Monday, 28 February 2011

Sketchbook work

I am working furiously in my sketchbook at present and getting back to basics with developing themes and ideas for my next project on masks. I like the idea of producing small intricate Inuit Finger Masks in fabric and stitch so I am developing this idea and will start sampling soon.

Monday, 21 February 2011


I have lots of new ideas running through my head and I have spent the entire weekend jotting them down and making lists, researching online and deciding what the focus for my new work should be. When I was working on my domestic pest series of embroideries I started to look at dust mites and this led me onto dust masks. I then started to consider what is a mask? What do we use them for? When did they first appear? What are they made of? Are they purely for performance?

Of course we wear a mask on our face, though certain cultures use them on other parts of the body! The main reason we wear masks is for protection, entertainment, disguise or performance. Masks can be functional, decorative, symbolic, scary and even sexual. There are many reasons why masks have been used throughout history and still are today. Masks have been used for centuries in rituals, ceremonies, theatre, folk festivals and for practical reasons. They are magical, powerful, spiritual, fearful and even joyful. Masks continue to be popular in today's society because of the power and mystery surrounding them. Would films like Halloween and Silence of the Lambs have worked without the use of a mask, or their characters been as memorable? The same goes for the Phantom of the Opera, would a Phantom without a mask have been as spine tingling or compelling, I don't think so!

Monday, 14 February 2011


Hope you have had a great Valentines Day today! I have been blogging over on the HEN Blog today with Valentines work from the Hand Embroidery Network and the HEN Flickr Group. Do check out these resources because there is some truly fabulous work!

It's not been a very nice day here in Todmorden very dark and dreary, though the sun did come out for a short while when I went to pick the little lad up from school! Hopefully it will be a better day tomorrow! I will be back to work on my own embroideries tomorrow so with any luck it won't be too dark to take some photos!

Anyway I thought I would post these images of where I have recently moved to, Todmorden in West Yorkshire it is a great place and its people are really friendly which makes a change from where we used to live! I took these photos last year so the weather was a lot better than it was today!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Woven Picots

I love Woven Picots! Woven Picots are a raised stitch used for woven flower petals and foliage on plain and evenweave fabrics. You can also work woven picots as a decorative edging. A firm stiff thread should be used for this stitch to make the weaving easier. I think a tea cosy with woven picot flowers (last photo) would look fab, I think I might make one!

Ok, to work a Woven Picot, first insert a dressmakers pin vertically into your fabric. Bring your needle up at 1, down at 2 and up at 3. The loop of thread should be around the head of the pin as shown.

Next take your thread around the head of the pin again, and then pass your needle from right to left, first under the right-hand thread and over the centre thread, then under the left-hand thread. Do not pierce your fabric.

Now work back the other way passing your needle over left-hand thread, under middle thread and over right-hand thread again without piercing your fabric.

Carry on weaving in and out until the whole of your shape is full, then insert your needle at 4, behind the right-hand thread and pull through to the back of your fabric to finish off. Take out your pin and there you have it a Woven Picot. Try working a flower as I have done in the last photo.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Raised Chain Stitch

Raised Chain Stitch also known as Raised Chain Band creates a bold decorative band on plain and evenweave fabrics. Chain stitches are created on a ladder base of straight stitches. Chains maybe worked on a separate base or side by side on the same base. Any type of thread can be used to give various textures and a more raised appearance. If worked side by side a decorative filling is made.

To work Raised Chain Stitch, start by working a horizontal ladder of straight stitches by bringing your needle up at 1 and down at 2. Then up at 3 and down at 4 repeat as necessary. It maybe helpful to mark two lines to keep your stitches straight.

Next using a contrasting thread, bring your needle up at 5 and pass your needle under the first horizontal stitch as shown in the photograph below, without piercing the fabric.

Form a loop with your thread and pass your needle again under the first horizontal stitch on the right side, without piercing the fabric. Your needle should be pointing downwards as shown and the loop of thread should be beneath your needle, in exactly the same way as for chain stitch. Repeat all the way down your ladder of horizontal stitches, without piercing the fabric with your needle, until the very last chain. Finish off with a small vertical stitch. 

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Recent Stitcheries

Ok, so my machine is playing up again! Just when I thought it was all going swimmingly it has thrown a hissy fit again! I definitely think it is time I got a new one! For now however I am back to needle and thread which is not a bad thing because, 1) I just love the relaxing feeling of stitching and 2) it's more portable and you can do it anywhere!

What have I been stitching? Well this year is going to be my 40th birthday, shock, horror! So I have decided I am not going to take myself so seriously and just go with the flow and that is what I want to do with my stitching! I am just going to stitch what I feel like, when I feel like and concentrate on developing my stitching skills further!

On that note I have been doing a bit of Valentine stitching, a little heart key ring and something I remember adding to the back of Valentines cards when I was a kid! S.W.A.L.K - Sealed With A Loving Kiss, you used to seal the envelope with a kiss in your best bright pink Girls World Lipstick and write S.W.A.L.K underneath and then spray it with your mum's best perfume! Thing is I never got one back because I was a right skinny rib and flat chested to boot! Well I was on the running team and spent all my time running cross country and track so I weighed about 5 1/2 stone all the way through school and the kids called me bone! You might say awwwwwwww but god would I love to be that thin again and flat chested after breast feeding two kids lol

Satin Stitch Lips and Chain Stitch Writing
Cross Stitch Keyring

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Beetles Tea Cosy

I have been doing a spot of machine embroidery over the past few days and on Sunday decided to make a new tea cosy using one of my beetle illustrations. I love the sketchy style that is produced by the machine as it really does emulate my black and white drawings beautifully. I am a bit out of practice as sometimes my machine does not want to play ball. Fingers crossed the machine will behave so I can produce a few more beetles and bugs as well as other things in this style.