Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crewel progress

We have mountains of 'stuff' to do both in the garden and in the vineyard at the moment, which is one of the reasons stitching has taken a back seat the last few weeks. Most of my spring flowers got sizzled in the first wave of warm weather but my two large cacti, that look rather horrible for most of the year, are looking simply stunning.

They are covered in large pink flowers. When fully open they are the size of a large saucer - sadly each flower only lasts a day or so but when they are looking their best, they remind me of the main flower on the large crewel embroidery piece that is stretched up on my frame.

That there is so much to do outside doesn't mean I have completely neglected my needles and the crewel piece has grown every so slightly.

The other small leaf is finished...

... the filling with twisted textured filling is made from close rows of twisted chain stitch. It is a great stitch and I am rather chuffed with the result.

I am toying with the idea of a border around the entire design, just to finish it off neatly.
Not sure if I will go with one or two rows yet, so I will fill in a bit more of the main design to get a better feel for it.

I finished the main part of the other big stem yesterday with yes, another variation of chain stitch. This one is ladder chain - a little more tricky, especially over the really wide part of the stem. 

When I will get back to it next, I don't know. Perhaps when I do, it will seem obvious what to do with that border - one or two rows?

Happy Stitching,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Stitches

Summer is here - well almost, I think. In any case, it is the most beautiful day today and the garden is looking rather pretty with lots of colour everywhere. 

The light in my study is so beautiful in the morning so with the house to myself today, I spent the morning quietly stitching away. The colours of this project seem to match the vibrancy in the garden this time of year just perfectly.

It is coming along nicely and I am really enjoying this one. I know, I say that about every piece I work on (just as well really, just imagine spending all those hours on something if you didn't like it. It would be rather horrible).

As with most of my crewel pieces I only ever have a rough idea about how I will work it before I start but these little Cretan stitch leaves seem to always find their way in somewhere. I love this stitch for filling small leaves because of the little pleat it forms down the centre and will usually choose this stitch over fly stitch which is more commonly used.

Cretan Stitch
If you look in stitch books, the Cretan stitch is often illustrated as an open stitch, but if you place the stitches close together, it is just perfect for filling leaf shapes.

                         1       2

1. I start with a straight stitch at the tip of my leaf, then place a stitch around it like the start of a detached chain (lazy daisy) but without anchoring it down.
It is important that the 'arms' of the stitch goes nearly to the top of the straight stitch and are very close to it, almost underneath it.
2. You then continue down the leaf shape in Cretan stitch. The needle goes to the back on the outer edge and comes to the front next to the centre vein - as close as possible to the previous stitch and inside the thread loop.

It is important also to keep stitches really close together at the outer edges. I push the needle tip up against the previous stitch almost at the op of it, otherwise the angle of the stitches will 'flatten' as you near the base.

...and there; a little sprig of Cretan stitch leaves. 
Notice the holes in the linen? Have you ever tried unpicking seed stitch? It is terrible, but it was worth the effort!

Hope you too are having a nice and relaxing weekend. It is time for me to head out and enjoy a sunshine. If you are in the cooler parts of the world, I will try and blow a bit your way.

Happy Stitching,
Anna X

Friday, October 17, 2014

I am inspired...

... by Amanda McCavour 
Hands from 'Cat's Cradle' (2007)

Well actually, I am completely blown away by this super amazing artist! 
I came across her work on Pinterest and it is simply mesmerising. 

'Floating Garden'

These stunning and clever pieces, lightweight, fragile and elegant are made from nothing but thread. Aren't they beautiful? 

I have mentioned water-soluble stabiliser before as a means of getting your embroidery designs onto woollen fabrics if you can't be bothered tacking it. I am personally not a fan of the stuff for various reasons, but I know many stitchers who love it for transferring designs.
However, this is how this 'magic' fabric really comes to its full potential. Amanda uses the material to sew her motifs onto with just a sewing machine in interlocking layers of stitching, kind of like drawing with stitches. Once the material is dissolved she is left with these lacy, dream-like motifs. 

Living Room (2010-2011)
So how big are they? Well, she certainly doesn't skimp on size, just look at her standing in her 'Living Room'. 

Amanda McCavour in her 'Living Room'
Finding amazing, jaw-dropping and beautiful works by creative artists like Amanda is one of the reasons I love, love, love Pinterest. I will most certainly be keeping an eye on what she gets up to.

If this is a sign of what my weekend is going to be like, I cannot wait to see what else is in store...
Have a great weekend,
Anna x