Saturday, December 23, 2006

Postcards sent and received
This first postcard purchased from Fibre Art for a Cause following the International Quilt Festival in Houston - it was created by Jan Johnson and is called Paint Strokes. I like the way she has combined satin stitching with paint splodges to make the design.

On the City and Guilds Yahoo group I belong to, we did an end of year postcard swap - this is the postcard that I received from Karin in Germany - I find it very calming yet interesting to look at.

This is the postcard that I created for Karin - hand dyed scrim on pink aida with stitching and beads added, edged with hand made cord. Many of the stitches were ones that we had done during the Library of Stitches course.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Well, we haven't put the Christmas tree up instead I've had some fun this evening doing this embroidery with thick, interesting threads on scrim which I then stitched onto felt. I did try doing some bullion knots which were a bit of a nightmare as they kept getting tangled up with the fibres from the wools and I also added large green beads, mainly round the edges. We actually like the cream scrim that is visible round the outside so I haven't covered it up - if I'd had time before I started then I would have dyed or painted it.

This is a sampler that I have done for week 6 - all based on chevron stitch and using some lovely variegated threads of different thicknesses. I have tried varying the sizes of the stitches, working them the wrong way round (look at the middle row), overlapping them and using both bullion knots and cast on stitch to vary the look. Some of the threads I used proved to be a bit of a nightmare - either very silky or with a slub that didn't want to go through the ground fabric.

I bought some Caron Watercolours thread yesterday and that was lovely to use - it feels so soft and the colours are yummy - I let myself play with one skein and am getting 7 more for Christmas - can't wait! Next I want to play with stitching on scrim to develop a picture with thick yarns and I need to find enough room in the lounge for the Christmas tree to go up this afternoon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

This week, since I finished the banner I have been busy creating a postcard to send off for a swap - it was going to be the one below - Christmas red and green with a bit of gold - but I didn't like the finished embroidery, so I started another one. I finished and posted it today and will post a picture of it here once it has reached it's destination.

I have also been stitching a small sampler for Week 5 of the Library of Stitches - this time using Arrow Stitch and lots of variations of it to give different effects - don't they look effective?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I can't believe it's nearly Christmas! Yesterday I finished the banner we have been making to hang in Church over the Christmas period and here it is -

Although you can't see it very well on this photograph the gold lines from the star extend outwards to the edges and we sewed blue sequins on to the sky which sparkle as the light catches them. The star is actually mounted on a cross (made from blue net) which is very subtle. It got a good, positive reaction in church this morning which is encouraging for all those who were involved in its production. Now we can start thinking about a hanging to celebrate the church's 350th anniversary next year - we are one of the oldest Baptist churches in the world.

I can also now start to get on with some other stitching and thinking about Christmas pressie shopping etc.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I've just finished my first postcard for Week 4 - I ended up using Antwerp edging for the border. I started with the bottom row in variegated perle thread then did the rest with 2 threads - the variegated and a dark purple. I have used a very fine variegated crochet cotton (which must be about 30 years old) for the main part of the stitching, all of which are variations on buttonhole stitch. The 'mess' at the bottom right hand corner is also buttonhole stitch worked densely in various threads.

On Tuesday evening I started a course at work (nothing to do with embroidery) and we had to introduce ourselves by creating something out of a piece of card. We had to put our name on it and 2 things that would help people to remember who we were - with stitching in mind I drew my name in chain stitch and outlined it with 2 colour herringbone, with a nice flower with feather stitch leaves and stalk! Just shows how stitching takes over!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I've had a really busy week what with the banner making, C+G display on Saturday, marking students assignments and starting a course myself (as a student) at work on Tuesday, so I haven't managed to squeeze in a lot of stitching. I have however done one postcard sampler based on Week 3 stitches which were concentrating on lines. I really like the cable chain stitch at the left hand side of the picture and a knotted cretan stitch in the middle.

Hopefully this week I'll have a little more time to experiment with Week 4's stitches and design ideas although I do have a lot of stitching to do on the banner to get it finished to hang probably next weekend.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I have now finished my second sample postcard for week 2 - I did the border in portuguese stem stitch having realised that I did it wrong last week. Here is a close up of this weeks version.

And here is the finished postcard. This weeks lesson was about pointilism and using stitches as motifs to create points. I've not only used stitches but also beads, sequins and stitches based on buttons and brass washers.

I've just started the border for week 3 - this week is all about line, should be fun.

I've had a busy weekend - but forgot to take any photos of the banner making on Friday. I t was a fun event - hard work, but rewarding to do. The banner isn't yet finished - my sewing machine will be hard at work over the next couple of weeks topstitching and quilting it to get it ready for the beginning of December.

Yesterday, the local patchwork and quilting group I go to, Patchwork People, celebrated their 25th anniversary - we had a special cake, lots of silver around, a special raffle and Barbara Chainey talking about her visits and interest in the tentmakers in Cairo. I organised a display of some of the work that 4 of us did for our City and Guilds embroidery course - unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This is my first postcard sized sample for Week2 of the Library of Stitches class - it's done on pale green aida with blue variegated perle cotton and dark blue stranded cotton. I seemed to spend most of my time unpicking stitches to get everything even. I've done moss stitch, crown stitch, variations of fly stitch and cross stitch - good fun.

I have also spent some time on another sample this weekend using single motifs some based on brass washers and sequins - that one isn't complete yet - will post a picture later in the week when it is.

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours developing a design for a church banner, using different coloured papers. A group of 8 or 9 of us at church are going to be making up the design on Friday afternoon in a workshop session which I am organising. This is the first time I've done anything like this so it's a bit scary - I am used to teaching and organising classes but not for sewing activities.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This is sample 2 which I have just completed for Week 1 using a number of variations of herringbone stitch.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I have finished the first sample of fly stitches for the Library of Stitches and am quite pleased with how it has turned out. I used a variety of threads including cotton perle in 2 thicknesses, embroidery floss, thick chenille and a metallic thread. The thick chenille didn't shred at all on the evenweave - I had to use a huge needle that felt like a poker to even be able to thread it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tonight is Bonfire Night and there was the most amazing sunset visible from our top floor. Jon is back from Uni this week and is planning to go off to the large firework display in the city centre tonight – they always put on an amazing display.

I have started an online course with – Sharon Boggons Personal Library of Stitches which is kick starting my stitching again. I have started with a 6x4 piece of space dyed linen and so far completed the border in guilloche stitch. I have used some space dyed perle cotton, variegated thinner perle cotton, terracotta coloured plain perle cotton and 3 strands of plain embroidery floss for the French knots. As you can see I haven’t quite finished the French knots yet.
Then I shall work a variety of feather stitch combinations in the central part.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Summer School 2006

During the summer I attended a summer school for 3 days run by our embroidery teacher, Catherine I thought it was time that I put the work onto my blog for all to see. Last year at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace I went to a 1 hour workshop run by the Fibre Factory which was about using various threads and fabrics to create an embellished piece of embroidery - this was my finished piece.

This piece gave Catherine the inspiration for the summer school - we started with some source material for the colours - these day lilies were mine

Then we painted papers with procion dyes - we only had 6 colours to work with - 3 warm colours - golden yellow, vibrant magenta and indigo navy, and 3 cool colours - lemon yellow, scarlet and brilliant blue. We were encouraged to play with the colours, mixing them to achieve colours that we liked and painting them on the paper.

After we had painted the papers we then space dyed a selection of fabrics and threads.

Using a picture or selection of pictures as design source material we experimented, again with paper, to develop shapes and ultimately a basis for a design that we could stitch.

This was my pencil drawing with notes on it - as you can see I'm not the best artist in the world.

We then started to experiment and sample different techniques and stitches that we might use in our finished piece.

Then came the fun part of doing the actual stitching - this is the finished article - maybe one day I'll decide what to do with it.

At the end of the 3 days we laid all our inspiration and experiments out for all to see.

It was a really nice, relaxing, fun 3 days.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This is a picture of the completed autumn piece - only winter to go. I have yet to decide on a picture to base it on. It is very difficult to find a photo which depicts winter that isn't misty and grey or all white and that is interesting.

Autumn again is sponged with brown, yellow, orange and green fabric paints - I use Jacquard, then stitched in perle cotton with fly stitch. Originally I was going to do leaf shapes in cretan stitch but decided to go more abstract, however, once I had started stitching I thought they looked like sycamore seeds falling to the ground.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Today I am going to show you the first two pieces I have done for the first module of the Level 3 City and Guilds course I am doing by distance learning with WS-Touchbase in Dorset. As part of the first module looking at colour we had to find photos depicting each of the four seasons, pick out the main colours from the photos, using fabric paint sponge the colours onto plain fabric then using similar colours stitch onto the fabric using the stitches we have practised. I am not showing the original photos as they are copyrighted.

This first picture shows spring - the original photo was on a postcard depicting a bluebell wood - I have used feather stitch and mainly perle cottons on a calico background.

The second picture is summer taken from a photo of a meadow in the height of summer. This time I have used buttonhole stitch radiating both inwards and outwards again in perle cotton on calico.

I am now working on autumn then need to finally decide on a picture for winter.

This is a wall hanging that I have started based on a design from a Fabrications magazine I bought a few years ago. I have used a piece of 'Sky Dyes' fabric by Micky Lawler that I bought in America to create the sky and now have to start quilting it.

Will show the finished wallhanging later.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Waddesdon Manor
Today started of very grey and misty but the weather forecast promised sunshine later, so DH and I decided to head out to Waddesdon Manor this afternoon. As soon as we got there the sun came out and it was really warm walking through the grounds and the house. Here are a few pictures showing it in all its 'French' glory - it really does look like a French Chateau and is richly decorated inside (it belonged to the Rothschild family before the National Trust took it over)

These are the grounds showing their autumnal colours

This is the aviary which had been restored and regilded in time for this season

This is a photo I took of the main garden and back of the house when I went with my mum back in June when the flowers were in full bloom

Friday, September 22, 2006

I have just finished a quilt for my son to take off to university with him on Sunday - he is very interested in music (hence the theme for the quilt) although he is going to be studying Theology at Uni.

Now I can get on with some of my other creative activities including finishing the first module for the Level 3 Embroidery which I have had since June. I did have high hopes of completing it during the summer but I was frankly too lazy. Now I'm back to work and the boys are back to school/Uni I have the time to get on with it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I have recently completed the Level 2 City and Guilds course in Creative Hand Embroidery - this was done at a local centre and was really fun to do. It was a lot of hard work with many new tasks to be completed each week but I made some new friends and learnt a lot of new things along the way. At the end of the course we had to submit 10 experimental samples and 2 projects for assessment accompanied by lots of paperwork. So here are the photos of my 2 projects -

The first was a wall hanging based on my mothers garden - this was mainly done using the sewing machine.

The second project was a backpack that could be converted into a shoulder bag - all of the stitching on the panel was done by hand.

I must be completely mad because I have now started doing Level 3 by Distance Learning - will post some of my work as I complete it in the next few weeks and months.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hi and welcome to my blog - my space to say and display my thoughts and my creations. You are welcome to enjoy and be inspired by the pictures that you see here but please remember that these are my quilts and are protected by copyright.

First a couple of quilts I designed and displayed at the Festival of Quilts lastyear (2005) - the first one was created using the Quilters Guild challenge fabric and was inspired initially by a quilt my husband and I saw in America at Easter in the Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster PA.

The second quilt based on a digital picture I took of Warkworth Castle in Northumberland, printed onto cotton fabric and embellished with beads and needle lace.