Saturday, 30 June 2012

I'm in Embroidery magazine

I get a mention in the July/August 2012 edition of Embroidery magazine!

OK, so it's about two inches at the bottom of a column in the news round-up, but still - Embroidery is very prestigious, so I'm thrilled to be in it at all.

Even more exciting, yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist from North East Life magazine, who want to do a feature on me!  All being well, this should appear later in the year, so I'll keep you posted.

Also exciting in a way, though a lot less fun, I was caught up in the flash floods following the freak storm that hit the region on Thursday.  My house is fine, happily, but it took me five and half hours to get home from work, including wading along a flooded road.

This was the view from Heworth bus station:

Can you spot the tops of the cars in the pub car park? To the right was a row of flooded houses, and the emergency services were evacuating people in dingies. I was very lucky and was only inconvenienced (and a bit wet), but some people will have suffered a great deal of damage.  I hope things get sorted out for them soon.

Monday, 25 June 2012

'Earth' mini - setting up

Once I’d drawn up the design I wanted, I scanned it, added a circle round the outside (so when I come to mount it, it should be easy to centre), and resized the whole thing to 10cm (4") in diameter.

I printed this out, and traced it with a transfer pencil:

I ironed this onto some cotton lawn, which I then used to line a piece of pale green silk dupion, and overlocked the edges neatly:

The second piece of fabric is a little extra design, which will form the back of the finished thing.

I stretched the fabric forming the front of the item into a hoop (a bit off-centre, but never mind).  Here it is with the back uppermost:

I then stitched over the design lines in a gold-coloured sewing thread in small running stitches, to transfer the design to the front of the fabric in a non-invasive way - if I make a mistake, I just unpick a few stitches, I don't have to worry about permanent lines in the wrong place.

Here it is from the front:

Unfortunately, the running stitches seem to be practically invisible in the photo - they're a lot better than that in real life!  I don't think I'd be able to work with them if they really did look like that.

Now the design is marked onto the fabric, I can start stitching.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Earth - Four Elements mini

I've finished the mystery present - I'm still not going to say anything else about that, in case the recipient reads it - and can now start on something I can talk about.  This is also going to be given away, but at least this time it's not a secret!

Quite a while ago, I did a series of pictures based on the four elements - earth, water, fire and air.  There's a lot you can do with these concepts, and I'm interested in making a series of 'mini' pieces - little roundels, about 10 cm (4") in diameter.  I'm going to go back to the techniques and stitches I've used the longest in my work, but more of that in future posts.  First, the design.

I'm starting with 'Earth', and am interpreting that with Celtic knotwork.  I need a small knot, and one that fits into a circle.  While I prefer to draw than design on computer, I do resize things using a graphics package, so I'm not too concerned with the size my initial drawing ends up.

I want to end up with something organic looking, but Celtic knotwork need to be quite carefully worked out or it can look a mess.  Fortunately, I'm never happier than when designing with a compass and protractor!

I marked out a series of concentric circles, divided into six equal sections:

And voilà!

This messy tangle took ages and several attempts, but it is, believe it or not, based on the circular grid above and will become a proper Celtic knot.

It looks a bit more like it with additional lines drawn on either side of the initial one:

Then the points where the lines cross over rubbed out, to give the under-over effect of one continuous line:

Then the outline is inked in:

And the pencil construction lines rubbed out, giving the final design:

I can now scan this, and shrink it to the proper size for the piece.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Gold disc

No, I don't have a successful pop career I've been keeping from you, this is the 'unnamed goldwork project' I mentioned in my last post.

I wanted something straightforward to stitch next to a display on St Cuthbert's Banner at the recent Embroiderers' Guild Sunderland Branch afternoon tea, so I used an off-cut of the Banner velvet, and stitched a disc in simple couched imitation Japanese gold thread, as in the central cross on the Banner itself (plus a small amount of appliqué in the centre, for a bit of interest).

This is how it ended up:

I quite liked it, and decided to finish it off somehow.  For lack of anything much else to do with it, I stretched it round a cork table mat. From the back you can see that there was very little fabric to work with at the edges in a couple of places:

And from the front, frustratingly, you can tell that this meant that try as I might I couldn't get it properly centred:

I tried to rectify this by cutting the mat down with a craft knife and lacing it up again, but I'm not sure - I don't think the edge is smooth enough:

I put a back on it to finish it off:

And photographed a bit better:

But I still don't think it's good enough.

Still, I like the gold disc itself - I think that could be worth exploring further.