Thursday, 6 September 2012

Another mass update

I seem to be having a great deal of trouble remembering to make updates here in-between all the finishing of projects that I have been doing.I need to remember that just throwing my photo's at Deviant art isn't enough and I need to also update here.

So here is what I've been up to since my last update:

This time something different.. inspired by the #ArtisanCraft creative craft challenge. I found these plastic button things that you could embroider in the sewing shop when I was getting eyelets for the corset I made last week (no photo yet - I'd taken it with me to England last week and mailed it home as it was too heavy for my suitcase - damned Ryan Air max carry on weight restrictions!) and thought they'd be fun to play with, they are but they are also rather fiddly to hold as well.

They are 7/8 inch - 2,25 cm across and embroidered with a full strand of DMC in 3 shades of blue and ecru.

Happy birthday DA!

Sources and inspiration:

:bulletorange: The DA llama badges
:bulletorange: The DA logo
:bulletorange: The DA 10 birthday badge that I changed to show a 12
:bulletorange: I was inspired the colour of Peridot (August's birthstone) when I made the "12" badge green.

I made the flapping cloaks of the super llama's different in an attempt to show that they were indeed flapping.

I mounted the embroidery on a pale pink card and gave it a slightly smaller blue glossy card border as the front of the card.


:bulletorange: Complete Embroidery: not quite 3 1/4" by a smidge over 4"
:bulletorange: Colours used overall: 84
:bulletorange: Complete card: 5 7/8" x 7 3/8"

Llama's :
:bulletyellow: 18 x 15 stitches each
:bulletyellow: Brown has 30 colours, albino has 32 colours
:bulletyellow: 7/8" x 1" each

"12" Birthday badge:
:bulletyellow: 17 x 26 stitches
:bulletyellow: 23 colours
:bulletyellow: 1" x a smidge over 1 3/8"

DA Logo:
:bulletyellow: 23 x 23 stitches
:bulletyellow: 2 colours
:bulletyellow: a smidge over 1 1/4 " square

"Happy Birthday" message:
:bulletyellow: 57 x 23 stitches
:bulletyellow: 1 colour (I just love variegated thread!)
:bulletyellow: 3" x a smidge over 1 3/8 "

All sizes are given Width x height, this also applies to the stitch numbers.
Patterns available on request.

Oh wow!! I won 3rd place with this! :D Thanks!!

I revamped my bedroom because the bed had broken and I thought it was high time I painted the walls since it still had the decorations from when I painted it for oldest when he was 2 and moved into the room. The photo's below show the room the evening it was more or less finished

I started finishing my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) to finally get them done. 

This is the first of my UFO's that I've completed.

I have no idea when I started this but it was a good 6 years ago at the very least. It was less than half finished when i picked it up again and took me about a day to complete. I finished it at last today :)

It's the Lanarte kit 36016 - I left out the word "Narcissus" to the right because I don't like that kind of thing in embroideries.

16 colours
3" x almost 4 1/2 " / 7,6 cm x 11,5 cm

The dog rose is one of my favourite roses - I love the smell and will sniff the flowers *even though* they give me a nasty allergy attack afterwards (yes I know.. I just can't help myself lol)

This is the second UFO I've completed in my attack of the UFO's and one which I was dreading for some reason - it was really easy to do in the end and only took me a couple of hours to complete. The frame was part of the kit (Permin of Copenhagen kit 13-0172)

10 colours
1 thread over the weave
1 3/4" x 2 5/8"/ 4,5 x 6,5 cm

This was made for the #stitchingpirates Tiny Pillow Cross Stitch Contest! . I was planning on something rather larger and more complicated but time was against me I decided that since this was a mini pillow competition I'd make mine *really* small :)

As one of my main goals in art is to use what I have on hand as much as possible I applied the same principals to this project.

Materials used:
:bulletyellow: Embroidery fabric: a 2 1/2 inch/ 6,5 cm scrap of 18 count/7 squares per cm white Aida
:bulletyellow: DMC floss in 12 colours: 699, 700, 701, 702, 703, 704, 740, 741, 742, 743, 744, 745
:bulletyellow: A 2 1/2 inch/ 6,5 cm scrap of Bali batik
:bulletyellow: Stuffed with mini scraps of quilting fabric

:bulletorange: Finished size: 2"/5 cm
:bulletorange: Number of stitches: 1024
:bulletorange: Size of corner tassels 1/2 " / 1,25 cm

I have for a long time thought of doing something with quilt blocks in embroidery and although I haven't actually done much with Log cabins in quilting I do love the resulting look of them. I made this pattern based on 4 blocks of the "uneven log cabin" (an example of the quilt pattern is here: [link] ) turned so that the skinny "logs" were all in the centre and the wider ones made the outside edges. I had originally planned on adding backstitches in black to show where the "seams" would be but when I did some on the embroidery it looked horrid so I spent an age removing all the backstitches and wished I'd had time to do a sample first.

My stitches aren't as even as usual for 3 reasons:
1) I'd used a piece of Aida that was too small for any of my embroidery rings and so couldn't put it under tension to keep it even and had to make do with the way I held the bit of fabric.
2) My hands didn't like the above and complained bitterly but time was too short to put it away for a few days as I was expecting to need at least a day for all the backstitches that I didn't do in the end.
3) When removing the backstitching some of the time I caught a stitch and pulled it - I have done my best to return them to where they should be but it didn't always work and 2) means I can't go back and re-do stuff as I need to rest my hands.

Solution for 1 will be to use a larger piece of Aida next time OR baste it to some fabric and then put it in the frame (didn't remember that trick till I was writing this lol)
The solution to the other two is to start sooner, or choose to wait for the next competition if I'm too short of time.

I chose the colour of the backing fabric because it had the colours of the embroidery in it.

I made 1/2" tassels with the darkest embroidery thread as I like how that looks on pillows. It was a bit of a challenge to make them look nice and even as this was the first time I'd ever made tassels.

After I'd finished the embroidery I washed and pressed it and then carefully attached the tassels to the seam allowance of the embroidery to keep them in place while I sewed and after it was finished. I then pinned the backing fabric to the embroidery and hand sewed it all in place leaving what turned out to be a too small a hole to turn the stiff Aida through easily but with a bit of patience, a *lot* of easing and a chopstick I was able to turn it the right way round.

Next time I will first sew on a border of normal fabric before sewing it to the back as that will mean that the side seams are all the same fabric strength and stiffness and it will make the corners easier to turn and more pointy (although with this pillow I am not too displeased with how the corners turned out :) ) I will also leave a larger opening to turn through.

Keeping the work the same way round was a bit of a challenge as it looks the same from every angle so in the end I used a bit of thread to baste a couple of stitches to the top so I'd know which way round it was. With the frame on I don't have this issue as it's easy to tell which way is up due to the closure.

Overall I'm reasonably happy with the results :)



I won joint first prize with *pinkythepink !! :excited: Thanks!!

Last July Project Educate on Deviant Art held a Artisans Crafts week and one of the things there was the "Try something new challenge" I fully intended to join in by making a book myself but time ran out on me and I didn't get round to it.

Having decided to make a book myself I didn't want to set this aside as a project and now that I had a bunch of other stuff out of the way (such as my mini pillow and holiday) I thought I'd try my hand at making a Coptic bound journal. I wasn't sure what to do for the cover or pages till I saw the monthly AC challenge maps and lost places which sparked my imagination.

Before I started I read just about every tutorial in the tutorial section and watched some video's on youtube as seeing how a stitch is done is much easier than trying to work out how the drawing was done.

As one of my main goals in art is to use what I have on hand as much as possible I looked around the house for old maps and travel books looking for maps to include on the cover. Unfortunately I only had a couple of small pamphlets that were left over from a biking holiday + from a day trip to a town as well as an old guide to the Algarve so I wasn't able to use a single map for all of it. I used the pamphlets for 3 of the outer covers and some cut out maps from the guide book for the front inner cover. I allowed the folds of the maps to show as it adds texture to the completed journal and shows that real maps were used.

I didn't have much paper of the same colour to hand so I decided to choose the colours based on the different colours you see on maps:
:bulletyellow: Green for the woods/fields
:bulletyellow: Yellow for the main roads
:bulletyellow: White for the smaller roads

All the signatures are made from 4 sheets of paper folded in half to make 8 leaf signatures. I had enough to make 2 signatures in green, 2 in yellow and one in white.

I used the back of a writing pad for the thicker cardboard for the covers.

In my search for stuff I had found an old awl I'd been given at the same time as a 1903 cobblers treadle, it was pretty blunt but there was also a neat little whetstone in the box so I first learnt how to sharpen an awl before using it to make the holes for the stitching. I used the eyelet making tool that I'd used for my corset to make the holes in the covers.

I used DMC embroidery floss (colour 798) for the sewing so I could match the colour of the thread to the blue of the maps (used to make routes) and added some beads and other bits to both of the top holes to add a bit of interest to the book and helps one remember what is the top. I tried to use things that one might have found lying around while travelling: shells, leaves, a coffee bean, a "silver" bead.

I had fun making this and am glad I decided to try my hand at book making :)

Height: 6 1/4" / 16 cm
Width: 4 1/2" /11,5 cm
Thickness: 5/8"/ 1,5 cm

This is the 3rd UFO I have hauled out of the box and finished.
It was supposed to be a "quilt" with a width 3 of the square patterns and a hight of 4 of them. The pattern has a 1995 copyright on it and I think I must have bought it around that time - not much later than 1996 anyway.

I had to start with a bit of stitch removal because I'd miscounted and some of the stitches were one stitch too far to the left AND I'd been confused by the colours because the kit had said that the "blue" had the white (that I didn't use in the end) in it - in my kit the green did - and with the green and blue so close It was easy to be confused.

I really didn't like the way the green and blue background colours (yes there are two) almost blend together because they are (IMO at least) badly chosen - there should have been more contrast. The quilter in me also didn't like that the darkest green or blue "flowers" are don't have identical bits as this should be the case in the quilt pattern. The green lower bit is filled in where it shouldn't be and in the blue the bottom right one is one stitch shorter per row. The pattern itself is well made and very clear - I have no complaints about the quality of the printed work, just the floss colour choices and the design of the pattern.

I could have "fixed" all this but I'd already started this and didn't want to have to rip even more out to make it "perfect" so I decided to at least make something out of it so I made another mini pillow.

The green in the border (and backing) was a true find - with the green and blue so close it reads as the colour I chose for the borders, even though the colour isn't anywhere in the embroidery. I made the tassels myself again - this time from the medium green and blue from the leftover thread from the kit. The pillow was again completely hand stitched and if you look carefully - well ok you don't have to look *that* carefully to see them - you can see my tiny stitches near the bottom.

Stats and info
The pattern is: Four Winds (Amish Quilts II Kit) CSK-358 by Cross My Heart
Colours used: 6
Aida: Black 14 count / 6 squares per cm
Stitched area: 2 5/8 inch / 6,5 cm square
Stitches: 4 x 18 stitches square with a lattice of 2 stitches wide left empty between them for a total of 1296 cross stitches.
Pillow: 3 3/4 inch / 9,5 cm square
Tassels: 1 1/4 inch / 3 cm long

I'm happy it's finished and glad I decided to make it into a mini pillow instead as the perfectionist in me was screaming quietly the whole time I was working on this.

One of my youngest son's teachers got married and he wanted to give her something "mummy made" so I dug around and found a partially made wedding bells and rings card that was embroidered on perforated embroidery paper ( this stuff: [link] )

It was supposed to have a lacy frame but youngest insisted I used E 5200 - a light effects perlescant white which was slow going as it does tend to tangle more than normal thread even when put on the needle the way DMC says and as I couldn't pull it tight it was horribly uneven. After 4 days of hell and only a small amount done (well small for me - I usually work faster) I gave up trying to do that and just cut out the bells and rings bit that I had done. I then glued them to a pale pink card and let youngest write in the card himself.

The pattern and perforated paper comes from DMC collection book number 6 that was printed in 1994.

I'm afraid I forgot to measure the work before I let youngest take it to school but the bells embroidery is about 2 1/2 inches square.

The 5th UFO that I have done as far as I'm going to. It's the blue butterfly pattern by Thea Gouverneur (pattern #1024) and is supposed to have a stalk and another leaf and a gazillion back stitches but I had reached the point of call it done or throw it away as I have developed a deep lying hate for uneven rough woven linen (and I already hated backstitching anyway) I have discovered by careful comparison of the embroidery I did and the pictures online of the pattern that my colours are also not completely correct and if I had continued they would have continued to happen - some of the mistakes i have won't show now because I didn't do the stalk.

Another thing that disappointed me was that the pattern is hand drawn and the symbols are not always clear and sometimes even completely missing so I had to guess what to put in that empty place - basically I filled it with whatever colour I had on my needle when I noticed it unless it looked out of place to do so.

In the end I just called it quits and stopped - I have a feeling that this will become part of something at a later date - when I get past the hate for the linen ;)

Size of embroidery: 6 x 4 1/2 " / 15,25 x 10,1 cm

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