Tag Archives: embroidery

Lonely Little Craft Blog

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My poor little blog has sat here for the best part of three years, it’s not that I haven’t been making stuff, just that I’ve had to get to grips with some health problems and have ‘gone to ground’.

I am coming to terms with it all now and there is a the bright side to all the pain is that I have more time on my hands.  OK, it maybe of clusters of minutes at the time when the medication is working and projects may take much longer than they used to, but that is OK.  I also tend to do a lot of it in bed where I am most comfortable

I’ve always wanted to do try out loads of things, but I have had to rein that in a little – struggling through a class in huge amounts of pain is just a waste of time and money.  I do get to experiment with lots of different things and I’ll be talking about it all here rather than one specific thing.  There are the bears I’ve made and designed, embroideries, needlepoints, goldwork like my little snail in the picture, silver smithing, crochet, knitting, felting, some card making and miscellaneous crafts.  I’ll probably also touch on beads, buttons, and my love affair with fountain pens, beautiful jewel coloured inks and how I am grinding my own nibs.   Oh and machine embroidery – the personal demon that turned me into a militant hand embroiderer, but I have tried it and it’s simple.  The hardest thing for me is the sitting down at the machine and sometimes you don’t even need to do that.

I post my book reviews to Murder! She Read, to keep track on the books I have read.  I also post on ‘A Shingled Out HSP’ where I am starting to document what is going on with the whole pain/highly sensitive thing.

However, it is making stuff that keeps me sane and gives me physical proof that I haven’t spent all day going *ouch* and I’ll do my best to show what I have been doing.

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October 20, 2012 · 2:11 pm

Falling out with projects

No matter what the craft is, whether it is knitting, sewing, scrapbooking or embroidering, there are some projects where you are thisclose to finishing, and you find yourself procrastinating.

I bought a needlepoint kit for a paperweight in a vegetable garden design and I just need to finish off a row of french and bullion knots and trim the turkey stitches.  This should take a couple of hours at most, but instead I have ignored it in favour of designing my Jacobean embroidery, or reading a new book, or working on a new silversmithing project – anything except the needlepoint!  Every evening this week I have sat down with it and instead of finishing it, I have been frogging and deconstructing bullion knots, adjusting where things are positioned, cursing every stitch I made or unmade – and the more I look at it, the more I don’t like it.

As it is a bought design I have adjusted some things, changing the size of the french knot flowers or the colours of the vegetables, but each time I pick it up, I see another thing in the design that I want to change.  This is madness, because it is almost finished and to unpick a large swathe of stitches would not be one of my greatest ideas…

Now, it is war and I have set myself a task for the weekend – that by tomorrow I would have finished it.

… So what am I doing?  I’m looking at teddy bear patterns of course!

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An English Embroidered Knot Garden

Back in 2007 I was on a mission trying to complete my 3D embroidered knot garden for the village show.  I had been entering the embroidery category for almost 20 years and had never won first prize – my colours were too bright, the designs too unusual – and often lost to the WI or the Embroidery club.  So dammit, I was going to do something spectacular and I was going to win first prize – which I did – I also won the best in show cup 🙂

The Knot Garden was inspired by the book Embroidered Knot Gardens by Owen Davies , but I wanted to use ‘old school’ traditional embroidery stitches – so I did a lot of research using 18th and 19th Century embroidery books.

The Garden Gate

The Garden Gate

The walls were made using linen with I stamped with fabric paints to make the brick effect – it was much easier than actually stitching every brick!  I added a trailing rose bush around the walls using bullion knots in a beautiful pink.

From Above

From Above

This gives a clear view of the hedge made with turkey stitch (velvet stitch), which is fairly simple to do and has a great effect once trimmed.  You can also add other colours to add dimension to the hedge or bush.

From the back

From the back

This shows the inside of the garden.  I loved making the fountain, and it is surprisingly sturdy as my cat decided to sit in the garden – as it was wire wrapped, I could just reposition it.

Corner Close Up

Corner Close Up

What I enjoyed was adding little details to the garden, like the butterflies and the tiny ladybirds that were made out of a red matt seed bead that I put spots on.  I wanted there to be different things to see every time you looked at the garden. It also made it more interesting for me too!

I also used needle lace to make the leaves, this is a simple woven picot technique that build up to make an impressive plant.  If you wanted to, you could easily add a thin gauge wire to the outer stitches to make them re-positionable.

The pink flowers in the corner were made using a whipped spiders web stitch on a bed of french knots that I built up to give the impression of depth.

Another corner

Another corner

I was so pleased when I put the wall together and the pyracantha shrub matched up!  Again I used turkey stitch, but making the loops longer to make a larger bush which covered a wider area of the garden.

I used a variety of different threads, wool for the turkey stitch which fluffs up nicely, regular cotton floss, a Perle for the smaller flowers, a soft cotton for the larger french knot flowers, rayon and DMC Light Effects, as well as satin ribbons.  I am not particularly keen on ribbon work, especially because I was working on several layers of stitches. This meant I needed a larger needle that did not work well with the ribbon!  However, french knots using thin satin ribbon look beautiful and creates these well defined knots.

The base of the embroidery is a mono canvas and I used a clip frame and bound the edges, which seemed to work just as well as a slate frame.  However, you need to make sure that it is properly stretched because it becomes very bulky. The finished piece was 12 x 13 inches and the walls were three inches high.  In the end I used over fifty different stitches for the garden taking inspiration from stump work, crewel work, needlepoint, turkish embroidery, some couching, needlelace, regular embroidery, pulled thread, blackwork… I think that is it!

More photos can be seen on my Flickr page

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Make Up? Break Up

That embroidered bag I was talking about before? Well, yesterday I decided to set to work on it, except when I started to read the instructions again (specifically the bit about cutting out each petal, which contradicted itself in the next paragraph saying that you shouldn’t cut out 5 of the petals) I went from being confused to being angry (blame that bit on the hot weather).  See, that isn’t the best way to start a project because every time you hit a problem or fall out of love with it, you end up hating it even more and create bad memories associated with the item.

Until it occurred to me, I could take the idea of the drawstring bag and make my own design for the petals.  Duh.  Who says that you have to follow someone else’s (badly written) instructions?  So now I can make a beautiful jacobean design and use glowing jewel like colours and embellish with tiny pearls instead of make something from a book that irritated me from the beginning.

Watch this space…

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Instruction headache

I saw this book in an old needlework magazine and fell in love with the bag on the front, it is a perfect mix of goldwork and embroidery that would test my skills.  So I tracked down the book (which, of course, is out of print) and started reading the instructions.

Then re-read them.

Then re-re-read them.

Now, I think I am a pretty accomplished needlewoman and have followed hundreds of intructions so this shouldn’t be a problem, but it didn’t make sense.  I even asked Mum to look over them and she couldn’t understand them either – this was a relief, I know that I am on a lot of painkillers which can make my head foggy, but not that foggy.

The embroidery itself doesn’t seem that difficult, neither does the interior drawstring bag, but the way the petals are made seem almost impossible.   Then last night at the asscrack of dawn when I couldn’t sleep it came to me.  You make ten petals then sandwich them together to make five, using couched gold braid to hide the edge. Hooray, why couldn’t she have said that instead of assuming that the reader knows what is going on in her head.

Now I understand what is going on, this seems OK, but using a backing fabric with evenweave seems a little irritating – then using two thick layers of vylene also seems like overkill…

All I need to know is where the hell I get Pongee material…

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Needlepoint

Needlepoint Bookmark

Needlepoint Bookmark

When I first started to embroider back when I was 7 what I loved most was the different stitches, and sat for hours with my Mum’s embroidery books making up samplers.

This is why I find needlepoint so frustrating.  While there is a certain elegance to the repetitive nature of the designs, it still doesn’t get away from having to do the majority in tent stitch.  I don’t think that I’d ever be able to tolerate doing a large needlpoint tapestry!

Every year for the village show I dig out some needlepoint designs and start sewing.

This was a bookmark using a kit by Sue Hawkins who does a lovely range of unusual items using a range of needlepoint stitches.  You can also easily adapt her designs using different colours and patterns as her colours are often a little muted.

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