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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Knitted vest/jacket finish

In my last post on this vest I was contemplating the way the yarn variegations had turned out. The two fronts are quite different.  I ruled out re-doing a front - although I had a ball of wool left that might have proved a better match to one side.

This is the finished product. The  sleeves were meant to be about half the length  pictured, but I lengthened them to cover my elbow.

I tried to figure a way of softening the contrast and came up with the idea of pockets. I knitted two large squares in the cable pattern and attached them to the non-cable part of the fronts.
It does modify the contrast - even more so if I wear the vest (which should more properly now be called a jacket!) caught together in the front with a pin or brooch.

It is certainly warm!

As I had a full ball left over, I found a pattern for a slouchy beret with cable and set to work.

It took  longer than I anticipated. The result was also bigger than I has expected (that’s my size 39-40 foot next to it). I considered turning it into a bag!

However, it is warm and comfortable and my granddaughters approved, so I threaded a round of hat elastic through the band to make it a little tighter, and I’ve been wearing it through our recent cold snap. It’s not glamorous - but it is a bit funky - and this is the weather for it!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Fool-proof bag

I attended Christine Bishop's Fool-proof Bag class at the Embroiderers' Guild in February this year. The concept is a linen bag, put together using counted thread embroidery techniques, and adaptable in size, colour and decoration.  The class teaches the basic construction and foundation stitches.

While I have done a little basic counted thread work, it is not my strength, and this year I wanted to improve my counted thread skills. The two-day course was a lot of fun.

Between the two days of the course I dug out a book with a design for a cross-stitched flannel flower and added it to my bag at the crucial stage - before the sides were sewn together.

I was very happy with the result.

Christine pointed out that the bag lends itself to using up off-cuts of linen - or left over bits and pieces.I didn't need to be told twice! I made straight for my stash of left-over linen oddments and tried it out.

With the help of some silk scraps for lining I made another bag in which to store jewellery and preserve lustre.

I then followed Christine's advice, and tacked the hems on a range of off-cuts, putting them into a bag for those rainy days when I need a quick project.

Some of the linen is fine and some fairly course.  Each piece, however, has potential to make an attractive and useful bag.

I confess to taking these to England in the bottom of my suitcase but not progressing any. That's because, as I travelled, I was able to continue work on the projects from the embroidery retreat.  The linen bag pieces did not take up much room - and would have come into their own had I run out of stitching while away (Heaven forbid!).

It's another great idea from Christine. I owe a lot of my growth as a needlewoman to her.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Knitted vest

In spite of all my good intentions not to buy ANY more wool until I have knitted up what I have, last year I succumbed to the temptation of Bendigo Woollen Mill's special lot of Bloom wool.

I ordered enough to make myself a jacket/cardigan in the 'wine' colourway, along with this pattern.

My agreement with myself was that if I bought it, I had to get on with it straight away. It was not to join the three drawers of unknitted yarn I already had.

I began well. It knits beautifully. I finished the back.

On the fronts, it holds the cable really well.
It is a great pattern to knit. The cable is easy to remember. It's a great pick-up-put-down project.

Admittedly, because I have had a number of embroidery projects to finish, it has been put down more than it has been picked up!  Not a lot got done over Christmas period but I made good progress in February, finishing the first front.

I am now working on the second front, but have just begun to wonder if the variation in the colour rotation in the balls of wool is going to matter. This is the variation between the two fronts

and between the three pieces. The huge difference wasn't apparent to me as I knitted each piece.

I'm certainly not going to stop now, but it may look a bit odd when put together. 

We'll see in a week or so when I finish. Maybe it will prove to be a(nother) declaration of an eccentric old woman!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Metalwork Fox

Having finished the embroidery for the two projects at the Spring Retreat, I turned to the final project of my March visit to England, the metalwork fox. I chose to stick to the order in which we worked at Hampton Court, so  worked the passing thread around and around on the back of the fox, the up and down on the face. It took a bit of thinking to get the required circular effect on the back and fill in the bits that wouldn’t fit into the oval shape, but it wasn’t too hard. The face lift an alarming amount of plunging to be done!

The plunging was nothing, of course, to the ends that then needed to be secured on the back!

The chips were quite relaxing after that. Even the cut work proved to be ok. I took it along to a first Sunday Come and Stitch at the Guild and got quite a lot done.

I was pretty pleased with the result - but it is a simple, well designed project that doesn’t require great experience.
I had in mind to mount it on the lid of a small box that was advertised at Create in Stitch, however, when I got to the shop they had sold out, but were not, in any case, quite big enough. 

What they did have, however, was an oval glass paperweight. It was ALMOST the right size. It covers up a tiny bit of the purl  pearl along the bottom, but the reflection makes up for it. The other advantage is that, while not perfectly airtight, it does reduce the chance of tarnish.

The embroidery is stretched over an oval base that comes with the glass and would normally be secured down with a cork base with a peel-off sticky back. In this case the thickness of the embroidery meant that the cork base didn’t stick uniformly around the edge. After some hesitation I helped it out with a couple,of drops of superglue.

I’m delighted with this result. It stops papers blowing around on my table and looks great. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Herdwick Shaker box

This week my Shaker Box arrived. I didn't waste much time in getting to work to attach my version of Nicola Jarvis's Herdwick sheep design.

There were instructions for the mounting.
The fit was very good, but in order to fit in the edges of the leaves on the diagonal, I needed to mound the piece to raise it up.

I did this using a layer of felt and a lot of wool-based stuffing over cardboard. I gathered the embroidery over this, cut off the excess and then  lashed it across the back.

I decided against using glue, and opted for double-sided tape. This worked well for most of the piece, but the short ends would not stick easily. I clamped them overnight but they still lifted a little.

In the end I bought some heavy duty double-sided tape and again clamped it.

The inside of the box is plain. I think I might use it as a sewing box, and keep a complete set of tools in it. While I usually assemble a set for each project bag, it would be really useful to have a set that always stays in one place.

So here it is, finished. Flora amongst her flowers.
I am very happy with it.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Flora, the Herdwick Sheep

This was originally a very short post begun in 2017. While visiting Ruskin Cottage in the Lakes District that year, I bought a single ball of Herdwick wool. It was a natural coloured boucle and I thought it would make a good shawl.
I found a pattern I liked that I thought might do justice to the wool. It was knitted as a rectangle, folded and joined to form a kind of poncho. There was a patterned border along the front edge.

After knitting about 4 inches I decided it was a bad idea. The pattern did not show amongst the boucle and the wool merely looked grubby. I was hoping it might come in useful for one of the projects in the March 2019 Lady Anne's Needlework Retreat in the Lakes District, which focused on the life and work of Beatrix Potter.  This didn't work out either, so the boucle wool is down to experience.
I mention this by way of introduction to Nicola Jarvis's 
Herdwick sheep project from the retreat.                                                                                                                                                                    This is the project as it began. The beginning of the work, conducted in Bowness-on-Windermere last month is outlined in my travel blog.                             
By the end of my travels I had finished the sheep and a little of the dog roses. At the suggestion of one of my daughters, she is now called Flora.

As soon as I arrived home I got to work on the remainder.

I finished embroidering the dog roses

then moved on to foxgloves.

I found these quite tricky.  While I felt confident on light-shade balance on individual flower heads in front and behind each other , I was less convinced I managed the colour change up and down the stem.
The harebells and foxglove leaves were the last to go in.

Finally, I returned to the centres of the dog roses. I varied the stitch a little.

I'm very pleased with this result. I have enjoyed working on this. The texture of the finished piece is marvellous.

I am waiting for my Shaker Box to arrive to mount this piece in the lid. Wendy, from Australian Needle Arts has it ready to mail as soon as she recovers from the flu.

I will post again when the box arrives and I have the embroidery it mounted.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Crewelwork Tree of Life

As I post this I am back home after a month in the UK, having been to another Crewel Work Company Embroidery Retreat in the Lake District. The blog of my travels tells the story. I had hoped to post to this blog as well while away - but did not manage it. I'm now back to weekly postings.

I  made good progress over the Summer with another panel to go on the Ikea chair that I am covering with crewelwork.

I had been working on the Tree of Life panel - the firescreen design from the Crewel Work Company.

I began with the hound and hillocks ( yes, I admit to rushing in without reading the instructions, which suggest elsewhere!)

I did, nevertheless, have a really good time stitching it.

It took two hoop positions to get to this point, after which, I returned to where I should have started....

Much of this was done on holiday at a beach south of Adelaide. Since I travelled there by car there was no trouble transporting hoop and stand.

After returning from the beach, I managed to quickly work another hoop.

Then on to the  last full hoop - and finally the two  moves to finish areas either side of this.

I wanted to have this finished and added to my chair before I left for the Crewel Work Company Retreat in the Lake District at the end of February.

I wasn't stressed about it - I was enjoying it too much for that!

I managed to work on steadily, section by section.
When I took it out of the hoop it had the usual raggy look.

Blocking soon fixed that.
The weekend before I left I managed to add it to my chair.

 As it was a bit longer than the chair I have a couple of strips I can embroider to fit alongside the squarish piece on the seat - now I am back I can attend to it.

Next step is the parrot panel to go on the other side of the back.

I have, of course, a couple of projects to finish from the Retreat - as well as one from a one-day RSN course. These will take priority - but it won't be long now. I'll report progress next week.