Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A sewing cabinet

I've made a little progress on my 12th scale sewing room - still no walls yet though, as you can see. Life feels to have been pretty hectic recently and I've just not managed to find the time to go down into town to buy foam board to make them. They'll happen eventually.

However, the table now has fabric draped across it and piled underneath it, the dressmaker's model has a coat of paint, and the sewing cabinet is filling up.

I rubbed the paintwork down a little on the outside of the cabinet to make it look a little more worn, and then lined the doors.

There are balls of wool and a jar of tiny buttons on the top shelf and rolls and bales of fabric on the middle shelf. The bottom shelf holds books and magazines.

This small drawer is filled with knitting patterns

and there's more fabric in the bottom drawer.

I've also been making a lace bedspread - not quite finished yet but enough for you to see I think.

This one is destined for the bed in the retreat.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stitching workshops

I know it's been a while but my excuse is that I've been away stitching. A group of friends and I spent a whole wonderful week in mid-Wales at my needlelace tutor's studio. A truly inspirational place! The countryside is gloriously lush (especially after all the rain we've had in the UK this summer) and her studio walls and every available surface are lined with pieces of her work and then there are the threads - box after box of Oliver Twist and Stef Francis hand dyed threads, the full range of Finca Perle 16, machine embroidery threads, and I didn't even look at all the mixed media materials!

My purpose for the week was to learn how to do needle lace grids. I'd painted six small squares on each of two pieces of calico fabric and outlined them in tea-dyed cotton tape in readiness. They're destined to become covers for my sample books when they're completed. Want to see?

This one is complete now (just finished this morning) and is my attempt at a more abstract and less  traditional style of lace.  

And this is the traditional one, still on the pillow which I'm using to keep the tension even. The two centre squares are complete but the others all still need quite a bit of work.

This is another fun piece of lace which may well end up as a hanging ornament I think. The original plan was to turn it into a hot air balloon for the Guild of Needle Laces competition but I lost momentum on that and didn't get it finished in time so I don't think I shall bother to make the basket now. This was fun to do once the polystyrene ball was finally covered with single corded brussels stitch!

I finished the bargello needle case from the Saturday workshop, which I told you about last time I wrote I think.

And then this last week I went to Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire for the first of two day workshops to learn how to do Casalguidi embroidery. First introduced in a tiny village in Tuscany of the same name, this style of embroidery seems to be enjoying a bit of a revival. I was interested to learn as it uses some of the same techniques as needlelace, but also borrows from pulled thread work, needleweaving and stumpwork.

We began by stitching the pulled threadwork background. Here I've just started to lay the coil of threads which will form the basis for the raised bar which is one of the main characteristics of this style of embroidery.

and here's my sample piece of the satin stitched raised bar. This will be covered next week in raised stem stitch and we're also going to learn how to make wrapped threads and needlewoven picots and triangles.

Oh, and last but not least, I'm still working away at my sampler book.

These are the pulled threadwork pages - still a bit of work to do on the bar sampler on the left hand side, as you can see if you enlarge the photo. Two more pages and the cover and this will be finished!