Sunday, 24 July 2016

Hardanger #5

Ladies and gentlemen.... I have finished!

I have finished my second SAL project which is  Mabel Figworthy's Fancies Song of the Weather SAL Hardanger sampler.  I started it in 2013, so it took a while, but the last couple of weeks I've been stitching like a demon to get it done.

There are 2 panels, each with 6 blocks.  This is January to June.

We have a wrong-way-round photo here... damn you photo!

And here is August to December, which is the one I've been stitching on for this SAL.

See, I finished that ribbon rose!  It doesn't match any of the blues, and it's 6mm rather than the 4mm called for, but finished is better than perfect!

I knew I wanted some sashing between the blocks, so I consulted my embroidery book library.  In The New Anchor Book of Hardanger I found this zig zag hem stitch which seemed perfect.  I really enjoyed doing it!

So here we go, both pieces together.  I have no idea why I started the second one so close to the edge and I'm kicking myself for it.  I couldn't put in an outer border and it will make it difficult to frame.  BUT, it's finished!

Tune in in 3-weeks time and I'll show you my next project.

I'm sewing along as part of a SAL, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:

AvisClaireGunCarole, LucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Birdie embroidery

Eagle-memoried viewers may remember a little birdie embroidery kit I wrote about back in February.  I got three little kits from Nancy Nicholson for Christmas.  Nancy didn't buy them for me (she didn't buy me anything, can you believe that??), they were from Mr CA and wonderful parents.

I finally finished another one.

I actually stitched it in just a few evenings, but it took me a while to get started.  The kit contains a piece of cotton with the bird printed on in colour.  You get some embroidery floss and a stitch guide, but of course you can go it alone and do whatever you like.

Oh - I meant to put a little yellow french knot in the middle of those blue flowers, I'd completely forgotten!  The tail is a six-strand of floss couched down.  I haven't really done couching before and I was thinking of lots of possibilities for this technique as I was stitching it.

It's mounted in a plastic hoop.  The reason being that the first kit I did was oval shaped.  I assumed they were all oval shaped so went on line to find an oval hoop.  The wooden ones are the wrong proportions/ratio, only the plastic ones came in the right size.  When I then discovered some of the embroideries are circular, I had to buy matching frames.

The kits come in a little bag with a design printed on the front.  I embroidered this one.  I can't find the last one but when I do I will embroider that too, oh and I have another kit too!

When I showed you my Silk Ribbon, I promised to show you a shot of my "gallery".  These embroideries aren't in the gallery, they're on the opposite dining room wall along side my beautiful glass piece that the wonderful parents bought me for my birthday one year.

I might have to rearrange a bit when the third one is done, especially as I can't remember if it's round or oval!

On the opposite wall, where there is an arch through to my living room, is my gallery and here it is.

You can just see my printer in the bottom right hand corner, this is where I'm sitting to blog right now.  I'm putting loads of different embroidered hoops on this wall.  Square or rectangular "art" (hahahaha, I just said art.  About the crap I make!) is hanging on the stairs.  One day I will show you a shot of that too, but it's a bit sparse at the minute.  I need to get my finger out, get hanging and get embroidering.  

I haven't been very consistent with my blog post tags, so I can't link to all of the posts on these individual hoops, but you can find some of them here and here, if you're interested.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

silently screaming

I've posted about this mini quilt a couple of times, you can see it here and here.  It's only a mini so you would have thought one post would be enough without me harping on about it for months!

I was stumped by the quilting.  I took me ages to think of a design, then when I started quilting it, my new machine had a hissy fit and I had to give up.  I got it done in the end though.  It shows up really nicely on the back which is a non-branded blue with white polka dots.

Here's a close up of those swirls and pointy bits, it was a bit annoying having to do inside the letters.

Then came time to bind it - I made a length of scrappy binding using some of the Kona reds I'd used for the text.

And low and behold, it was finished!

The lyrics are from Broken Strings by James Morrison.  It's a love song, but it screams depression at me.  Silently of course.

I did credit him - I used one of the fancy alphabet fonts on my Janome.

I also remembered the hanging corners!

At July's Guild meeting I took the letters for Silent Scream #2 and pieced them into words, then into the lyrics.  I haven't quite finished here as there's a bit of a gap top right and I think I need to bring it out a little so I don't end up with the binding sitting right next to those bottom words.

The lyrics are from Pray by Take That, written by Gary Barlow.  Again, it says depression to me.

Is it depressing to make a series of quilts about depression?  The actual making of the quilt makes me feel quite happy, so I suppose not.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

mini button bracelet

At the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC back in February (I think...) I bought a pattern and the beads to make a bracelet and then promptly forgot about it.  The stall holder was wearing the bracelet and we asked if she had a pattern.  She sold it to us for 50p.  When I opened the bag last week to make this bracelet, I noticed that the pattern was by Sabine Lippert!  I'm sure she shouldn't have been selling that pattern - it's just a page photocopied, not a fancy pattern.

The pattern called for Super8s.  In the bag were size 11/0 and 15/0 sead beads, button beads, fire polished crystals (which I remember we'd substituted for the bicones asked for) and some Mini Duos.  I decided I must have bought the Mini Duos as I liked the colour and that the pattern needed the standard Superduos.  No idea why I thought that.  After doing two rounds, I googled Super8 beads and found they're the same dimensions as the Mini Duos...  The sample at the top is done with the Mini Duos, the bottom one with the Superduos.  You can see a difference in size, but I think the pattern would probably work with both.

I just could not get the tension right on this project.  Some squares are far too tight and are kind of curled over at the edges with the button bead popping out the centre.  Others are too loose with the thread showing.

And of course, decent photos were not to be had...

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Dressmaking.... yes, really

I love the Great British Sewing Bee and I'm always in awe of people who can make their own clothes.  I did a basic dressmaking class a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I've always thought that I will wait until I've lost weight until I try it.  Fast forward a few years on anti-depressants and you get me, even bigger than before.  Ah well, maybe I shouldn't wait?

I bought a copy of Sew as I've never read a sewing magazine and thought I'd give it a go.  It had this free pattern with it which seems doable.

Except I'm bigger in all measurements than the sizes given.  I taped on some paper, measured myself and did some (probably wrong maths) and graded the pattern.

No, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing!  I didn't even google it, I just guessed!  I have now cut the pattern pieces out (I'm making it from an old duvet cover so if it doesn't work it doesn't matter) and just need to sew them together....

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Goldwork mushrooms

Wonderful Mum and I have found a new venue for craft classes - Lincoln Castle Heritage Skills Centre - there is a wood turning one I really want to do, but I haven't managed to persuade mum yet, maybe I can get Mr CA to come with me instead...

The first course we attended there was goldwork embroidery with Sarah Homfray.  Sarah is an excellent teacher so we're really glad we also booked into her stumpwork class which we're on in July.  The class was small - I think there were 6 or 7 of us - so she had plenty of time to work with each student individually.  She started with a demonstration of the first technique, couching, then we all had a go on the middle mushroom.

If I remember correctly, we're using 2 strands of Japanese gold thread here and couching it with ordinary thread.  Why didn't I take notes!

I need to work on getting the spaces between my couching stitches more regular, but I don't think it looks too bad.

After the couching is done, the ends of the Japanese thread are plunged to the back and stitched down "neatly".

Next we worked with Pearl Purl, the picture above shows a gold Pearl Purl and a silver Pearl Purl, they resemble tiny springs and have to be very gently stretched before couching down.  The heart is beeswax, essential for goldwork.

Here you can see that I've couched down the Pearl Purl all round the mushroom on the right.  Sarah would show us a particular part of the pattern, then we'd go away and do it.  So she was catering for all abilities as well and keeping the class running on time, we didn't always finish each element before we were shown the next, so after I'd couched down the PP, I went back and finished the Japanese couching on the middle mushroom.

Next was chipwork.  We cut little chips of the Pearl Purl in both silver and gold and sewed them on just like sewing on a bead, using a double thickness of thread.

Next came the raised element - the stalk.  This is embroidery cotton, folded up and stitched down, then cut to the right size.  This is just padding.

Pearl Purl is then threaded on to sewing cotton and couched down over the top in diagonal lines, starting in the middle.  It's really hard to judge the length of pearl purl to use!

This is as far as I got.  I still haven't finished it though I know that mum finished hers!  It's on my long list of workshop project UFOs....

I really enjoyed this class.  I liked doing the techniques, though in future I think I'd mainly work in silver and coloured metal threads as gold is not so much my style.  You can get all colours these days and I do in fact have a kit or two using the coloured metal threads... I'll have to dig that out too!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Hardanger #4

Another 3 weeks have gone by and it's time for another update on the Mabel Figworthy's Fancies Song of the Weather SAL Hardanger piece that I'm stitching.

3 weeks ago this is how far I'd got:

I finished November's block.  Each of the cutwork bars has been wrapped and the eyelet stitches put in some of them.  The black marks are from my Frixxon pen, trying to find the starting point, they will disappear when I iron them.

In the photo below you can see the wrapped bars more clearly.

I also started, and finished, December's block.  There was a lot of stitching on this one!

Whilst doing the cut work, I accidentally cut the wrong threads.  A lot of people have commented on my Hardanger posts, saying they'd be afraid to cut the wrong thread.  Well, here it is...  can you see the two loose ends hanging down?

And below you will see that it's all fixed.  I just wrapped them with the bars and noone is any the wiser.

The dragonflies are done in satin stitch with a row of couched beads for the body.  I had used the beads in August's block so it was lucky that I actually remembered what they were as they weren't with the rest of my kit.  They are the only navy beads I own so I knew they were size 11/0 Preciosa seed beads.

The beads are also used in three of the open squares - the ones where it looks like there are white fingers in the corners, that's what happens when you photograph navy beads on a black background!

So it looks like I'm finished, but I'm not.  I STILL haven't done the ribbon rose on October's block and I'm going to add sashing between the blocks on both this and the January-June sampler I've done.  Let's hope for just as much progress over the next 3 weeks!

I'm sewing along as part of a SAL, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:

AvisClaireGunCarole, LucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristina