Sunday 16 May 2021

A Meandering Needle

 To mark the demise of our Embroiderers Guild Branch, the members were invited to swap stitched Artist Trading Cards. We were given a theme of "What the EG meant to me" and the dimensions but no other requirements. 

Being a member of the Embroiderers Guild has given me opportunities to try things with a needle and thread that I would never otherwise have had.


 I contributed to the Hardhome Embroidery for the launch of Game of Thrones Series 5 box set, (earning lots of kudos from my sons!)

entered an embroidery based upon a Hairy MacLary book into the national Page 17 exhibition,

made a fascinator for my daughter-in-law to wear to a friend's wedding and 

entered a local craft show competition with a canvaswork piece made for an exhibition and came 2nd! 

So, I decided that my theme for the ATC would be exploring stitches as that is what all of these opportunities have given me. 

I used a piece of a curtain fabric sample for the background of the ATC and gathered together some odds and ends to incorporate into the piece. My intention for the piece was to create an impression of a garden border of blowsy flowers on a lazy, late summer, sunny afternoon. 

As well as using stitches that I was already familiar with through the pieces I have previously created thanks to the Guild, such as French Knots and Chain Stitch, I also wanted to explore new to me stitches too. 

Having recently purchased Sharon Boggon's "Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery" I didn't have far to look to find some new stitches to explore :)


 The green stitches climbing up the left of the card are Pistil Stitch, to suggest stems and seedheads bowing gently in the breeze. The open circle on the right hinting at an overblown flower is Padded Satin Stitch and the pink fronds of the fern like element in the middle is Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch. The pale pink flower shape you can just see in the top right is Whipped Long-Tail Chain Stitch. Can you tell that I really enjoyed letting my needle wander with these new stitches? 


So, this is my homage to the opportunities that membership of the Embroiderers Guild has provided me and to the many new experiences that I have enjoyed during my membership. Hopefully, the new textile art group that is planned to replace the Guild in my area will be just as stimulating and inspiring!


Thursday 13 May 2021

Not quite summer

There is a saying in Scotland "Ne'er cast a clout till May's out!" which basically means May might be officially a Summer month but that doesn't mean it will be warm :)  

I have had some softshell fleece sitting in my sewing room taunting me every time I walked past it for a couple of months now. Given the less than summery weather we have been having lately it seemed like the perfect time to finally break out of my comfort zone and make the rainjackets for the grandsons that I have been dithering over.



I did it! It was definitely a challenge working with a fabric that doesn't take kindly to pins or ironing (I found that one out the hard way!) but the end result was worth it. That is not to say the jackets are perfect by any means but fortunately their owners are not bothered by the imperfections :)

The pattern is once again from Ottobre Design in the 4/20 issue so I have been procrastinating over making this for several months as you can see. 

The original pattern includes a hood that can be attached and detached with snaps and I did intend to make them too, but when I came to that stage I realised that the layers of the collar were a bit too thick for the snaps. I managed to fit one snap at the front but only just so rather than tempt providence I cut my losses and did without the hoods. Next time I will trim the seam allowances inside the collar stand so that I have a bit more room to work with! 

You can see one of my other problems in the photo above, the two sides of the separating zip (a first for me!) are attached separately and I managed to get the alignment slightly out of sync on the bigger of the two jackets. It meant that, originally, the zip was sticking at the top where it was overshooting the teeth on one side but some vicious pulls with pliers to remove another tooth on the higher side and oversewing the ends eventually sorted that out. I have never had to shorten a zip by removing the teeth before, it was not quite as quick and easy as the YouTube tutorials make it seem :)

There are several zips on these jackets, as well as the front zip closure each of the two pockets have zipped closures too. Installing a zip without pins or the ability to iron the fabric was pretty nerve-wracking I can tell you. I am really pleased with how they turned out given how much winging it went on in their construction!


I try to avoid changing the threads on my overlocker as much as possible, because it is a bit of a faff, but I couldn't resist using this lovely rainbow thread for the jackets and I think it looks great, don't you? 

Two perfectly matching bright zip pulls from  Northwest Knots to finish the jackets and they were ready to send off.

I am pleased to report that they both fit their recipients (always a worry when I try a new pattern) and have been thoroughly tested in an extensive puddle jumping test, which they passed with flying colours :) 

Now on to some t-shirts and shorts for when May's out :)

Saturday 1 May 2021

Breaking the Rules

 It is time to reveal the latest Endeavourers Challenge quilt, this quarter the theme was Colour Theory. I thought that I had this theme sussed when I bought a postcard of Munsell's Colour System in a Dundee museum nearly two years ago! Hah!, no such luck, when I started researching the Colour System I realised that it would take a lot more research and a lot of fabric, or fabric painting to do the theme justice, so I ditched that idea :)

Not being of a particularly scientific bent, I wanted to avoid tieing myself up in knots with systems and schemes for this Challenge, so instead based my Challenge quilt on a much older (and simpler!) theory of colour - folklore. 

So, here is my Rulebreaker quilt and the rule that it breaks - the old saying "Red and Green should never be seen". In Scotland that is commonly followed by "except upon an Irish Queen" but it seems that is not the case everywhere. Some suggest that the red and green refers to ships lights at sea when the sight of a red and green light together means that you are on a collision course with another vessel! That sounds like a sound basis for a saying, don't you think?


Indeed, when I started looking in to the saying I found that there is some confusion as to what two colours it is that "should never be seen", in some versions it is blue and green, so I placed my red and green dresden plate on a blue background to cover all of the bases :) Other versions advise that blue and green should never be seen without another colour in between too, so it is all as clear as mud :)

Just in case there wasn't enough rule breaking going on with the Dresden fans, I quilted the petals with concentric circles of red and green thread too.

I found the perfect fabric for the centre that had a large multi-coloured check where the adjacent colours were mixed in alternate squares and, fortuitously, that included a red and green mix with plain red and green beside it. I used the same check fabric for the back of the quilt and brought the fabric forward to the front for binding. 


Compared to some recent quilts I have made for the Endeavourers Challenges, this was a nice, quick project, although there was some drama when my iron did that to one of the petals after they had been joined together. Swift delivery of a new iron and everything was back on track :)

I am sure, as always, that I will be amazed and inspired by my fellow Endeavourers responses to the theme, head on over to the Endeavourers blog to be amazed and inspired too!

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