Sunday, 19 December 2010


Two weeks ago the Oxford branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild held their December meeting. It was one of two social evenings we hold each year. We usually have a members’ competition and this year the category was Inchies. We had been given a packet of scraps that we could use if we wanted, but it was not compulsory and there were no restrictions on what you could do.

I chose to use most of the things in the bag; a piece of red satin (approx 7 x 5 inches), a piece of red organza (roughly the same size) and a slightly smaller piece of gold lace. It also contained a length of cotton lace and a piece of stripy ribbon that I did not use but I added another piece of white organza from my stash and some coloured foil sweet wrappers.

I have not had much time for stitching lately so I was determined to do something that was not labour intensive. I allowed myself just one evening to complete the project. I tore the coloured foil into small pieces and trapped them between the red satin and red organza using FuseFX. I then trapped some more pieces between this layer and the white organza. I placed the gold lace on top and used free machine embroidery to attach it. I used a multicoloured GĂĽtermann metallic thread and stitched mainly on the solid parts of the lace. I’m not very good at FME, probably because I haven’t practiced it enough, but also because it involves random movement. On this occasion though I wasn’t trying to be too precise, I just roughly followed the pattern of the lace. Nor was I too concerned about the look of the stitches, I was trying to blend the lace into the background rather than create ornate stitching. As a result, I was more relaxed, the stitching went more smoothly, and I found it more enjoyable.

When I had stitched all over, I thought that foil showing through the lace stood out too much so I did more FME, this time in the voided areas using a gold thread. Actually, I used two Madeira metallic threads in one needle. I thought the one that I wanted to use might snap too easily so I combined it with another for strength. I fact it was the other one that kept snapping and I had to rethread several times.

The dense stitching meant that I was able to simply cut the fabric into one inch squares without finishing the edges in any way. I would have liked to embellish them a little, perhaps with beads but I’d run out of time.

The competition is judged by the members by placing a coin beside the entry (or entries) that we want to vote for. The one with the most coins is the winner. My Inchies attracted only one or two votes and I was not surprised by that. I had some fun making them and was pleased that I had tried to do something unusual for me but compared to the other entries they were a bit lame. That’s not just me being modest; take a look at the wonderful entries on our Branch Blog.

From the chatter, I could tell how much everyone had enjoyed this competition, both making their own Inchies and seeing what others had done.

Happy Stitching


Sue said...

Beautiful, I would have left you a coin :-)

Rachel said...

I would have had great difficulty with the brief. I think you created a delightful interpretation of the theme.