Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sharon B's Take a Stitch Tuesday

Sharon B is asking if people would like to have another TAST Challenge next year.


I had such fun with the last two that I started a separate blog for all the samples I made.


If you want to practice your stitches, learn some new ones or need an incentive to keep your hand in, click on the first link to read all about it and leave a comment to register your interest.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

2012 Santa

Here's this year's Santa decoration. I make just a few of these each year, some for gifts and one or two for sale.

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Lots of stitchery, sequins and beads:

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This year's Santa has stuffed appliqued arms and felt hands.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Signature III at The Greenstede Gallery

I went to an excellent exhibition by Zero3 in East Grinstead today. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

I had seen some of the pieces on the Zero3 website but the work is so much more impressive in real life. The Greenstede Gallery often has textile exhibitions at this time of year. It's a good space for textiles, there is plenty of parking at reasonable rates and there is a nice cafeteria in the adjacent Chequer Mead leisure centre.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Keep going! Ottoman inspiration

You know how it is - you get so far with a project and you can't wait to see if it has worked. I couldn't wait to take this off the pattern and hold it up. So I kept on filling it in, and here it is:

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Nothing fell off! But I think I've said before, it's not as neat as I would like. I plan to stitch a shiny washer into the round hole at the bottom. Not sure what I will do with it after that.........

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ottoman Inspiration - WIP

I may have bitten off more than I can chew here!
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This isn't as neat as I would like, and I'm finding it difficult to start and end threads tidily.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making the Lace sample

I had no instructions for doing this, so I just reversed the method I used for the stitching on the bee box, working from the outside in, rather than from the centre outwards and using detached buttonhole stitch.

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I started by buttonholing all around the outside foundation thread in cotton perle. Then I laid in a metallic thread with detached buttonhole stitch along the first row. I made two or three rows like this, then buttonholed the last row to the second line of foundation thread to make a border.

Then I started to fill in an enclosed area of the pattern in the same way, laying down a metallic thread with detached buttonhole stitch worked all around the foundation thread.

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This is time consuming. You need to use a blunt tapestry needle and make sure that you don't stitch the detached buttonhole stitch to the fabric of the pattern. Using a closely woven cotton helps.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Continuing inspiration from Ottoman Art

The article I found was by Virginia Churchill Bath. I have been an admirer of her lace work for a long time. A picture of a piece of her work from "Stitchery and Needle Lace from Threads Magazine" formed part of the inspiration for a box I made based on the cells in a bee hive:


Here, the buttonhole stitch was worked into the fabric on the box, but now I wanted to make a piece of free standing lace. I made a pattern for the design:


The design is drawn on closely woven, fine cotton. This is backed with a piece of craft vilene (pellon) and another piece of cotton on the bottom. This is all machine stitched together around the edges. This method of making needle lace was published in the same book and was written by Eunice Kaiser. I adapted it slightly to make my piece and I used a permanent laundry marker for the outline, so that I can use the pattern again, and wash it if necessary. It remains to be seen if it works!

Foundation threads are stitched along the pattern lines. These tacking stitches are taken out when the work is finished and the lace is lifted from the backing.

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This proved to be more time consuming than I had thought and some careful planning is needed in laying these threads to ensure that there is always a support for the filling stitches. By the time I'd laid half the foundation threads I was wishing that I had chosen a smaller and simpler pattern for my first attempt!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Inspired by Ottoman Art

I saw an item featuring pieces of Ottoman art and it reminded me of an article I had seen in this book:


I've had this book for a good ten years and it's still a favourite.
The article I remembered was by Virginia Churchill Bath. The author looked at various pieces of Ottoman art and interpreted them in contemporary embroidery using different techniques.


I decided this would be a good project for me right now. I'm not fit enough yet to spend long hours in the workshop, but I can easily sit and stitch quietly in the conservatory! I got out my Grammar of Ornament and selected this motif to start with.


I simplified it like this:


Next, I need to decide how to interpret it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Another UFO comes out.............................

Back home from hospital and slowly recovering. I can potter around a bit and I came across this UFO in the workshop. I started it a while ago back here:

Today, I made some legs:

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Those felt balls are the pollen baskets.
Here's how it will fit together:

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And here's a side view:

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Nice Day Out.......

We went to a sculpture event at Borde Hill Gardens, Near Ardingly, Sussex, yesterday and with my predilection for making things out of bits of old tat that I've mangled together, I have to say I found some it quite inspiring.

This was my favourite:

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Rodney Chameleon. I think he must be made of old chain saw parts. Extreme steampunk!

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A stag beetle.

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A samurai fighting a spider. The samurai was 7 feet tall. Look at all those layers.

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There were some pretty things too. Pink flowers with copper leaves.

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And this was called "Unstitched". My excitement was a little bit dampened when I finally found it on the sculpture trail!

The sculptures were made by Anvil Ironworks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Using up samples 1

What to do with some of the bits and pieces of samples that accumulate and you can't bring yourself to throw out. Make one into a little gift bag, of course:


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This has a bit of an "indian influence"


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A small piece of machine quilted fabric machine appliques to a larger piece of silk and bordered with trellis stitch on a buttonhole foundation. Further embellishment with straight stitch, french knots and beads.


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Back and front sections cut out, backed with felt and machined together with zigzag stitch, simultaneously attaching matching machine wrapped cord. Edges finished with trellis stitch on a buttonhole foundation in cotton perle thread. Measures around 7 x5 inches.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Catching up with the WIPs

I've cancelled all my committments to attend craft fairs with the Creative Co-op until after Christmas because I'm on a hospital waiting list for later this year. In the meantime, without the pressure of stocking a table, I can play around in the workshop when I am able to. Currently I'm catching up on some WIPs.

Starting with this:


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I backed the piece with thick cotton curtain interlining and added some running stitch for texture.


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Here I have machine stitched the piece to some natural linen, the original fabric that I hand dyed. I've fringed it back to the stitching line. Now I just have to decide how to finish it off.

The inspiration for this piece came partly from a fabric postcard internet challenge, 6 x 4 lives, started by Sharon Boggon. At the same time, Jo in New Zealand was getting us all fired up over paisley designs. I was following an internet course, Develop A Personal Library of Stitches (no longer available), also by Sharon Boggon and many of the stitches got incorporated in this piece, Paisley Postcards.

You can revisit previous posts on this piece by clicking on the label "paisley" in the right hand sidebar.

Same old song

I think this is about finished...........


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...although I'm not entirely sure about the pink in the border. I'm keeping it pinned up above the sewing machine in the workroom for now, while I think about it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's the same old song......

It's been a year, it's time I finished this one off:



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Stitched to blue ecofelt. Layered onto pink ecofelt, wadding and muslin. Raw edges covered with trellis stitch on a buttonhole foundation. Further embellished with buttonhole and cretan stitch.


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Next step is to face with calico, with a hanging strip. This is a small quilted piece with many personal memories, so there will be a pocket on the back to hold mementos.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lids and luck

I made a couple of pots a while ago. I made enough "embellisher" fabric for the pots, but not enough for the lids. When I came to make the lids, I couldn't find the last piece of the fabric.

I just found it, while I was looking for something else!


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The sides of the pot are made from sections of cardboard tube that carpet is wrapped around.

I decided to make the lids from unwanted CDs and picture framers' board.


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I've covered the lids, lined them and stitched on the side pieces. Now I'm embroidering them ready for beading.


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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge - May

The theme for May is RESIST. Lots of possible interpretations for that!

I've been RESISTING still life drawing because it is definitely not my forte. I need to be faced with a living thing, whether directly in front of me or a photograph I've taken myself. I have a real problem drawing inanimate objects. Fruit and flowers are fine, because they grow and they have a flavour and a scent and I get a "feeling" from them.

Anyway, I decided to use a glass of wine and try a still life with that as a starting point. But I couldn't RESIST, I have no will-power where a good red is concerned and I drank it. And then I drank another...............and then the last half a glass.

Of course, then I'd had enough wine to be easily distracted and I got interested in the reflection of the bottom of the glass in my spare pair of specs and the reflection of the window blinds on the glass table.

So, after failing to put up any kind of RESISTANCE, here's the empty glass!


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Coloured pencil on white cartridge - A5 size.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge - March/April

I do love this time of year. Everything bursts into flower and blossom spills over garden walls and fences everywhere. I was prompted to move out of my comfort zone and branch out to try painting blossoms on dark coloured canson paper with very soft coloured pencils instead of my usual fine, meticulous style on white paper.


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Apple Blossom Time
Dark green Canson paper. Koh-i-noor pencils. A little under A4 size.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Me and my bird

Birds get friends:


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Birds of a feather.........................

I'm still playing with birds. I had in mind a flock of brightly coloured birds to decorate the craft stall. I finally settled two shapes: my "chicken" shaped bird and one other, courtesy of Nellie Durand. I've used Nellie's pattern before, but I gave my birds nice big feet to make them stand up better.

Here's my flock of bigfoot birds:


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They are made from left-over scraps of quilted or "embellisher" fabric and have needlefelted beaks.

This one is my current favourite, made from my "chicken" shaped body pattern with Nellie's wings.

Bird brained

Still trying out different bird shapes, again all stitched together by hand because it's still too cold in the workshop:


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This one has a slightly different body shape and a three-pointed tail. It is made from left-over scraps of quilted fabric.


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Not sure about that tail.

Again the seams are buttonholed together and embellished with trellis stitch. I added embroidery in coloured threads to help co-ordinate the different fabrics.