Wednesday, 31 July 2013


 I've been playing with some ideas for applique flowers.  The sample above uses some odd scraps from a piece of fabric that I dyed a long time ago.  I found it again recently in a basket of abandoned patchwork bits.  The colours have faded nicely over time and I like them a lot better now. 
These samples will tie in with the field samples I posted in May.  Flowers were the other aspect of our local National Park area that I wanted to explore, so this will be the second half of that project.  A lot of chalk downland flowers are blue, just like its butterflies, so my old piece of fabric is a good starting point.

This sample has a bit more 'bling' about it.  Both fabrics are brightly coloured and shiny, but the effect is toned down a lot by adding a layer of organza to give what I believe is called shadow applique.
Both samples were made using good old bondaweb, I'm afraid my patience no longer extends to doing it the traditional way.

In other news, Open University Creative Writing results are now out.  I'm very pleased with my grade especially considering that I chose not to submit anything for one of the assignments.  My next module, Children's Literature, has a very long reading list so I've started to add the set books to my Kindle so that I can skip through the ones I don't yet know before the course starts in September.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Friday's Flower

My garden is packed with inspiration at the moment.  Firstly it's buzzing with insect life, loving the settled warm weather.  I can't remember a better year for butterflies.  We started early in the year with cheerful yellow Brimstones, always a good sign and the number of species has just kept growing.  Red Admiral and Peacock are easy to spot, but I'm even beginning to be able to differentiate between the various 'brown' ones like Gatekeeper and Wall.
Secondly there's an abundance of flowers, some newly opened, some already turning to seed.  We did a lot of replanting last autumn and the investment has really paid off.  Time now to use some of this floral inspiration in my stitching.  I'm going to start with this helenium.  For some unaccountable reason I'm drawn to use satin stitch.  I hate satin stitch.  I have a very bad record with satin stitch.  Nevertheless, I'm tempted.  This could end in tears!

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Cross stitch is something I rarely do these days, but I couldn't resist these.  I found the patterns in a very old magazine.  As anyone who stitches will know, no matter how many threads you have in your stash you never have quite the right shades for a new project, so I've improvised.  As you can see, I've turned them into something useful with plastic 'coaster kits', they'll look good on the garden table.

Monday, 15 July 2013

St Swithin's Day

St Swithin's Day if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain.

St Swithin's Day if thou be fair,
For forty days twill rain nae mare.

If the old rhyme about the 9th Century Bishop of Winchester is correct we are facing forty days without rain!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Silk Rods and Pearls

Just occasionally tidying up can be worthwhile.  I've been sorting through my stash and found a huge bag of undyed silk rods that I'd forgotten I had.  Enough to make something quite large. So I painted up some bondaweb, cut out some heavy duty vilene and set about splitting the rods into their layers.  There are various schools of thought about the best way to do this.  Some people say soak the rods first, others advocate ironing them lightly.  I find that with a little patience they split quite well if you just bend them back and forth for a while.
When I had sufficient split rods I made bondaweb sandwiches with them and the vilene.  Joined the four sides and the base with quilting thread for strength and trimmed the vessel with some strands from a broken pearl necklace.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Stitch Sample #2

Detached Buttonhole Stitch

My new favourite stitch.  Your first row is worked as normal for buttonhole.  Subsequent rows are worked into the 'bars' of previous rows so that the stitches don't connect with the fabric at all - hence detached.  Tension can be a little difficult at first but a rhythm soon develops and the stitches settle down.  My initial row is rather more widely spaced than I would normally like, but on a sample piece bigger stitches can sometimes be called for.

Same stitch worked around a calico core to give a three dimensional piece with added picots.  This is tiny (less than 4cm tall) because I made it to fit into a very small display bottle.