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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Embroidered shirt

I recently bought this purple cotton shirt from Dare2BStylish - a US company whose tops I really like. I have a wardrobe full of them, mostly synthetic. They are colourful, great for travelling and for daily wear in the ‘between’ seasons in Australia. For Summer, however, only cotton really works. I thought I’d try this cotton shirt in fabulous purple.

When it arrived, I saw immediately that I could embroider it. Within four minutes of opening the package I was hunting through my storage cupboard for some old iron-on transfers I knew I had somewhere. They turned up in a plastic container full of old patterns, carefully stored in plastic sleeves labelled things like ‘children’s’, ‘hats’, ‘gloves’.
The transfers I chose first were blue, which I thought might not work too well on purple. I then chose a spray of flamboyant yellow which I thought would be clearer on the purple.

I was wrong. The blue worked well - the yellow sank into the fabric and I needed to go over it with a chalk pencil! Consequently I worked these sprays first, to get as much done as I could while the chalk lasted. I used some perle cotton overdyed by the Embroiderers' Guild.

Above these sprays, on either side, I worked a simple spray of lazy daisies in 3 strands of stranded cotton.

At the bottom, I added a couple of budgerigars. These were transfers I got in a women's magazine more than 50 years ago!

I looked at lots of photos of budgerigars and decided on one blue-grey and one green-yellow.

I wanted to wear this top to a birthday party last weekend. That gave me about 9 days to finish the embroidery. I finished 45 minutes before I needed to leave home for the party! I then had to iron it (as you can tell, I took the photos before I did that!)

I do think I've gone a bit mad - but I'm pleased with the result!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running Hare and Chair

I've been up and running on covering my chair with crewel work. Sarah, from Comfort Works, offered me $75A to have the cover altered to the right length. I appreciated the offer, but decided I didn't want the hassle of finding someone to do it, taking the cover there etc. So I set to work and altered it myself - just turning up the hem about 2" and running it around on the machine.

It's now fine. I've also been trying out bits of finished crewel on it.

I also got out the Crewel Work Company's Running Hare which I've had for a couple of years, and got to work. 

It proved lovely to stitch and worked up quickly.

The colours are inspired. I am not so good on colour, and would not have thought to put these together.

I couldn't resist trying it on the chair at the last hoop change!

It might have been better to start with the hillock, rather than finish - it wasn't easy to get the hoop smooth over the existing stitching!

Nevertheless, I finished - a lot of enjoyment, and another raggy piece to show for my effort.

 Before long, however, it was looking much better. I also blocked the crewel work sampler from the 2017 Retreat

Then came the tricky bit - stitching it on to the chair cover. It's coming along.

I have ordered a Jacobean Stag kit to go on the left of the inside. I think I will have to get some extra pieces of linen twill to fill in the gaps between the pieces - but I'll wait and see when it is further advanced.

Obsessed is again the word. I also ordered the two fire screen panels to put on the back of this chair. It's a bit mad, I think - but I'm going to really enjoy doing it!

And I really do NOT need any more cushions (nor, unfortunately, fire screens!).

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jacobean Medley finish

It's about three weeks since I last posted about the Jacobean Medley from Beating Around the Bush.

I soon finished what was in my hoop at the end of that post.

I then moved the hoop for the last time.

Here's the finished piece - crumpled and crinkled from the hoop.

I couldn't wait to block it - on  a towel on the carpet overnight.

It is so rewarding to see the smooth piece emerge from what looks like a rag!

 I had been giving a lot of thought to what to do with this. My original intention was to make just one more giant cushion, but I realised this was not big enough for what I had in mind, so I mulled it over - and had an idea.

I have a small Ikea Solsta Olarp bucket chair in my sewing room. It occurred to me that I might be able to add some crewel work to it. I already have an embroidered Ikea chair - with Alison Snepp's  Skyros men, but it isn't the same model.

The Solsta Olarp chair did not have a loose cover. Ikea did not supply one for this chair. To add embroidery, I really need a loose cover. It is too difficult to stitch onto the chair itself - and too hard to clean.

I discovered two companies that make loose covers for Ikea chairs, including the little Solsta Olarp. After some hesitation and investigation, I ordered a cover, in Panama Cotton, from Comfort Works in the USA.

The cover arrived - very efficiently - yesterday. I couldn't wait to unpack it, test my embroidery against it, and try it on the chair.

The cover is beautifully made and the fabric lovely. Comfort Works have followed up with emails to make sure it meets my requirements. That’s impressive!

I had a bit of trouble fitting the cover over the chair. It is, of necessity, a tight fit. It is a trifle long. I'm wondering if I should try to get slightly longer screw-in legs. It would be neater if about 3cm shorter. I could also just turn it up a little. Comfort Works are looking into it.

I pinned and machine-stitched the Jacobean Medley panel to the seat cushion cover.

I needed to tighten it a little at the top - easier for me by hand.

I have plans to cover the rest of it with crewel work. I'm already working on the Running Hare panel to put on the inside right. I have a couple of small pieces I am also playing with. A friend is shocked that I will allow anyone to sit on the embroidery. No worse, in my view than putting feet on an embroidered footstool!

I have a feeling I am going to be a customer of The Crewel Work Company for quite a while before I am finished with this chair!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Jewellery bags from scraps

A couple of months ago I was on a roll - or is it a binge?- with bags for storing jewellery.  After making the blue linen into a bag with Zakka embroidery, I had quite a few odd bits of the quite lovely linen left over, along with some of the gold silk lining, so decided to turn the left-overs into more small jewellery bags.

The first one is tiny - good for a pendant, or earrings. It is not evenly cut - and I quite like it for that

The Zakka had worked so well I decided to try some motifs from Karen Holmburg’s book of Scandinavian Stitchcraft I had recently purchased.

The thread is the remains of the silk from the Gift of Stitching kit I used for the Zakka bag, supplemented by a hank of red silk I had from my daughter's gift last year of monthly surprise thread packs from Stitchy Box.

In addition to the tiny snowbells pouch, I made a drawstring bag, with a silk cord on the outside

I added a tassel and a needle-lace button (using a scrap of the linen as a base).

There was still some linen left so I fashioned a folding pouch in three sections, lined with silk and folded.

With the last strip I made an of even smaller folded pouch for pearl earrings.

This was a productive way of trying out the motifs and stitches in Stitchcraft: Scandinavian Embroidery, using every bit of this lovely hand-dyed linen, and yielding several useful bags for storing my jewellery.