Wednesday, 26 June 2013

I Knit Too!

I haven't made i-cords for years, but I was watching repeats of old detective programmes a few nights ago and needed something for my hands to do.  I had a set of double pointed needles and some scrap wool within reach, so I cast on five stitches and off I set.  I knitted the plain one first, making the cord long enough to add the knot before joining the ends.  In between programmes I ferreted out a bit of toy stuffing and a few beads.  I now have three summery bangles for absolutely free and just a few hours work.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Rhodys and Roses

Both have been in the garden for over thirty years and their names are lost in the mists of time.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Transfer Paints

I realised, when I saw the picture I'd taken of my workbench, that I hadn't told you about this sample. 
It was made by randomly applying transfer paints to paper, letting it dry, cutting the paper into strips, arranging the strips paint side down on some fabric and ironing the whole lot under baking parchment in the usual way.
What I hadn't realised until I peeled the strips back was that somewhere in the process some threads had come loose and taken up some of the paint, resulting in this 'happy accident'.  If I'd actually set out to achieve those delicate meandering lines I'd never have managed it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friday Flowers

A couple of pink flowers I forgot to mention last week, foxgloves and nectaroscordium.  Both beauties with their height and delicate colouring.
Foxgloves seed themselves about quite happily, but I grow a few white ones from saved seed every year to top up the pale colours.  We topped up the nectaroscordium last autumn too and I now have around fifty in my sunniest border.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wednesday's Workbench

One or two of the blogs I regularly visit post photos of 'what's on their workbench' every Wednesday.  The work always looks so tidy and organized!  Mine, by contrast, is usually in a bit of a muddle, with samples and half-finished projects competing for space.  This is just part of my workspace, but it is the area I use most often.  To the left are small display shelves for recently finished work, to the right storage areas for stuff I might use in my next embroideries. Further down the room, on the opposite wall, under a window and next to the garden door, is a second workbench set aside for heat tools, paints etc.
Now that the rain has returned and my garden is too soggy to work on I may get round to sorting things out, but I seriously doubt I'll ever achieve anything close to tidy and organized!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Floral Friday

My garden goes through phases of colour, at the moment it's mostly the blues and purples of irises and alliums, with spashes of pink from persicaria and dianthus.  Waiting in the wings are the deep, moody reds of rhododendrons, paeonys and poppies.

In other news, I have submitted two pieces for publication in Ink Pantry Publishing's second anthology of work by Open University Creative Writing students.  It will be several weeks before I know if either of them have been accepted!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Stitch Sample

Single Thread Couching

You use just one strand of a six stranded embroidery thread.  Bring your thread up at the beginning of the line you want to work, take it down, and then back up at the end of the section and couch back to where you started.  As you can see I've used four colours, so I worked the sample in four sections.
Simple enough if the line is straight, but to work curves you have to guess how much thread to leave on the top of the fabric when you take your needle down at the end of a section.  Too little and the stitch becomes tight as you run out of 'slack' before you get back along the curve to your starting point.  Too much and your thread becomes too loose as you move back along it.
I learnt this stitch from James Hunting back in April and I've used it a lot since.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sunny Sunday




Sitting in my garden, soaking up the sun and recovering from another week at West Dean.

This time it was a really intense, full week course of Creative Development.  A Textile Workshop with two tutors, one a tapestry weaver and one an experimental embroiderer. The idea was to integrate aspects of the work of both tutors.  I've never tried any sort of weaving before so the learning curve was steep.

We had four days of uninterupted studio time - incredibly concentrated work, but hugely enjoyable.  An opportunity to experiment and debate.  I came away with two 'works in progress' which I'm keen to continue with as they are both looking at ways of adding my hand stitching to an assemblage of warps and wefts.