It seems so long since I last posted. The children’s exams, a lot of building work at home and a glorious summer holiday have all contrived to swallow up time.
This morning I decided to make a start on clearing my daughter’s bedroom before redecorating. This sampler was tucked away on the wall to her bathroom and I just had to share it as it is such a wonderful reminder of how I learned to love stitching.
I was ten years old and we were on a family holiday to France. I remember very clearly visiting a little sewing shop in the local town and being quite determined to spend my pocket money on the kit. There was then the rather tedious task of blanket stitching the edge of the fabric before I was left to my own devices. I think I started in the middle, as the design fits the fabric, but the cross stitches are all pointing in different directions!
No matter, the finished sampler looks fine from a distance and was a fabulous launch into a lifetime love of sewing – so have a go and don’t worry about the mistakes.
Very often an idea springs to mind when I am doing the most mundane tasks. This little juggling seal started life as a scribble on the corner of a spreadsheet.
I started stitching him yesterday and I think the red bunting has worked rather well. To keep the satin stitches quite small I added an extra line of back stitch down the centre of each triangle and it has created a three dimensional effect with very little effort. As a finishing touch I should be able to find some silver beads to add as little bells.
I started his fur in the evening, when the light was fading, and I now think the grey is too dark, it is going to hid his smile and little ear. The dilemma now is do I unpick or is it better to start again? There are rather a lot of grey stitches to frog and the linen is never quite as crisp and even second time around so I think I have my answer – back to the light box with a fresh square of linen and my favourite erasable Frixion pen!
I will update you on progress shortly and I think there may also be a rabbit brewing. Let me know if you like these hoop embroideries and I will look into options either as a PDF pattern or kit.
Despite knitting since I was quite tiny, I still find it quite mind blowing to think that a strand of yarn can be twisted and turned in so many different ways and combinations to create just about anything.
With my garden now bursting into leaf and the birds in full song I thought it appropriate to share some knitted nature. These lovely creations are a tiny selection of the garden and mythical knitting figures that were on display at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia last month. I only had my mobile phone camera on me so the photographs really don’t do justice to the quirky and imaginative creatures on display. However, everything brought a smile to my face, sparked a few ideas and I particularly loved the rather cheeky troll. Hopefully he and his friends will make it along to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in the autumn and I will be sure to take a better camera along to capture all the woolly wonders.
I am home from a fantastic Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia. It always seems to take me a few days to resurface after such a intense week, but I love it!!!
One of my favourite aspects of the shows is that it is such a wonderful opportunity to meet up with like minded makers, to swap ideas, to be inspired by a varied selection of work and to sometimes kick myself for not coming up with a particularly brilliant design first!!!
Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch is always on hand with his Royal School of Needlework students to showcase the best in funky, contemporary embroidery. His latest venture is a ‘cross stitch magazine for the modern world’ embracing contemporary cross stitch with contributions from some of the best known designers as well as some newbies like myself.
The first edition has the theme of ‘revolution’
I have moved away from my usual critters and come up with an optical art design based on a torus donut to give the impression of a twisting, three dimensional shape. There is a sneak peek of a corner of the design below as well as the header for the Kickstarter site for this new publication .
Please take a look as it should shake up the world of cross stitch – just click below
For such a long time I have wanted to make some cross stitch kits that would appeal to children. Having started sewing at a very young age I was keen to encourage a new generation to fall in love with needles and thread.
Much of what I have seen for children has been disappointing, cutesy designs in bubblegum pink shades of acrylic yarn that is impossible to work with and never gives a quality finish….. It always worries me that an early disappointment puts children off sewing for life.
I came across the plastic canvas, quite by chance, in my local craft shop and it immediately fired my imagination. It is really firm so no need for a frame and the holes are well spaced giving a really easy surface for stitching. All the designs are stitched in just four or five colours of beautiful wool tapestry thread from Anchor and to give these critters some extra cheekiness I have added wooden beady eyes.
I hope you like these fellows and remember they don’t need to be just for the children!
My husband is the sort of person who, if he needs something, will just pop out and get it, making buying a gift almost impossible. Added to that I haven’t managed to find a Valentines card that I liked this year, so he is getting an embroidered bear. This little fellow will not be a surprise from a mystery admirer as he saw me stitching!
I just sketched the outline using a Frixion pen onto some natural Essex linen and then raided my stash of embroidery thread and beads to stitch this little fellow in a 5″ hoop.
He really didn’t take long at all and once finished I just held him carefully against a hot iron to remove any remaining pen marks left on the linen.
When my husband and I married my parents commissioned a celebratory slipware plate from a local artist and potter, Mary Wondrausch OBE. At the time I had not realised quite how special this present was. For a start, it had to be collected in person, by appointment only, from her home and studio, Brickfields, in the village of Compton.
My goodness, what a treat, Mary was utterly unique, a real English eccentric with an absolute passion for art and cookery. She was so generous with her time, spending a good part of the afternoon showing us around the studio and demonstrating her slipware technique using bicycle inner tubes. We were then give a tour of the garden; introduced to ‘Pidge,’ a grey plastic shooting pigeon who sat on a pile of green glass sea glass in a ceramic urinal, shown the garden screen covered in ‘Barbie’ dolls which led to the private, grass amphitheater where, Mary told my husband, ‘she liked to dance naked!’
We returned to visit Mary a couple of years later to collect my sister’s wedding plate. Again, we were given free reign of the studio and I found one of my most treasured possessions, a sgraffito plate celebrating the Queen Mother’s centenary, pushed under an old garden bench! Mary then took us though to the kitchen….Oh, my goodness, it was quite unbelievable. Every surface was covered with her collection of old metal meat grinders and there were at least ten small enamel saucepans on the Rayburn each filled with wild fungi she had collected with her friend, Clarissa Dickson Wright, earlier that morning.
Mary died 26th December 2016 at the grand age of 93….. she was still painting!
Words really cannot describe this remarkable woman so click on either picture for a video.