Saturday, March 31, 2007

Just a quickie...

Just a quickie for TAST this week, Knotted Cretan, I can see what a great textural stich this would be, lots of movement too.I quickly needle felted a piece of previously dyed scrim and couched it down with the Knotted cretan with a sparkly thread.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Having one of those busy, busy weeks. You know how you do very little and then everything comes along at once. Highlight so far was going with my daughter to the Kylie exhibition at the V&A. It was great fun, my , she is tiny. I now know the meaning of a handspan waist. The Museum Dress made me smile when I realised that some of the fabric were just the same as those I used to use when making costumes for our local amateur theatre, bits still in my stash. Videos of backstage and on stage added to the fun. Afterwards we strolled through the 17th and 16th century British galleries.Wonderful stumpwork boxes and an unfinished mirror frame with beautiful details like a buttterfly which looked as though it had just landed. Museums are such fun these days, I tried on a ruff, good for hiding crepy neck and holding up double chins and my daughter tried tying a cravat which she decided was a good way to tie a thin scarf. We designed out coat or arms and then went to tea. Good day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

TAST Couching

Some years ago we had a talk at the Embroiderers Guild (unfortunately I can't remember the name of the speaker) which changed my way of looking at portraits. Until that time it had never occurred to me how lovingly the artists had re created the fabrics. Lace, satin, velvet and jewels and more mundane materials were recreated by the artists brush. Since then I have been facscinated by how little dabs of white and grey paint can be a piece of lace or rare pearls. Living near London I am very fortunate, as I have remarked before, to have some wonderful art galleries which are free to pop in and wonder. A little while ago I visited the National Portait Gallery and with my new (Sharon inspired!!) notebook I looked at a postrait I had seen before but this time I tried to capture some of the detail. This is a full size portait of Catherine Parr (the wife who survived Henry VIII) Unfortunately this is a very small image, The detail which fascinated me was the band across the neck of the dress. This is my sketch.(I never said I could draw!)

The thing I couldn't work our was how the circles were made, be carefully looking at the direction of the painted impression of the couching stitches I worked out how the thread must have been laid and this is my impression of a detail of that band.

I used little fly stitches to couch a plaited gold thread.

By the way this is on a piece of duster which I painted and stencilled.

Sara's blog

I bookmarked Sara's blog The Fabric of Meditation some time ago because I liked her work on TAST. She has started a new blog
Little People which has some very good technique videos.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ups and Downs

Went to the Stitch and Craft Show at Olympia today and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I went with a list of things I needed (well would like to tuck away in my stash) but there were non of the really good mixed media suppliers there so saved some money!!!! The whole day was redeemed though by a piece of work by Jane E Hall. It was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. It was a piece called "Spring" I bought the card but how I would have loved the piece itself a thing of such delicacy. It is all made from hand dyed silk and tiny tiny stitches,it took her 5 months to make, rising a 5.30 in the morning. Beautiful, I will not forget it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I've never felt like this before.......

Sorry for the pun but I am quite pleased with my efforts. I have just made up (designed?) a pattern for a bag and it worked. I have to say the photographs aren't the best but they will give you the idea. I made two circles in crochet. Sewed them together and put them in the washing machine. I then made a lining and sewed on a button (which I don't like but I wanted to see it worked.)What I like about it is that with the straps on the shoulder it sits nicely under my arm which is how i like to carry my handbag.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring is in the air.......

and we have had three beautiful days of warm sunshine. Joy. This weeks TAST is Up and Down Bottonhole stitch, another variation I didn't know. So once again to Sharon's invaluable Stitch Dictionary and an 'Oh! I see!' moment. Then I scribbled a bit but nothing came, so I left it alone to think about and still nothing came, so I thought I would really like to show how the little bar goes across and took some thick knitting yarn with no pattern of thought in mind. It kept reminding me of something and then I realised Stonehenge!!!! So here it is. Vernal Equinox.

Incidentally, along the way, I learned the difference between and Equinox Spring Equinox and a Solstice which I hadn't quite appreciated before. Embroidery is a wonderful thing!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What kind of chain.....................?

This is the first of the challenge stitches which was completely new to me and sent me flying to Sharon's Dictionary of Stitches. Well you don't know what you are going to get if you put Barred Chain into a search engine!!!! Well it sounded a bit sado-thingy,... you know! when I started to try it out I thought it was. I have never shed so much blood.
I have not even bothered to scan my sketch because it was just a little wobbly squiggle! I really didn't know what I was going to do with it and I thought I would look up the definition of barred to see if that helped and I came across a reference to a barred spiral galaxy on Wikipedia showing a photograph from the wonderful Hubble Telescope (if you've never visited take a look at the gallery, just breathtaking).
Anyway here is my barred spiral galaxy using barred chain which I have now learnt to love.

Click to get closer. I have posted a photo and a scan as the true colour is somewhere between them both. Aquamarine being the jewel for March, as I think I have mentioned.The material is the remainder of the material I dyed for the EG workshop, the centre of each spiral is a machine made cord and then all the rest is barred chain.I was trying to give the effect of pieces being drwn into the spiral. The scan (at the bottom) looks badly ironed but it is in fact the shadows in the dye.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Still dusting.........

Those who know me will fall about laughing at the idea!!

What I mean is that I am still finding things to make and do with my packet of cheap dusters.

No not a postcard

a new needle book! I quite like the accidental background too. I had fogotten that I had put polythene on my work table when I has using my heat gun!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Moon watch

We had a splendid evening yesterday. The was a total eclipse of the moon. Usually when there is anything of interest going on in the heavens we have thick cloud cover so that it all goes on unseen but yesterday evening was crystal clear. When the cover was complete the moon looked like a perfect pink pearl, a truly beautful sight.
When it comes to spectacular you can't beat nature. We shared the moment(on the telephone) with my son and daughter which made it even more special. My friend down at St Margarets at Cliffe near Dover took some amazing pictures.
I am not that gifted photographically speaking so here
are the hellebores in my garden, we just have this one little clump, if the garden were bigger I would love a whole corner filled with them.

Actually it made me think that Tony might be able to help with my glitter photography problem. Thanks to all who have sympathised with the problem.(Do I mean empathised?)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Boots the Chemist .............

Sales of headache cures at Boots the Chemist at Bluewater must be down as they have now started to play "music". They have always had the odd bit in the cosmetic bit at the front but you could always dash past that. Now it is everywhere and loud! I pointed out that anyone with a sensitive complaint would find it very difficult to talk to the pharmacist quietly, without broadcasting it to the rest of the shop.
What is this obession with shops to play very bad music? If it is supposed to boost sales, as far as I am concerned, it is a dismal failure and the only thing it boosts is my blood pressure.