Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Picking up where I left off

I've gone back and had another look at my Blue Leaves (need a name for my designs?) done the bottom two leaves and started on the stem. Keeps me out of mischief!
Mmm.. not too bad?

Just stem to do now!

Might even finish it before I'm back at Tracy's!

Thursday, 15 August 2013


Finished piece.
Well here we are, the finished piece. Lots of hard work and not a few tantrums (my husband calls me Violet Elizabeth!). Now I have to leave it alone until next Wednesday when I see Tracy Franklin.

My little snail
I chose to do a little canvas work snail rather than trailing for the shell. Somehow, going round and round just didn't look right for this piece.

Full head of hair now!
You'll see the butterfly is also a bit unreal, but that is the spirit of 17th century stumpwork I say!....and she finally got to the hairdressers for her extensions.

and we have fruit in our hand.
The picture if you remember was part of five unworked panels in the Met from their embroidery collection. All drawn out for making into a box, it was based around allegories of the five senses. There is Hearing with her guitar and Smell with a flower. I would assume this is Taste about to bite into a nice juicy cherry or apple.Any other ideas?  She still looks very Moll Flanders to me.

Now I'm off to do my mock up for some work I've got and draw up my white work ideas.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Slugs and snails everywhere!

We live in a fairly damp part of the UK on the western side of the country. The garden is surrounded by dry stone walls which are paradise for snails, and slugs and all other manner of things that eat my plants. I am in. Instant battle to keep a hosta that lasts past June.

But now, they've even invaded my stitching! In fact, this snail looks as though he's on a mission to demolish a particularly tasty specimen.

Snail in raised stem band.

He hasn't got his shell on yet but I padded the shape and worked raised stem band for his body. Here is the tasty specimen he fancies....

Silk and organza flower

It completes the bling corner of the piece. The petals were made in silk organza that I painted with water colour paints and one is done in single Brussels in silk thread. I've also coloured the lady's features. But repadded her 'hair' piece with some carpet felt under the felt. I then started to stitch her hair with straight stitches first and I will then add the curls later.

Working hair in straight stitches first

I just thought I would recommend the RSN Stumpwork book by Kate Sinton for anybody who is interested in developing this area of embroidery themselves. I have followed her instructions for making a face step by step. The book is really clear and there are plenty of step by step photographs to help you along. Definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Great book

So, butterfly, snail shell and some titivation and all done. Ready for mounting next week at Tracy's in Durham and assessment. Phew...!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Heads not tails

I've got a head on my lady today. It took a bit of doing but got there in the end!

The problem is the size of the piece...

Size of head

As you can see, when you get down to facial features tiny isn't in it. That little nose took 4 hours tp produce believe it or not. So tiny the wood kept splitting. I told the joiner you just can't get good wood these days!

Head attached

But in the end she doesn't look too bad. Ready for the hairdresser now.

I decided to leave the hair until tomorrow and I slipped in a flower...

Canvas slips

Flower head detached slips

Amazing how you can get on when you're not frying!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Fully dressed........

Here's my lady completely dressed, including her pearl necklace. Shame her head is missing!

Today I've sealed her face with PVA glue diluted, it just needs a nose carving from balsa, so nearly ready to complete.

The flower slips are all ready to fix in place as soon as she is completed and her curls are drying as I write!

So very nearly there......

Dress complete

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cracking on

Just to keep you up to date, I've stitched and applied the bodice to my figure and padded the sleeve/arms with carpet felt and then ordinary felt

Carpet padding on arms

I attached the wired hands under the felt. 

Sleeve added, ready for cuffs next

I made up a sleeve and stab stitched that in place. One more sleeve and a nice cavalier's lacy collar and cuffs will complete her ensemble!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Overcoming the heat

 I have had my two weeks with Tracy Franklin in Durham, two of the hottest this year. Progress has not been good but at least I have come home with a clear direction of what to do and in what order.

The only thing about doing stumpwork is that nothing seems to happen to your work for ages but you have loads of bits all worked up waiting for the right moment to attach them. So there are petals and leaves all wired up and faces and hands just waiting to be stitched in.

As usual, I have a marathon to run. The needlelace for the skirt alone took 2 days to stitch and this last weekend I finished the clouds below in shaded chain stitch.

Tent stitch sun and chain stitch clouds

There is also quite a bit of long and short stitch for the hillocks that my lady stands on and I've just about completed that, just a bit under her feet to 'ground' her.

Skirt in corded buttonhole detached needlelce
So today I attached the over skirt which was long enough, thank the lord!

Super pearl purl edged flower

and just to finish the day off I've edged two of the little flowers in pearl purl

and there's two!

So now I'm ready to do the bodice and sleeves and attach her face and hair. Any tips folks?