Monday, 20 February 2017

Two more circles completed....

Since I finished my Chalet project, I have been working on embellishing more of my wool felt circles and, I am pleased to say that I have managed to complete two more of them.

This project is one that has been inspired by Sue Spargo's wonderful work and, I have been following along with Sue's Craftsy Class to give me some ideas for stitching as well as using her beautiful books 'Creative Stitching' and 'Creative Texturing' for inspiration and reference.

Firstly, I added some cute little purple 'drizzle' stitches to the centre of my first set of circles which I showed you last time. Before adding the stitches, the first set of circles looked like this...

You may recall that I thought the centre of the middle circle needed a little extra embellishment but wasn't sure what to add.  Well, when I saw the drizzle stitch, I knew it would be perfect.

Once I had added the drizzle stitch to my first set of circles, I started work on the second set of circles.

To complete this second set of circles I used coton a broder in blue to stitch an outline of 'crested chain stitch' around the largest wool circle.  I then used green coton a broder to add fly stitch to the second wool felt circle. Finishing the fly stitch with pistil stitches.  Between each of the pistil stitches I added a bullion loop in pink coton a broder.

The edge of the cotton fabric circle was embellished using 'bullion cast on stitch' in a light teal coton a broder and finally, in the centre I added a flower stitched using 'double cast on stitch' for the petals and a colonial knot in the centre.  For the flower I used a variegated cotton pearl thread (size 8).

For the third set of circles I started by outlining the largest wool circle with 'rosette chain stitch'.  I used a pretty variegated pearl cotton thread (size 8). I also used this same thread and stitch to outline the centre cotton fabric circle.  The middle wool circle was edged with small fly stitches using purple coton a broder thread.

I added some bullion knots in blue coton a broder to decorate the larger wool circle and then finished the very centre with a circle of 'open buttonhole filler stitch' in light purple coton a broder thread.

I am so pleased I started this project as these little sets of circles are providing me with a lot of opportunity to try new stitches and are quickly stitched up in an evening.  I love the texture that some of the stitches are adding to the project and I am looking forward to stitching the next set now!!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Time to reveal the finished picture.....

In the last post I wrote about my freehand machine embroidered picture, I teased you with a few little bits of progress that I had made.  I started this project at a wonderful workshop held in Norwich by Abigail Mill.  It has been such a lot of fun working on it and I am pleased to say that earlier in the week I was able to put the final stitches to it.

The bulk of the picture was sewn using freehand machine embroidery techniques. However, when it came to adding some of the floral details, I decided to add some silk ribbon embroidery which I stitched by hand.

Although I am really pleased with the overall look of the piece (these photos don't really do it justice) hand stitching was perhaps not such a wise thing to have done.  The background is made up of lots of layers of fabric and has more fabric appliqued over the top and then the whole is machine stitched (quite densely in places) so because of this, it is extremely difficult to pass a hand sewing needle through from back to front to complete any hand stitching.

I have managed to add all the details that I wanted to such as the geraniums in the window boxes and the climbing plants on the trellis and pergola but, it was hard work and my fingers were extremely sore at the end of it!!  Next time I think I will add the details with the sewing machine too!!

It was worth the effort though as I am really happy with the finished piece. (If you click on the individual photos you get a larger version of them and can see more detail.)  Below are a couple of the photographs of the actual Chalet which I was using to work from.

And a view of the mountain which is in the background of my picture and which the Chalet overlooks but which is obscured by cloud in the pictures above.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Catching up with some TAST stitches.....

I know I mentioned that I would not necessarily be following all the TAST stitches published by Sharon Boggon of Pin Tangle this year but, I belong to the TAST Facebook group and every week when I see all the beautiful examples of the published stitch I am itching to give the new stitches a try.

I also still had quite a few spaces to fill on my sampler, so I thought I would add a few of the stitches that have been published so far this year.  I have added a link to each of the stitch names which will take you to Sharon's great tutorials for each of them.

The first of these was 'Magic Chain Stitch' which is a really fun stitch to work.  I used cotton perle (8) in blue and pink to work this stitch.

Week 70 was 'Fancy Herringbone Stitch' which was also fun but, I should have read the tutorial properly before starting as I worked the little holding crosses with the vertical bar on top rather than the horizontal bar which gave me a few problems with the threading.  I decided not to take it out though and will just live with it as it is on my sampler!  I used blue cotton perle (8) thread for the base herringbone and holding crosses and variegated fine silk thread for the weaving.

Week 71 was 'Alternating Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch' which I really enjoyed.  This is such a useful stitch and quite easy to get the hang of once your get a rhythm going.  I stitched my sample using variegated fine silk thread. 

Week 72 (the current week) is 'Basque Stitch'.  I really loved this stitch.  It is one I hadn't come across before but it was quick to work and gave lovely results with the variegated fine silk thread that I like to stitch with.

My sampler is looking a lot fuller now and I think it may be time to make it into another picture to hang with it's sister on my sewing room wall.

It is a special year for TAST this year as it is ten years since Sharon first published this series of stitches.  To celebrate, Sharon is publishing a series of interviews with stitchers who have participated from all around the world.  The first two interviews have already been published and you can read them on Sharon's blog here and here.  It is great fun to understand the creative process of other stitchers and what stitching means to them, so the interviews are well worth reading.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

A little bit of progess....

Although time has been short, I have also made a little bit of progress on the freehand embroidery project that I started at the Abigail Mill workshop which I attended in January. You may recall that I had decided to work on an image of our Chalet in Switzerland and by the end of the workshop I had managed to get the basic image planned and partly stitched in place.

I have now changed some of the fabric and stitching (as, with the extra time you have at home, I felt they needed tweaking) as well as stitching down most of the applique pieces. To the left hand side (in front of the mountains) I have added some trees.

I have also added some of the extra stitching details needed to give the image more texture and depth.

Above are the details added to the windows and below the freehand machine stitching added to the roof to give the impression of tiles.

There is still a long way to go on this piece as I have all sorts of little details that I would like to add but, I am pleased with the progress I am making.  I haven't shared a photograph of the whole piece as it currently stands as I am going to reveal it when the whole piece is completed..... until then...... 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A busy few weeks.....

It has certainly been a busy few weeks here.  After having all my children and their respective partners here to stay for my husband's birthday celebrations it was a quick tidy up and change of beds ready for the next set of visitors.  My brother-in-law and his wife stayed here overnight on their way to our nephew's wedding. We also attended the wedding which was held this past weekend.  It has meant that there hasn't been a lot of stitching time here but, the wedding was lovely and it was nice to see some other extended family too which is the most important thing!

In the brief snatches of time that I have had, I have started work on decorating my Sue Spargo inspired 'circles' wool project.  I have managed to add some stitches to one set of circles and I am really pleased with it. Most of the stitches I have used are covered in Sue's Craftsy class.

The light purple stitches on the far outside edge are 'Pekinese stitch' and I used a 'coton a broder' thread to work the stitches.  Moving in, the individual light pink stitches are a fly stitch variation called 'Tete de Boeuf' and again I used a 'coton a broder' thread to work these stitches.

Next, I couched a piece of green chenille thread around the outside edge of the green circle using 'bullion knots' to hold the chenille in place.  The bullion knots were worked using two-stranded purple wool thread.  I also added some 'colonial knots' in blue 'coton a broder' on the green wool circle.

Finally, I outlined the middle circle (which is cotton fabric) with another fly stitch variation called 'Italian knotted border stitch' again these stitches were worked in 'coton a broder' thread, this time in green. The centre will probably be further embellished but, I have not decided how yet, so for the moment that set of circles is complete and, I am looking forward now to starting the next circle set.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

A wonderful workshop.....

What an exciting week it has been the past week.  It started like any other but then on Tuesday I headed up to Norfolk for a visit with my parents.  It was lovely to see them and, it was while I was visiting them that I had arranged to attend the Abigail Mill Workshop that I mentioned in a previous post.

Abigail was a delightful teacher and she gave us all invaluable help while taking our first steps to making a freehand embroidered project.

Capturing the image in fabric......

I had decided to try and put together an image of the chalet we lived in when we were in Switzerland.  It was such a lot of fun choosing the fabrics and then adding in the freehand machined stitches. It is a long way from finished but I am very pleased with how this is looking so far.  I am not sure how long it will be until I get it completed as I am not very good with getting the perspective right, so there will be a lot of playing with more fabric and stitches before that day comes!!

Busy adding some stitching.....

There were two other lovely ladies, Brenda and Sarah, also on the workshop and below you can see us at the end of the two days with our works in progress.  I had a great time, it was a fabulous workshop!

Brenda, Sarah and me....

I also had the opportunity to buy a couple of Abigail's beautiful kits, which I hope to be able to make up.  Her fabulous book has some lovely projects in too which I now feel more confident to try.

After the workshop had finished I met up with my youngest daughter and my sister for a delicious meal at a local restaurant and then it was time to head home, taking my daughter with me!

On our return, we had a celebration for my husband's 60th birthday.  All my immediate family were there and we had a lovely day out on Saturday enjoying a scrumptious lunch followed by a trip to the theatre.

This week it is back to normality and catching up with some of the household chores!!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Progress on my wool projects.....

It has been so much fun to work on the wool projects that I showed you last week.  Since that post, I have finished embellishing the butterfly block which forms part of the Craftsy Class by Sue Spargo.

I am really pleased with it and I am looking forward to starting another block and learning some more stitches.

I have also finished positioning the wool circles on the background of what will be my 'Circles' wool quilt (inspired by some of Sue Spargo's beautiful work)  I am excited now to add some embellishment to them.

The colours are very pretty (I am not sure this photo does them justice) and, I have found (in among some other sewing things) some perfect threads to use with them.

Looking forward to showing you some more progress on this project very soon!!