Thursday, 29 July 2010

Smaller Stitching for July

And in between the larger projects I've shared below, I've done a few smaller cards:

This was a graduation card for my brother Robin, who graduated from York in July. It's stitched on marbelled blue 28hpi cashel linen from DMC (Vintage Blue 5139) in Anchor threads (with some DMC threads!). It's a Margaret Sherry desing from Cross Stitcher Issue 189, p 30.

This was the wedding card to go with the memory book for Jen and Geoff. The celtic knot border came from the World of Cross Stitching, Issue 162, p. 55 (no. 40), though I changed the colours slightly (blues: 158, 794, 3807; greens: 369, 368, 370; outline in dark purple 550). It was stitched in DMC threads on a hand-dyed lilac 28hpi evenweave from Kates Kloths. The charm in the centre was from a shop called Bead Lagoon in Sidmouth, Devon.

And finally this patchwork owl from The World of Cross Stitching, Issue 167, p45 (Subscribers extra). It hasn't photgraphed brillinatly but it's stitched on antique white 28hpi evenweave in (mostly) Anchor threads.
I stitched it for Linda, just because I thought of her when I saw it.
I also started a new quilt at a class at Just Quilting. I'm going to call it my Rhubarb and Custard quilt (that should give you some idea of the colours). But I intend to do a bit more of it before I share it with you!
This is it for July - not bad! I already have a list of projects lined up for August, but first I have a week in Sunny Devon with fantastic music (an of course, a bit of cross stitch)!


So, in a previous post I promised Hardanger. Having tried a very small piece back in May I was encouraged to try something bigger, before risking the ring pillow I had promised my friend for her wedding.

A couple of years back, Linda bought me a hardanger kit by Polstitches called Winter Snowflake. It's very luxurious: stitched in 28hpi Jobelan evenweave called Sky High (hand dyed) in White SA Perle no. 8 (also from Polstitches), DMC Perle no. 12, Polstitches Sky High Perle no. 8, 032 Kreinik very fine braid, Rajmahal art silk 201 and embellished with white pearl beads and Mill Hill Petite Glass beads no. 42010.

So that was a success and I was ready to risk the ring pillow. The design is from Col's Creations. It's stitched in 28phi white quaker cloth in Perle threads nos 8 and 12 and DMC Stranded cotton, finished with Gutermann Pearl beads. The central hearts were sticthed round in Kloster Blocks and finished with woven bars. There were Kloster blocks between each heart. The flowers are stitched in cross stitch. There is then a diagonal border stitched in Buttonhole Stitch - I have never had to unpick anything so many times as this border, but two five-hour car journeys meant that I managed to get it done finally. The three hearts in each corner are Rhodes hearts and were a joy to stitch and very effective. There is then an outer border of Kloster blocks and woven bars: there are 300 woven bars, each was wrapped with 14 stitches - that means 4200 stitches just on the woven bars. This then is embellished with a pearl bead on each intersection (100 beads in the border alone). On the original pattern there was then another border of buttonhole stitches. Having started this I found it to be very heavy and very difficult to get the tension even. Following detailed discussion with Aunty Mary and Ber, it was decided that this border was too much. Instead I did a back stitch border - it looked far more in keeping with the delicate nature of the rest of the design.

The ring pillow was for friends Natasja and Ruben, and they had asked if I could put their names and the date onto the ring pillow somehow. I decided that to put this information on the front would ruin the delicate and well balanced nature of the design. I had bought enough fabric to to do the back of the cushion as well and decided to embroider the names and dates there. I had hoped to do it in white thread, but it really didn't work, so I used the green thread from the flowers on the front to write their names and the date, then finished it off with a small white heart in satin stitch, 6 Rhodes hearts and a running stitch border.
To finish off the pillow, I attached a 12inch length of narrow white silk ribbon to the centre of the front, then back the front with a piece of silky white fabric. I machine stitched the two sides together, turned it out and stuffed it with polyester stuffing. I slip-stitched the gap together then attached cord around the edges (which was suprisingly easier than I had thought).

The finished result is 9inch square and really striking. It looks very delicate and crisp. Natasja and Ruben were thrilled with the end result and appropriately appreciative of the number of stitches in the woven bars!

Memory Book

Well, it has been a month since my last post and I have been very busy. I started off the month working on the memory book for Jen and Geoff as a wedding present. The colour scheme of the wedding was purple and back in March I had bought some lovely purple and green coordinating fabrics from the patchwork shop at the Mill in Barton. The poem I used was one written for the marriage of Jen's great grandparents in the 1880s and has been read at every family wedding since, so it was a very special piece to use. I chose DMC threads to match the colours on the fabrics, calico as the pages and a smal piece of dark purple fabric for some of the pockets, then added Mill Hill beads in white and pinky-purple and some mother-of-pearl buttons in two sizes to complete the memory book. I used stamps from Letters Tied with Blue throughout.

Here's the front cover of the book. The ribbon round the spine was a perfect match to the purples in the fabric and came from the Sewing Box in Morpeth. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find it.

On the inside of the cover you can see the green fabric with the same patter as the purple, and the diagonal pocket was cut from a different section of the purple fabric used on the fron - it was amazing the change in the pattern over a fat quarter of the fabric.

The dark purple on the left page is a pocket and I attached some beads to the right hand corner.

This was my favourite double page spread, with the matching borders on left and right stamped with stamps from Letters Tied with Blue, and then highlighted with embroidery and beads.

The green heart uses the fabric from the inside cover and is attached with heat and bond, then I did a backstitch round the stamped edge of the design in dark green and then blanket stitch in light green round the very edge.

This is the centre page with one large pocket across the bottom, split with the centre seam. The green fabric is embellished with litte groups of the white beads, that have taken up the colour of the green, and also with a group of buttons.

This was the page that caused me the most problems, as before the buttons it looked quite dull. I was very pleased (and relieved) with the difference the buttons made!

The pockets on this page are made from the two fabrics used for the cover (purple on the outside and green on the inside) and once again show the variety of pattern and colour in one fabric print.

Here's the inside back cover, also with a diagonal pocket

And finally here is the back cover. The photos are printed on cotton that has a backing and goes through a normal ink jet printer (thank you Linda). I had to use heat and bond to attach them and then I did blanket stitch round the edge and embroidered the date

And the best part was: Jen and Geoff were thrilled with it! It was a wonderful success. Thank you to Debbie, at Letters Tied with Blue, for first introducing us to the memory book technique!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

First weekend in July: Memory book and Hardanger

Well, another weekend is nearly over. Last weekend was very busy and I didn't get a lot of sewing done, but a lot of baking....

When I got back on Sunday night, I made a start on the July stitching: I started a kit from Polstitches - Winter Snowflake - which is a hardanger kit. My previous attempts at hardanger have had mixed success. I first tried it about 15 years and had an absolute disaster! I then did a very small piece back in April and had more success.... So this was my first practice piece before embarking on the Ring Pillow for Tasj and Ruben's wedding. I want to get the ring pillow completed by Jen and Geoff's wedding on 24th July, as we probably won't get to Tasj and Ruben's wedding, and it would be far better if we could hand it over in person, rather than entrust it to the British and Dutch postal systems.... I've nearly finished the Polstitches kit now - I did the stitching very quickly and then took a little more time over the cutting: I only cut one thread incorrectly and was able to salvage it with the wrapping. The wrapping is also taking some time because I'm being careful with the tension.

The other project for the weekend was making a start on Jen and Geoff's wedding present: a memory book. I had planned it out before and hadn't been happy with it, so this was my second attempt. I used stamps from Letters Tied with Blue and some brown ink. I planned the book yesterday morning, and embarked upon it yesterday afternoon. By the time I went to bed I had completed 4 of the 12 pages and I was very pleased with them. I am currently half way through the third page.

As soon as these projects are completed I will, of course, post lots of photos!