Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TAST Cross stitch.

Weatherwise yesterday was miserable, grey and rain real February stuff. I knew what I wanted to do,I had seen a picture of a piece of amethyst and wanted to make a very textured piece. I love free cross stitch because you can build up such texture. Having said all that I am not satisfied with what turned out but it will have to do. One of the problems is that no matter how I photograph it I cannot get the metallic threads to show. The white band had an irridescent thread in it and the "amethysts" have lots of sparkle in them. Ah well another lesson learned!

Don't know whether I am going to stick with this jewel colour theme. The idea was to make me work with colours I wouldn't usually use but I find I have a tendancy to get hooked into the whole "jewel" thing and can't think outside it. Aquamarine is next for March, gorgeous colour, so we shall see.

Monday, February 26, 2007

EG workshop

Saturday was a workshop at the Embroiderers Guild with Lilian Harris. We could choose from several prety little bag patterns, I chose this little cone. At times because you were turning it back and forth from the inside and the outside it all became very confusing and you just had to take Lilian's reassurance that it would turn out alright. I suddenly found that rhyme about Hiawatha, I think it was a pop song way back, repreating in my brain. I couldn't remember exactly how it went so I searched until I found this.
From Wikepedia.Over time, this has been transformed into an elaborated version, sometimes attributed to Strong and sometimes (as in Carolyn Wells' A Nonsense Anthology) to "Anonymous:"

He killed the noble Mudjokivis.
Of the skin he made him mittens,
Made them with the fur side inside,
Made them with the skin side outside.
He, to get the warm side inside,
Put the inside skin side outside;
He to get the cold side outside
Put the warm side fur side inside.
That's why he put the fur side inside,
Why he put the skin side outside,
Why he turned them inside outside.

It was a good intensive workshop, I will try to make another one sometime without quite so many mistakes in it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


The things you find when you are doing the TAST rounds.
This came via a long trail of links, originally from Dotee's blog
and then back through various blogs to Jo who had the step by step back to Steve's blog, who I think started it.
Well I just had to have a go!!! This is "Take me to your leader".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Coram Boy

I was fortunate to go and watch Coram Boy at the National Theatre. I was not sure I was going to like it, I did not realise that I was going to have one of the most absorbing and moving theatrical experiences of my life. I would love to have seen it again, unfortunately it finished this evening, but I will never forget it.

The picture has nothing to do with the piece, it's just a piece of my digital collage.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Flight of fancy.....

....sorry couldn't resist. Fly stitch week 8 of TAST.
as you can see I was tempted to sycamore seeds and snowflakes but somewhere along the line they gave way to a bird, a dove in fact. I used The Scribbler to make my sketch.

My first intention was to fill it in completety but then I quite like the suggestion of plumage, it is all in fly stitch apart from the bead of the eye.

Having looked at it on the page I may try a photograph tomorrow though the close up is OK.

Monday, February 19, 2007

That reminds me...

Dy of Random Applique posted a picture of crystals growing in a beautiful blue jar. I reminded me of a silly experiment I did some time back where I made a "bag" out of the inside of a kitchen roll.

The body of the bag was made of shrunken shopping bag plastic sandwiched in between
organza, beaded and then covered with net and more sequins and beads.

A bit of nonsense.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More duster

This is another piece of cheap duster (see below) I have called this one April showers. I needle felted a little bit of silk for the clouds and machine and hand stitched the "rain". The flowers are cotton lace which I painted.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feathers into heather.

I was really hoping feather stitch would turn up in March,(aquamarine in the jewel of the month) as it does make lovely seaweed!!! However here we are in February which is amethyst. In anticipation of amethyst I had made a piece of glue gun jewel intending to use it as a background and my first thought was to do ostritch feathers, something really OTT but I just couldn't get it to have the softness I wanted and it just looked more like fern. So fern's it would have to be and then the heather started to grow. So here we are.

8p dusters

This is the packet of dusters I bought for 99p(about $2 I think),see bird below.
These are some dyed pieces using silk dyes.

and this is a cover for my notebook, (Yes, I now have a notebook, more of a scribble book really but it's a start)
I can take no credit of the lovely shading on these, that came from a piece of rainbow dyed sheer fabric I have been hoarding.

It was really an excercise for me to practice "vermicelli" stitch on the machine. It is getting better but there are still a lot of those nasty little pointy bits.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Birthday

Well here we are one year on. I followed what I believe is a tradition and looked back to the beginning. It has been an amazing year and I have come across many people who have inspired and excited my interest and led me off into new worlds. I feel all the sites in the side bar have given me some way of improving. My "Woman of the Year" has to be Sharon Boggon who has taught me so much through her Encrusted CQ class and through her blog In a Minute Ago.It is a delight to be part of Take a Stitch Tuesday.

My main interests at the moment seem to be needle based, when I started my blog Altered Books were my main focus and looking back has made me want to do some more. I particularly would like to try and combine the needle arts with the paper arts.

There are so many people who are so generous with their time and talents. As my birthday present I would like to share two I have recently "met". The first one is Dotee who has written a tutorial for a little frienship doll. I made this one and it has already gone to a very special friend.

The second link is where I made my birthday "card". ZEfrank has all kinds of interactive "toys" on his site this is my favourite "The Scribbler". I am so excited by it as I feel it has great potential as a design tool for someone like me who does not draw very well. (I am practising!!!)

So there we are, off into another year. My thanks to anyone who has visited and for
all the kind and encouraging comments a special gratitude.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Oh no....

I have accidentally erased lovely and interesting comment, I think her name was Kyla, she has just started Sharon's Encrusted CQ and she has also bought an embellisher. I was going to visit her blog and say hello and chat about these fascinating things. So if you visit again please forgive me and leave a note and I will try not to be so stupid this time.
Photo is from art-e-zine.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Why do we like the needle arts so much? I think this morning , for me, goes a long way to answer the question. After Sharon's round up I went to my workroom to tidy up a bit, after my marathon tidy a couple of weeks ago I don't want it to let it go just yet, (it will happen I'm sure!!) Tidying finished I picked up a piece of cheap duster I had painted. I bought 12 in a packet in the 99p shop because they looked like felt I thought they might be worth experimenting on. So this morning I reached for my new felting needle and I started what was intended to be a sort of landscape. I took the piece to the machine to add a bit of texture with free machine stitching and suddenly there was this bird. I ditched the landscape and went with the bird and here he is, sort of the last swallow. There are two scans because I suddenly realised that the scanner light had caught the bead of his eye and just to see what would happen I re-scanned it the other way round and sure enough it gives him a different expression. Marvellous!

"Sunday,sweet Sunday.....

......with nothing to do" goes the song. On the other hand for anybody taking part in TAST it is get up early, make the tea and sit down to Sharon's wonderful roundup of the weeks doings. It all just gets better and better, looking through the Flickr site is a real feast for the eyes. I am finding that one of the bonuses of the roundup is that as you wander through the blogs other peoples favourites catch your eye and you wander off into other exciting places.

I would like to thank all the people that enjoyed my piece of silliness with the eyelet stitch. Cooking sherry indeed!!!! Great invention!

One of the things I forgot to say that one of the prompts in my thought process (if I can call it that)
toward the eyelet piece was the title of my favourite canvas work book. The Liberated Canvas by Penny Cornell.

My experiment from the Opus exhibition turned into a beach scene, I think it was the way the cream spiral stitched piece stood up like a shell (it get a bit squashed on the scan.) I really liked working with this technique and hopefully will return to it at some time.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Opus school exhibition

Good day yesterday, one of those clear crisp proper winter days, I popped up to London to visit the Opus School exhibition at the Mall Galleries at the bottom of the Mall. There was some wonderful stitching and, the pieces my daughter liked best, great felting. When I visit an exhibition like that part of me thinks "I will never thread a needle again" and then the other part comes rushing nome to try out something that has caught my fancy. Today it was material manipulated with lots of tiny running stitches. Here is what I played with last night. I am quite intrigued with it, it is a bit like scrumbling

I also made a quick visit to the National Portrait Gallery,one of the wonderful things about our museums that, unless it is a special exhibition, entrance is free so you can just pop in whenever you like for as long as you like which means as soon as you feel that "I can't take in anymore" feeling coming on you can leave. I find I now look at portaits with an eye for the textiles which are being represented and marvel at the way painters can convey satins and velvets, lace and rags, and I am always fascinated by the jewels.

Once upon a time........

.......there were three eyelet stitches,they lived on a small piece of canvas. Two of them plodded on, doing what eyelet stitches do, though they often dreamed. The third one was always a bit of a rebel and kept trying to be different which caused him a lot of problems.

Time went by and then one day something amazing happened. They came to the edge of the canvas! The rebel jumped for joy, jumped right of the edge, gave a couple of twirls and turned himself into a butterfly, which he thought was very clever. The second one stretched out in all directions and suddenly found he was round, he rolled away and probably visited TAST people all over the world. The third one stretched out and found that he could fly, he found a place he liked in the sky and became a star which shone happily ever after. THE END.

Don't ask, just indulge an old lady!!!!!!!!!!!

Incidently, now it is February, the birthday stone for this month is amethyst so that is my TAST colour, quite a relief, really, after all that dark red.

Just to prove I am still drawing.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hmmm eyelet.......

I had a look at pieces of canvas work I have done and eyelet doesn't seem to figure in any of them so we shall see.......

Look what came this morning....

Isn't she beautiful? I just keep marvelling at the delicacy of it. Thank you Marian for making my day.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Knitting back in fashion....

It would appear that there is a renewed interest in knitting over the last couple of years. When I was young I was a great knitter. One time I went to visit my brother we had been there a little while when he leaned over and said "Are you alright?" "Yes, I'm fine " I replied "Why". "Well you've been here ten minutes and you haven't got your knitting out yet, so I thought perhaps you weren't well" !!!
But it was true, I was never without a piece of knitting and Saturday evenings weren't the same if I didn't have a new project.Shawls, baby clothes, a flower power jacket in the 60w, always something on the go. Some years later I knitted an aran sweater for my daughter in a weekend and had tennis(knitters)elbow as a result and since then have done vey little.

I was just browsing the V&A site, (the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is a wonderful treasure house of fine arts and fashion.)and I came across this section in which they have published free patterns from the 1940's. Who remembers socks knitted on 4 (often slightly rusty)steel needles?

My picture is from "THe Needlewoman" at a slightly later date that the patterns at the V&A.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Carried away by Chevron...

This weeks TAST stitch is Chevron Stitch, I really had to sit down with this one. When I came to try and draw it, being left handed and having to turn everything round and couldn't work out how to start.

I went to bed quite liking the ferris wheel idea but was thought it would end up a bit like week 1 herringbone. I then started to think Chevron,heraldry, middle ages, a bit more drawing and I am thinking a grille in a church and from there somehow lept to a church chest, garnets, treasure chest.So here we are.

I think I got a bit carried away but everything is chevron stitch except for the straight stitch on the righthand side of the chest and the three little stitches holding the lock in place.

I like this stitch a lot and will definitely play with it some more sometime.

Thank you to everyone who liked the picture my cats, bless them they are getting old, like me, my x-ray showed old age, I didn't know it showed on the inside as well!!!