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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / First attempt at Quilting on: December 24, 2013 02:45:13 PM
I am currently taking a course with the Royal School of Needlework in the UK.  The lastest project is Quilting, it is also my first attempt at quilting and so was quite exciting.  The piece is small, will become a wall hanging and looks like this:

I had to use english, trapunto, italian and Kantha quilting, it was really fun to combine all of the these techniques!

If you haven't heard of these techniques before, here are some definitions for you (I wasn't sure on a couple of them!):

English quilting - This technique uses a combination of back stitch to define the main motifs, surrounded by a running stitch pattern.  The running stitch pattern is not random, we had to select a traditional pattern to use.

Trapunto quilting/Stuffed - A shape/motif is worked in back stitch, the piece is turned over and the backing fabric cut.  The shape is then stuffed and the hole sewn up.

Italian quilting/Corded - The technique is worked by stitching a channel, traditionally this was a running stitch, then a cord (either cotton or wool) is passed through the channels. 

Kantha quilting - is a technique that comes from West  Bengal.  It is made up of old saris layered with other fabrics.

The layers are secured together with a running stitch, there are traditional motifs that are often included, these are usually animal or plants.  If a motif is used the shape is then echoed with a running stitch as seen in the example.

If these aren't correct please let me know, then I can update my paperwork!
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Goldwork and Whitework on: October 19, 2013 07:47:30 AM
The last couple of months have been super busy, but I have had a chance to do some stitching (!)  My lastest project is whitework and I started with pulled thread work.  LOVE pulled thread work! 

For those who haven't encountered pulled thread work, I describe it like this:  "You know when you are stitching and everyone tells you not to pull to hard on the thread because you will distort the fabric?  well you get to break that rule in pulled thread work!"

So here is the finished thing! (well not quite, I still have to mount it!)

Before the end of last term, I finished this piece, it is my advanced gold piece, or as I like to call it Extra Sparkly Fun Time!

Some progress shots for you, underneath the craft felt is carpet felt - ewwww, its horrible, itchy and shreds very easily - the little fibres go up your nose, not good!

3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Underwater Applique! on: February 27, 2013 12:09:00 PM
For my applique project I wanted to explore the world under the sea.  I was inspired by a vintage travel poster, but the project doubled in size when I found two beautiful pieces of dyed habotai silk at the knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace in the UK which was used for the background.  After 7 seven weeks I came up with this:

its huge!  although most of the stitching takes place in the lower half of the piece.  As this was a project for my course with the Royal School of Needlework, I had certain criteria I had to meet.  I had to include 6 types of edges, they were corded, couched, satin stitched, folded, machined and frayed. 

Working all of this in was a lot of fun, particularly the frayed edges in the waves and making cord with stranded cotton.

Some of the close ups:

The fan coral in the bottom right hand corner was two layers of organza with stitching over the top.  The larger veins are wires which have been couched over, this allows the coral to be shaped slightly

The turtle was fun to do!  he is made entirely separately from the rest of the piece and then stitched on - he is sooooo cute!

A lot of the elements are stitched, however all of the fish and the turtle come from a beautiful fabric I found.  The clarity of the images on it was AMAZING!

Working out the stitching was lots of fun and I used beth8144's brilliant Undersea Hoopla piece as inspiration!

The actual thread is here http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=406926.0
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / blackwork whale tail on: January 03, 2013 12:50:32 PM
Ta Dah!  it is finished, blackwork is such a time suck, but ultimately worth it!

I have only used three different patterns in this piece, but have used different weight threads, they are:

DMC - coton a broder
         Stranded cotton (one and two strands)
         Machine thread
         Gossamer thread
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Sparkly fun time, Yay! on: December 16, 2012 01:35:01 PM
Work continues on my RSN course, I have now completed two more projects since my last post and broken up for Christmas.

The first project was silk shading

Although I am not happy with the final results, I think it was a good first attempt at this technique.

The second technique has to be my favourite so far, it is called Goldwork, but I like to refer to it as Sparkly fun time Yay!

It is in for marking at the moment, and I will find out the results in the new year.  I LOVED every minute of this technique, despite the fact that it was quite repetitive.

I am also working on some more black work designs for practice, the first of which is this:

it will eventually be a whale tail, based on a picture I took a few years ago at the Vancouver Aquarium.  I have converted a couple of my own photos into stitch and get a real sense of satisfaction from it, so in the new year I plan to spend alot more time with my camera!!
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Canvas stitches on: October 10, 2012 01:09:03 PM
Another piece from my RSN course!  In this technique you have to balance colour and shading using multiple strands of different types and shades of threads along with stitch texture and thread texture, all whilst trying to replicate your original design.

In my case the design was a photograph I took on holiday, just outside of Vancouver harbour, a couple of years ago.  This is the original:


I started by enlarging the picture on a photocopier, then tracing the lines of the design.  Having mounted my fabric on the slate frame and stretched it sufficiently I placed the frame over the tracing and using a fine tipped black marker pen I traced the lines onto the canvas and ended up with this:

here is the canvas and the picture side by side to see the size difference:

I photographed it before and after each lesson to chart my progress, so there are a number of pictures!  To cut a long story short, it is FINALLY finished and due to be handed in on Monday.  here it is:

I am really pleased with the results.

I charted my progress on my blog if you are interested in the other pictures!
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Ultimate Knitting on: July 27, 2012 04:54:58 AM
The little big project is finished!

and here it is with the sample I knitted to show scale

It is quite big, but will sit nicely next to my bed to keep my feet of the cold floor in the winter.  Of course a cold floor is not really an issue at the moment, it is simply too darn hot at the moment.

This project was knitted on size 29mm needles, obviously this means a slightly different approach than my normal knitting technique. This is what they look like, I have added size fours and my left foot for scale:

big aren't they?  awkward as well, but ultimately lots of fun!  I have a crochet hook as well, but not enough yarn to make anything else!  This piece was knitted with 8 strands of different weight threads from a mixed 25kg bag of yarn bought from a show at Olympia a couple of years ago.  I have had a couple of goes at knitting a small rug, but was never happy with the results.  Then I received 150 blocks to knit and crochet as a christmas present, and settled on the pattern on page 95.

I am really happy with the results and can't wait to try ultimate crochet, now to sort out the cross stitch!
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / RSN Blackwork - OMG finally finished! on: June 20, 2012 04:04:17 AM
so in this post http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=404582.msg4763376#msg4763376 I told you about my RSN course and Crewelwork project.

well this is my next project - Blackwork

I did not anticipate how much work this would take as much intensive stitching as it did!

but finally it is done, just have to fill in the form and hand it in for grading.

the materials I used were:

Edinburgh linen

DMC - coton a broider
         Stranded cotton
         Machine thread
         Gossemer thread
         Invisible thread - not DMC (can't remember the company name) this was used to on the "Fluffy" bits around the ears.

by the way, I don't like it, but I think if I don't see it for a while it will grow on me!
9  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Crochet snowflakes on: February 26, 2012 10:00:35 AM
A couple of years ago, my sister gave me the gift of crochet for christmas.  The gift being a range of threads, hooks and a book on how they went together!

I got going on it and made a load of things, most of which I have shared with you.  But the one thing I hadn't done until a few weeks before christmas was tackle the snowflake patterns she had also given me.  Once I got started, I was off!  I was a crochet snowflake machine, I couldn't stop!  but then I had to find out how to make them keep their shape, this was resolved with a quick wander round the internet, a saucepan containg water and cornflour!  it was a lovely gooey warm mess, and blocking was lots of fun!  I then turned to ravelry to further my addiction to crocheted snowflakes and found a vast library of new patterns to play with!  the results are below:



Sadly the addiction has not abated, I have around more made up waiting for blocking and I am still making more, but what do you expect?  I found sparkly yarn to make them with!!!!!
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / First effort at Crewelwork - UPDATED on: February 26, 2012 09:46:32 AM
I decided to take a course with the Royal School of Needlework (based just outside of London).  It is a certificate in technical hand embroidery, I have four topics to do, and decided to start with Crewelwork!  

Crewelwork is worked in wool threads on a heavy linen twill.  I had to design my own image in the Jacobean style.  Sadly I struggled to find information on Crewelwork or the Jacobean style so had to wing it slightly.  The course syllabus gave guidance on the elements that needed to be included, these where:

tree of life
over sized leaves and flowers
an animal

I managed to draw most the the elements, except the parrot and flower and leaf at the top of the image.  I photocopied these out of the only book I could find on the subject, that was sadly short on words but, thankfully, heavy on design ideas!

My tutors at the RSN suggested the spray of "berries" at the top of the image and I was off!  picking the colour palette was lots of fun, along with learning all the stitches.  I have never worked this technique before, so I learnt an awful lot!  

sadly I didn't get pictures of it in progress, so I only have the final project which is this:

As I have enjoyed crewelwork so much, I have decided I want to try a few small designs to play with stitches and colour, I have come up with a butterfly but am also working on a couple of other shapes to fill!  

My next topic is blackwork - which I am also really looking forward to!

UPDATE:  I have just realised I have some additional pictures of the piece, sadly it is before the "parrot-scaping"  that is the trimming of a stitch call Turkey rug stitch (on the parrot's head).  Turkey rug stitch is a series of loops and holding stitches that you then trim and shape!  quite fun but quite unnerving when you take a pair of scissors to you work!!

Anyway here we go!

this is a close up of the middle leaf, the stitches covering it is known as trellis work.  Basically, long stitches that come up at one edge and go down at the opposite edge, width and length wise with a securing stitch where they cross.  This should form squares (that's when you know you have done it right)  you then fill in as desired.  if you look at the belly of the bird it is also stitched in this manor with french knots around where the threads cross.  On the leaf I went all out and formed a sort of tartan pattern with large squares overlaid on the basic grid, with french knots to hide the plunged threads.  I then couched the same colour as the french knots (yellow) with the basic grid colour (dark blue)  using the basic grid as a guide to place my hold stitches.

this is a close up of the top of the piece, lots of decorative surface stitches, most of which I hadn't tried before.  Also scary blending of block shading and long and short (where the turquoise blends with the purple just above the parrots head.

this is the bottom, mainly seed stitch and long and short shading, which started of fun, but became a bit of a headache!  the two hillocks are burden stitch (on the left) which is made up of vertical long stitches with small interlock horizontal stitches over the top (it can also work with short vertical stitches over horizontal long stitches) and chain stitches on the right - that was fun to do, especially gettin the middle row straight ( or nearly straight!)

hope you like the close ups
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