Thursday, 28 April 2011

Starting the third panel

Back to the beginning again, with the third panel, the right hand one this time.  First up, a sheet with all the pearlworts for this panel:

Can you spot the not-so-deliberate mistake?  If you can, you're doing better than me, as I'd taken the linen off the frame and put it away in the cupboard before it occurred to me that I'd forgotten to do the central French knots.  Back out of the cupboard it came!

I don't like doing French knots in the hand - they're far easier to do with the fabric in a frame, but it didn't seem worth mounting it back up for just a few knots, so I just did them like that anyway.

It meant the fabric now looks a bit crumpled, but that'll be sorted out when it gets damp stretched later on.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sculpture in Gateshead

As I was looking for a bit of practice with my new camera, my friend Steph suggested a trip to Gateshead riverside.  Gateshead, on the south bank of the River Tyne, have made quite a feature of public scuplture, with Antony Gormley's Angel of the North the most famous, but by no means the only, example, and there are a series of sculptures along the river bank

It was rather a rainy day, but undeterred, we headed across the river from Newcastle.  Walking down the path, the first piece we came to was Cone, by Andy Goldsworthy:

Goldsworthy's work in natural settings is always striking, and Steph's a big fan, so that was a good one to start with.

A little further along was Rolling Moon by Colin Rose:

I presume by the name that it's intended to evoke the passage of the Moon in the sky, but it also reflects the curved shapes of the iconic bridges over the Tyne.

A close up of the steel sphere:

Further down still is Goats, by Sally Matthews:

These slightly larger than lifesize recycled metal goats are foraging amongst the undergrowth up the bank:

Moving down to the road next to the river, we next saw the Thornbird Railings by Marcela Livingstone:

To me, they look like a flock of swallows.

Finally, on the way back, we headed past Rise and Fall, by Lulu Quinn:

This is filled with LED lights that light up in random patterns, but I never seemed to click the shutter at the right moment, so you'll have to take my word for that!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

St Cuthbert's Banner: all work so far

A few weeks ago, Cynthia of California Stitching suggested that I show all the work completed on the panel so far.  This was a good idea, and with two panels now completed, this seems like a very good place to do just that.

So here it is (click on the image to see a larger version):

There a couple of points to note here: this isn't quite all the work I've done as there's a second central cross panel also completed (to go on the back of the Banner), but it's exactly the same as the one shown here.  Also, I just laid the panels out for the photo, without centring them properly or anything; they aren't even pinned, let alone stitched in place, so the finished article should be rather neater.

With all that in mind, though, I'm still really pleased with how it's looking.  This is the first time I've had everything out like this, so it's quite a relief that it's all working!

One thing I noticed in the photo that I missed when I was taking it is the shading of the flowers and leaves.  Part of this is the deliberate shading with coloured threads that I've been doing throughout, but some of it is accidental - the applied flowers have a bit of depth to them, and in the light from the window coming from the top, they cast a small shadow.  This was quite unexpected, but I really like it!  I think it helps gives the flowers, and the whole piece, some life.

So, how do you think it's coming along?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Finishing the goldwork stems

Just the stems and tendrils to add on the right now - that might not sound like much, but it's still quite a bit of work.

So here we go - the upper fern:

The lower one:

And the last one, on the far right of the panel:

The wood avens' stems:

Then the stems for the pearlworts:

And a couple of extra tendrils:

Then the stems for the two final flowers:

And the last couple of tendrils:

And that's it!  That's the whole right section finished:

In fact, that's the whole panel finished:

With no more stitching to do, I can remove the tacking stitches forming the grid, leaving the embroidered flowers on their own:

I'm pleased with it - I think it looks good.  I'm particularly happy with the way the foxgloves have turned out, I think.

I'm logging all the time I spend on the project in a spreadsheet, and after adding it all up, I can tell you that this panel took 177.5 hours to complete.  I also have a schedule for all this, and unfortunately I went over my (self-imposed) deadline by a week.  I've got some time off work soon, though, so I should be able to catch up again.

Just two more to do...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Central section stems

Moving on with the stems, it's time to do the central area of the panel.  First, the fern below the cowslip:

Then the one above it:

Then the cowslip itself - the middle stem:

The 'upper' one (it should actually be the one on the right, but I'm working the panel sideways):

Then the lower (left) one:

And finally a long stem for the single pearlwort:

There aren't any tendrils for the central section, so that's the lot:

Everything I've done so far:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Couched gold stems and tendrils

All of the flowers have goldwork stems, plus there are some 'stems' that aren't related to any particular flower, which for want of a better term I'm going to refer to as tendrils.  The one for the foxglove was done before the flowers themselves were added, so that they could be positioned on top of it, and I've done the ones for the first few ferns, but there are still a lot to go.

They're all done in the same way - a double gold thread, closely couched with a single strand of embroidery cotton - and all the remaining stems to the left of the panel will be couched using Madeira 1410.  I started with a single pearlwort:

I'm not keen on the bend in this as I think it looks a bit awkward, but it's actually  pretty close to the line on the design, so I'll claim it was meant to be like that!

The pearlwort has a couple of tendrils round it:

As does the top fern:

And between the foxglove and a fern:

The wood avens in the centre have their stems:

And so do the little pearlworts:

There are a few tendrils too, giving quite a complex tangle of goldwork:

Here's the left section, with all the couched gold stems and tendrils in place:

And as ever, here's all work so far:

It's really coming together now, isn't it!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Kate's Crow - and Kate

You may remember that last year I made the Kate's Crow firescreen, as a birthday present for my sister, Kate.  This was made well in advance as I knew that once I started work on the Banner I wouldn't have time for anything else, but yesterday was finally the big day.

It's been put away for months, so it was good to see it again:

Though not for long:

Time to unwrap that present:

Happy Birthday, Kate:

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Goldwork stems

With all the goldwork edging done, I now only need to add the flowers' stems and tendrils.  To do this, I'm using goldwork again, couching a double length of imitation Jap gold no. 8 with a single strand of whichever green I used for the leaves or sepals.  So, starting with the ferns on the left of the panel, I'm using Madeira stranded cotton no. 1411.

The ferns' stems go down the centres of the leaves, so I started by anchoring the gold thread in the middle of the top leaf, then adding small stitches on either side of the rest of the leaves, plus a couple more along the curved stem before it reaches a foxglove flower.  It then passes over the flower, and there a couple more stitches catching the gold thread down on the other side:

This isn't the finished couching, but just an intermediate stage; the rest of the gold stem will be couched down with stitches along its length.  I could just do this immediately (it'd be quicker!), but I want to get a particular curve to the stem, as close as possible to Fiona's design, so effectively tacking it into position first makes that easier to achieve.  When I did the first stems on the first panel I tried to just lay the thread in place and couch it, but I found that it shifted too much.  This way defnitely works better.

The stem needs to look as though it passes under the foxglove flower, but I've put it over the top; this is to get the curve right, rather than trying to match ends on either side.  I'll cut the threads and take the ends through to the back, but they'd be a bit short, so I pulled the threads up in a loop first:

Before cutting them:

I then couched the rest of the stem with stitches a millimetre or so apart, including over the tops of the leaves themselves:

And pulled the ends through to the back, where I could stitch them down neatly:

I did the second fern in the same way:

And the third:

And the fourth:

All four ferns with their goldwork stems:

And all work done on the panel so far: