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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Whitework - a sneaky sloth! on: June 07, 2012 07:44:52 AM
Im loving whitework embroidery at the moment.  I did some Carrickmacross lace recently, and I decided to have a bash at cutwork.   

I also love sloths.  I really, really love them. So whats the obvious choice for my next foray into whitework?  Sloths!

My design is some hibiscus flowers just about to be eaten by a sneaky sloth!  Sloths love hibiscus flowers.  I gave the flowers a bit of texture the stamens are done in French knots, and I gave the sloth a nice furry coat.

This was so much fun to embroider!  If I did it again Id use a whiter thread this one looks a little cream, and use a sharper pair of scissors to cut the background cloth away.  You need really sharp scissors for this.  If youve got sharp scissors and know how to do buttonhole stitch, youre pretty much sorted on cutwork!

2  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Warp and weft tapestry on: May 18, 2012 03:11:10 AM
Hello!  I normally hang out in the Needlework area of Craftster, but I thought I'd pop over here to Fiber Arts to share my latest project.

Last year, I completed the Open College of the Arts' Textiles 1 course, which included a module on weaving.  I have a little lap loom, but hadn't really done much with it, and the weaving module really gave me the bug!  I did some tapestry weaving as part of my course last year, and thought I'd have a bash at another project.

So, here's my Warp and Weft tapestry weaving.  It was really interesting to see how much easier it was to form shapes working sideways - I think 'weft' came out better than 'warp'.

I just doodled around to get a design I liked.  I wanted to do something with words and strong, simple colours.

It's about 20cm square, but it hasn't come out totally square!  Could I pin it to an ironing board and block in the way you block crochet or knitting?

3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Carrickmacross Lace on: May 15, 2012 05:52:21 AM
I recently picked up a second hand book about white work embroidery, and decided to have a bash at it!  Looking at the pics in the book I decided Carrickmacross Lace looked easy enough - you applique muslin on to netting, couch it down, and then cut away the muslin that isn't part of the design.  So I doodled a design of some birds holding a key, and over the weekend I made this:

It's on a blue background to show off the white work.  I'm rather pleased with it as a first attempt!  I also used little buttonhole eyelets in the design, they were fun to embroider.

4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Friendship is Magic! on: April 27, 2012 02:41:50 AM
I've embroidered Twilight Sparkle, the main character of the animated tv series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

I've never watched this - I don't know if it's even on air in the UK.  But I was taking part in a swap (on another, non-crafty site) and my swap partner mentioned he loved My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  I was a big fan of My Little Ponies as a kid in the 80s, so I thought I'd embroider Twilight Sparkle for him!

The hoop is probably 4 inches in diameter, I used long and short stitch for the body, stem stitch for the mane and tail and satin stitch for the eyes and horn.

For the record, Applejack is the best My Little Pony ever.  Fact!  Grin
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Foxes - inspired by Bjork on: February 28, 2012 04:06:51 AM
I wanted a bit of a challenge, so I decided to learn how to do silk shading and goldwork.  And I wanted to do my own design, because I get bored working to other people's designs.  I'm nothing if not overambitious.   Grin

I was inspired by lyrics from the song Cosmogony from the album Biophilia by Bjork:
"And they say back then our universe was an empty sea
Until a silver fox and her cunning mate
began to sing a song that became the world we know."

So I started sketching foxes, particularly fennec foxes, read up on silk shading and goldwork, and had a bash.

And here it is!

Overall, I'm really pleased with this.  I achieved what I wanted to - to learn how to do silk shading and work with metallic thread.  I like the way they almost look like constellations themselves, and that the silver fox is almost ghostly.  I was wondering if I should have padded the silver fox, but my boyfriend said he liked the way you could see bits of the dark fabric under the thread, it made her look more ethereal.

If I were to do this again, I'd do the back of the silver fox differently.  I used different threads, partly to create different textures, and partly to get experience working with different threads.  I also used brick stitch with coloured cotton to see what they would look like.  If I were to do this again, I'd use just the Jap thread, and not use coloured cotton, but do the fur in a wavy pattern.  

But overall, Im really pleased with this!  If youre interested, I blogged about the whole process at http://sistertwisty.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-which-i-finish-silver-fox.html
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Nyan Tess purse on: October 31, 2011 11:23:41 AM
I know the world and her wife have been making Nyan Cat cross stitches, but I had to jump on the bandwagon too! Grin  (If you haven't seen Nyan Cat, here's the awfully catchy video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4)

Sadly, my cat Tessy does not have a poptart for a body, but she often lies on the floor on her side, reminding me of the Nyan Cat.  So I did a cross stitch of her as the Nyan Cat, and made it into a little purse (UK sort of purse, you know, the little one you keep your change and keys in.  Is it a coin purse in the US?).

I dyed the fabric blue with some fabric paint, and ironed it to fix the colour.

I carried on the rainbow on to the back of the purse.

Tess did not approve.

7  U.K. AND IRELAND / ENGLAND / Craft Guide - is York the best town for crafters? on: July 21, 2010 06:48:32 AM
Heck yes.  I love living in York.  Its a brilliant city, and as a crafter Im utterly spoiled here.  In case any crafters feel like visiting, here are the highlights of York for creative types.


Craft Basics, Goodramgate.  You cant come to York and not visit Craft Basics.  Its the daddy of all craft shops.  Theyve got everything youll ever need, from handbag handles to embroidery floss to wool roving to card and feathers and glass paint and card embellishments.  Youll go in there looking for particular supplies, and come out with supplies for a whole new craft you never know existed.  The staff are fab and really helpful they never batted an eyelid when I asked if they had googly eyes.

Gillies Fabrics, Peter Lane.  This is a superb fabric shop tucked away down a little alley, near the shop that sells nuts and swimwear.  Seriously.  Theyve got a huge range of dressmaking and quilting fabrics, and sell some incredibly high-tech sewing machines.  They also run classes throughout the year.  I was once at a craft show in Harrogate, and saw this incredibly well stocked fabric stall that stood out above the rest got closer and realised it was Gillies.  Of course.

Viking Loom, High Petergate.  The Viking Loom sells a gorgeous range of quilting fabrics, including Moda and Robert Kauffman materials, as well as beads, embroidery floss, wool rovings, and loads of unusual embroidery kits.  They also have some seriously fab jelly rolls that I covet every time Im in, despite the fact I dont quilt.

Ramshambles, The Shambles.  The wool shop Ramshambles used to be Sheepish, but its just been bought out by the woman who used to manage Sheepish.  It seems to have just as much tasty tasty wool, but its now looking really clean and funky a real destination wool shop.  As well as stocking Debbie Bliss, Noro and King Cole, they also sell Highfield Textiles - local Wensleydale and Shetland wool.  Yum!

Poppys, Colliergate.  This wool shop is the new kid on the block.  Little sister of Poppys in Pocklington, this shop is out to wow.  The Pocklington shop stocks much more than wool jewellery supplies, rubber stamping, paper crafts and more, but I understand the York one will concentrate on wool for the time being.  But dont let that worry you they have all the big names Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Sirdar, as well as lesser know ones like Araucania and Yorkshire Yarns. 

Boyes, Goodramgate.  So, you like the sound of all these shops above, but dont have the readies to splurge on some supplies.  Where do you go?  You go to Boyes, the norths premier cheap and cheerful department store.  Their haberdashery department upstairs has loads of fabric, wools, dyes and more and low prices. 

The Art Shop, The Shambles.   At the entrance to The Shambles, which won the award for Britain's Most Picturesque Street 2010, The Art Shop is stocked full of everything youll ever need to paint, draw and more.  I go there for my lino and printing ink for making lino cuts.

The Miniature Scene, Fossgate.  The Miniature Scene is the UKs number 1 independent Doll house miniatures supplier.  And its fascinating.  Im not really into dolls houses, but I cant resist popping in, looking at all the tiny things and pretending Im a giant. 

Make Your Mark, Goodramgate.  Writing all this out, I realise York has some pretty specialist shops weve had dolls housesupplies, and now rubber stamps.  Make Your Mark is a teeny tiny shop, full to bursting with rubber stamps and inks.  And if you want a particular stamp making up, theyll do that for you too. 

Bead Hive, College Street.  Nothing much to say, other than that its a really excellent bead shop at the back of York Minster.  If you want unique and beautiful beads, you know where to go. 


There are a few crafty things to see and do in York I like the ceramics caf Rainbows Ceramics in Marygate, and its always worthwhile seeing whats on at the Art Gallery.  Good classes run throughout the year, often held by York College.  If youre around on a Monday night, theres Knit and Natter at the Brigantes Pub on Micklegate from 5.30pm, and on Friday nights theres Art Jamming at the Art Space, Tower Street bring a drink and they provide the supplies to paint or draw. 

But if you are a crafter visiting York, you must not miss out on the Quilt Museum on Peashome Green, dedicated to quilting and textile arts.   Its based in St Anthony's Hall, built for the Guild of St Martin in 15th century, and its also been a workhouse for the poor, a hospital, prison, and a school and archive.  Now, the medieval space is filled with stunning antique quilts, and they have regular exhibitions of more modern fibre arts.  Its not cheap, but well worth the entrance fee even my non crafty boyfriend loved it.

8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Clerical Stoles on: June 07, 2010 10:30:37 AM
Well, it's not your everyday clothing, but I thought this was the best place to post!

My friend is being made a deacon in the Church of England this summer, and I wanted to make her a stole to celebrate this.  A stole is the scarf-y thing that priests and deacons wear, and you get them in different colours depending on what liturgical season it is.  I decided on green, as that's the colour for the church's Ordinary Time, which takes up most of the calendar - I figured she'd get most use out of it.

I made my friend two different stoles, with different patterns, widths and lengths, so she could choose which she liked best - she chose the one with just the waves.   I used a linen/cotton mix, with cotton batik fabric for the waves, and I attached them with bondaweb and then densely stitching the edges with a zig-zag stitch using metallic thread.

And she loved it!  Hoorah!

9  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Catnip Cameron on: May 14, 2010 03:11:31 AM
Sorry about the rubbish camera phone pictures....

After David Cameron was made Prime Minister of Britain, I printed off a picture of his face, sewed felt to the back of it, and stuffed it with catnip to make a nice toy for my cats.  I figured if he ever came to my house, he'd get the furry welcome he deserved.

Within five minutes, Catnip Cameron's face had been desecrated by Tommy cat. After ten minutes, Catnip Cameron had no face, and his catnip innards were all over the floor.  I couldn't have been happier.    Wink

10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Kate Beaton's Fat Pony on: April 16, 2010 04:30:27 AM
I love webcomics.  One of the best is definately Kate Beaton's Hark a Vagrant, at www.harkavagrant.com.  Check it out if your day needs some more awesome.

She doesn't have many recurring characters, but one dude who pops up from time to time is the fat pony.  So I embroidered him, using this comic as a basis: http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=211

It's a very simple embroidery, and the fabric somewhat obscures the stitches, but I think it captures the spirit of the fat pony.  May that spirit live in you today.

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