Slow progress with quilt

Well I haven’t finished any more projects since my last post but I have kept busy.

A surprising amount of time spent holding various fabrics up against the bed quilt centre in an effort to decide on borders to get it up to a reasonable size.  At the moment it would perch uncomfortably in the middle of the bed! I think I’m there now and thanks to the great staff at the Bramble Patch the next fabric (see above – isn’t it beautiful?) arrived yesterday, so no excuse not to progress.

I taught the next crewel work session last week as well.  Projects have now been decided on and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  We looked at using satin stitch in various ways, both for areas of colour and for moving through different colours or shades. I love this encroaching satin stitch, it adds so much texture to the shapes.

Quilted and embroidered

Two projects finished last week!  Not started and finished obviously, just completed in time for the deadline of my local EG branch annual display of members’ work. I so enjoy seeing what everyone has been doing that I feel it only fair to include some of mine.  This year’s theme was trees which meshed nicely with my textile group’s challenge.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the group – Wyvern Textiles – before.  We haven’t been together long, still finding our way.  We joined together because we wanted to have others to talk to about our work as it progressed.  I don’t know about the rest of the group but I’m really appreciating having such great people to give me help and constructive criticism.  We are all very different in background and in what sort of work we are doing, hence the use of ‘textiles’ in our name.  Definitely not tying ourselves down as a group, or individuals, to one technique.

We set ourselves a challenge. To all use a single point of inspiration to create,  in any way we wanted, a piece to be exhibited this coming month. We chose a painting by David Hockney, Three Trees at Thixendale, Winter 2007.  We have all produced very different work! It’s been an interesting journey. Here’s a detail of my piece  and I’ll ask the others if they can let me have photos of theirs.

This is machine embroidery worked on a pieced and hand and machine quilted ground.  I am enjoying combining different techniques, makes the process varied and challenging. The  image at the top shows my other piece with couched gold and after doing that I painted and quilted the batik it is worked on.

So now – on with the bed quilt and some other unfinished projects.  I’ll see if I can finish something else before my next post!

Crewel work for autumn

It’s September, it’s definitely autumnal and the teaching term has started!  My Wivenhoe group asked to get involved with crewel embroidery so we started from basics and everyone has their own project in mind to finish (?) by January.

I decided I would work a small piece alongside them and treated myself to someone else’s design so I could jump straight in.  I chose Sue Hawkins‘ Pomegranates.  This one of her kits is just right for me because it uses several of exactly the same colours as a cushion I have already worked, so will sit well with that. That earlier one was started in a Philippa Turnbull class and is part of her Levens Hall Pillowe design (which I can’t now see on her website but there are other wonderful designs). Apparently I worked this five years ago – seems like yesterday! Sue uses a stitch I haven’t come across before.  The one down the sides of the open part of the pomegranate.  It’s worked the same way as whipping over the spokes of a spider web but done on a ladder of straight stitches.  Very effective.

I’ve also made progress with my bed quilt. I showed a picture way back in May of a couple of rows.  Then I didn’t get to working on it much over the summer.  This Saturday I took all my completed rows and started to seam them together – and this time my points mostly meet!

These feel somewhat like autumnal colours as well (grey for the rain?) and I am pleased with the way they are blending together, a bit more so than in the photo.


Embroidery stitch samplers

My local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild issued a challenge for members to undertake a ‘Year of Stitch’.  The idea apparently is to completely fill an area with different stitches, making it very dense and colourful and doing some every day.  I gave this a try but actually didn’t like my results so instead I’m doing my own thing but still aiming to do some stitching every day.

‘Aiming’ is a good word to use because even when I miss a day I can tell myself that I am still aiming at a stitch a day so I don’t have to abandon the project!

I began with some work on felt; I’d been thinking about Glazig embroidery so plunged in with some of its stitches.  I’m very much enjoying the project and will carry on with it. I’ll probably move away from so much emphasis on the paisley shape though it does give interesting shaped areas to fill up. Watch this space!

Embroidery and metal

A fascinating three days at Art Van Go with Alysn Midgelow Marsden. I had previously done a little experimenting with copper shim and mesh for my  C & G course, liked the effects but never taken the techniques through to a finished piece.

This was different! We spent the first day drawing from our source material seedpods, mine being an acanthus stem. I’ve loved their architectural quality in the garden but never closely examined the structure  before. I almost regretted my complex choice. Alysn guided us gently through several ways of approaching studying and recording our vegetation and by the end of the day I really did know my plant.

The second day saw us exploring ways of colouring (much use of gas flame), manipulating and stitching our metals.




I decided that the stainless steel cloth is my absolute favourite, both for the lovely, subtle hues that came with heat and for its tactile qualities.

The final day gave us the opportunity to select from and combine our drawings and techniques to begin a resolved piece. I came up with an idea and began stitching but I think I went into it too quickly. I take quite a time to move from source and drawings and maybe theme, to a design – even the beginnings of one – that can develop as I work on it. I frequently find that when I am going through this process in a group situation I end up with something that just doesn’t work for me. It happened here. I have abandoned that piece and begun to devote time to my usual, almost painfully slow, process and have, I think, found a starting point I like better. Time will tell!

Do you find developing designs in these situations easy? I don’t. I’m fine in workshops where I’m producing samples but resolved pieces – not so good.

But I did learn a great deal from Alysn (who is an excellent tutor) both about technique, and more significantly, about ways of working through the design process. I just prefer to do it at home.

You can see some of the wonderful work others produced on Alysn’s website here (none of mine though).