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Posts Tagged ‘tea bag’

With this month’s Move It On project safely put to bed, I’ve been able to think about other things, including a piece inspired partly by a recent trip to Withernsea beach which always turns up some interesting beachcombed treasures, and partly by some recent images that caught my attention on Pinterest of densely encrusted stitching around seashells.

I rediscovered a fabulous piece of silk matka which looks like a hessian sack but feels like velvet, some scraps of organza to add subtle shading to the background and some assorted shells and literally started to doodle in stitch.

I had an odd pony bead and I knew I wanted to cover it in stem stitch band like one I did for the North Cornwall Wallhanging. I used a much thicker thread for this one but it still has the sea urchin sort of look that I was looking for. The raised cup stitch that was so successful as poppies on the Harvest Wreath was a complete disaster here, so I filled them with seed beads and started to surround them with French knots to try and blend them in.

Next I added feather, threaded chain and Palestrina stitches over the strips of organza to hold them down and continued to build up the French knots and add some little mottled sandy coloured beads.

I love the depth and texture of the stitching.

More French knots interspersed with bullions and pearl beads. I liked the shaded effect on the needleweaving on the left from the variegated silk threads I was using so I added some more of those.

Finally finished. Well, in the end I had to tell myself to put down the needle and walk away. With this sort of free form stitching it’s so tempting to just add another dozen French knots or another seaweedy frond. The hardest thing is knowing when to stop!

I finished the Mothers’ Day card in good time too and am told it went down very well with the recipient. Despite my best efforts the the tea bags did shred a bit and the whole thing had to be restabilised by stuffing scraps of Bondaweb under the flapping areas and ironing carefully. You can see some spidery areas of glue but it’s less obvious in real life and was much better than having bits dropping off!

Next job is to decide on April’s Move It On Project and I’m torn between revisiting an existing project or starting a kit that’s been hanging around for a while and of course, also needs moving on.

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As I’ve said before, this year’s Move It On Project is about revisiting and evaluating old projects and if any get finished during the month, then that’s a bonus. However, we have our first finish! I did say last week that there was a very good chance of this one being finished as it was pretty close already, with only the laborious job of marking out the diamond grid of background stitches to complete.

I ended up by counting the warp and weft threads to work out where to place the markings as it was more accurate than measuring but even then, I made a mistake that I didn’t spot until I was two columns in and so they aren’t quite exact, but close enough for a Holiday Journal piece.

Adding the pairs of straight stitches over the top was quick and easy, even if the finished motif does look like a grumpy moth!

With Mothers’ Day fast approaching I’ve had my usual commission from a friend to make a card for their mother and my starting point was a postcard sized piece featuring lace, tea bags and painted lace flower trims I started in a workshop I did with Fran Holmes back in November 2019.

I decided that it didn’t need much doing to it apart from stems and leaves for the daisies and took it with me today for some ‘plein air’ stitching when we went for a walk in Sherwood Forest. We were joined for lunch on this bench by a very confident robin and a cheeky little woodmouse, both of whom were well rewarded with titbits.

I’m using fishbone stitch for the leaves, which is pretty dense and as a result the closeness of the stitching holes at the edges of the leaves is shredding the delicate tea bags despite my best efforts.

Just going to have to hope that the stitches and the underlying bondaweb can keep it all together!

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October’s Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was a brilliantly packed full day workshop with Fran Holmes based on teabags.

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Fran brought along loads of samples she had stitched using a base of dyed, opened out and ironed teabags with added lace and hand and machine embroidery for inspiration.

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Then it was our turn. We had been asked to bring some tea bags of our own, and I was quite pleased with the effect where a fruit tea bag had leaned up against an ordinary one and they two had bled into each other, but mine were nothing compared with the amazing patterns Fran had got on the ones she had done for us in our kits.

We experimented with all sorts of things, including various iron on products, foils, printing, inks, paints and stamps and so busy was the day that I didn’t actually add any stitching until the afternoon!

We ended up with four different bases for further stitching.

The first two were a mixture of lace, tea bags and net.

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I added some watercolour detailing on the lace flowers of this one.

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Then a base for stamping in acrylics.

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And lastly one with a subtle shimmery foil underlay which I layered with torn silk ribbon and a stamp.

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All four lovely backgrounds, ready for stitching.

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I finally managed a few french knots…

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Great workshop and lovely to do something outside my usual range.

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After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…

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…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…

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…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..

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I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).

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I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.

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The next prompt was cutting and patching.

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So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.

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As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.

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By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.

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Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.

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My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.

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With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…

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…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

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This was my starting point:

dscn2537The only other stipulation we were all given was that the finished article must be three- dimensional in some way. I had an initial load of over-complicated and grandiose ideas, but soon realised my best bet was to stick to what I know so I decided to make a book.

I’ve made what I call lotus-fold books before, with origami square bases stuck back to back and opening like a concertina, but several years ago my middle one came home from Guides with  one she had made which opened up and folded back on itself to make a star. I’d always loved the idea and it was perfect for this project.

I started by making a double sided copy of the carol ‘Ding Dong, Merrily on High’ and ageing it with a deftly wielded tea bag. Odd coffee granules added a foxed look and then I cut the sheets into squares and folded them into a set of square bases.

20161210_230756_HDR.jpgThe next stage was to stick the square faces together to form the star shape. You can see the gap at the bottom right hand corner which is where the covers will go.

20161210_231039_HDR.jpgNext job was to embroider the cover. I experimented with applique and various other techniques on some lovely dull gold silk  but came back to needlelace using some Mulberry Silks I’ve been saving for a special occasion. The medium and heavy weights make the most fabulous needlelace.

20161215_171828_HDR.jpgAlso, one of my required elements was couching, and the stitch is buttonhole couching.

20161215_232203_HDR.jpgMy lace element was the bow and after I had added gold kid leather clappers to the bells the cover was laced over a piece of mounting board.

20161217_103827_HDR.jpgI trapped a piece of gold ribbon between the cover and the endpapers as a closure when I stuck them together…

20161217_104141_HDR.jpg…and did the same with the back.

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As well as tying a bow to close the book up, the ribbons also hold it closed and form the hanging loop when you bring the covers together to make it into an ornament.

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And best of all, Sandra was delighted with it. :o)

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I love lemon verbena. The smell from the fresh crushed leaves never fails to lift my spirits and inhaling the aroma of fresh lemon verbena tea while you snuggle your hands around the mug is simply wonderful. Dried isn’t so good, but on holiday last year I bought a small packet of lemon verbena tea by the Cornish tea specialists Tregothnan. Somehow that also had to be incorporated into my journal!

The packet the tea bags came in was first up, and with an apt quote on the back as well as the elegant design on the front, I didn’t want to stick it in. I also love that scrap of tissue paper on the page behind, and didn’t want to cover that up either.

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Yet every page in this journal is needed to carry something, so I blanket stitched the edge of the packet to the edge of the page so it’s now a flap with access to both the quote and that lusciously foresty scrap of paper.

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Then the teabag. I wanted to stitch on one that I’d actually used, so I carefully dried it, slit the bottom to get the leaves out and then put a small piece of fabric inside to help stabilise it and give it a bit of weight. I found a single leaf shape cut from a piece of translucent green vintage fabric from something I did ages ago with fused fabric and that seemed perfect.

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Toning silk thread in simple zigzagged double running stitch to form the toothed edge of the leaf, with whipped running stitch veins and a bullion knot stem. Stitching through all layers, I wanted the back to be as neat as possible.

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The bottom was finished with a piece of silk ribbon and blanket stitch and it lives happily in the pocket created by its packet!

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This was so much fun to do!

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