Posts Tagged ‘workshop’

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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








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


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.









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




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



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


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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Our December meeting was held last Saturday and was an all day Stitch Play workshop sort of in the style of Sue Spargo which I led – hence why so much of my recent stitching has been under wraps! There are so many images of the work that came out of it that I’m going to leave you hanging until after Christmas for a report on the workshop and instead just show the results of our Christmas Challenge, which was set at the AGM in September to create a Christmas tote bag suitable either for an adult or a child.

We voted for our top five in each category by putting beads in a saucer.





The winner of the children’s bag section was Sally, with her intricate gingerbread house and biscuit button topped roof on the right in the photo.


Hazel’s bag (far left) is fitted with fairy lights in the middle of each star which actually light up!






The competition in the adult’s bag section was extremely close but Pauline’s Holly and the Ivy bag, on the left, won by a well-deserved whisker. I’m relieved that we had five votes because I could not have chosen just one.


If I’ve missed anybody’s bag, my apologies! I’ll leave you with a long shot of the Challenge Bags in the background and a glimpse of my table set up with materials and examples…


Have a fabulous Christmas!

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As our meeting on the Saturday afternoon was to be followed by an all day workshop with Chris on the Sunday, at the end of the meeting we got a tantalising preview of all the goodies we were going to be using – piles of gorgeously dyed fabrics, threads, and beads, paints and box upon box of intricately carved wooden stamps all laid out ready. Talk about whetting the appetite!

The next day our task was to choose two pieces of the lusciously dyed fabrics that Chris had provided and print them up with one of Chris’ blocks to stitch into an amulet. If we had any of our own spare fabric, we could print that as well to take home.

Chris had told us a tale of a lady who never did any stitching on one of these workshops – she spent the whole day printing – and after experiencing the fantastic crisp images the blocks produce…


…I completely understood where she was coming from.


Everywhere I looked was another block I wanted to try.


I’d come out of the house in a hurry (as usual) and grabbed a handful of scrap fabric to print on rather than the whole bag. Ultimately this was a good thing because had I grabbed the bag instead I don’t think they would have got me away from the blocks.  Even so, I printed on everything I had. When the calico was covered, I printed on silk dupion, which turned out pretty well in spite of its slubby surface…


…printed and patterned fabrics,


odd shaped scraps and oddments…

…and I even ended up printing on ironed out silk carrier rods, scrim and chiffon and emptying out my workbag in case there was anything else remotely usable hidden in its depths. The scrim and chiffon were a revelation. We were printing with emulsion paint – no fancy textile inks or paints  – using blocks with very fine detail and the results were amazing. First the scrim:


Close up you can see how crisp the image is despite the crinkled nature of the weave.


Then the chiffon. I didn’t expect much of a result with emulsion paint on such a fine fabric, but I was over the moon with how well the blocks printed on it.


By this time pretty much everyone else was already stitching, it was nearly lunchtime and the blocks were being washed and packed away, so I resolved not to try and cadge any more fabric from anyone else and sat down to stitch the print I had chosen for my hand dyed fabric piece. Medieval tile pattern on turquoise of course and feather stitch around the edge to attach it to the black felt behind.


I love the rust-coloured patches in this fabulous thread and once the block was feather stitched down, I went back and beaded it with matte iridescent delicas in similar tones.


A rusty washer was perfect for the centre.


I attached it with beaded blanket stitch, using some more of the same beads and another favourite thread, my bronzy metallic Madeira.



Next step is to back stitch around the design in the Madeira thread.

Chris posted some more images of the lovely work done by everyone else here. And then if her generosity of knowledge and enthusiasm wasn’t enough, she presented us with this lovely amulet to be raffled at our AGM at the end of the month.


Thanks Chris, it was brilliant!

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This month our Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was a full day workshop run by a couple of our members on abstract stumpwork, focussing on getting to grips with some of the stumpwork techniques such as creating slips, needlelace etc. In the morning we practised techniques and in the afternoon we worked a little sampler piece about 6cm square using a variety of the techniques in a colourway of our choosing. Blue of course, on a lovely piece of indigo dyed calico, for me.

Stumpwork sampler 1

I’ve done raised stem stitch band before and loved the effect, so I was keen to use some variegated sashiko thread as a base and start with a line of that. But something went wrong and instead of a lovely closely woven surface, I ended up with something more open. Moral of the story: don’t assume that having done something once (in 2009!) that you can automatically do it again without the instructions!

Stumpwork sampler 2

Anyway, I quite liked the lacy effect, with the variegated thread underneath so ran a couple of lines on chain stitch down each side to tie it in to the fabric and got on with the next element, using a lovely lustrous silk thread to buttonhole stitch over a washer, which I then attached to the fabric with well spaced french knots.

Stumpwork sampler 3

My third element was a lovely piece of soft blue leather over which I’m working detached buttonhole bars in a variety of threads.

Stumpwork sampler 4

Not quite finished but despite the small size, plenty to go at!

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To be honest, I actually finished it before I went on holiday as that was when I needed it, but what with the Etsy shop, a trip to Suffolk and more school work than you could shake a stick at, I’ve only just had the chance to post about the finished item.

After I machine stitched some cream satin ribbon over the edges so it could stand up to the sort of handling I was expecting it to get, I covered the cream ribbon with some silk organza ribbon in pale green, just to tone down the cream and tie the colour more closely to the blues and greens of the book and hand stitched it in place with feather stitch.


Turquoise Cornish journal 2

Then it was time to put the inside pages together. The kit from the workshop had come with a selection of pages and tags and I embellished them further, adding some oddments of my own and some, like the flowers and leaves, that we’d been given on the workshop.

Turquoise Cornish journal 3

I folded this lovely piece of hand made paper into a pocket and later blanket stitched up the sides.

Turquoise Cornish journal 4

This was a ready made miniature envelope which I coloured with water soluble oil pastels and embossed the flap with a shell and tiny star.

Turquoise Cornish journal 5

Some of the pages were decorated with flowers or embossed with the shell and star motif.

Turquoise Cornish journal 6

Turquoise Cornish journal 7

Across the right hand page is a scrap of dyed tissue from the workshop which I found on the floor and couldn’t bear to throw away!

Turquoise Cornish journal 8

A stitched down leaf.

Turquoise Cornish journal 9

I like that some of the pages unfolded further.

Turquoise Cornish journal 10

Time to put it all together, using a simple pamphlet stitch which also caught down the gold organza ribbon I’d chosen as a closure at the spine.

Turquoise Cornish journal 11

Turquoise Cornish journal 12

Turquoise Cornish journal 13

Turquoise Cornish journal 14

Turquoise Cornish journal 15

Turquoise Cornish journal 16

Ready for holiday. No rules this time, no plans, just a bag of embroidery supplies and an open mind.  I’ll show you some of the things that came out of that mind set soon. 🙂

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And one finish.  I finally got round to making up my angelina and goldwork flower into a card.

Angelina goldwork card

I’ve also been finishing off a felt flower piece made with flowers cut from the left over felt I made for ‘Guards! Guards!’ last year…

Last felted flowers 1

…and some odd fused fabric leaves I made so long ago I can’t remember what I used them for…

Last felted flowers 2

…and making progress with the Elizabethan scissors case I started in an Embroiderers’ Guild workshop with Brenda Scarman several months ago.

At the end of the workshop I’d got as far as this:

Scissors case 1

Detached buttonhole stitch petals and chain stitch stems.

I finished the stems and as per the instructions, added trios of fly stitch between the petals and long straight stitches to define the petals. The french knots in the centre would be joined later by beads.

Scissors case 2

Beads added, the chain whipped with gold thread and buttonhole stitch in the same thread round the edge of the petals.

Scissors case 3

Scissors case 4

Then the spangles, which I attached with a central seed bead. I think they’re too densely packed but I don’t dislike the effect enough to unpick them all. I intend to make the seeding less dense by using just beads round the edge and making them more widely spaced.

Scissors case 5

Just the beading to finish before I can make it up.


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