Monday, January 26, 2009

Drawn Thread

Happy Australia Day to everyone. This has always signalled the end of the summer holidays here in Australia -why should it be different despite being retired for some years? Today I feel I need to make the most of my last day of this year's holidays! Not sure what is on the agenda.

Last week I eventually spent some of my Christmas money on the book by Effie Mitrofanis on Needleweaving . I do want to try something in her style. However I needed to follow Bage's very structured instructions on at least one piece first - this is what I did.

A simple piece based on the centre of a bell pull design from her book on Drawn Thread.
This time I started with guide lines - this took some time but was certainly time well spent, providing checks along the way.
I like the serpentine (zigzag - ) hemstitched section while the foursided stitch provides a nice contrast.
A four inch square provides a lovely size for a pincushion top - now I only need to make the bottom.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Half Way Mark" is now "Finishing Line"!

I am feeling very proud of myself - the sort of pride you get when you have finished something that should have been complete months ago!

In July the TIF theme was 'half way mark' - I completed the embroidery for the top of a biscornu. At the time I was in the middle of a Studio Journal course and this design was derived from a kaleidoscope - the entry is here. I used a variegated thread for stem and back stitch that I wnated to continue on the other side. This was the main reason for my hesitation. Calculation of which colour to start with on the other side was difficult. It is not perfect but fairly close in value. at least.

Biscornu are fun pincushions to stitch and so satisfying to stuff and join up. Stitch through buttons make a better job but these are the best my stash had to offer!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

November TIF

Since all I produced for November was some ancient weaving I decided that I would try to play with my initial. The theme for this month as I saw it was to look at the shape of text .

M is quite an interesting letter to dissect - it appealed to me because it is totally repetitious!

Again the fabric is my favourite, 28 count linen, and the thread is cotton perle #8 and #12. The stitching is fairly unambitious - even the pulled thread stitches I had used previously. This was my "pick up and don't have to think" piece.

My original heading for this entry was "Drawing a line under the TIF challenge" - however, since I have finished this piece which makes my twelfth embroidery for 2008, I have realised that the end of the 2008 challenge was really only the beginning for me. I have quite a few ideas that did not reach fruition last year - some of them are destined to remain hidden forever but there are some that I want to pursue. So I am certainly not done with TIF - hopefully there will be something to show in the future.

I am delighted that I managed to hang in for the whole of the year. This year my intention is to pick and choose what I would like to try from Sharon's new challenge - chicken scratch is not one of the styles I want to pursue at this stage. Nonetheless I am grateful to Sharon for again offering the opportunity to try new things.

At the moment I am finishing as many WIPs and WISPs as possible before beginning anything too exciting- even the start of the second hardanger sampler must wait for the moment - not sure how long I will be able to withstand temptation!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Goodness here I am complaining about time disappearing again - January is half gone already! I have not been totally idle but playing with my lace bobbins in between trying to conquer Hardanger and completing the twelfth embroidery for 2008 TIF (more on that next post). My Hardanger journey was a great learning experience.

From this

To this!

Can you believe that I would have this kind of problem ? I couldn't imagine how I could cut two threads after this much stitching.
It was then a case of girding my loins and reweaving - after what are two small missing linen threads to a weaver worth her salt?
I used a thread from the bottom of the piece of fabric as suggested in Yvette Stanton's incomparable book on Hardanger. (Mary Corbet did a piece on her recently). Until I began this Sampler#1 I did not realise just how helpful Yvette's book was , especially working in isolation.
This is a 3 1/2 inch sampler (#1) from Jill Carter's book and I do plan to at least stitch #2 if not #3. Ambitious. aren't I?

Despite trouble counting the threads, especially when beginning the kloster blocks, this piece was fun to stitch. In the process, I learnt to do diagonal eyelets, needleweaving, wrapped bars, twisted lattice band and reversed diagonal faggoting – not a bad collection of experience to collect from one small piece.
While I hope to do #2 a little better I am not unhappy with this one. The one thing that caused me problems (other than the small matter of cut threads!) was the satin stitch star in the centre – I just could not seem to count threads correctly - I think I needed 5 tries.
The fabric is my favourite, 28 count linen, and the thread, #8 and #12 perle cotton.
While I have no intention of producing a larger piece of Hardanger I needed to try to understand the technique before attempting to incorporate it into my surface stitching. I am not sure whether or not it is workable but I do have some ideas simmering on the back burner.
The Christmas boxes delighted their recipients to my delight! As did the other handmade gifts.One of the little girls has started to embroider herself a cushion - so that is wonderful.
The lace journey could be interesting - I have not had the pillow out for 3 years or more and my skill level is way lower than par. I am getting ready to join some of the Lace makers group from Stitchin Fingers to learn Bedfordshire lace, beginning in March - now that is an ambitious thought.