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!

24 October 2013

Planning a new project!

I knew the project box would not stay empty for long! I have started to collect the materials I will need for the next embroidery project I will attempt. Class starts again in a couple of weeks and will take me up to Christmas, I am not sure if I will sign up for the New Year or not, I am really enjoying the weekly class but doing so much embroidery leaves no time for quilting :(
A couple of weeks ago I attended a beginners one day goldwork class at the RSN, our tutor Becky Hogg had designed this fantastic goldwork squirrel for us
You can buy a kit direct from Becky HERE if you want to make it too!
We only had one day of tuition but covered so much. padding and couching threads...
learning how to plunge and finish the ends...
and some chip work and cut work techniques...
I still have some work to do to finish my squirrel, but the kit also included a great booklet of instructions, so the only problem is finding the time :)
I want to finish this project and the silk shading project that I started in the August class with Kate, I blogged about it HERE.
Once these practice pieces are finished I want to combine the two techniques and work a small embroidery combining silk shading and goldwork. A few months ago I went to see the 'Cult of Beauty' exhibition at the V & A, I love the whole arts and crafts period and was especially drawn to this wallpaper design by Walter Crane.
you can read about it on the V & A website HERE

I have sketched a simplified version of the design and just need to finalise the materials and stitches I will use, Sophie will help with this when class starts. I would like to pad and appliqué some silk velvet for the swans, silk shade the leaves and add some bling! But first I need to finish these two projects and find time to work on my long neglected quilting!

22 October 2013

An empty project box can only mean one thing...

I have finished the crazy quilt wedding sampler! Yesterday was the last embroidery class for a couple of weeks, Sophie showed me how to lace and frame my piece. I really enjoyed working on it, but I am so glad it is finished! The colours look a little washed out in this picture, the details below are more accurate.

16 October 2013

Downton Garden

I have lots of quilt projects that I could be working on :) but as soon as I saw the new line of 'Downton Abbey' fabrics by Makower I knew I wanted to start a new quilt with them. I am not normally a fan of the 2 1/12" strip rolls you can buy, largely because I don't normally like the quick quilt patterns that are designed for them. However they are a nice way of having a small piece of each fabric in a line, so I bought one from The fat Quarters shop here in the UK, it arrived in record time (love fast customer service!)
They call it a "Roll up" - 40 x 2 1/2" strips I have removed the dark tone on tone black, navy & burgundy strips as they didn't give the soft look I want for his quilt. The fabric line is "Downton Abbey: Women's Collection" The fabrics on the right are from my stash. Want to see what I am making?
This lap size Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt called 'Route 66' by Di Ford from this fabulous book...
I love hexagon quilts and have made several over the years, but never one with the diamonds/triangles between the hexagon flowers. The Downton fabrics will be enough for the hexagon rosettes, my quilt will be slightly smaller than Di's as I want to use these Marti Michell acrylic templates that I have rather than the templates from the pattern. These sets from Marti are brilliant, you can rotary cut several layers at once very accurately.
These stash fabrics are for the small diamonds and the surrounding cream hexagons: The solid duck egg is from 'Rural Jardin' by French General and the cream/blue fabric is 'Quilter's palette flowers' from Makower.

These two will form the inner/outer border. The mauve is from 'Vanity Fair c.1892' by Nancy Gere and the floral is 'Samantha c.1900' by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill fabrics.

I have had all of these fabrics for a long time, no idea if they are still available so I hope I have enough! I plan to hand piece this one, I love having hand projects ready to work on when I am out of the house or while 'watching' TV with the family. I get most of my sewing done this way, I love my sewing machine but using it always seems like work.

09 October 2013

Return to Sanity...

Well what passes for sanity around here!
I have finished the crazy quilt wedding sampler, at least I think I have! Every time I look at it, I keep thinking of something else to add! Sophie will teach us how to lace and frame our work in the last lesson, so I really want to have it done by then so I can get it framed and finished. I have really enjoying working this crazy sampler, but it was incredibly time consuming! I will take a break from embroidery for a week or so, I really want to work on some of my long neglected quilt projects.

01 October 2013

Half-way to the Madhouse...

We are now half-way through the six week embroidery course, and I am beginning to regret choosing such a large piece for my first attempt at a crazy quilt piece. I seem to spend longer trying to work out what to put where than I do actually stitching! Overall I am happy with the way it is progressing, but it is incredibly time consuming!
The bottom two blocks are more or less done and I have joined them together.
I love this spray of flowers that I copied from an photo of a crazy quilt on the internet, unfortunately the source wasn't mentioned so I can't give credit. If you recognise it please let me know!

The other blocks are still very much a work in progress.
I have discovered that I really like working with silk ribbon :) very basic stitches give fabulous results! These are simply 4" pieces of ribbon gathered with a running stitch and stitched down.