wheatfield and wild flowers

Hadn’t realised that it’s been nine days since my last post here but I’m busy with several stitchy things this week as well as getting to grips with a new mobile phone plus making a new cover for it, downloading some drawing apps, Instagram, Dropbox, and realising how far my techno skills have slipped over the last four or five years. I don’t believe that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I just think it takes longer. A lot longer.
 

The least interesting thing I’m busy with this week is taking up trouser hems so I’ll say no more on that subject.

On my embroidery hoop is a slight variation of ‘August’ from Lala Ward’s 1989 Countryside Embroidery Book. I made several attempts at stitching the wheat like Lala’s version of small satin stitches over ‘bump’, which according to the book is the technical name for the soft cotton thread used for padding. I didn’t much like the look of the finished wheat in the book and even after trying the suggested method on a few stalks of wheat I liked it even less so gave up on the ‘bump’ altogether and interpreted the wheat my own way. What with all the stitch trials and drawing my own mouse to suit the reduction in the wheat size, it’s taken more than ten hours to get this far, so goodness knows when it’ll get finished.

August

 

The last thing I’ve been playing around with is a mixed media piece – a calico ground fabric with scraps of fabric, ribbons, braid, string, crochet cotton, and threads added by hand and machine stitching. The thicker threads and yarn were also used as bobbin threads and machined with the reverse side of the fabric uppermost. Diluted acrylic gesso was scraped all over the surface and when dry, acrylic paints were applied to suggest plant life and sky. I think there’s room to add a few more plants etc but I’ll let it swill around in my brain for another day or two.

wild flowers

 

old fabric chest finished

Here’s the old wip chest in the making and the end result after spending a few hours on it yesterday and today. I’m going to leave it empty for a while because I know that if I do put something in it, the next time I’m looking for whatever that might be, I will not be remember that it’s in the chest. I’d keep my memory in it but that’s already locked away somewhere.

fabric chest

fabric chest

cross stitch alternative

I might be busy elsewhere for the next few days so I thought I’ve give you lovely readers the benefit of a second post today – the 340th of this blog.

When I posted the cross stitch White Village, I think I wrote that my next project would be a fabric book but I knew that what I really wanted to do was interpret the White Village in free style embroidery before tackling a book so I did! This little piece has reinforced my opinion that the world of cross stitch is much better off without me in it! I enjoyed this second version more as I much prefer the freedom that interpretive embroidery gives me as opposed to the restrictions of cross stitch. Let me state right now that I have a great deal of admiration for those who take pleasure from cross stitch – some work that I’ve seen is fantastic but it’s not for me.

Prior to stitching, I drew the village on the calico with pencil, coloured the surrounding background with Derwent Inktense blocks, and tinted the trees with Winsor and Newton watercolour paints. A fairly thick mix of chinese white tube watercolour gave an unexpected but welcome texture to the house walls. These were then left unstitched as I didn’t think I could improve on the texture with needle and thread. Stitches used – long and short, seed, straight, split, stem, and a few french knots.white village

 

an old wip chest

After I had made the tasseled box in June I began making a chest with a curved lid from the same book. I was very enthusiastic in the making of it for a while but then I realised that the background colour of the chest and those of the surface panels were just boring when together, individually acceptable but together – bleh. I had already made the panels so I kept tempting them to get together with the background by making little offerings of ribbons and cords in different colour combos and beads and bling too but it was to no avail. In digust I pushed all the pieces to one side on the work bench with only an occasional glance in their direction and got on with other things. They’ve been lying untouched for over a month now.

Three days ago I was colouring fabric with Derwent Inktense blocks and with nothing to lose, thought I’d colour the background of the chest while I was at it. Hey Presto! The new colour was a vast improvement on the original and yesterday I stitched the panels on. I expect know I’ll make other things before this is finished but at least my enthusiasm for this chest has been re-kindled.

 

chest

cross stitch finished

Well, that’s the White Village completed and I like the end result. I also like that I now have cross stitch out of my system and I won’t need to do any more in the foreseeable future!

cross stitch 3

For my next venture I’m thinking of making a book along the lines of those I saw at the Stroud Embroiderer’s Guild exhibition this week and today my copy of Under The Cover by Frances Pickering arrived this morning, just two days after ordering it. I’ve not made a mixed media type of book before and I’ve only had a quick skim through the book as yet but I’m sure it’ll be extremely useful. Unusually for a craft-type book, every page is photographs of book pages and covers made by Ms Pickering rather than being mainly text with accompanying photos and diagrams. That was a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. Neither are there instructions as such, just plenty of hints and suggestions hand-written over and around the images. A good variety of ideas to consider so I hope I don’t get bogged down in the preparation thought process and never get around to making a book!

Under The Cover

 

a new friend

Look who I collected from the post office sorting office today – a new friend for little ted, all the way from Australia! This little bunny was my prize in the recent giveaway by Joyce of Little Felt Houses and he’s just as lovely as the images on Joyce’s blog suggested he was.

He looks a bit startled at the moment but then he has travelled a very long way wrapped up in a large padded bag for over a week so I reckon he deserves to look that way for a bit longer. I hope he and little ted become good friends and once he’s settled in I might even learn his name.

a new friend

cross stitch progress

A progress update and a discovery. The discovery was made when stitching more of the cross stitch piece this afternoon and it is that I can’t always seem to easily place the needle through the appropriate hole in the aida when coming up from the back.  Perhaps this is common with cross stitch but I don’t like this aspect of it! I didn’t do any cross stitch yesterday as I spent a lovely day in Oxford with my friend Moonpenny and today my feet attest to the fact that we walked and walked and walked around for hours. We kept seeing displays in shop windows about Alice in Wonderland but didn’t know why. An online search revealed that this year is the 150th anniversary of the book being written. This had nothing to do with my rendition of the Mad Hatter – I did it simply because I liked the original image and wanted something to while away a long journey with.

This morning I went to view “Bags, Bonnets and Books”, an exhibition of work by members of the Stroud branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild. I have no idea who did what as the sheets which would have told me had still not been delivered by the time I was leaving. The work was beautiful nonetheless and gave me several ideas. The exhibition runs until Friday so I might go back again for a second look!

cross stitch 2

 

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