It is freezing cold and wet today, so I have been sitting in front of my wood fire, putting the finishing touches to this piece. It’s all made from felted lambswool jumpers with machine and hand stitching. The back is red like the front with a split down it to allow insertion of the hot water bottle. The original idea was not this, due to a near fatal mistake. When cutting the embroidered piece to shape I omitted a seam allowance. How dumb was that?!! The only solution was to applique the whole, reshaped front piece to another bit of wool and so give a border effect. I think it worked.
Archive for the ‘Textiles’ Category
All the required pieces of work for the Intermediate Certificate in Canvas work have now been completed! A huge relief, now I just have to mount all the samples, write some notes, put together my folio, then hand it in after Christmas. I am very pleased to have finished it all, now I can focus on things like my overgrown garden and organising some light clothing for my Singapore trip. I am resolved never to undertake another long stitching course again, it takes over one’s life and leaves little time for anything else. I can clear away all my stitching paraphernalia from my dining table where it has been for three months, and best of all, my stitching time is once more my own!
Anyway, the last piece is a large (4 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall) pincushion to match the needle case made earlier – same colours, same thread, a different design and some different stitches. Bright and glaring, I’m sure I shall not misplace them easily once they are put to use.
What do you think?
I now have only one small sampler, and two other original pieces to do before all stitching is completed for the Intermediate Canvas Work Certificate. Then I just need to put the folio together which will also take some time, but the end is in sight! I have finished this today – it was to show how one can add things to canvas to make it more interesting. In this, supposedly underwater scene, the canvas was painted, there were fine silk gauzy bits stuck on and stitched through or gathered and added to the surface to represent seaweed, heat distressed Tyvek was used to create rocks, and real shells attached too. Threads were a mixture of stranded cottons, perle cotton, silk, and stranded wool. Stitches used included cross, rice, cushion, fly, tent, slanted gobelin, French knots, drizzle, velvet, Milanese, and Hungarian diamond stitch. I sort of like the result, but there are some things I would do differently if starting again, and I don’t think adding sundry bits to canvas is something I would do often.
I fell behind in class because of so much garden activity, so am still catching up with the assignments from the last couple of sessions in our canvas work certificate. I completed this small piece yesterday, it is worked on rug canvas which has about 4 threads to the inch. Great for rugs using the appropriate thick yarn or rags, but not something one might use for anything else. This is what I did using strips of natural dyed silk and thick knitting yarns. No thing of great beauty, but there is potential there….
I thought it might be useful to show this handyman’s clamp as in my opinion, it is an essential accessory for any embroiderer. I read recently on another blog where a stitcher was having difficulty holding a frame for her work, and wondered if folk knew of this easy solution. Most embroidery will look better if it has been worked in a frame and there are numerous sizes of circular or rectangular ones from which to choose, some of which come with their own stands however, most do not. To be able to use both hands when stitching, and avoid the aches of holding a frame yourself, the cheapest solution is to clamp it to a table edge, and it is very simple with one of these tools which has a pump action to tighten the clamp. The thick cork mat, made from two large placemats from a $2 shop glued together, protects the table and can also be used for blocking finished work.
I may have mentioned before that Blue is my favourite colour – I wear it, I’m most comfortable stitching in blues, I make blue quilts, and there are many blues to be found in my garden. In fact, it is a bit of a joke amongst some of my friends who are astounded if I appear in another colour.
This latest piece for the Intermediate Certificate which was to be an exercise in repeating patterns, is also another attempt to steer clear of the beautiful blues that I love – so it is Red and four shades of Purple! When made up, it will be a needlecase – one which I feel will be difficult to lose because it is so loud and lurid! It will fold down the centre line, and have another row of long legged cross stitch around the edge. I will post a photo again when it is completed.
The assignment was to work a piece in only one colour, but different threads, shades and tints, and using stitches to give a textured finish. This is mine.
Threads were a mixture of tapestry wools, knitting yarn, persian wool, silks and cottons, variegated or plain, giving shine or not. Stitches used are Rhodes, Norwich, Square & Diamond Eyelet, Leaf, Rice, Tent, Fan, French Knots, Wheat, Upright cross, Woven Spider…………and I have just spotted a couple of bare threads! Must fix that before I hand it in!
PS. If you use Pintrest, please DO NOT pin this or any other photos from this blog.
Halfway though the Intermediate Canvas Classes, and this week we looked at stitches to give texture, this is the latest sampler of stitches covered in class.
Stitches here are Rice, Rhodes, Norwich, Various Eyelet, Ray, Vault, Woven Spider, French Knots, Velvet Stitch and Broad Cross Stitch. Now I have to work another sampler using only one colour, but many shades and different threads, to create a textured piece. I’m sure you can guess what colour I’m going to use!
Firstly, a BIG thank-you to all those folk who left birthday greetings on my earlier post, and apologies for being remiss in acknowledging them individually. I seem to have had a rather long drawn out Birthday celebration which involved generous gifts, dinners and lunches, a Guild meeting and a weekend visitor, and it is not totally over yet as I am still to meet with my own stitching group at the beginning of next month and I think that might include a special cake and perhaps a little present or two. I’m very spoilt!
Time has also been taken up with a great deal of stitching and classes as I decided to enroll for an Intermediate Creative Canvas Work Certificate with the Embroiderer’s Guild. I have done a fair bit of Canvaswork in the past, especially when I worked for a short time at a Needlework shop in Hawthorn in the late 80′s but have done none recently, in fact stitching generally has been replaced with photography in the last couple of years. Within our Guild one needs three different Intermediate Certificates to be able to teach, and although I have no desire to do so, I decided it would be good to complete the hat-trick so to speak. I’m enjoying it, but as with those I have done before, it takes over one’s life and there is little time for much else. My garden needs attention, the dogs and I need more exercise, there is a pile of paperwork that needs sorting, and it will all just have to wait a bit longer!
Here is some of what I have been doing:-
Class Exercise – Rice, Simplified Rice, Chequer, Scotch and Mosaic Stitches.
This is an exercise in using only one type of thread, one stitch and colour to make a design. I used Rice Stitch.
Then I did another, same principal of one thread and one stitch. It is a sort of freestyle Bargello, worked with a Straight or Gobelin Stitch.
Today there another class, the third of six, and I believe that the focus will be on texture, and one colour only in its various shades and tints. Should be fun. You will notice that in all of these examples the canvas, a #14, has been coloured to suit the threads used. Our teacher reccommends this as it enables us to leave some canvas unstitched, and the glaring white of the original does not show through any of the other stitches. I used a well known acrylic paint that comes in tubes, but other mediums work too – such as paint sticks, watercolour pencils, oil pastels or spray paint. One must make sure however, that the medium is well cured, and will not come off on fingers or threads.
This little town now has its very own library situated in buildings which once housed a local health clinic – it’s associated with the Central Highlands Library system so borrowers can access any of the books on their catalog. It is great not to have to go to the Woodend or Kyneton Library, or to use the funny Library Bus which came to town on Mondays and had a very limited selection of reading matter. Some of the profits from the town’s Easter Art Show were donated to the new library and used to purchase a variety of books on different crafts chosen by one of my local stitching friends, so I knew they would be worthwhile. Ever the reader of anything to do with textiles, I borrowed a book on feltmaking, something I have done with mixed results in the past. This book has a couple of chapters on making felt vessels, and having long admired those made by Teresa Poletti Glover, I decided to have a go.
This was the process….wool fibres layered over a shape, covered with some old panty hose, wet down with soapy water, and gently rolled against the sides of a bucket until the fibres felted. Then it was fulled until it shrank further and was shaped by hand. It was a little more complicated than that, but there are lots of instructions online for this technique if you are interested.
A woolly blob…..
After the first felting……
The finished vessel.
I think I may add some stitching to embellish it a bit, but was so pleased with it that I made another one this afternoon. I have lots of ideas about how I might vary the surface and shape or even to include some natural dyeing……I think I need something a little different to everyone else for next year’s Embroiderer’s Guild Exhibition. There will be some more experimentation so do watch this space!
This afternoon’s creation is still a bit damp so the colours might be a little different (lighter) when it is totally dry.
What are these alien looking lumps, you ask….
They are pieces of woollen Doctor’s flannel that have been tied, stitched, knotted or crumpled in preparation for a dunk in a dye bath, using my local Eucalyptus leaves. I have several varieties growing on this property, and they each give a different result – then there are other variables:- age of leaves, tap or rain water, steel or aluminium pot, length of time boiled, which mordant used, if any, whether there are other leaves enclosed, or metal clips used, and I reckon you can add the direction of the wind or how one holds one’s mouth as the results are always unpredictable. I wanted to get some pieces with the red colour one usually gets from E. crenulata, to go with some other bits already dyed and all pieces were tied or stitched in the shibori manner, rather than clamped to avoid any darkening from the metal. They were boiled for a couple of hours, as usual, but when I checked, they seemed to have taken up little colour. I pulled them all out – looking a sort of dull cream colour and immediately put them in another pot with leaves of a different sort to try again. I kept just one of the first attempt to see what it would look like when cool and unwrapped. It was this…
It is the most gorgeous wattle yellow with blue tinges around the areas of resist. I tried to replicate it the next day – same leaves, same pot, same rainwater, same time and got a completely different result, so this is the only piece of fabric I have of that colour. All the others from the first day turned out a red/orange as I had initially expected, and those done the next day were similar. I was really after something a bit darker and brighter, and I have no idea what caused the yellow, but I shall try again another day. These are some of the other pieces, a few of which are back in another dye bath as I type as they were a bit uninspiring.
This last one is a piece of vintage kimono silk…..
I have friends who approach natural dyeing in a more scientific way, keeping notes and samples of their results with different methods, leaves etc etc. I prefer to just see what happens, but I do intend to do a test with each of the Eucalyptus trees I have to see if it is possible to be more accurate in reaching the desired colours.