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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Glamis Rose and Thistle finish

The third section of the Rose and Thistle ( that is, the second rose) is finished. This time I largely worked the leaves by eye rather than following the photograph. I also returned to and touched up the other rose
 and the thistle 
before blocking the piece on plastic over the rug in my workroom.
Philippa's instructions called for a suitable size cork board which I didn't have. As I wanted to do it immediately I used my true and tried method. I did, however, insert the plastic.

The result was great. I'm very pleased.
All I need to do now is construct my cushion!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Back to Basics Project 3

I missed the May and June Back to Basics Group at the Embroiders' Guild. It was great to get back in late July. The Group is a lot of fun and I had missed the camaraderie.

I have progressed to Project Three, which is a hussif and scissor case. Like most students I began with the scissor case. In the July meeting I cut out my templates and began the embroidery design. The challenge this time is to use a specific range of loop stitches - buttonhole, feather and/or fly stitch. 

In the August meeting, helped along by fellow student, Mary Moore, who had progressed hers while I was away, I cut out my backing, linings and began the construction. I finished this off at home, ladder-stitching the pieces together and then making the inevitable twisted cord.
Each of these pieces had a plain and a patterned component. In this one, the back of the scissor case is meant to be patterned I didn't much like that, so used the pattern on the reverse side. 
My scissor case is now finished. It will be submitted for assessment along  with the hussif, which I start at next Monday's Back to Basics. It's a lot of fun and a great group.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Crewel Rose and Thistle update

I have made some progress on the Rose and Thistle crewel work from the Scottish Highlands Embroidery Tour. I had not touched this since returning home. This is where I was.

I set it up in the 12" hoop of my seated frame - the arrangement we used on the tour. I found it a bit messy, as the linen piece is long - about 30 inches- leaving quite a bit hanging over the frame. In addition, the edges were fraying and catching in my stitching.

I decided,  to try it in my Doodler frame. This still works on my lap, but is suited to a long piece of linen. I took the linen out of the hoop and basted the edges into a hem. The linen piece then fitted the width of the rollers I have for the Doodler and I lashed them on.

The trouble with this arrangement was that I couldn't get the piece tight enough on the sides. I tried lashing it down but had only limited success. 

I got through the Rose but in the end I removed the linen and went back to the hoop.

I still have the pistol stitches to do on the rose

and some hairs and adjustments on the thistle.
I have started on the leaves in the third, and last, section - the second rose.

I'm still not sure what I will do with this piece. Maybe a long, thin bolster-like cushion.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ethnic Embroideries Study Group:A Feast of Embroideries from China

Last week I attended the monthly meeting of the Guild's Ethnic Embroideries Study Group - one of my favourite Guild groups. The group exists  to gain a greater understanding of embroidery through the study of traditional textiles from around the world. The different techniques and materials used, the significance of traditional designs, the place of embroidery both domestically and ceremonially in the lives of people of other cultures are all explored by the study of embroideries from the Guild's Museum and other public and private collections and through research and the sharing of knowledge.

This week Glenys Osborne, a member of the group, showed, and spoke to us about, her collection of embroideries from China, collected in the years she and her husband lived and worked there. Glenys has a fabulous collection and we all had a great time looking, touching, asking questions and following her journeys on her map.

Much of her collection comes from ethnic minority groups in the more rural and remote areas of China.

I did not take notes in the session so will simply post the photos, hoping others will enjoy the variety, attraction and skill of the pieces we were privileged to see.

skirt in hanging panels, like a vertical blind
Inside of the skirt

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bird hand towels

A couple of years ago I bought a supply of hand towels to embroider. I was looking for usable hand towels - terry towelling for absorbency and big enough to hang on a small towel rail without falling off.

I found a couple of pair about 15"x30" with a panel devoid of loops and printed for embroidery
as well as some that had in Aida panel inserted. The other day I needed a grab-and-go project so grabbed one of the towel pairs printed with a cross-stitched bird. 
It came with thread so all I had to do was follow the chart.

This proved to be less than satisfactory. Cross-stitching on to the cotton panel didn't give good coverage. Accuracy wasn't easy. I didn't much like the result.
So for the second towel in the pair, I used the shape, but not the crosses. Instead, I tried chain stitch for the bird - a much better result.
I completed the bird and greenery in chain stitch and the flower in buttonhole stitch.
This was so much better that I then over stitched the cross-stitched bird with chain stitch - an altogether better result.   I now have a pair of usable hand towels!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Phoebe Anna Traquair Finish

I put the finishing touches on my Phoebe Anna piece, increasing the rows of couching on the large leaf to intensify the colours (other than the underlying brown)
and outlining the berries, branches and leaf.

I spent some time considering what to do with the piece before settling on a bag that I can use for projects. I had some dark denim that I thought would work well, so made that into a bag and inserted the embroidery before discovering that the dye in the denim transferred to my hands while stitching. I unpicked the embroidered insert, washed the denim and rinsed it thoroughly in vinegar to set the die.
Displaying IMG_4917.JPG 
Alas, the dye still leaked as I handled the denim, so I abandoned it and tried again with a piece of dark green drill. The colour is lighter in the photo than in reality.
The finished product, lined in pale blue chambray, is attractive and useful - both important to me. 

It will also be examined and appreciated by stitching friends as I use it for current projects - beginning, I hope, with the Rose and Thistle crewel work - the second project from the Scottish Highlands Tour that I now intend to move on to!