23 December 2013

A Little Bit of Christmas Stitching...

I managed to sneak an hour with my Crewelwork Robin, I love how this is progressing, it is such a fun design to stitch.

That will be it stitching wise until after Christmas I think, so I will take this chance to say thank you to you all for visiting Emily's Cupboard this year, and for all your lovely comments on my various projects!

Merry Christmas to you all!
Elaine x

16 December 2013

Hand Piecing Tutorial

I have had lots of kind comments on my Downton Garden quilt, thank you! I have also had several questions on how I am stitching the hexagons, so I thought it would be helpful to show my method here.
I know it is traditional to sew hexagons in the English Paper Piecing way, that is basted over papers, but I am not a fan of this method, I find it too time consuming and cannot see any real benefit when working with large shapes (The hexagons I am sewing are 1") I am using regular hand piecing, it is fast and accurate!

The first important thing to mention, is that you must cut your pieces accurately. You can't get away with rough cutting as you can with EPP!
I love the acrylic template sets by Marti Michell I am using the 1" 60 degree shapes from set G for this quilt. I can rotary cut several layers quickly and easily with the templates and my rotating cutting mat. You can of course make your own template from template plastic, you then need to draw one hexagon shape on the back of your fabric and then stack several fabrics and cut them in one go, using either your ruler and rotary cutter, or you can pin several layers together and cut with scissors.
Once the pieces are cut, you need to mark where the seams allowances cross with a small dot, Marti's templates have a hole on the template in the right place, it is easy to mark the seam allowances quickly. If you are a beginner you might find it helpful to draw the whole seam line in, until you get used to eye balling the 1/4". 
Place the first two pieces right sides together, line up your cut edges, and place a pin through the dot on both pieces where the seam ends.
You then stitch between the dots; I start with a back stitch and load my needle with several stitches before pulling through. I have about 8 or 9 stitches per inch. Take a backstitch at the end of the seam just as you come to the dot. You don't stitch through the seam allowance.
Before you break your thread, check if the next piece can be added. Again you are only sewing "dot to dot" I like to use a size 10 between needle and aurifil cotton thread for hand piecing.
You might find it helpful to lay out all your pieces face down on a flannel board, you can then easily see which is the next piece to be stitched.
I like to start in the centre and add the first round of hexagons
Then I add the next round
I wait until I have completed the whole piece before I press the seams from the back. I showed how to press in THIS tutorial.

I hope you have found this helpful, any questions please ask!

14 December 2013

Downton Garden

Do you remember the Jelly Roll of Downton Abbey fabrics that I bought a couple of months ago...
To make this quilt from Di Ford?...
Well I have finally started to sew it together :) I have been happily piecing hexagons in front of the TV for the last couple of evenings, and have 3 flowers sewn.
I still have a long way to go, but it is an easy project to pick up over the Christmas holidays. I think I have also decided on the setting and border fabrics. I won't cut them just yet, I have been known to change my mind several times mid-quilt!

11 December 2013

A finish at last!

I have finally finished my Walter Crane inspired swan embroidery. I didn't manage to finish it in class on Monday as I was too busy drinking tea and chatting! I stitched the last couple of chippings on last night and am reasonably happy with how it has turned out.
This was the original inspiration, a piece of arts & crafts wallpaper designed by Walter Crane...
My simplified embroidered version in silk shading and goldwork...
The leaves are silk shaded using Soie d'Alger silks in shades 5021-5025; the swans are appliquéd with silk velvet; the legs are kid leather; swans outlined with couched pearl purl, the wings in rococco; the reeds are a mixture of chipping and cut work in copper and chocolate coloured purl. I have learned a lot in this, my first piece of Goldwork (apparently it is still called Goldwork even if you don't use gold metal) It is very difficult to get a neat finish and I think I cut my chips too big, but overall I am happy with the piece. I also learned how difficult it is to make a design symmetrical!  I think I will frame it, so need to find a suitable frame, but for now I am just glad it is finished.

06 December 2013

A little bit of Drawing and Colouring ...

I have had great fun drawing and colouring over the last couple of days, and my dinning room table currently looks like this...
Monday is the last embroidery lesson before the Christmas break, and as I have almost finished my Swan piece, I want to get a rough plan of my next project for Sophie to look at before we break up.
I have decided that as this will be the last course I will do for a while, I really want to learn lots of new embroidery stitches. I have drawn a typical Jacobean design with a bird and tree of life with pomegranates, but rather than use the traditional crewel wools, I would like to use cottons and some bling!  I normally like muted colours but really want to try something new. I spent a couple of hours checking the stash and have come up with a turquoise, pink & yellow colour scheme. I am having difficulty deciding on what colour of fabric to use, what do you think?

or pink ...
I think this needs a bit more thought! maybe an off-white linen?

EDITED: Think I might go with cream linen...
and if it is not thick enough to take the weight of all that embroidery, I could always back it with a bright yellow...
too many choices! I will canvas opinions at class later :)

30 November 2013

Applique Love

I have been itching to get back to quilting these last few weeks and appliqué in particular. I am really enjoying learning to embroider, but I have loads of quilts I want to make too! I am going to try and split my time between both hobbies, we will see how it goes. In true Emily's cupboard style I did think about starting a new appliqué project! However common sense prevailed and I have decided to work on a project that I started last Spring - Sue Garman's Friends of Baltimore.
Isn't it stunning? you can read about it and all of Sue's other quilts on her blog HERE

I started with Block one, which is the American Eagle, here is where I left off in April...
 I put this project into hibernation as I thought my appliqué skills were not good enough; I really like the quilt and this block in particular, so I have decided to start work on it again, I have a few more pieces to appliqué and then a little embroidery to do. Meanwhile I will start to prep the next block, which may take some time!

27 November 2013

A Little Progress

My mum has been staying with me this week to help celebrate my birthday. We have had some lovely days out and eaten a fair amount of cake! It has meant however that I haven't had much time for any sort of stitching, I did manage a little on my Robin...
and I have started to add the metallic threads to my Swans, I am glad I have finished the silk shading, I do think I am getting better, but I still have a long way to go!
I have lots of quilting projects that I want to work on, but don't have time for two hobbies at the moment! I am really enjoying learning to embroider, but I miss appliqué and hand piecing, I am going to try and have set days when I work on either quilting or embroidery. I haven't had much luck in the past with rotating projects but I will give this a go and see how it works, perhaps if I drastically reduce my wip pile it would seem so overwhelming!

26 November 2013

We have a winner !!

Thank you to everyone for joining in and for the birthday messages. Jasper is sleeping once again :) so I have used the trusty random number generator, and the winner is number 4

well done to Margaret!! who writes

"Margaret18/11/13 22:25
Happy birthday to you! Oh gosh, I don't know if I'm up for crewel work. I have a mortal fear of it. lol! But those wools. Yum!
 Goodies will be on their way as soon as I have your address :)

18 November 2013

Birthday Giveaway!

It is my birthday this coming weekend and I would like you to help me celebrate!
I have received so many wonderful comments about my embroidery, especially the Crewelwork Robin, that I have put together a little giveaway so you can see for yourself how much fun it is!

I have a copy of 'A beginners guide to Crewel embroidery' by Jane Rainbow, a piece of linen union, some needles and my favourite Appletons crewel wools.

I am happy to post worldwide but you must be a follower of my blog to enter - just leave a comment below saying why you would like to win!

If he can stay awake long enough Jasper will help with the draw next week

Good Luck!!

12 November 2013

Embroidery Overload

Quite a productive last few days here in Emily's Room ;) I have completed a bit more of my Crewelwork Robin...
I have also completed my homework for Embroidery class :) I really want to get to grips with silk shading, I know the theory and have attended a couple of day classes at the RSN, but I think that this is really a technique that you can only learn by doing! I have been planning a piece combining silk shading and Goldwork, based on this wallpaper design by Walter Crane.
I have spent a lot of time drawing and re-drawing, trying to simplify the design.
I have collected my materials, some luscious silks and metallic threads and a small piece of expensive, but very beautiful white silk velvet for the swans...
I then transferred the design onto my background fabric and started the preparation work. It's not much to show for several hours work, but I have stab stitched the silk dupion onto a calico backing and completed the split stitch outline ready to silk shade the leaves. I also applied the felt padding for the swans. Once I have finished all the silk shading I will appliqué the silk velvet over the padding and outline with a silver metallic thread. I will also add some of the other lovely copper metallic threads in too, I am just not sure where yet!
I started the silk shading last night at the base of the leaves, I am reasonably happy with my progress so far, I hope by the end of this piece that I will have mastered silk shading, either that or decided I will never do it again!!

01 November 2013

Crewelwork Robin Some Progress...

I have spent an hour or two each afternoon this week with my Robin and he is coming along nicely. I really like this design :) and I love how much faster silk shading is when you use wool instead of silk!

29 October 2013

Crewelwork Robin

I spent all of my weekend stitching time with a small size 12 needle and one strand of cotton, practicing my silk shading. I think I am getting better, but it is very slow progress! Yesterday I was in the mood for something a bit chunkier and so started a new Crewel Embroidery.
A few weeks ago a friend and I went to the William Morris Gallery to see 'The Art of Embroidery' exhibition by Nicola Jarvis. I love William Morris and the gallery was the prefect setting for Nicola's work.
Nicola is a fantastic artist and has created some amazing William Morris inspired bird drawings

Which have then been turned into the most amazing embroideries.
I loved the robin and purchased the crewelwork kit while I was there
which comes with my favourite appleton's crewel wools, and the design already traced!
I had the twill mounted and drum tight on my millennium frame in a few minutes.
I love designing my own embroidery, but sometimes it is really nice to be able to just stitch without too much thought. Nicola's kits are beautifully presented and seem to have plenty of wools.
The body is filled in with split stitch and seed stitch
and I love the stripy satin stitched legs!