I did the darning…

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…and added some embroidered trims over the top to make a feature. It’s so good to be wearing this top again, and the motif looks like it was always meant to be there!

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And lastly, the piece I started as a work in progress for the Stitch Play workshop. It’s so nearly done, I really ought to get it finished!

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Especially as I have a plan for a biggish stitching project in 2018…

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I learned a lot stitching the samples for the Stitch Play workshop and it wasn’t just adding new stitches to my repertoire.

I know that thread makes a significant difference to how the stitch looks and sits on the fabric, but I don’t often take the time to experiment. Usually, I start stitching, realise it isn’t right for the look I’m trying to achieve, and restitch it in the ‘right’ thread. The samples gave me the opportunity to really explore the different effects of different threads, especially the heavier threads which I tend to use less.

My first sample piece was based on the leaves and flowers pairs I stitched for Sandra and Val in the last round of Travelling Books. I liked the way the satin stitch worked up in the variegated thread and also the effect of the knotty Portuguese Stem Stitch.

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After having worked some bigger shapes with multiple stitches used on each, I wanted to showcase smaller shapes with just a couple of stitches used but a different stitch to edge each one for my second sample piece.

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I enjoyed using these wintry blues and am particularly pleased with the effect of the sheaf stitch around the edge of the central circle.

I thought it was also useful to label the samples with the name of the stitches used.

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Two samples in, I started to look for shapes to include on the worksheet and found some lovely vase silhouettes.

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Having worked on finding lots of different edging stitches for the spots piece, I went back to simple blanket and Berwick Stitches to hold the vase shapes down. Then I could go to town on linear stitches to create the bands across the vases. Chain Stitch is the only repeated stitch on this piece.

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I really liked the effect of the four legged knot stitch (3rd row up from the bottom).

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I looked at my three samples so far and sighed as I realised that once again, I’d stuck to my favourite green and blue palette and each one was stitched in shades of a single colour. I decided that for the last sample I was going to use rows of bright clashing colours. Yeah, right…

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I simply couldn’t do it! But at least there are other colours than blue and green going on…

The Guilloche Stitch at the top is a composite stitch, with french knots, stem stitch top and bottom and a threaded thing going on down the middle. It’s a stitch I would never use normally, but it was perfect for the band going along the edge of the cup.

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I love the feathered chain/chained feather stitch along the top of the mug and I also reused a few stitches from the vases sample. The raised chain band (5th row down) was worked in all six strands of a stranded cotton, as opposed to the perle on the first green vase (also 5th row down) and the effect is much richer and fuller.

I also found that using a heavier weight perle on the scroll stitch (2nd row down) than I did on the second green vase (also 2nd row down) helped it to sit better.

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They were fun to stitch, but I was ready to return to something different by the time the workshop came round!

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First of all, Happy New Year to you all!  As promised, now the holiday period is out of the way, some more images of the stitch play workshop I ran at our December Embroiderers’ Guild meeting. I managed to stitch and mount four example pieces which between them showcase 48 different stitches, many of which were completely new to me.

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I provided everyone with a two-page worksheet containing the instructions and sixteen simple shapes from leaves and flowers to a star, bird, Christmas tree, heart etc to use as the base for their stitch play.  The results were fabulous.

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The background felt for Janet’s little robin was sparkly, which isn’t obvious in the photo, but made him look very festive!

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Pauline combined the stitch play idea with a felt project she already had on the go.

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All my pieces were stitched on light coloured felt so I could use a marker to keep my lines straight and equidistant, but pencil/markers don’t show up dark coloured felt so I made note of Sally’s use of guideline tacking stitches to keep her work level.

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I admire the bravery of anyone, who like Christina, has a go at Rosette Chain Stitch, especially in stranded cotton!

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Don’t know why this one insists on going sideways!

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Mary was also working on a project which lent itself to the stitch play.

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As a workshop it seemed to go down very well indeed. Pretty much everybody tried at least one stitch they hadn’t worked before/hadn’t worked for some time and everyone, from the most to the least experienced of us, was able to work and achieve at our own rate and ability level, which is what I had hoped would happen. :o)

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