Exploring Texture and Pattern

I’ve been reading lots of articles on TextileArtist.org lately and some of the content really resonated with me – particularly this one! The website is run by Joe and Sam Pitcher whose mother is Sue Stone (Woman With a Fish) and after signing up for and watching Joe and Sam’s free video training sessions several times, I registered for Sue’s online course, Exploring Texture and Pattern. (Enrolment is possible until Friday 23rd June if you’re interested.)

Amongst other things, the course will involve making a stitch sample book so I thought I’d prepare the book cover fabric in advance. I used another of my rubbishy painted fabric pieces, wrote the course title with Inktense blocks, and outlined the letters with free machine stitching. The image makes the text look huge but it’s only roughly 14 cm (5.5 ins) square.

guilt-free

I’ve spent the past eight days in idleness and it’s been lovely. I haven’t done anything craft related whatsoever and I haven’t felt guilty at all. Shortly before mid-day however, after completing the umpteenth online jigsaw of the morning, I decided it was worth suffering jigsaw cold turkey and get back to sewing again. By this afternoon a small landscape idea was beginning to take shape for which the first step was to paint a semblance of land and sky onto the calico with watercolours. Setting the colours by ironing can wait ’til tomorrow, by which time I may have thought of something better to sew!

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new pockets

I was playing around with more free-motion machine embroidery yesterday but instead of just tossing the samples into a folder, I used them this afternoon to make two more tissue pockets. This evening I’ll be doing more shading practice before I attempt to hand embroider a flower or two from Trish Burr’s book, Needle Painting Embroidery.

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forty shades of green

Well that’s the chillies finished. I’m not sure why the book suggests five different shades of green for this project and I think it looks a bit odd. Not keen on the stripe effect on the chilli either but that’s also what the book said to do. I admit that I exaggerated about the forty shades.

The needlelace is not brilliant but it’ll do and just as I thought, It was much easier to do using a cordonnet. The book says to use open buttonhole stitch but corded buttonhole makes for slightly fatter stitches so I could see where I had to insert the tapestry needle without resorting to a magnifying glass and it was fairly quick to do. The blunt tip of the tapestry needle also prevented split threads. The next project is actually to stitch chilli peppers onto napkins but I don’t fancy that idea so I’m moving straight onto Camomile but need to go out and buy another skein of DMC Blanc first once the plasterer/decorator team has been and gone but they’re already an hour and a half late. Time to make a phone call I think.

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silly little birds 2

I’ve been practising tambour embroidery on and off for a few weeks with more failures than successes. The first image below shows the most stitches I’ve managed to do in one sitting without snagging but of course as soon as I mentally realised that I hadn’t snagged thread for a while, it immediately snagged up with every stitch thereafter. Sooooooo frustrating. I’ve been using closely woven cottons and calico (plain muslin) up to now but the other day I bought ‘proper’ embroidery fabric with a more open weave and I think that might solve some of the snagging problems but I’m giving the tambour hook a rest for a day or two in favour of some more silly little birds, stitched in a redwork kind of style. These took hardly any time at all yesterday and were much easier than using a tambour hook!

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arts and crafts day

Yesterday I was in London with Moonpenny, visiting the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. The tea room was our first stop because by the time we reached the gallery, I’d been travelling for nearly three hours and was in dire need of some Earl Grey. We sat outside on the narrow balcony, overlooking Lloyd Park and its sun-dried grass and flower beds and after we were suitably refreshed, we headed indoors to begin our tour.

Apart from all things William Morris, we had come to see The Art of Embroidery – a solo exhibition by Nicola Jarvis. Ms Jarvis didn’t stitch all the embroidery on display herself and it was pleasing to note that the embroiderers had each been credited in the cards detailing the pieces. Ms Jarvis’s incredibly detailed stitch drawings are difficult to distinguish from actual embroidery. According to the gallery website, her new work has been ‘created in dialogue with the techniques and ideas’ of Morris’s daughter May, who at the age of 23 was the director of the embroidery department at Morris & Co. Seeing all this fabulous work was enough to make me think I should just throw in the towel as far as embroidery goes!

I took a few photographs in the hope that they might inspire me at a later date but there are images of far better quality out there on the net, so I offer you only two to better illustrate the enormous difference between my work and that of others. Even though the techniques are completely different, there’s still no contest. May Morris wins hands down.

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If you’re at all interested in embroidery or William Morris, the exhibition runs until September and is well worth a visit, as is the rest of the gallery contents!