Friday, 24 March 2017

Crewel Peacock

Last Saturday I went to an embroidery workshop at a new-to-me place.  The class was run by Cathy at Threads and it was one of the best workshops I've been to.  So well organised, well taught, lovely pattern and quality materials all provided.  Not to mention home-made cakes and biscuits!  It was a great group of ladies and I think we all enjoyed it.  It was also in the gorgeous Peak District, so I even enjoyed the drive there.  The only tinge of sadness was that mum was supposed to be there.

The class was on Crewel Embroidery.  As you know if you read my blog, I have done crewel work before, but as I'm self-taught, it's always good to attend a class and see how other people do things, and learn from the experts of course!

The pattern was this beautiful peacock which was printed onto a piece of twill linen.  We also received all the threads needed, mainly Appleton's wools, but also some 21st Century silks and a metallic thread.

We began by outlining the body with a split back stitch.  I like this stitch, it's so much easier to do that a regular split stitch and I do like the way split stitch looks, though this will be covered over in the next step.

The next step was long and short stitch to created shading.  Although I'm doing a lot of this on Mellerstain Parrots, it is an area where I need some work.  The way the workshop was structured was that  we did a bit of each part of the pattern to see the different stitches and techniques, so nothing got finished, though I did go back and do a bit more of the body later on.  I don't think I've included enough light blue so will have to add some more in.

The feathers are done in fly stitch, in three different colours, though I've only done the one colour here.  I like this stitch, but it was a bit stressful trying to get it neat around the eyes!

I seemed to have missed a couple of photos out here.  Next we switched to a blue silk and did closed fly stitch in the eyes.  They were topped with a bullion knot in variegated silk.  I used 26 wraps on mine and I have to say, I'm rubbish at bullions!  The spaces to the left and right were then filled in with french knots.  

Next we moved on to the base of the tail, the scallopy bit next to his bum.  Yes, that's the technical term for it.  We did this using long and short buttonhole stitch, back to using the wool.  I was rubbish at this!  I'm not very happy with what I've done and there's a chance it will come out.  It does have some long and short shading over it, so I will try that first and see how it looks.

Next the wings were outlined in split backstitch.  The next step was to whip this so I had to be careful I wasn't making the stitches too short, and that they were all a similar size.

Here it is all whipped.  You can probably see better in the photo below.

I have added a line of stem stitch in a slightly paler wool above the second outline in the photo above.  I have to fill the wings up with this stitch.

And here it is at the end of the class.  Clearly I've got a long way to go!  There are also beads to add and metallic stitches.  Cathy's example is stunning so I hope I can make mine even half as good.  

Now, you know how rubbish I am at getting things done?  It may be a while before you see this again... but you will see it!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Silver triangle

I know my silversmithing posts aren't very popular, but I do want to keep this blog as a journal for me too, so I'm going to post about it anyway!  Also, I love this piece, I'm so proud of it.

I posted about my copper triangle at the end of last year.  I then went on to make one out of silver and I'm in love with it!

This is a hollow form.  It's made with 0.8mm sheet silver, cut and soldered together and then filed to remove the joins.  The top piece has been textured by rolling it through a mill with a piece of fabric.

After finishing, I drilled a hole across one of the points to string it.

The back was polished to perfection, but I've worn it a lot and it's become marked already!

I strung it on a pre-bought sterling-silver chain.  I think it works perfectly with the design.  Now I just need to string the copper version...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rag wreath

When a friend of mine sent me an invitation to a Facebook event called "Christmas Crafts", there was no way I was going to miss it, despite not knowing what it was!  It turned out to be a small group of us, making crafts ready for Christmas.  Or, in my case, just for whenever.

The first meeting saw us making rag wreaths from strips of fabric.

We started with one of these wreath bases.  One of the other ladies bought a pack of 10 for us, so I don't have a link for you, but they're about 50p so I'm sure you can find some on e-bay if you're interested.

I took along a box of old clothes, including denim and blue shirts and tops.

For the most part I ripped them into strips and tied them on.  I had to get the scissors involved for some pieces of very fray-ey denim, but it hurt my hand quite a lot!  

I got quite a lot done between eating and nattering, so just had to finish it off before the next Christmas Craft session a month later.  Yes, I did it the night before.  I added more denim and old shirts, and some strips of lace.  Really love the look of the lace.  It is hanging up in my dining room, forget putting things away for Christmas!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Mellerstain Parrots #6

Another three weeks has passed since I showed my progress on this piece. It has been a very busy 3 weeks and I've barely had time to pick up my needle. As you'll see.  So this is where I was:

And this is what I've stitched:

Yep, that dark bit on his head.  

Yep, that's all.

So here's our overview now!

I'm stitching along as part of a SAL where we all work on our WIPs, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:

If you'd like to join in, please contact Avis

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Quilting with words

Last year I made a quilt about my depression called Silent Scream, and started working on a second.  It was a cathartic exercise and made me feel happy whilst I was making them.  Fast forward 6 months or so and I'm feeling good.  The depression is in remission.  My mental health is the best it's been for years.  I'm happy.  Time to make a quilt to express that.

It is now my belief, and that of my family and friends who can't believe the change in me, that my marriage was making a huge contribution to the depression.  Now I'm free.  Now the future is mine.

This is a lyric from She Bangs The Drums by The Stone Roses (if you don't know them, go and have a listen on Spotify, you won't regret it!) and sums up how I feel perfectly.  It is improved pieced using various shades of blue for the words and a low volume scrappy background.

I've also been sewing together scraps of low volume to help make the background around the words.  It's now time to start putting it all together.  I really enjoy this method of patchwork.

This rather blurry photo shows the tools of my trade.  To the left of my sewing machine (I'm left-handed) is my cutting mat with my rotary cutter and my mini iron, essential for flattening all those seams, I'm pressing them open to reduce bulk.  If you haven't tried this technique, I'd urge you to give it a go!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Some more sashiko

I wanted a break from my Mellerstain Parrots, so, instead of choosing one of the WIPs from my list, or one of the kits from my list, I dug in my drawer and found something else completely!

I bought this little Sashiko panel at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate back in November.  Having finished it by the start of March must be some kind of record for me!  I bought it from the Japan Crafts stall, you can buy it here.  As I had Sashiko thread and needles at home, I just bought the panel.  I think mum bought a kit of one of the other designs, I'm sure I'll come across it when I get round to sorting out more of her stash.  

Anyway, it only took a few evenings.

I took a photo before I began of the pre-printed fabric, but it disappeared from my phone.  As the lines were marked in white, I had to be careful to cover them completely, but I still found stitching it very leisurely using the technique of loading my needle with several stitches before pulling through.

My stitches are far from perfect, but I'm happy with it.  Now just to decide what to do with it - probably a cushion.

Monday, 27 February 2017

domed pendants

This was something I was making in Silversmithing class last year.  I was going to post about it when I finished it, but I never actually finished it and don't know when/if I'll come back to is, so I'm posting it now for posterity.

These were to be domed pendents.  They are hollow forms.  They were made by annealing sheets of 1mm copper and cutting discs out with a disc cutter.  I then put them into a doming forming and hammered them to create the curve.  A tiny slot is filed out on one of them for each pair, on either side.  This is to make it easier to drill them later.

One is placed on top of another, with solder in between.  This is the difficulty.  Balancing 5 pieces of tiny solder, then lowering the lid on without any of the solder moving... It frustrated me so much I almost cried!  I have some silver circles cut out ready to make domed pendents, but they will have to wait until my skills improve!