heads and more heads

I’ve begun more stumpwork heads since the completion of portrait no.3 but I’ve discarded all of them.  They all start off quite well but then I wonder what difference another type of padding would make or if more padding would make better cheeks, or if I should shape the padding first or choose different stitches for the facial features or, or, or. Really, I’m striving to find a method of constructing stumpwork heads that’s my own and that works for me first time, all the time. I don’t want the heads that I make to be identical to what I see in a book. They haven’t been so far of course, because I’ve used different stitches for the features and shaped them differently and the basic pattern is only the starting point. I’ll end up with portraits that are an amalgamation of methods derived from the stumpwork and doll books that I own, things I find online, my own imagination and skills, and in the end no-one will care how I got there, not even me. A bit like life itself really.


Here’s a little preview of the stumpwork that I’ve been working on this week. She’ll be full length if all goes according to plan. DSCF8065

second portrait

This lady is the companion piece to the first portrait and was stitched yesterday but today is her first public outing. Just need to buy those oval frames now.


a house on the hillside

My laptop of six and a bit years has been playing up recently. It’s been extremely noisy and also shutting down suddenly for no apparent reason and on Monday afternoon it refused to recognise my camera card or even the smart card drive itself. I knew that was a sign of imminent total failure so yesterday I replaced it.  I intended to buy another laptop but the screens are all small these days so I bought a desktop pc with a large monitor instead. Since then I have spent several hours coming to grips with Windows 8.1 and transferring software and documents. I had totally forgotten how many cables a desktop pc needs! Had I given them any thought at the time of purchase, I possibly would have bought another laptop but all is now forgiven cable-wise as I managed to tidy them all away and I have to admit that the large monitor screen is wonderful.


I came across this 2.5 ” x 3.5″ piece of embroidery following a little re-arrangement of things in order to accomodate the new pc. I seem to remember that I used the front of a greetings card as my inspiration. I doubt that I would be able sew so many tiny stitches these days without the use of a magnifying lamp but I don’t suppose there’s any shame in that.



This is Pokeweed, my latest piece from Sachiko’s book. I don’t like this one as much as the others I’ve done, probably because I had to re-stitch almost every part of it. Several times I mis-read which stitch I should have been using and a couple of times I had finished something then realised I’d used the wrong colour. Anyway, it’s finished now and I never need to look at it again if I don’t want to. On to something else after a much needed cup of tea.


vines of a sort

This was also made on Wednesday as the backing for the bird box hanging but I decided it was too nice to just face a wall so I think I’ll mount it as an individual piece. Should there be a little bird on a branch or two? Free-motion machine embroidery on red felt.


wonky bird box

I’m in the process of making a little felt box with lots of hand embroidery on it but this afternoon I took a break from it and went back to machine embroidery to stitch a little wall hanging. I sketched my design on the calico with a Pilot Frixion pen then painted it with Pebeo fabric paints before free-motion machining it all.  It’s about 18″ x 6″ or 47 x 15cm for metric fans!





That Tapestry again

I intended to write some fabulous posts when I got home about my visit north of the border but here I am two weeks later, and all I’ve done is post a photo of Dave. Instead of blogging, I’ve been busy doing real-life stuff although if you asked me to specify what, I’d find it really difficult to say, so it obviously was nothing out of the ordinary. This morning however, as I sit here coughing and spluttering and heavy with cold, thanks to my generous elder son, I decided to sift through all the photos I took of the Great Scottish Tapestry and post a few for your delight and interest (or not, at the case may be).


Big sis and I had planned to see the tapestry at Cockenzie House near Prestonpans and then have a quick visit to the National Gallery back in Edinburgh but it was not to be. It took three train journeys with lengthy waits in between, followed by a three mile walk to the venue, not including an initial 15 minute walk in the wrong direction. There were no ‘find us’ instructions on the venue’s website and although we had studied a map before leaving home, the route seemed quite different in reality and we had to ask for directions twice. When we finally found the place, we headed straight to the tearoom and only after a much needed large pot of Earl Grey tea did we venture in to the exhibition itself.

I didn’t think that Cockenzie House was particularly suited for displaying the tapestry panels. It’s a 17th century manager’s house (although manager of what, the website does not say) and the majority of the rooms where the panels were hanging are not large enough for the panels to be admired from any distance. Some panels were also hung along corridors which made it even more difficult to see them comfortably. In its favour, small rooms meant that all visitors were able to get up close and inspect the panels in great detail if they wished.


While we were at Cockenzie House, I didn’t pass anyone who seemed to be younger than sixty. I’m not sure what that tells me so I won’t dwell on it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.