Sunday, 9 February 2014

All move...

I've really neglected this blog for quite a long time, the reason for which I can only now properly explain.

I had come to the point where I realised I had learned not all that I could (not that arrogant!), but all that I wanted about the crafts I've been doing for so very many years.

Increasingly, my interests were moving more towards the 'art' world.  It's something I've been wanting to get into for many years, but my confidence level was hovering around absolute zero.

Well, I decided to go for it.  I've been practising, experimenting, researching and all that and I have now decided that I need to 'come out' as an apprentice artist.

That's not to say that I might not occasionally revisit with a certain pertinent project, but, for the foreseeable future, I will now be concentrating on my brand new blog:

new blog

for anyone interested.

Thank you for all your support.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pulled Work Embroidery - Cushion

Apologies for the not-quite-up-to-it photograph and the fact that I haven't block-pressed this yet, so it's rather wonky.  To my shame, I did this in 2006 (if you zoom, you might be able to see the initials and date in the top left corner) and still haven't constructed it.

It's the work/technique I wanted to feature.  This was the first pulled work project I did (from a very old magazine; it would take me a year to find it amongst all its friends in my craft room) and I must say that I enjoyed it enormously, once I got the hang of it.  I discovered that the secret to a good result is using a very good embroidery frame.  The ones I use now are all from Needle Needs: they certainly aren't the cheapest on the market, but in my opinion are the best.  Because of their quality and the way they are constructed, they allow you to mount the fabric until it's drum-tight and it actually stays that way throughout.  Very important for this technique.


Firstly, the butterflies are drawn onto the fabric and these are worked individually, using satin stitch for the bodies, and stem stitch and eyelet stitch on the wings.  Then, all the background is worked in the 'step stitch' around them, pulling the threads of the fabric together really tightly with each straight stitch.  Borders, of course, last.  I decided not to embellish this because I feel that the work, in itself, is enough.

I've always loved self-coloured embroidery: this one is on linen and I used an ordinary DMC thread in the exact same colour for the design.

I also made an identical cushion - but white on white - which I did get constructed, before giving it as a gift.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Repeat Motifs 2

Another example of how working repeat motifs can be really effective.  This cushion is embroidered in variegated silk and embellished with beads and metallic thread.

A slightly different take on the technique.  I added a row of pockets to a plain kitchen cork board, each with the same motif.  Again, variegated silk embroidery.  Very handy for holding keys and other bits and pieces.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Microphotography Inspiration

OK.  This might be a little out of line with my other posts; nevertheless, I think it's interesting enough to share.

I can't remember how, or when, I first hit upon this idea, but I regularly look for unusual sources of inspiration to bring to my crafting - whether that be art, embroidery - whatever.

Here are a couple of examples of microphotography which had a real impact - they just 'sing' to me.

I've also been known to rewind and pause the tv when I see something I think is really beautiful so I can  take a photograph of it for future inspiration.  This is, perhaps, my very favourite from that source...

Tomorrow...another idea like these for inspiration.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Variegated Threads

I originally posted my small gold cushion which I made using this pattern, a while ago.  But I thought I'd point out how using variegated embroidery threads can really add interest to a project like this  Also, I'm going to add a useful tip on coping with complicated and/or very detailed patterns.

For this sample, I chose a silk thread, from Oliver Twists, in blues.  (Cotton variegates by DMC and Anchor are widely available, though in fewer colour choices and I much prefer sewing with silk, anyway)  I think this thread gives an interesting 'chinese porcelain' effect.

The design itself is a form of counted thread work and consists solely of straight stitches.  That said, I found it a particularly challenging piece of work.  When I'm faced with something like that - complex, in one way or another, I resort to a technique I devised purely out of necessity.  If such patterns are presented in the form of a graph, then the threads are usually marked in tens by more heavy print.  I mark my piece of fabric in the centre, then mark out the same grid of tens, working from the centre marked on the pattern, using a very sharp 2B pencil.  It helps enormously in aiding concentration.  The pencil lines are easily removed by washing on completion.

If you click on the photograph to enlarge it, you can see on this, better than on the gold variation, how each 'flower' is different.  I embellished the centre of each with a tiny, opalescent sequin.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Floor Quilt

For this small quilt, I took a block pattern and repeated it to get the size I wanted.  At the time, I was also very much into 'inchies', - still am, really - so used them for the middle border.  I like to think it adds some interest to what could otherwise be a very ordinary design.  I like leaves and this project contains all of my favourite colours: my whole living room is done out in them.

It was originally intended as a wall hanging but, somehow, it's become a rug, in front of the fireplace.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Grandmother's Little Angels

This is a small quilt with 3D 'little angels' made separately and appliquéd.  I love it.

It's from this great book, which has lots of really different and innovative designs...

Click here for link to book on Amazon

Would also love to do the design on the cover.  Ah so much to do...