Posts Tagged ‘workshop’

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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I’ve been carrying on with my goal of sorting and rationalising all my ‘stuff’ this year and after a useful amount of space gained by getting rid of books and magazines that I won’t read again, I was onto the corner of the lounge where I tend to store my in progress work. There was an awful lot still in progress, so I decided to get finishing.

First, a new brooch. The brown coiled middle was made as a working example for a workshop session I taught at our Embroiderers’ Guild in the spring and the short fat dreadlocks I made at school at least two years ago. 

Starburst brooch 1

Combined, I liked the effect,  so I stitched the dreads onto the back of the spiral and then found some gold, raspberry pink and milk chocolate coloured beads for the edging.

Starburst brooch 2

The back is simply finished with a circle of felt with the brooch back stitched to it and then blanket stitched onto the reverse of the spiral, hiding all the construction stitches.

I’ve also moved on with my journal cover. First I finished off the hand stitching. French knots (I decided against beads) in the centre of some of the machine patterns, the chain stitch completed and threaded with slubby thread and the threaded running stitch re stitched with smaller stitches and whipped with stranded variegated silk.

Turquoise journal cover 1

Turquoise journal cover 2

On the front, more french knots, both on machine and hand stitched elements and pekinese stitch along a line of machine straight stitching.

Turquoise journal cover 3

Then I stuck the end papers to the reverse of the cover.

Turquoise journal cover 4

As this is going to be my holiday journal this year it’s going to be in and out of bags and well handled so I was a bit concerned about how well the edges would stand up to that sort of treatment. I decided to use some satin ribbon to bind them.

Turquoise journal cover 5

Using my own ancient and  dearly beloved Frister and Rossmann I stitched the ribbon down. The front:

Turquoise journal cover 6

And the back:

Turquoise journal cover 7

I know the cream is a contrast but to tie in with the organza layers I intend to layer it over with silk organza ribbon. Probably hand stitched down – there is only so far I can stay out of my comfort zone!

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Saturday was Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild Showcase – Open Day and a wonderful event it was too, from the hall packed with embroidery displays, sellers’ stalls and tables to sit and drink tea and eat cakes to the two inspirational workshops.

I wasn’t able to attend the morning one but was looking forward to the afternoon workshop “A small garden journal” with Christine Plummer. I wasn’t too sure about the advertised machine embroidery element, not being a sewing machine user, but I loved it and although I didn’t quite finish the cover or the making up, this is what I brought home:

Garden journal cover 1

As you can see, I ended up with a fair amount of machine stitching!!

The process was fascinating. At the bottom, and mostly hidden by the layers, is a garden themed magazine photo. We then ironed a piece of vilene onto the back to stabilise it…

Garden journal cover 2

…and stuck down strips of ready prepared brusho dyed papers and bits torn from magazines across the image to alter it. Then I ripped strips of organza and machine stitched them across the image using a straight stitch before I started to hand stitch into the piece.

Going back to the sewing machine to reattach a piece of organza that was flapping, I discovered that the stitch had been changed to one of the pre-programmed stitches only after I’d started stitching. It was a lovely effect and with a very little investigation, I discovered how to change the stitch.  I know this must make me sound a real techno-phobe but as the only sewing machine I use will be 100 in about 13 years, it’s all a bit new.

But I pick up things quickly and then there was no stopping me!

You can see some of the torn magazine photos (the spiky shapes) just to the right of the turquoise stars. The chain stitch will be finished and threaded with a thicker thread but I’ll be taking the threaded running stitch on the right out and redoing that bit.  

Garden journal cover 3

I love the satin stitched leaf pattern and used it several times. Also the flower and vine pattern, to which I want to add some hand stitching and beading.

Garden journal cover 4

The meandering running stitch and flat turquoise beads worked well too. I really like the contrast between the machine and hand stitching and the crescent shaped swags were another good find.

Garden journal cover 5

Hand and machine feather stitch and another blank space. I really like the paper behind it, so not sure whether to leave it plain or not. I might just whip the machine back stitch with some toning metallic filament. 

Garden journal cover 6

We also had some yummy packs of wonderful papers in the same toning colour range, including a piece for the endpapers, pages with different sizes and flaps, tags etc. all to be added. 

Garden journal cover 7

It’s put together with a simple pamphlet stitch binding so I wasn’t worried about not assembling it at the time.  I’m going to add in some more pockets and envelopes and it’s going to be my Cornish holiday journal for this year. We’re going away with friends so less chance to sew and this will be perfect for fragments, scraps and ephemera.

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Both of our last two Embroiderers’ Guild meetings have been workshops and lovely ones at that. In April we had a talk by Brenda Scarman which was followed by her ‘Elizabethan embroidery’ workshop to make scissor cases with Tudor style embroidery.

The main rose motif was stitched in detached buttonhole stitch, which I have used in the past and really enjoy, so I was able to actually finish all the petals of my rose in the session.

Scissor case 1

It’s stitched in two strands of a lovely hand-dyed mercerised cotton, which felt quite unusually thick, but had great coverage.

Scissor case 2

The petals are outlined in chain stitch rather than the back stitch I’ve always used, which gives a much better finish as you have one side of the chain to stitch into and the other side gives a lovely even edging.

Scissor case 3

The tendrils are chain stitch in an ordinary stranded cotton. And I really must get it finished!

Scissor case 4

Then on Saturday we had a fantastic beading workshop by Gwen, one of our members, on how to make a St Petersburg chain for a bracelet. Gwen’s instructions were so good that I came in a little late, sat down and was able to work straight away from the sheets she had prepared.

It’s a lovely pattern to bead and so easy to drop into the rhythm and I was delighted to finish my bracelet in the session.

St Petersburg chain bracelet 1

I have a weakness for iridescent beads and although the beads weren’t very evenly sized, these moonlight and evening sky coloured seed beads work so well together.

St Petersburg chain bracelet 2

I even had time to start another chain with some much smaller delicas just to see what difference it made, if any, to use a better quality bead.

St Petersburg chain delicas

Not enough yet to tell, but I enjoyed it so much I’m already trying to work out how I can incorporate pieces of reticulated metal!

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