Year End

Well here it is, and I am feeling quite pleased with myself.  I mentioned that this background piece  does not photograph well, which is probably because it has a sheen.   So I scanned it, and it seems to have worked.   So far, it has gone well.

I have also prepared two pieces of silk fabric for another project, and basted them to a cotton backing, side by side.  Those designs have also not been finally decided.  Design ideas will be ticking away in the back of my mind for the next 10 days or so, and hopefully emerge when I want them.

Yesterday, I put away all my embroidery until after Christmas.   I have altered some clothes and done some mending, so now the sewing machine will also go away.

All that remains is now for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas  (or Holidays if that is more appropriate) and a Happy New Year.

December 23, 2011. Embroidery. Leave a comment.

Craft Stalls for Fundraisers

When I attended the Goldwork workshop in the summer, we we told the story of a beautiful box which was made as a gift.  And just to make the gift extra special,  some very nice chocolates were placed inside it.   Some time later, the maker was horrified to find that the box had been thrown away, but the recipient had enjoyed the chocolates.  The moral of this story is not to spend a lot of time making (or spend a lot of money on materials)  something for a person who is not likely to appreciate it.

Some years ago I spent hours crocheting items for a Craft Stall at a fundraising event.  When I went to the Craft Stall,  I could not see the items,  so I assumed they had already sold.  Imagine how I felt when I went to the bric-a-brac stall, and spotted them under something else.  Under the pretext of having a closer look at them,  I moved them to the top.

This year I embroidered Christmas cards,  for a Christmas Fayre,  because I was told that people would have the opportunity to make a card, and cards would be on sale.  There was also to be a Craft Stall.  So I rooted out my card blanks, and back issues of Stitch magazine, and stitched some fairly simple cards.  I also had some cross-stitched designs from a previous year, which had taken hours to complete.  I enclosed each card in it’s own cellophane cover, so that they would not get damaged with handling.  I was on the bric-a-brac stall,  which was where Christmas cards, not hand-made, were located. There was a packet with half the cards.  I found the other half on the tombola,  and neither pack had a cross-stitched one on the top.  The pack on the bric-a brac stall did not sell.  I wonder – should I have bought them ( the price was ridiculously, insultingly low),  and brought them home?

I hope I have learned from these experiences.  In future I will only give items for a craft stall if  I am not totally happy with them, or if they have been made quickly with materials that are surplus or inexpensive.

Have other people had similar experiences?

December 22, 2011. Embroidery. Leave a comment.

Tenerife Lace

I have been to Tenerife for holidays many times, and have always admired Tenerife Lace in the craft shops.   I mentioned in my post on November 17th that some of the work in these shops looks like Hardanger.   Hung on the wall is a large piece of fabric which shows how it is done.   The threads are cut first!   So it is drawn thread work.  For someone who was numerically challenged with Kloster Blocks, this was  revelation.   I went back to the shops the last time I was there, and bought this piece so I could look at it  and maybe do something similar for gifts or fundraisers.   I’m not sure about the blue tassel.  I may take it off, and possibly replace it with a white one, or none at all.  A bookmark doesn’t need any extra thickness.  This will be my bookmark for when I am reading embroidery books.

I really enjoyed the meeting at Huddersfield Embroiderers’ Guild this week.  We had  a fuddle and I must say the spread was impressive.   Of course,  I ate more tha I should have, but that is normal at this time of year for most of us.  So I  am trying to walk a bit more and have even done some aerobics to trry not to gain too much weight over the ‘Festive Season’.

I had a look at the library, and found a book on Tenerife Lace.  There doesn’t seem to be much about the drawn thread work,  more about weaving  motifs, typically circular , but some square.  Larger ones could be mounted and framed, or used as a decoration for clothes or useable items.

Our speaker in the afternoonwas Claire Tinsley, who runs ‘Hannah’s Room’.  Quilts are not my thing, but I enjoyed looking at and hearing about all the lovely quilts she brought to show us.  One of these days, when I have a really good design idea, I may get round to doing one myself.

December 16, 2011. Tags: , , , . Drawn thread, Embroidery, Hardanger. Leave a comment.

Silky Stitches

Unfortunately the piece I am working on at the moment does not photograph well, and progress is slow.   This is partly because Christmas is coming, and there are so many things to be done.   The other reason is that a lot of what I am doing is trial and error.   I have taken out a few lengths of stitching because the colour is just not right.

This is the background I prepared for a peacock.  The peacock is now on the back burner,  because I just can’t get the balance right.   But I love this piece, so I am proceeding with the expectation that it will eventually have butteflies added.   In Hazel Everett’s book (Goldwork) there are three different butterflies.

I still have not read this book properly.  I am saving it to read between Christmas and New Year.  All my embroidery will have to be put away for the duration, so I am intending to snuggle up with this book for an hour or so at a time, so I can do it justice.   But I keep having a peek.   There are a lot of bugs which I am itching to try, other lovely projects too.

Tomorrow I am going to an Embroiderers Guild Meeting.  I have been away for the last two meetings , so I am really looking forward to it.  No doubt we will be talking about the Knitting and Stitching show, and what we all bought.  We are having a ‘fuddle’, so I need to bake this afternoon.  Last year our December was called off, because the weather was too bad, and the kitchen was out of action, so the caterers who were to be coming would not have been able to prepare their food.  This winter is not so bad as last, but of course we don’t lnow what is still to come.

December 11, 2011. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, Goldwork. Leave a comment.

Books Part 5

We’re getting to the end now.  First are books which have little or nothing to do with embroidery.

I was an avid hand and machine knitter at one time,  and tried to start a new branch of the Knitting and Crochet Guild.   I think we had a total of 7 members, but never all at a meeting at the same time!  After my back went I sold most of my machine knitting paraphernalia, but still have some yarn left.

‘Vogue Knitting’  is a  must-have – the description on the cover is  ‘The ultimate knitting book…’    It covers the basics starting with two methods of holding the needles, and how to follow a knitting pattern. It includes garment patterns and stitch patterns, but I also have The Knitting Stitch Manual by Lesley Stansfield.  These two books are all I need.

Next, Crochet – ‘The Vogue Dictionary of Crochet Stitches’ by Anne Mathews is much more than the title suggests.  It includes sections on techniques, instructions for garments, a comparison of  U.K. and U.S. terms, and Foreign Language Terms ((French, German, Italian and Spanish).

I bought ‘200 crochet blocks’ by Jan Eaton with the intention of using up some of the leftover wool in my stash.  I have done  few of them, but never really started in earnest.

‘The Technique of Crochet’, a 1987 book by Pauline Turner,  has designs for garments.  They are  a bit dated now, but I have kept this book because it is interesting for the different, less conventinal ways that crochet can be used.

‘Beautiful Bead Stitching on Canvas’ by Ann Benson is just what it says.  The designs are beautiful.  This book was a free gift when I took out a magzine subscription.  I have recently joined a craft group where some of the ladies are doing bead stitching on canvas, and it looks good.

At around the same time I acquired The Beader’s Handbook , which is  a publication from Bead & Button magazine.  Confession – I have never even looked through it!

Now for my design books.  The ‘Complete Book of Oriental Designs’ from Search Press has a wide variety of designs and some ides of how to make use of them. The book come with a CD so I have the designs on the computer.

A book I enjoyed working through is  ‘Drawing and Design for Embroidery’ by Richard Box.

‘Embroidery Design’ is a small booklet in the Needle Crafts series from search Press, written by Jan Messent.  I have found it very useful.

Last but certainly not least is  ‘Creating Sketchbooks’  by Kay Greenlees.  My ‘sketchbooks’ each have a different purpose.  That seems a good idea for another post.

December 8, 2011. Tags: , , , . beadwok, Crochet, knitting. Leave a comment.

Spanish Needle Lace

Needle Lace La coruna

Needle Lace Vigo

Needle Lace is on my list of  ‘must do’s.   An older member at the Embroiderers’ Guild gave two of us some tuition,  and believe me,  it is very satisfying to do, but requires a lot of concentration.

When I am on holiday,  and I see some nice needlework,   I just have to take a photograph.   oth these shop windows were in towns in the North-East corner of Spain.   Often,  in tourist areas, the goods on display are machine-produced and/or not good quality work.   But I was really impressed by the standard of these pieces.

I have great admiration for the patience which must be expended in producing work like this.   The larger pieces must take ages to complete.   Of course the price of these articles does not reflect this at all,  as they must be priced to attract customers.  Craft workers all over the world are underpaid for their work.   I just hope that the recipients of these items will appreciate them.

December 4, 2011. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, Needle Lace. Leave a comment.