Sunday, 24 February 2013

Stitched art

Sometimes what I like about stitching is you can let your mind wander whilst your hands are busy, but machine stitched pictures like my tulips here, require a bit of thought.  You have to plan carefully and consider how each of the layers in the picture will be built up:

I started by couching the stalks with green chenille knitting yarn, then I drew the glass vase with ecru viscose thread, shading the sides with arcing lines of stitch.  Next came leaves of green crystal organza and for some, I used two layers of fabric to give density and a deeper colour.  Then I added purple and white tulips - rich silk and sage coloured viscose thread. Finally I drew the delicate Paperwhite narcissi with star-shaped stitches.

It's not quite finished - I might work into the narcissi some more as they don't stand out as much as I would like, but I thought I'd show you what I've done so far.  I've translated my pastel drawing into stitch!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Pastel Heaven

Last week my lovely husband gave me a rainbow box of Caran d'Ache pastel pencils for my birthday.  We had spotted them in Geneva airport a few weeks ago and he had obviously noticed my wistful looks.  Like the good hunter gatherer that he is, he tracked down the local suppliers but found that the object of my desire was not available yet in the UK.  Thankfully he is very persistent and now I'm the proud owner of a set of 84 glorious pastel pencils!

Pastels are good for me, they make my drawing loose and bold.  I chose to draw a vase of purple and white tulips with some fragrant Paperwhite narcissi.  The languid leaves and stems lend themselves to my style of work.  I would like to see if I could translate this into stitch - maybe this will be next week's project.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Slow Craft

This quilt has been a long time coming!  I first saw a quilt made of squares of old silk about 20 years ago in a homes & interiors magazine and always wanted to make something similar.  When we redecorated our bedroom (about 5 years ago now) I bought a remnant of silk that matched the wall paper thinking I would make some cushions.  When I realised that it quite a big piece of fabric my thoughts turned to a quilt and I purchased some grey slubbed silk to complete it.  But the more I thought about it, I couldn't get a design that worked and so it languished in my stash for a bit longer.

Over the last couple of years I have used silk in my wall hangings and have got more comfortable using this somewhat tricky fabric so last May I took a rotary cutter to my collection of silk fabrics and made squares and a pattern diagram but could quite start sewing....It was late summer before I managed to machine the silk layer, September when I bought the backing fabric and January 2013 when I eventually sewed it all together.  For the last few weeks I have been hand-stitching round all the flowers.

And now this week I have finished.  Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Handmade gifts

I'm hoping to spread a little happiness with these sewing kits that I made on Friday.  I'm giving them to two of my friends; one as a memento because she is leaving our community, the other is a birthday present.  These are small gifts but I know they will be used and cherished.

I love the challenge of making something new:  working out how it will fit together, where to make seams so that all the raw edges are hidden, adding little details.  I have fashioned a closed pocket for sewing threads and buttons and a padded one for scissors that can double-up as a pin cushion.  The quilted heart embellishment on the front flap lends itself to needles.  Just enough space to take a few bits when you're out and about.

I might be going slightly off my original intention of 50 new pieces of art.  They might not be high art but they are beautiful craft.