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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Whimsical Tags on: June 29, 2015 05:47:22 AM
I went on a workshop at the weekend with Angie Hughes, and learned how to make these tags:

I've posted them here as they are more art than stitching, embroidery. They are on a base of hand dyed fabric, with collaged elements, finished with a braid border. I love them and hope to make many more.
2  U.K. AND IRELAND / ENGLAND / Any other Guild members? (Embroiderers, Quilters, Weavers Spinners & Dyers, etc) on: February 06, 2013 05:15:35 AM
Hi All,

Just wondering if there were any other members of the various craft Guilds in the UK here on Craftster? I'm a member of my local Embroiderers' Guild, and it's been a great way to meet likeminded people, and realy broaden my embroidery skills.

If you're not, I'd suggest checking them out, there are guilds for most crafts, and they have local meetings which you can go along to. Here's the websites of the main ones I know about:

http://www.wsd.org.uk/ - Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
http://www.kcguild.org.uk/ - Knitters & Crocheters
http://www.bpcg.org.uk/ - British Polymer Clay Guild

They are just the ones that I've heard of - If you're interested in a guild and there isn't one listed above, there may well be one for your craft, just search for "craft name + guild" and one will probably come up!

Would love to know if there's any other Guild members, and if so, what you're up to.


3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Fabric Paper Tutorial - Great for Journals, ATCs etc on: February 04, 2013 05:25:46 AM
Hi All, I've recently got into making fabric paper, which is great for covering books, mixed media art, ATC backgrounds etc, so I thought I'd share my friend Margaret's method here:

Fabric paper by Purple Heather, on Flickr

As the name suggests, fabric paper is a big sheet of paper, pasted with glue and then covered with lots of textured paper and other materials. As we're primarily embroiderers, lots of the stuff we put on is textiles related, but you could add all sorts of papers, as long as they will glue down. It's quite an easy, fun make, though it does have quite a lot of drying time.

If you want to make some, you'll need:

  • A piece of cotton/muslin (not too loose a weave), whatever size suits your project/work area. We used a piece about A3 size (like two sheets of letter paper side by side, approximately)
  • PVA/Craft glue, in a big jar/pot, diluted 1/3 glue to 2/3 water
  • An old brush suitable for gluing & brushes for acrylic paint
  • Lots of interesting textured things to paste on to your paper, e.g.:
    • Plasterers' scrim - it's a plastickey mesh that is (slightly) adhesive on the back, and is sold on a roll - I guess it would come from Home Depot or another hardware store
    • scraps of lace, scrim fabric, muslin, gauze, etc
    • Melted kunin felt or dollar store duster, when you heat it with a heat tool then it melts and goes holey in places
    • scraps of shiny metallic fabrics or papers
    • Crumpled brown paper
    • Magazine clippings, especially on shiny paper to let a bit of the print show through
    • Tissue paper, either plain scrumpled tissue, or textured kitchen roll
    • All this is optional, anything with texture that can be glued on is worth a try!
  • Acrylic paints, we used the absolutely cheap ones from a high street clearance bookstore, if you have the equivalent, like $1/tube acrylics, those are fine!
  • Paint palette/old plate, one with a flat area on it
  • Metallic stuff, e.g. metallic acrylic paint, markal paintstiks (shiva oilbars) (optional, but adds pizazz!)
  • Sewing machine, threaded with a bold colour, e.g. red or metallic (optional, but adds pizazz!)

Lay a plastic sheet on your work table, shut out the baby, cat, etc, and put some tunes on, this is a messy job! Get your big sheet of cotton/muslin and paste it all over with the PVA glue (Craft glue) & water mix, then paste on your pieces of chopped up scraps of things, still with a gluey brush. If you go to here, I've added notes to highlight a few of the things we pasted on.

I would go to town sticking things on, some stuff won't stick, some will, so you can always peel off the bits that haven't stuck later. Another tip if something won't stick is to lay a thin layer of tissue over it and paste it down well. Leave the gluey mess to dry - it'll look horrid!

Fabric paper by Purple Heather, on Flickr

Once your piece has dried, get some acrylic paints and apply a couple of colours to your palette (or old plate) thinking about good combinations for colour mixing, and drag your brush through them, then paint over the piece, aiming for good colour mixing, a wet brush might help. Cover the sheet in acrylic paints, but be careful not to go too thick, so as to keep the texture of the underlying materials.

Again, I would let the piece dry, and then dry brush on some metallic paint, either gold acrylic, or some markal paintstik/shiva oilbar. Run this thinly over the raised areas, to highlight them and add glitz. Let it dry.

The last step is optional, but you can add some interest if you have a sewing machine threaded with either a bold thread colour, like red, or a metallic. Stitch into your piece, either in straight lines, zigzag stitch, or any of the automatic patterns, like a satin stitch. Take it easy and just meander over the fabric paper. You can use the stitching to tack down any elements that might not have stuck.

Fabric paper by Purple Heather, on Flickr

Fabric paper by Purple Heather, on Flickr

You can use the finished piece of fabric, which is quite sturdy, to cover books, as a base for ATCs, etc, to back pictures before you mount them, anything. It's great fun, I'd love to see what you do with it!

*Mods - I've tried to pick the right place to put this, as I felt it was most applicable to the Arty end of the Craftster scale, but feel free to move it if I've aimed wrongly! Ta!  Smiley
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Freeform Handstitching on wool felt and velvet on: January 29, 2013 05:17:50 AM
Recently I've been really enjoying making cobweb thin wool felt, and using the shapes and colours in this as a base for hand embroidery, on black velvet, which creates a lovely rich backdrop. I did the below pieces for my mum and dad for Christmas:

Untitled by Purple Heather, on Flickr

This blue one features Colonial and boullion knots, herringbone stitch, couched perle cotton, Rosette of thorns, running stitch, seed stitch and beading, among others. For a better idea of what stitches I've used where, there are notes on the photo on Flickr, just move your cursor over the image to view them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heatherramsden/8423356668/in/photostream/

Untitled by Purple Heather, on Flickr

The red one includes colonial knots, beading, seed stitch, and rosette of thorns, and again there's notes on the flickr photo page:

I really enjoyed working them, and they look great hanging on my parents' wall. Thanks for looking!
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / A pair of angels on: January 27, 2013 01:56:51 PM
Here's a couple of pieces that I've finished recently:

Sue's Angel by Purple Heather, on Flickr

My Angel by Purple Heather, on Flickr

They are based on a project in a magazine I get - Stitch, the UK Embroiderers' Guild publication (rather than the Interweave one), designed By the fabulous Annette Emms.

They are both on a background of handmade felt, with embellished scarves/organza. The angel bodies are more handmade felt, With wings and faces made from an old French novel, plus more organza. I've added beading, buttons and hand stitches, including running, feather, Buttonhole and whipped backstitch. They were lovely to make, and look really nice hanging on the wall. Each one is about A5 size.
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Copyright free images of completed embroidery on: November 22, 2012 05:09:02 AM
Hi All,

I am the IT rep for a local branch of the embroiderers guild, where we run a Stitch of the Month feature. As part of this, I like including photos that other people have uploaded to the internet of ways in which they've used a particular stitch, e.g. interesting ways to use herringbone stitch, freeform cross stitch, etc.

As I'm reproducing others' work, I only use images which have a Creative Commons licence, meaning they can be reproduced for not-for-profit purposes such as mine. I currently use the Flickr search to find these images, but there's not many out there, so I have a couple of questions for you lovely Craftster peeps:

  • Is this a problem that anyone else experiences, namely the desire to reproduce images of inspirational use of stitch in blogs etc
  • Is there a resource already out there that has a large number of Creative Commons (or similar rights free) images of embroidery stitches, except the Flickr search?
  • If not, would you be willing to add images to a collective pool? I love seeing different ways that people have used stitches, and would love to share more if them with Guild members, to further inspire people to make amazing embroidery
I'd really appreciate your thoughts!


7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Mushroom, mushroom! on: April 29, 2012 08:22:39 AM
I recently went on a soft shading workshop with Katie Pirson, where I stitched this lovely pair of mushrooms:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (26) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

It was very enjoyable, and I feel that I've learned a useful new stitch.  Here's the finished mushrooms on my hoopla wall:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (24) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

When I finish my hoops, I like putting a layer of wadding behind the fabric. It gives a really gorgeous raised finish:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (17) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

I made some notes for myself, happy to write them up into a finishing tutorial if anyone would find that helpful.
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / "The Pandorica Opens" - Doctor Who Embroidery on: May 17, 2011 05:07:57 AM
I've recently taken part in the Doctor Whoopla Swap, and when my partner said she loved the Eleventh Doctor (my fave too!), and enjoyed the 'Vincent and the Doctor' episode, I knew exactly what I wanted to stitch for her - "The Pandorica Opens", from the series finale.

I've always toyed with the idea of stitching up a Van Gogh picture, and this was the perfect opportunity to do something like it. The background is dark blue velvet, because as Vincent says, the sky isn't dark and black and without character, it's deep blue!  I did lots of seed stitches on it, to incorporate it and create a midground. The hoop is a 5" one.

Doctor Whoopla The Pandorica Opens (1) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

The explosion is long and short stitch/soft shading, very directional, with lots of colour blending - I really enjoyed playing with the colours. As well as yellow and orange, there's brown, and flecks of pink and green. I did it all freehand, no tracing or outlines, and I don't think it's an exact copy of the prop, more my take on it, but it's a pretty faithful interpretation. For the original, see here.

Doctor Whoopla The Pandorica Opens (2) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

The TARDIS is felt, with a paper door sign, which was a pest to stitch because it is so tiny!

Doctor Whoopla The Pandorica Opens (3) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

For huge pictures, see my flickr set page.
9  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / A Pair of Seahorses on: April 05, 2011 01:32:42 PM
I recently joined the Embroidery Hoopla Swap, Round 4, diptyches , and was paired with Kanawinkie, who said she loved seahorses.  I decided to stitch her a pair of seahorses, with the pair being opposites, so one would be warm colours, and one cool, one would have a heavily worked background and plain seahorse, and the other a plain background and embroidered seahorse, and with the outlines reversed, so they could be facing toward/away from each other

Here's what I stitched up:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (10) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (1) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

The embroidered seahorse has a watercolour pencil tinted body, and wide bands of raised stem stitch* for his belly:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (3) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

Most of the rest of the seahorse is variants of back, running and satin stitch, in a range of DMC embroidery cottons. The background is a simple running stitch design in DMC perle, to mimic the sea on the blue hoop.

While I enjoyed stitching the seahorse, I loved sewing the sea hoop - I really enjoy heavily textured pieces, and including beads and a range of stitches in my work.

The middle ground is many many rows of running stitch in a range of colours, graduating from light, to dark to medium, broken up with little triangles of colour breaking into the next rows. Stitching this area was really meditative.

I filled the bottom third of the hoop with lots of very dense stitching, both patches of broadly circular stitches, and long linear rows. I took lots of pictures of these areas, so click through to flickr if you want to see the full size images!

The bottom left, lines of wheatear stitch, with seed beads tucked in, and two widths of gorgeous shiny rayon tape woven through, and a few colonial knots** for good measure:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (Cool by Purple Heather, on Flickr

This is the second clustered area I did, and it has quite a few wheels (both whipped and woven spiders webs & buttonhole), as well as clusters of colonial knots, castons, the wonderful bullion knots (the squiggly coils round the left hand part of the area), a button applied with needleweaving, and more beads for good measure!

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (4) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

I also discovered Fly Stitch, and how lovely it looks in long rows overlaid, with some rows having beaded tails. The blue feathery line across the middle is something I invented when trying to do something else, it was the first bit of the bottom area I did, and I've forgotten what on earth I did now, apart from that I whipped the middle:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (7) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

This is the first clustered area, which gave me the confidence to really go nuts with the second. Lots of different threads here - DMC cottons, DMC perle and some great threads from a texture pack I bought:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (6) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

The far right of the hoop has long lines of chain stitch in two different shades of variegated perle cotton. I wanted them to visually mirror the tall reed like lines on the other side of the hoop. There's also a big shell like ring shaped bead, secured then incorporated with needlewoven bars:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (5) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

And here is the seahorse, outlined with a dark blue backstitch, and with a line of chain stitch in perle in warm shades to contrast with the coolness of the hoop overall. There are also little bits of orange beads and knots tucked into other areas, to add interest:

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (9) by Purple Heather, on Flickr

All in all, I'm really rather proud of it, and Kanawinkie likes it, so all is good!

* I can't find a particularly good description for Raised Stem Stitch. It's actually really easy once you get going, and looks lovely
** I can't do French knots!
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Kokopelli Hoopla on: February 08, 2011 06:03:07 AM
I stitched up this little Kokopelli hoopla for a friend's birthday recently:

Frankie's Kokopelli by Purple Heather, on Flickr

It's a 4 inch hoop, and I charted it myself based on some clip art.  When I gave it to her, she loved it, and it turned out to be exactly the same style as her tattoo, which I hadn't seen for ages.

It is 4 strands of black DMC thread on 14ct white aida. I put one circle of white felt behind it, one in the hoop, and then backed it with white felt, because I ran out of time to do OneGroovyDay's funky finishing technique.

It's the first time I've framed anything like this, and the first cross stitch I've done for a while. Roll on the Hoopla Swap!
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