Thursday, May 23, 2013

South Peninsula Handcraft Club Exhibition

The South Peninsula Handcraft Club Exhibition is on until Saturday 25 May. The work is beautifully set out and there is lots to see - quilts, embroidery, soft toys, beading and more. Its well worth going down to the Civic Centre in Fish Hoek to see the display.

The backdrop on the stage where the toys are was specially painted for the exhibition and gives a really festive air.

The Christmas corner is charming.
And do count the mice and drop your entry in Santa's postbox. Something that I forgot to do in all the excitement!
There is all sorts of embroidery to see. I could have spent ages here admiring the fine work- pulled work, drawn thread, hardanger, ribbon embroidery, cross stitch and more.

As you walk in you can't miss the cheerful collection of shopping bags up on either side of the stage. Why shopping bags? Club members were each given a shopping bag and challenged to decorate it.
This is just a small sprinkling of what there is to see, but it does give some idea of the variety of crafts on show. If you can't get to Fish Hoek to see the show you can find the SPHC Club on Facebook. Click on the photo link on their page and you will find some of the individual items that are on the exhibition as well as photos of previous exhibitions.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Orange tree

After four years my little orange tree has produced a good crop of oranges.

Now to pick them and make the marmalade...


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Australian Cross Stitch and Chicken Scratch - Gingham embroidery

Australian Cross Stitch is just the thing to do when you want something that stitches up quickly and easily. The end result is always pretty and it looks like lace. Here I used a mercerised cotton crochet thread size 8 which gives a nice crisp look to the embroidery.

Australian Cross Stitch

Looking at these two pincushions someone asked whether it was Chicken Scratch. No it's not. It's Australian Cross Stitch. One design is embroidered with half cross stitches and decorated with circles. The other design is cross stitch with flowers and a decorative border stitch.

Chicken Scratch, which also goes by the names Snowflaking, Hoover Lace or Depression Lace, is also done on gingham but the difference is in the stitches. To illustrate here is a Chicken Scratch pincushion embroidered on the same gingham.

Chicken Scratch

How to tell the difference between Australian Cross Stitch and Chicken Scratch?  The quick giveaway between the two is that Australian Cross Stitch has either crosses or half crosses, but Chicken Scratch usually has a double cross stitch and a running stitch. Also, Chicken Scratch often has an outline of double cross stitch worked in a coloured thread. This outline is done in the same colour as the darkest squares of the gingham.

Chicken Scratch

I am teaching an Australian Cross Stitch class this month and hope to have some of the patterns in my Etsy shop soon. In the meantime, happy stitching!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Embroidered Wedding Veil

Every so often I go through my cupboards to clear out things that are taking up more space than they are now worth. I don't usually get to throwing much out because somehow everything has some special meaning even though it may no longer be useful, but I do turn up treasures that I haven't seen for a while. One of these treasures is my daughter's wedding veil.

Cindy had decided to remodel and wear my 1970's wedding dress. It had a pretty train of a machine embroidered fabric.

If anyone knows the name of this transparent and crinkled fabric please let me know. With time this piece of information has vanished from my memory.

I had always wanted to embroider a veil. With lots of encouragement as well as valuable insights and tips from teacher and friend Tricia Elvin-Jensen I set off on the project. Using the embroidery on the train as a starting point, I drew a matching motif. The veil was to be circular and would have 16 of these motifs around the scalloped edge.

Luckily I still had a few flowers left over from the trimming on my original train. I unpicked the rather heavy looking double layered flower and used only a single layer of the flower to attach to the veil. This was the focal point of the embroidered motif.

To give the flower more depth I first embroidered it's outline on the net and then attached the motif. A few small beads from Montana where Cindy was staying trimmed the centre of each flower.

Then needle running and lots of eyelets...

This is the only photo we have of the back of the dress which shows the train and veil.

Such happy memories!

... and now both dress and veil are safely back in my cupboard.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cupboards and stitched treasures

In between stitching I have been going through some cupboards and trying to clear out and make some space.

The stitching has been fun. I have been asked to submit a teaching project for possible inclusion in an embroidery convention in August next year. What a surprise that was! The convention is known as Ighali (meaning Threads) and will take place in Port Elizabeth. For the event I am working on a piece of Dresden Lace, or pulled worked on very fine fabric, something that I really enjoy. But more about that in a future post.

Clearing out the cupboards was not fun - until I found my daughter's wedding veil. Then it was a trip down memory lane because she remodelled and updated my wedding dress and train for her wedding. Also, I had always wanted to embroider a wedding veil and that was the perfect time to do it.

When the sun shines again here in Cape town I will take some photos of the train and the veil and put them up on my blog for you to see.

Till then, happy stitching!