Sunday, 30 December 2012

New Projects

Hope you all had a good Christmas and are now ready for the New Year celebrations.

New Year, new projects. The next module in my RSN Diploma will be appliqué. Mmmm….can’t say that it is something that I have been eager to get my teeth into! Still after some serious browsing sessions (what did we all do before the internet!) I have come up with something based around an 11th century tapestry that will hopefully allow me to meet all the requirements in the brief.

I have started to frame up the calico backing and will then be ready to begin when I get back to Durham in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, and as well as, I thought I would revisit some of the things I have learnt over the past few years and develop my own designs. This will definitely be an interesting experience for me as I have to interpret all those ideas I keep going on about into physical designs. Oh, to be artistic........

So far I have done a small sketch based on a traditional Jacobean leaf that I will then stitch in crewel wool.

Crewel Leaf design
I have some linen fabric – not the traditional twill-so will see how that works up and I shall use wools from Renaissance Dyes. I haven’t used these before so I reckon I can make all this part of the learning process of seeing what works and what doesn’t! Maybe one day I'll even get adventurous.

Crewel wools and linen fabrics

Stitching ideas!

I have already worked out some stitching ideas that I want to incorporate into the design so all I have to do now is pounce it onto the fabric and off we go. I'm sure there'll be plenty of reverse stitching, so watch this space!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A little inspiration....

Just a quick little post before we all settle down to eat too much and do too little (some hope!).

I left the security blanket of a paid job on Saturday and have now joined the ranks of the self employed. I had decided to have a rest and recharge my batteries then start afresh in the New Year, use the time to get ready for Christmas when the family will descend and maybe get the cake iced before Christmas Eve!

Just thought I'd share these cute little needle books with you. 

Rear of books

Front of books

They continue on from what I was experimenting with earlier in the year using different canvas stitches in stranded cottons and bringing metallic threads in to add texture and depth to the design. As you can see they are based on Elizabethan knot gardens and I like to think the rear of the books is a lawn. The lurex thread is used in the Rhodes stitches at the centre and four corners and mixed with stranded cotton for long legged cross stitch to outline the design. The flower beds are done in French knots, rice stitch, eyelet stitch, leaf stitch, cross stitch and tent stitch. The box edge and lawn are done in cushion stitch.

They are for two girls and each is slightly different to identify whose is whose. Hopefully they will be amused by them and see what you can achieve with a little inspiration......

Thursday, 13 December 2012


Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun………….!! I have had so much going on in the last few weeks and really don’t know where the time has gone.

The Christmas cake is made and the mince pies in the freezer along with a number of casseroles so I can have a ‘rest’. The cards are written and the majority of the pressies are ready to wrap. And I have finally made the decision to leave the weekly pay cheque of the supermarket job and concentrate on my embroidery wherever that takes me. People say you should follow your dream, well, better late than never. I’ve been dreaming so long I feel like Sleeping Beauty!

There is so much buzzing round in my head and I need to concentrate on my ideas and develop my design skills and practice, practice, practice!

The angel is finished.

Completed piece
Pearl purl to give movement to design 
Angel Head
Couched upper wing
Compass or Wheel of life or the Earth? - my doughnut.

 My, we have had a tortuous journey me and my angel – don’t know who is guarding who!!! The doughnut went on – and off and on again. The feet were like applying small dots. I ran out of places to anchor my couching thread. And then there was the cutwork.

I have had to use rough and smooth purls as per the brief – yes very fragile! Two lines of cutwork angled into each other and then s-ing next to that. I lost count of how many cut purls cracked and were taken out when knocked with the needle. What is that saying about more haste less speed?

Anyway, I ran out of rough and smooth purls, so I had to stop fiddling with it. When I got up to Tracy’s yesterday we agreed that one line of s-ing looked a bit squashed as you see in the photot, so I redid that and then yeah……………….it finally came off the frame. Hip hooray! It was getting like the blackwork and I never wanted to see it again. It is now partially mounted, just the backing sateen to put on when I go back in January, so will be ready for the New Year assessment.

When she sat on her board, yes I did feel a bit chuffed. This is different to my normal work and I am so grateful that the Beryl Dean Trustees allowed me to use one of her designs. Having worked on it over the autumn makes you fully appreciate her skill as an artist and wow did it challenge me.

Now I'll have to practice applique.