Upcoming projects

I just love silk, but I also quite like linen.  I had the chance to buy a linen tablecloth for not too much.  One attraction was the size, about 122 cm square.  A lot of commercially available tablecloth kits are just not large enough for my dining table.  I just had to have it.  When it arrived I found that there was some double-printing of the design on one corner, so I have scrubbed at it, and washed it in very hot water, to try to remedy this, and also to try to lighten the outlines in general.  Before doing this I did trace the design, which has been useful, just in case the design washed out completely.  The design is lighter now, but there is a slight blueish tinge, which will probably be less noticeable once the stitching has been done.

Copies have been made of the tracing, and I have used these to do quite a lot of planning, deciding on stitches and colour schemes for the first two corners.  This project is likely to be a long one, so realistically it will be best to do one corner, and take a break before starting the next.

I really ought to look at my U. F. O.s first and maybe spend a few days getting a little further with one of them. When we get past new Year I will get started on the tablecloth in earnest, and see how it goes.

For me, it is a good idea to have a small portable project on the go, to take to Embroiderers’ Guild meetings, and other events.  I am stitch doodling onto fabric at present.  Kits are available with lines already printed on a small piece of fabric, but I want to be more free than this would allow.  My idea was to doodle with a black thread instead of marking the fabric, and see how it goes.  The first one is a Mandala. I found myself making lines with coloured threads before I could stop myself. it just seemed to be the natural thing to do.

December 28, 2016. Tags: . Embroidery. Leave a comment.

Recycled sari silk

I thought I would share with you my experiences of recylcled sari silk.  I had looked at it at shows, and online, but didn’t buy it for a while because I  try not to buy anything for which I have no immediate plans.  I am always trying to reduce my stash, but I also like to try new things.  First I bought some sari silk thread.  Strands of threads were twisted together to form a cordlike thread. It was exactly as shown in the photograph when I bought it, but I was now at a loss to know what to do with it, so it was put away for a quite a while.

At the end of 2015 I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate.  I went to a workshop about printing on fabric, as this is something I have been curious about.  I also had a list of what I wanted to look at on the stalls, and a small budget.  I found small bundle of sari silk ribbon, and chose my colour.  It was mostly purple with a little green.

The first thing I did with is was to separate the individual pieces, and then I washed and ironed them.  A lot of dye came out, and what I was left with was strips of different widths, different fabrics, and different shades of purple.  There was very little green on the fabric and only in blotches, and  a little gold coloured thread.  It looked as the colour had been removed from the fabrics, some of which had been patterned, and they were then dyed.  Some of the colour was very uneven, as the fabrics had obviously been dyed in a bundle.  I think I would have preferred to have fabrics that were still their original colour and design.

Then I decided to select some of the longer strips, to make a striped cushion cover, with the threads couched over the joins.

Two of the strips had a line design which was barely visible, so I drew over the design with a silver gel pen, and stitched over the lines.  The end result was really pleasing.

Then I began to couch the thread down.  This was not easy.  The result was not good, and I wished I had fastened the strips to the backing fabric more securely.  As I usually do when something is not working I put it away, to think about it.

Then at an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting we had a talk about unblocking our creativity.  As a result of this I got the piece out again and thought about it in a different light.  What could I salvage?   Two pieces were stitched through the backing fabric, so I would either have to leave them, or cut away both layers of fabric.  I decided to stay with them.  It was a pity that I had not decided to start again before I trimmed the length of the fabric strips and the threads, because I now have a lot of short pieces.

This time I made a much better job of securing the strips to the backing fabric, with either hand or machine stitching.  I found strips of lace and ribbon to add, and did some more stitching.

Then I just happened on instructions for making fabric flowers on pinterest.com.  They were just what I needed to make the piece a bit different, and they were so easy to make with some of the finer pieces of silk fabric.  These were stitched on firmly, and some buttons added.  I bought a piece of fabric to make the back of the cushion and an inner, and as I was pushing the last bit of inner into the cushion cover, the silk split!

So the inner came out, and the cushion cover was partly deconstructed, so that I could replace the damaged strips.  I looked carefully at the strip of fabric and decided that it must have been on the outside of the bundle when is was being treated and re-dyed and got some wear.

Here is the finished cushion.

Sari silk cushion

And here is a close-up

Cushion close-up

Cushion close-up

Now you can see the stitching over the original design which was done with a silver metallic thread, and with a shiny rayon variegated thread. You can also see the frayed edges which were left as a feature, and the flowers.

Unfortunately I have now noticed another tiny split in the silk, but not in a noticeable area.  So the finished cushion is delicate, and not really fit for purpose.

Clearly durability is an issue, so anything else I make with this silk will be for decorative purposes only.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

December 23, 2016. Embroidery. Leave a comment.


In the last few months I have been making all sort of things, some of them nothing to do with embroidery. I have tried two kinds of whitework embroidery which were new to me.

Mary Corbet posted a design for a cutwork angel on her needlenthread.com website.  I printed it off and decided that it would make a nice angel for the top of a Christmas tree.  Here she is, a slightly simplified version of the one on needlenthread.


She is stitched on Cotton Jean fabric which is used for Mountmellick work.  I chose this because it is tightly woven, so would take stitches that were close together, and be stiff enough to go on the Christmas tree.  I did try some Paverpol at different dilutions on the corners of fabric I cut off, but when I had washed the finished piece I thought it was firm enough.  The Paverpol seemed to make the fabric a little less white, which was another consideration. The stitching is done with Coton a Broder.


I also came across an ancient kit for Carrickmacross lace.  I didn’t like the design, so I did my own using the materials in the kit.

I did exactly as described, layering fabrics and designs, and found tutorials on Youtube, and off I went.  The result was Absolutely Awful.  So I unpicked it, not having gone too far, and had a rethink for a week or two.  The problem seemed to be that the thread supplied was not nearly thick enough to look good.  I also found it very difficult to stitch through the organza and net, but not the pattern.

The second time I drew the design on a piece of Solusheet, laid net on top, topped with organza, and tacked the layers together.  This worked much better for me. Once again I used Coton a Broder for the stitching.



I decided to finish at this point, but now that I have photographed it I can see that design is not central.  That’s because I grew tired of doing this and missed out some parts of my design, which just were not working as they should.  If I have a better idea about what to put on either side of the stem, more work can be done later.

At present I have a few ideas floating round my head for new projects, some large, some small.  My current piece is very small, so that I can get it finished before Christmas, and maybe start a Very Large one in the new year.

December 18, 2016. Tags: . Embroidery, Whitework. Leave a comment.