Monday 27 February 2017

A few more circles.....

It was a quieter weekend for me this weekend.... not so much going on, so I had time to finish three more circles on my wool project and now have six completed.

I am really happy with how this project is looking and I am having such a lot of fun choosing the embroidery stitches to embellish each circle.  The first of the latest circles was decorated using silk boucle thread which I couched to the outer edge of the largest circle. Next, I used a variegated perle cotton and the Italian knotted border stitch on the blue wool circle.

White seed beads were added to the edge of the inner purple wool circle using a beaded coral stitch and purple wool thread. The fabric circle in the middle was edged with tiny fly stitches and the centre was decorated with buttonhole filler stitch both using variegated fine silk thread.

The next set of circles was decorated a bit differently.  The outer edge of the larger wool circle was embroidered with Italian knotted border stitch in variegated fine silk thread. The edge of the inner wool circle was highlighted with stem stitch in purple coton a broder and then the centre of the fabric circle was embellished with pistil stitches of varying lengths again in the variegated fine silk thread.

Finally, the last new set of circles was decorated with beaded whipped chain stitch on the outer edge of the larger wool circle.  The large circle was then embellished with seed stitches in variegated perle cotton thread.  The smaller wool circle was edged with Basque stitch in variegated fine silk thread.  This same variegated thread was used to stitch a circle of bullion knots on the fabric circle with a small star of straight stitches in the centre. The fabric circle was also embellished around the edge with colonial knots in white coton a broder.

Looking forward now to getting the other six sets of circles embellished!

Friday 24 February 2017

TAST Week Seventy-Three: Algerian Eye Stitch and a finished sampler.....

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is a stitch called 'Algerian Eye Stitch'.  It is a very pretty stitch which can be used very effectively as a stitch to fill larger areas of fabric. Sharon's tutorial for it is here.

I used this stitch (and a couple of other stitches previously covered in the TAST Challenge) to fill in the last little spaces on my current sampler as I thought the gaps between some of the stitches needed filling.

For my examples of the Algerian Eye Stitch I used my favourite variegated fine silk thread and just added a few stitches here and there on the sampler.

The photograph immediately above shows how my sampler looked before I added the extra stitches and the one below shows how it looked when I had filled in the gaps.

Once I had added the extra stitches the sampler felt finished, so I added some light turquoise border fabric and stretched the embroidery over a deep 8 x 8 inch square canvas. 

The border fabric was tacked to the back of the canvas to hold everything in place and the new picture is now hanging in my sewing room with the one I previously stitched.

I'll have to give some thought as to whether to start a new sampler now or, whether just to add the new TAST stitches to other projects I am working on..... what do you think?

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.