Learning from mistakes

When I bought this fabric on the internet, it was described as blue.  As you can see it photographs as blue.  I was a little disappointed, because at the time I was thinking of doing this project mainly in white, with a midnight blue (ish) fabric.  Midnight blue would have too harsh, so as this looked a little softer, I bought it.  Needless to say, my enthusiasm for the project waned, and the fabric was put away.  Lesson 1 – make sure the colour of the fabric is what you expect it to be.



Then this weekend, I was enticed by a magazine listed on Ebay.   I looked at the seller’s other items, and saw two other items I was interested in, and immediately this project came to mind.  I was outbid for the magazine, but was successful with the other items.  So I have gone back to the original design, in a magazine, but then also looked at the designer’s website, where it is suggested that different colours might be used.   (White was not the main colour of the original design.)   This got me thinking…  I actually got the fabric out of the packet, to iron it, and found that it actually dove grey.   So I went to my thread drawer, and selected these soft shades.   I have not yet decided whether to use the cotton or the silk.

A few months ago I did a project, matching the colours quite closely to those photographed in the original design.   I am quite pleased with it,  but the colours are not what I should have used, as I used a much paler background fabric, and muted colours would have looked better.   Lesson two – make sure your threads look right with the backgound fabric.

Lesson three is about frames.   It is not always easy to find a frame when a project has been completed, unless it is being framed  professionally, which can be quite costly.   At a meeting of Embroiderers’ Guild a few months ago a lady pointed out it is a good idea to purchase the frames before the project is commenced.   While I have been writing this paragraph, I have remembered a frame which I bought from a charity shop.  I have been undecided whether to do all or part of the design, and the size of this frame, which is the right colour may be the deciding factor.

I am keen to get on with this, bit I know I must finish the whitework first.  It has hardly been touched since my last post, because I have been busy with other things.

In particular, I have been knitting with lace weight wool.  This is a new experience for me.  I had no idea how difficult it would be.  The lace pattern is quite complex, and a dropped stitch can be catastrophic.  This item is going to be a gift, but it might have to be for Christmas, rather than the birthday for which it was intended.  I was actually going to knit two, but it has become clear that the two skeins I purchase will only make one.  I think two might have compromised my sanity.  I am sure there is another lesson to be learned here, but I’m not sure what it is.


September 3, 2013. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, knitting. Leave a comment.

White on white update

I’ve finally got back to this whitework.  I was having problems making two pieces look somewhere near symmetrical, and having take stitches out twice, the fabric was getting a bit messy.  The only thing i could think of was to try to wash out the pencil lines which were not quite right, and the second attempt too, thus getting the fabric looking much better.  I pressed it before putting it back in the hoop, which gave the opportunity for a photo.


I reckon another week or so might see this finished.  Next will probably be a goldwork version of the same design.

I have got out all my copies of ‘Stitch’ magazine, and I am going to read all the articles properly.  I am hoping for ideas and inspiration.  In the past I have tended to skim through articles on the same way as I skimmed material when I was a student, then put the magazine on the shelf.  Now that I have more time, I must must make myself read things properly

In the mean time I have been tempted by some beautiful wool.   It is a lace weight made of baby alpaca, cashmere and silk.   I will take it to the craft group, and some lucky people will have a lovely lacy scarf for Christmas.

August 8, 2013. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, knitting, Whitework. 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.