Exploring texture and pattern 2

Since Sue Stone’s course (see my previous post) came online just over a week ago, I’ve hardly thought about anything else stitch-wise. So far I’ve made grid samples of running stitch, back stitch and mock herringbone stitch and I’ve never found it so difficult to sew a straight line of stitches as I have for these samples but that seems to be a common problem for more than a few of us doing this course so I don’t feel so bad.

Like millions of others, I’ve had a Facebook account for years but I could count on one hand the number of posts I’ve written. I rarely log-in and frequently consider deleting the account but as a member of the FB group set up for this course I now find myself happily checking-in several times a day to look at the images posted and to read how others have interpreted the challenges set or to empathise with the difficulties they’ve also found in accomplishing what at first glance appeared to be an easy task but wasn’t particularly.

I stuck the words of the stitched and painted fabric on the front of an A4 notebook which I’m using for notes and details about the samples I’ve made. The samples will later be made into a separate book. Each challenge asks questions at the end and I find these more difficult to answer than the practicalities of stitching. For example, “How might what you discovered in today’s creative challenge inform a piece of textile art?” I haven’t answered that one yet because I don’t do textile art (?) but it’s making me think, so that can only be good.

Here’s my running stitch sample so you can see what I mean about my non-straight stitching lines!

autumn winter challenge part 3

I finished my autumn winter challenge yesterday. It’s now drying after being washed, pressed and stretched this morning. The flower heads and leaves were a little wishy-washy before I outlined them but I really like the look of them now. Long and short, and stem stitch only.


autumn winter challenge

The pieces I embroider don’t normally take too long to do so for a change I’m challenging myself to embroider a vase of tulips which might take me through autumn if not also through part of the winter. Usually I just adapt something from a book or the internet but this time I’m actually designing it myself from scratch and I’ve already spent a few days drawing tulips and trying different ideas for the pattern on the vase. I’ve also selected various colour combos for the flowers but I’m sure those at least will change many times as will the stitching plan which is not yet finalised – I can’t make up my mind whether to use raised embroidery for some of the tulip heads or not.


2 ongoing wips

This is the bird box yet to be (or not to be). I should have made the interior cardboard box first and then made the fabric outer to size but I frequently do things the hard way and will now have to take the knife to interior box #1 and make it a tad smaller or start again. Embroidered felt birds lightly stuffed with silk fibres from an old quilt. Felt backing. French knots surrounding.


I succeeded in finding a copy of Sachiko Morimoto’s Stumpwork Flowers at my local library last Thursday and by Friday I thought that rather than just drool over the beautiful photographs of her work I should have a go at actually stitching one. Then I decided it might be nice to work through the book so I’ve ordered myself a copy! (All the reviews I’ve read for this book are correct – it’s fabulous and a must-have for anyone who likes to stitch!)
Starting with the first project, Clover, this is what I did yesterday evening. I’ve been buying embroidery threads for over forty years and have an abundant supply of colours so I was surprised when I couldn’t match any of the greens in my boxes to those on Sachiko’s list and since I don’t possess a DMC or Anchor colour chart I’m just going to choose the colours I think closely match what I can see in the photographs – as if some of these projects weren’t challenging enough!


October challenge

Appropriately enough, this month’s stitchy challenge was Autumn, but I have to admit that I struggled with this one. I had ideas in abundance but found them awkward to put down on paper, never mind express in stitches. When I did finally commit to stitching, the ideas morphed into something quite different but at least I’ve actually made tangible things this month: I now have a new case for my specs and a bookmark, although the bookmark is less likely to be used since I mainly read from a Kindle these days. The third piece, begun at the weekend, is at the ‘not sure if this is worth developing any further’ stage and since big sis emailed to say that she had completed her Autumn piece but had also struggled with hers, I feel let off the hook somewhat so I’m throwing in the towel for this challenge.

1st piece – the specs case. It’s supposed to look like leaves blowing off the tree! Free-motion machine embroidered muslin and tiny pieces of felt on a cotton background. Hand embroidered seams using Palestrina (Double Knot) stitch.


2nd piece – the bookmark. A single leaf. Free-motion machine embroidered on a heavy duty water soluble fabric.



3rd piece – who knows what this will end up being? The leaves at the bottom are not yet (and may never be) attached. More free-motion machine embroidery  and appliqué with felt and cotton, and some done on water soluble fabric.DSCF9806

July’s stitchy challenge

I made this cover to keep the current National Trust handbook from getting any tattier than it already is and to serve as my interpretation of this month’s challenge  ‘A and B’ as asters on a book cover.

The asters were free motion machine embroidered on cotton then appliquéd on velvet. Lining fabric is from a fat quarter of quilting cotton.








jumping ship

Soooo long since I last posted!
At the beginning of the month I spent a week with big sis and she was delighted with Dave in Stitches which has now been framed and was waiting to be wall hung when I left.

Having waxed lyrical over the Bernina 215 after its purchase last July, I have had almost nine months to gradually change my mind. Don’t get me wrong – the 215 is a great little workhorse and it’s been just fine in general, but in recent months I’ve come to hate the vertical bobbin feed and the lack of stitch selection. I admit it, I made a serious error of judgement when I bought it. After researching on the net and trying a model or two, I jumped ship  nearly two weeks ago and part-exchanged the 215 for a Janome Memory Craft 5900QC. I’m happy once more. (Know anyone who needs 40 Bernina bobbins and a couple of feet?)

In a moment of madness, big sis and I decided to have a monthly sewing challenge. We’ve compiled a list of themes which we can interpret as we see fit. It must involve stitchery but any kind using any medium is acceptable and the finished article must be no bigger than A4 (minus a 1″ border all round).


This month’s theme was ‘showers’. My first ‘showers’ interpretation did not turn out as well as I had anticipated and has therefore been consigned to a dark cupboard, never to see the light of day again. It was a shame because my initial drawings led me to think that my idea would translate very nicely into free form machine embroidery with some hand sewn embellishment, but alas it did not. In the end I used it as a practice piece and got to know the Janome with it. Time was running out however but when I came across this illustration I thought that I might manage to do it some kind of stitchery justice and answer the brief. I kept it simple with machined appliqué and both hand and free motion machine embroidery. Next month’s challenge is flowers…