Friday, 31 August 2012

New Term

So far, so good. I have had a really productive summer and can say that this vacation I have actually finished more things than I started. When I made my list at the beginning of the holiday I would have been glad to get one or two things out of the way. Instead I am really proud to say that I have finished two major things, one is nearly finished and I completed a substantial repair job. AND I did not start anything new (even though I was mightily tempted!)

This last week I have been slogging away at the old man’s slippers – ho, they’re tedious sometimes but I am determined they will be on his feet come New Year if not earlier.
I have also been preparing myself for the new term at Tracy Franklin’s. For those of you who are not familiar with the way we prepare for the RSN course here it is in pictures and you will probably understand why it is a good idea to get ready early if you can. If not, the preparation of your frame can take up nearly all of your first day on the course.

String backstitched down side of calico

Calico being attached to frame webbing

String attached to side of frame tightens everything

The finished frame ready for fabric to be attached

Added to all that I unrolled the silk dupion I had bought for the piece and it had been folded –aargh! A bit of judicious ironing did not remove the fold mark but as it is fortunately a fat quarter I think I can cut enough without having the mark across the face of my embroidery. Heh ho, c’est la vie.

My design is drawn out just ready to get the correct size and then be traced and transferred. And I can’t wait to get going again. I hope to keep you posted with my progress as I go along.

I’ve also been thinking about Christmas; well something small to do on the sofa in an evening really can’t hurt, can it…………….

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Good Works?

No, I’ve not been away and not blogging. I’ve been giving a hand to building a carport – literally. I didn’t build much but you know when you need that extra hand to hold something whilst you get the level. I was the third and fourth hand!

I’ve also gone back to that bad old habit of opening my mouth before engaging brain. Yes, I’ll do some repairs on ……………., (bugger my own work). But I can’t really complain as doing repairs on church furnishings is also a good learning experience. This is some gold work that had threads literally hanging off. As it is part of an altar set that is used nearly every week it was only going to get worse.

 Threads before work started

When I came to start the repair it was obvious that at some time the piece had been repaired already and placed on new backing fabric. Sadly, and I’m not being horrid, the repairs were not very good and in an assortment of threads but the piece is getting so fragile it was best to stabilise it and leave it at that. To take out the old repairs would have been a marathon job and probably damaged the gold threads which were already very worn.

Some of previous repairs

So I began, having photographed some of the loose threads. The only thing was that as I worked more of the original silk thread collapsed so quite a bit turned into a lot of stitching that is why I’ve ended up with what I call Gold work Finger

Not Bond's Goldfinger!

 I can’t work with a metal thimble as I like to feel what I am doing. If I ever find a leather finger cover I’d try that but in the meantime I have to put up with hot sore finger ends. Still it’s all for the greater good and all that. And maybe it’ll help to harden them up before I start my next RSN module!

Embroidery after repairs completed

This coming week I will start to prepare my frame for going back to Tracy Franklin’s. I’m so excited to be getting back to it.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My Own Thing

OK, no excuses; I’m just completely engrossed by the Olympics! Yep, here’s me unfit and totally unsporty and overweight leaping up and down screaming at two men/women in a boat and listening intently to the intricacies of the cycle racing. I race from the TV to my frame, stab a few stitches into the slippers and race back again for the action.

Consequently, not a lot to show for this week’s effort but don’t we all feel on top of the world, basking in the reflected glow from our athletes? What economic downturn, heh we got 22 golds so far! Don’t you like that WE?

So, I’m afraid it’s more past modules that I am posting this week. I put up my certificate work last week…….

I started my Diploma after a short hiatus when I just did ‘my own thing’.
I decided that I really needed to get to grips with silk shading. I had never done it before the certificate piece and I found it really hard to get my head round the idea of it. OK long and short stitch is not complicated but then you have to paint with the threads. I got really uptight which doesn’t help your work. So I decided to do something that would not be assessed, just for my development. That’s how I came to do my Hare.

Silk shading - Hare

He is based on a Durer print from the 16th century and I loved doing him. As much as anything I think it was the soft muted colours and then seeing him come to life once the texture was added. He made my mind up – I would continue with the Diploma. Once he was completed he went to a good home as a thank you to somebody who had always been interested in what I was doing.

The Diploma allows you to choose either an animal or a figure for the silk shading module. I adore medieval art whether illuminated manuscripts, paintings or embroidery and I found the fabulous Mantle of the Golden Fleece embroideries made for one of the medieval chivalric orders. I think this is Saint Barbara from the tower she holds in her arm.

Diploma Silk Shading

 The original vestments were executed in or nuĂ©. This piece is done in tapestry shading, that is vertically laid long and short stitch. The hare was done in directional long and short i.e. following the lines of his coat.

Detail of hands

Detail of Mantle

Detail of head

So each picture shows a slightly different technique to get a similar result. Some of her proportions are odd but that comes from the medieval image and I think adds a certain charm. The hair is done in single thread stem stitch using small stitches in rows. The head dress is not padded but the effect comes from using directional shading to get the effect! There is also a small amount of pearl purl to highlight the halo from the head dress. Again I loved the colours - these so different from the softness of the hare's fur.I wouldn’t say silk shading is my favourite method but I got over some of my hang-ups and I will come back to it in due course to work again on my own thing!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Nearly there!

Finished Crewel work Cushion


Well, the cushion is finished and made up and ready for the raffle! So I can cross another thing off my list. Sadly, the cupboard is still full of ‘bits and bobs’. I don’t want to sound ungrateful and I do get some fabulous threads and materials and books  passed onto me, but I also get things that I am sure have sat in somebody else’s cupboard for years! Invariably it comes with the phrase ‘can you do something with this?’ and I just cannot say no.

I found a cross work kit of a Beatrix Potter character that I was given. Now, I just don’t do cross work, it never floated my boat, so to speak. There was a tiny scrap of Aida and some pretty grotty colours with it as well as a ‘chart’. So I thought, well, what can I do with this to make it do-able? So I dug out my 18 count canvas and some of my old threads and a picture of the original character in the book and practised my canvas shading. Not sure what I will turn it into – probably a small picture in a mount if I can find some card.

Canvas work rabbit

Like I say, not something I would have chosen to do, but it is another thing out of the cupboard and can join the pile that is being given to ‘charitable causes’. I think now that will do for finishing off half done projects. I will rearrange the cupboard and dig out some beautiful new fabrics.Then I can start thinking about what I want to do for me………. Oh, and learn to say no thanks!