Sunday, 24 December 2006

Phone Pouch Update

It is 3.30 am and I have just helped Santa deliver christmas stockings. As I am wide awake I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a quick update on the phone pouch. I've done some stitching on most of the seams. I am going to add some roses in the purple silk ribbon I dyed last week to the seam with the chain stitch scallops. I have no idea what to do on the seem next to that one. The thread I would like to use is a rayon ribbon but it has a core so it is like a cord. It has more orange in it that the other threads. As it is quite thick I will have to couch it or weave it through other stitches rather than stitch with it.

Ok, I'm going back to bed now. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Happy Stitching

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Phone Pouch

Some time ago, I bought these threads for no other reason than I like them. Janet of From the Other Side of the Fence recently wrote that she has trouble using her stash because it might not be the right project. I'm a bit like that and then when, I start an new project, I buy the right threads/fabric/beads to go with that project. But I am trying to change. Another thing that I do, is keep all the little scraps from dress making and embroidery projects, just in case they come in useful one day.

A short while ago Stepson 2 asked if I would make a pouch for his girlfriend to keep her mobile phone in. I determined that I would find something from my stash to use. My original plan was to make something quite simple so that she would have it quickly. But then I started exploring the internet, and discovered Crazy Quilting and realised this is exactly what I have been keeping all those scraps for. So the simple pouch is now going to be CQ and last night I made up the block.

I looked for instructions on the web and used the sew and flip method on a foundation of calico. I have used the same velvet in the middle and on the corners but I machine stitched vermicelli across the middle section before stitching on the pale segments (which are not as yellow as they appear in this scan).

Hopefully tonight I can start on the seam treatments.

Happy Stitching

Monday, 18 December 2006

Dying to have a go

About six weeks ago I took part in a Francis Pickering workshop. Whilst talking about her own work, Francis told us that she usually dyes all her own threads to match her colour theme. I decided to have a go myself and purchased a range of undyed silk and cotton threads, some white silk ribbon, and some dye. This weekend I managed to find some time to play a little. I first did a test on some Coats crochet cotton. I was pleased with the resulting pale turquoise and lilac. Encouraged I divided the treads into three batches. I dyed one batch each with the turquoise and lilac dye. The third batch I used both dyes one at each end of the dish, blending them in the middle. After setting the dye and washing them, I found that the colour was much more intense on the silk than on the cotton. The colours, especially the purple are beautiful, but not what I had intended at all. Never mind, a friend of mine says that things like this are not mistakes, but design opportunities!

Happy Stitching

Thursday, 14 December 2006

And the Winner is ...

As I expected, there was a lovely collection of gift bags entered. Most were constructed from paper, some of which were hand made. Most had a little stitching on them although some were decorated in other ways. One very pretty bag had only black line drawing on it but was so skillfully done. A few were quite heavily stitched mainly with machine embroidery. The winning bag was either a collage of papers or hand painted paper. It was difficult to know which, as it was then heavily machine stitched in a circular design to give a lacy effect. It was very pretty and a deserving winner. The auction was fun and raised an impressive £68 for the branch.

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Finished Silver Gift Bag

I've finished.

One of my biggest failings is not finishing a project. It helps if I have a goal or deadline, as I did with this bag. Monday evening I made a cord for the handles. The main cord is two shades of grey combined and then twisted into a cord. First I wrapped it with the silver and silk thread that I used in the embroidery in the same direction as the twist. Then I wrapped it in the opposite direction with a textured thread taken from the Olive Twist assortment. Last night I backed it, made up the bag and attached the cords. I positioned one of the button clusters too low and they don't sit nicely.

The Guild meeting is this evening. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done. There are some exciting textile artist in the group, including some very talented machine embroiderers, felt makers, weavers and one lady who specialises in freestyle lace-making. After the competition the bags will be auctioned to raise funds for the branch.

Happy Stitching

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Silver Gift Bag

This is a project that I am currently working on. When finished it will be a gift bag. It is my entry for a competition the my branch of the Embroiderer's Guild is holding at our December meeting. The background is merino wool and silk throwsters waste that I felted onto muslin. The silk does not show up well because I put too much wool on top of it but it broke up the grey to give a mottled effect.

Last year, I bought a new sewing machine because I would like to do more machine embroidery, but so far I haven’t done much. I thought this would be a good opportunity to practice vermicelli, a stitch that I have not had much success with so far. Unfortunately I choose to use a metallic Madeira 40 thread which broke very easily. I snapped so frequently that I nearly gave up all together but sheer bloody mindedness drove me to finish what I had started. In the end I was quite pleased with the sparkle that it added to the background. After that I decided to give myself a break and let the machine do some of the work. I tried out some of the built in decorative stitches in silver metallic and white rayon Madeira 40. My plan was to break the background into random areas like the crazy quilts that I had recently discovered on the internet. I then created some more ‘seams’ in by hand using various threads from an “Oliver Twists” assortment in neutral colours.

Finally, I added some embellishment. I was really inspired by some silk ribbon embroideries that I had seen on the web and wanted to try some for myself. I found the instructions for this poinsettia on the web. For the characters, which I think say ‘Peace’, I used fly stitch and ribbon stitch. I used some mother of pearl buttons and a variety of beads to create two clusters in areas that looked a little bare.

Hopefully, I will make up the bag this evening.

Happy Stitching

Saturday, 9 December 2006

New Beginnings

I don’t know how old I was when I started to stitch. I don’t know who taught me. As far as I know, I was born with a needle in my hand. It is simply something that I have always done. I don't do it exceptionally well but I love doing it. I’ve made clothes, I’ve knitted jumpers (very badly) and I’ve crocheted cushion covers. I have done many things that involve needles and thread but most of all, I’ve embroidered.

To me, anything that makes a decorative stitch is embroidery. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at many techniques and I haven’t found one yet that I haven’t enjoyed. I learned by following the instructions in kits, or designs printed in magazines. I do tend to flit from one thing to another, which makes me a Jack of many trades and Master of none. Sewing is my hobby; I do it because I like it and I find it relaxing.

In 2000, I joined a local branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild. Among other branch members and speakers I’ve met many talented and creative needlewomen. From them, and at workshops I’ve attended, I have learned a great deal and have been inspired to explore textile art. I am a wannabe textile artist.

Nearly everything I have done in the past, I have given away and I have not kept any record of it. This blog is primarily a place for me to record what I am working on and perhaps thoughts and ideas for future projects. It is also a place for me to share my work with those who, like me, enjoy seeing what other embroiderers are working on. I am a very slow worker, and don’t get to stitch every day, so I won’t be posting on a daily basis. If I manage to post weekly, I will surprise myself.

Happy stitching, Carol-Anne