Tuesday, 31 August 2010

New Work - The Rocks

The Rocks is a seascape painting I finished a couple of weeks ago produced in acrylics on stretched canvas.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Closed Cretan Stitch Leaves

Here is a quick tutorial on how to work a closed Cretan Stitch leaf. Work from top to bottom of your leaf shape. Bring your needle up at 1, down at 2 (right side of shape), and up again at 3 with your thread beneath your needle. Pull through. Next take your needle down at 4 and up at 5, (left side of shape) with your thread beneath your needle pull through. Carry on working down your leaf shape from side to side. Angle stitches to match the natural veins of a leaf.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Closed Cretan Stitch

Closed Cretan Stitch is worked in entirely the same way as Open Cretan Stitch but the stitches are produced close together. This stitch is really useful for creating leaves and feather shapes and has a lovely plaited appearance to the centre line.

Ok, to work Closed Cretan Stitch. Mark 4 lines as before and then bring your needle up at 1, down at 2 and up at 3. With the thread beneath your needle pull through. Now keeping the spacing close take your needle down at 4 and up at 5, again with your thread beneath your needle pull through. Now continue working stitches close together along your line.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Happy Birthday Pippa 2 Today!

Happy 2nd Birthday Pippa Louise - Big kisses and hugs love from Mummy, Daddy, Oscar and all the animals especially your best friends the cats who say a big MEOW!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Open Cretan Stitch

Open Cretan Stitch can be used for decorative borders and edgings and appliqué. It can be worked on either evenweave or plain weave fabric in a variety of threads. If using plain weave it is easier to work if you first mark the fabric with four parallel lines with a removable fabric pen. It is a really easy stitch to work and definitely one to add to your stitching arsenal.

To work Open Cretan Stitch work from left to right, bring your needle up at 1, down at 2 and up at 3, your thread should be beneath your needle as shown. Pull through. Next bring your needle down at 4 and up again at 5, once again your thread should be beneath your needle. Pull through. Continue to make stitches all along your line and finish with a small stitch. The width of the border and the space between the stitches can be varied to give interesting effects. In the last photograph I have layered two rows of Open Cretan Stitch on top of one another in different colours. You could use a plain thread underneath and a metallic thread over the top.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Clothes Moth

This is a piece that I have been working on for a while now and hoping to complete soon. There is a lot of buttonhole stitch as well as bullion knots and French Knots so it is taking quite a long time to complete. This however does not bother me as working on this piece is always very relaxing! I am also working on some smaller pieces which are more illustrative.

Couched Circles

Following on from yesterday's couching tutorial is Couched Circles. You can fill a circle using spiral couching to form flowers, wheels and so on. It is a very effective technique which looks great in metallics as well as wool type threads. You can create couched circles using radiating stitches and bricking stitches.

To form a circle with radiating stitches
First mark your fabric with a circle with regular radiating lines either eight or twelve. Next bring the thread to be couched to the surface of your fabric at the centre of the circle. Coil the thread in a spiral and couch down with your finer thread at regular intervals following your guides to form a spoked pattern. Always bring the needle up on the outer edge and angle all stitches towards the centre. Once you reach the end of the spiral required take your laid thread to the wrong side of the fabric to finish. You could couch a series of different size circles in wool threads on natural linen to create a funky cushion!

Green-Banded Swallowtail Illustration

This is the completed illustration of the Green-Banded Swallowtail butterfly. The illustration is in watercolour with pen & ink on Fabriano Artistico HP paper.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Couching Tutorial

Couching as you will probably know is the technique of attaching a thicker thread i.e. metallics, cords, ribbons etc. which cannot be drawn through the background fabric. Instead the thicker threads are attached to the surface fabric using tiny stitches or more decorative stitches worked in a finer thread. Couching takes its name from the French word 'Coucher', which means to lay down. Couching was very popular in Medieval embroideries to keep more expensive threads only for the surface of the fabric so there was no waste. Couching is really fast and easy to do and a really effective way to define outlines and curves it can also be used to fill a motif or to edge appliqué shapes. There are different forms of couching and today we will be covering plain couching, bricking and bunched couching.

Plain Couching
To work plain couching work from right to left. Place the thread to be couched in the position required on your fabric. If you wish to keep the ends of your threads neat knot the thread to be couched and bring up through the fabric and lay along your line. Using a finer thread bring your needle up at 1, hold laid thread in place with your left thumb and insert your needle at 2 making a small vertical stitch. Repeat a long your line at regular intervals. To finish take both threads to the back of your fabric. Note: couching should always be worked with fabric stretched in a hoop or frame.

Turning the Thread
Turn the laid thread in the direction you require and make a small horizontal stitch over the turning point as shown below.

Bricking creates a regular pattern and is used for filling small and large areas. Stitches are positioned halfway between the stitches of the previous line. Work the first line from right to left then turn the work for each new line.

Bunched Couching
Working from left to right bring thread to be couched to the surface of fabric and lay along your line. Next using your tying thread make small vertical stitches, this time however pull the tying stitch tightly to bunch the thread. This technique works best when there are several threads being couched. It is great for when a bold line is required.

You can also use a variety of decorative stitches for couching for example; blanket stitch, feather stitch, chevron stitch, or cross stitch. The example below is couching with blanket stitch.

A Wet Tuesday

The littlest things can inspire! I just popped out the front door to see hubby Andrew off when I saw this tiny leaf on the wet pavement and had to take a photo!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Coral Stitch

For a cool beaded look to your stitching add coral stitch as an alternative outline stitch or use it as a filling stitch as I have done below. Coral stitch can be seen on many examples of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century English Crewel work. It is also known as coral knot or beaded stitch.

Right how do we work it? First start at the right by bringing your needle up at 1 and lay your thread on top of the fabric to the left holding it down with the left thumb. If it helps to keep your line straight you can always draw a guide line. Next moving a short distance along the line pick up a small stitch between 1 and 2 and under the thread. Make sure the thread is looped under the needle as in the picture and then pull the thread through to form a knot. Continue working along the line in the same way.

You can use different thread thicknesses or change the angle of the knot to give different effects. Coral stitch can be used on straight or curved lines as well as being used as a textured filling stitch. When using as a filling stitch place the knots into spaces between the knots of the previous row as shown below.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A typical Gemini

I am a typical Gemini in the fact that I have two creative sides to me, my embroidery and then my painting and illustration side. Just recently I have been working on a series of illustrations and paintings which I have put on my other blog called My Painting Diary these include my insect illustrations, watercolour and acrylic paintings. I decided to separate the two things I do as I thought more people followed this blog for my embroidery work. The thing is some of the illustrations and paintings may become embroideries! So my dilemma is do I keep two blogs going or combine them into one! Any thoughts?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Black Pansy Butterfly

Black Pansy Butterfly - Precis oenone - Africa, pen & ink, watercolour and pencil on Fabriano Artistico HP.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Closed Feather Stitch

Closed Feather Stitch is a decorative border stitch and also used for wide lines both straight and curved. It can be used on both plain and evenweave fabrics and if using plain weave fabric you may wish to draw guidelines on your fabric first.

To work Closed Feather Stitch, working from top to bottom, bring your needle up at 1. Loop thread as shown and take needle down at 2 and up at 3 inside the loop of thread. Pull through gently.Next form a loop with your thread again take your needle down at 4 and up at 5 inside your loop of thread again. Pull through. Take your needle down at 6 and up at 7 to begin the next set of stitches continue working in this way. Note that each stitch touches the previous one.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Zazzle Store for my illustrations!

I love illustrating nature and have been doing so as long as I can remember! Over the years especially when I was at university I have accumulated a lot of illustrations and pattern designs so I have setup a new Zazzle store for my illustrations and patterns and applied them to a number of different products. I am going to be busy busy busy over the weekend as I didn't realise I had so many and have already spied quite a few I am going to adapt into embroideries!

Check out my new Zazzle Store, I love these Keds pumps they are so cute!

Holiday Sketching

I have recently been away to Angelsey, Wales, it was a fantastic break and I am always inspired by the sea. We stayed at a campsite called Penrhyn Bay which is near Holyhead and we camped just above the sea on the headland. It was a great place to sketch!