Saturday, October 12, 2019

Dresden Lily Kit in My Shop

Last weekend I was looking for something in my sewing room. I came across some kits I'd prepared for a Dresden Lace Class a few years ago that sadly I didn't end up teaching. See previous posts about it here, and here.

The class was intended for intermediate to advanced embroiderers, with complex pulled thread combination stitches and a traditional way of transferring the design without leaving any marks on the fabric. I'm not going to be teaching anything like this anytime soon. Looking at the kits, suddenly the light went on. I haven't worked up any new patterns for my on-line Etsy shop recently. Perhaps it's time to let the kits go.

Dresden Lily pulled thread (*see acknowledgements)
To put the kits into my shop Lynlubell I needed some photos, and the more the merrier. Taking photos is not my strong point. With some suggestions from Etsy, I took a few trial shots that I thought I'd share with you. What would the embroidery look like in a frame?

I liked the gold frame with the white embroidery. My husband likes the quirkiness of the photo.

Maybe grouped with items that have an old worldly feel to them? 

I should have stopped the pendulum of the clock. It makes the clock look like its slowly sliding off the sideboard. It isn't.

Next to the candlesticks, a wedding present from my grandmother? Pity I left the modem and my orts jar in the background. Reminder to myself - I need to polish the candlesticks.

How about in the garden with the white spirea, one of my favourite shrubs? 

The shadows are interesting.

Perhaps a bit of colour?  

I like the pink with the white embroidery. I wish I knew the name of the pretty pink shrub. But how about the fence in the background? 

And then the sun disappeared and the sky became very dark so that was the end of taking photos for the day. We did have some much needed rain though. What a blessing to smell the damp air!

Anyway, this week has been busy. I've checked through the kits, investigated shipping options from Australia to the rest of the world, visited the post office to check the weight, taken more photos and edited them, and finally written a listing and put the kits in my Etsy shop. Click here if you'd like to see it. Just to let you know that I have only a few kits left and I will not be making up any more once these have been sold*.

I would never have guessed when I prepared the kits in Cape Town that we would emigrate, that the kits would wing their way to Brisbane with us when we moved, and then eventually make their way into my Etsy shop. I wonder where they will travel to next.

Till next time happy stitching!

*The original design was adapted with permission of the copyright holder, author Heather Toomer, for limited circulation only.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Bottle Cap Pincushions and the Bayside Stitchers

I made some bottle cap pincushions a few years ago. It's a nice small project that you can tuck into your bag and take with you to stitch when you want to keep your hands busy but not work on a large project or something that needs more concentration.

I've joined a local craft group at the Sandgate Library, but more about that later. I wanted a little portable project that I could stitch while getting to know some of the local stitchers. I have been meaning to stitch up a few pincushions to keep in the cupboard as small gifts. These little pincushions are just the thing.

I've cut out the small circles of felt to fit the milk bottle caps, a strip to cover the sides and a large circle for the top. The big round of felt will be stuffed and form the top of the pincushion.

What I really like about the pincushions is the freedom to stitch whatever comes to mind, like flowers, or simple line stitches that lend themselves to the narrow band of felt. The other aspect is an opportunity to use a variety of threads and colours, often small lengths of thread left over from other projects.

Many of us use a pattern to embroider and keep to that quite closely. Or we have a definite plan of what we want to stitch. These little pincushions are a holiday from those constraints and are a fun little interlude to the more serious embroidery. There wasn't much to show after my first morning of stitching but I did enjoy it.

Back to the library. I've been to just a few meetings of the Bayside Stitchers craft group which take place in a cozy corner of the library, but 'times they are a-changing'*. The library is going to be refurbished. Both the layout of the library and the hours will change and it will no longer suit the group for our meetings. As a temporary measure we hope to move to a nearby community centre and then will decide what to do in the future.

It is sad that the group which started seven years ago will probably have to move permanently to a new venue, and also that it may not be in our little town of Sandgate. The new, demolished and rebuilt, Bracken Ridge Library which opens at the end of November is a possible alternative.

For those in the Brighton or Sandgate area who would like to recycle bottle tops like milk bottle tops or coke bottle tops, take them along to Dunne and Dusted. Its the little coffee shop in Nathan Street. The bottle caps which are a good quality plastic are being collected for making into prosthetic limbs using digital printing and the limbs will be donated to charity. Things certainly are a-changing.

Till next time, happy stitching


* Bob Dylan 1964

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Traditional Chinese Shu Embroidery

Every now and then you come across an embroidery video that shows some technical aspects which provide food for thought. A number of things struck me about this one that I found on Caroline Foley's website Caro Rose Creations.

I was struck by the confidence with which the silk is ripped, rather than cut; how the silk is framed up, stretched and laced ready for stitching; the little rod that rests on the rolled up frame to support the working arm and protect the embroidery fabric; taking a pair of scissors to the fine silk stitching to cut out the offending stitches; and finally how the embroidery is cut out of the garment it was originally made to embellish and beautifully framed by the embroiderer herself. Lots to think about.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bohemian Rhapsody

I just had to share this rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by the Rustenburg High School (Hoerskool Rustenburg) in the North West Province, South Africa.

Click here to listen.

Image courtesy IOL Cape Argus

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Embroidered Camouflage Netting and a Coronation Gown.

Camouflage netting may seem like an unusual textile to embroider, but that is just what the Royal School of needle work has done. The Duchess of Cambridge commissioned an embroidered textile for her Back to Nature Garden.

Back to Nature Garden Courtesy Shoot
It drapes over a wooden structure and makes a little den in the garden.You can see it here on the RSN's website. I can just imagine the children having fun peeking through the needlelace openings.

On a different note, there is a very instructive video on the RSN's website showing the work on the restoration of Lady Carnarvon's dress worn to the coronation of George V in 1911. Click here to go to the link. I would love to see the restored dress when it goes on display at Highclere Castle in September. Highclere is now also known as Downton Abbey.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Crazy Patch Embroidery and Book Review

Some while ago I tried a couple of crazy patch pincushions. This was the more successful one where I used Anchor variegated threads. You can see more examples of how the threads stitch up in my blog post here.

Herringbone and feather stitch seemed like the obvious choices to decorate the seams. And cretan stitch looked like a good stitch too because it also spans the seam.

Once I started stitching I found two aspects of crazy embroidery that needed quite a bit of thought and attention. Spacing the individual stitches required very careful judgment and exact placing to get the spacing even. Otherwise it looked rather untidy and higgledy piggledy. Along the way I had quite a bit of unpicking to do to make the lines of stitching look fairly neat.

The other aspect that required some thought was how to embellish those lines of stitching. Plain lines of feather stitch or herringbone looked rather uninteresting and needed something extra to liven them up. This is the really fun part of crazy embroidery. I found ideas here and there but it took some time to unearth them.

Today I found a review of a new book called Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts by Kathy Seaman Shaw.  The book addresses both the challenges I had with crazy embroidery. Kathy includes templates for spacing a whole range of stitches and has plenty of suggestions for embellishing them too.

Courtesy Floresita of Feeling Stitchy
You'll find the review with a lot of photos over on Floresita's blog Feeling Stitchy here. There is also a giveaway of one digital copy of the book. And visit Kathy's website here for a link for another chance to win a book tomorrow.

Till next time, happy stitching!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Embroidery Mini Market

The Cape Embroiderers' Guild are having their Winter Embroidery Mini Market on Saturday 13 July from 10h30 to 16h00. Entry fee R20.

If you are going to be in Cape Town it's well worth a visit. So stop in at St Thomas' Church Hall in Rondebosch and join the embroiderers for a little stitching inspiration and a cup of tea. Plenty of parking too.

There will be displays of embroidery, demonstrations of different types of embroidery and all sorts of embroidered items, books, fabrics and threads for sale.

Spring Tea 2017
You will also be able to see the completed Rainbow Leaf wall hanging that was first displayed at the Spring Tea in 2017. There is just a glimpse of it in progress on the far wall in the photo above. Members were asked to stitch a leaf using any type of embroidery and contribute it to the hanging.

Happy stitching and enjoy the weekend wherever you are!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Pulled Thread, No Frame

Pulled thread work should be done in a frame or embroidery hoop. That seems to be the generally accepted wisdom and that's the way I have been doing it.

Then I came across an old book which mentioned stitching pulled work in the hand. Really?! I wish I had kept the reference and not glossed over it and dismissed it because I realized later that although I was used to working with an embroidery frame, I had never really found it particularly comfortable.

About to start on a small pulled thread sampler, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the idea of working in the hand without a frame. At first figuring out where to put my fingers and hold the linen was very awkward and I almost gave up. It was difficult to keep the fabric threads at right angles to each other so that I could count the threads and get the stitch pulling in the right direction.

But once I had figured out how to hold the fabric I found it most pleasurable. It's a more tactile experience having the cloth slide through your fingers as you move the linen and line it up for the next pass of the needle. And doesn't linen feel good? Also I seemed to have much better control of just how much tension to apply to each stitch. This may have been because it was an unfamiliar way of working and I was paying close attention to every stitch and each pull on the thread.

The more I worked the more I began to 'feel' the fabric in my fingers and the better I was able to control the tension and keep the fabric threads at right angles to each other.  I found it useful to be able to get my fingers right to the area where the needle is forming the stitch. The other advantage is that you can use a sewing motion of scooping up the fabric rather than the stab stitch method. This made it far quicker. The other plus for me was that I found working withour a frame easier on my fingers and shoulder.

Working on a large piece of linen may be a different story, but for now I am reasonably pleased with the result. I'm not throwing out my embroidery frames just yet, but stitching in the hand is a good exercise in concentration that makes you focus on the formation of each stitch and it's good practice for paying attention to the tension. That's been good for me as I tend to work too tightly.

I'd love to hear of your experience of doing pulled thread embroidery without a frame or a hoop.

Till next time, happy stitching.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Paper Bark Tree

A couple of weeks ago one of the trees in the little park at the bottom of the garden burst into flower. It's a paperbark tree. For a brief spell each morning the sun reflected off the white flowers and made a glorious picture. Usually the tree blends in with the rest of the grey-green foliage and I hadn't noticed just how big it is.

The 'forest' was planted many years ago by local school children. Perhaps it was a project to observe  ecological succession or maybe it was simply to green the area with indigenous plants. They must have planted hundreds of trees and shrubs on that small plot because there is hardly any light that penetrates between the leaves and in some places it looks as though it would be impossible to push your way through the closely packed stems. 

Walking along the path next to the trees you can see some of the faster growing pioneer species are beginning to die off, leaving the larger canopy trees to dominate the area. We do have a large variety of birds in the area so the wide assortment of trees and plants in the forest does provide a perfect feeding ground and also plenty of shelter for them. 

I would love to get a closer look at the paperbark tree but I haven't ventured into that dense growth. You can't be sure just what might be lurking in there!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Idea

I spent the day adding a gift suggestion to some of the listings in my Etsy shop. Etsy provides support and ideas for shop owners and I followed the suggestion to add ideas for gifting an item for Mother's Day. 

'Flowers and cushion stitch' and 'Rhodes and roses' pincushions

The embroidery patterns in my shop are all digital patterns. Most are for pincushions. Customers usually download the pattern, embroider it and make up the pincushion as the gift.

You could also print out the pattern so that the pattern itself becomes the gift and add the threads that are required.

Alternatively, print out the pattern and add a few other useful embroidery items as well. A packet of the recommended needles or a pair of embroidery scissors would make a welcome addition for your favourite embroiderer.

The patterns, thread and other requirements take up little space. They are ideal to take along as a small project on a long trip because everything can easily be tucked into your bag. Except the scissors if you are flying!

Visit my Etsy shop Lynlubell to see the patterns by clicking here. There are needlepoint or canvas work patterns, as well as pulled thread and Australian cross stitch.

Happy Mother's Day for Sunday 12th May!