Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More From My Crazy Bag Class... Anne's Version Of Events

The beautiful lacey flower I adapted from an old lace piece that one sees in various histories on the subject. I've done it in 8ply wool on the large Wagga as well. I'm giving my secrets away here as if I'll never go back to teaching again, or write that elusive book, but there you go. You can see it's a simple combination of Bullions, Detached Buttonhole and.. and.. well, I have to wait for the picture to upload before I can remember what else. Ah! I see now! Anne hasn't completed the flower! Ha!
To the side is an adaptation from one of Carole Sample's borders.

The other picture is of the Lady I posted a week or so ago, of Dini's version. This I drew to fit into Anne's spot, and she is very pretty. I think I said it before, but Anne's bag is so cheerful, I love it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Detail Of Anne's Version Of My Crazy Patch Bag

Anne has been coming to my classes for years and has been a great ambassador, recruiting all of her friends and getting me over to their local patchwork shop (Patchwork Collections in Healseville). Our 8 session 'term' turned into 24 sessions! I'll miss her when I take my break from teaching. I can see already that the monthly day/class at home will start up again, but next year. I still need some breathing space to be able to figure out the new job and new routine.
But... I miss everyone already! Sniff..!

You can see the varying colour choices make an enormous difference. I love the overhanging flowers. Anne has put two of her grandchildren's names on this piece as you can see (with buttons).

Compare our birds. This one below is from my bag.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Flower (You Might Have Guessed It Was A Flower)

Such a simple rendition of what was originally an outline for a Thistle. It's stitched in Flower Thread almost entirely with Buttonhole, the only exception being the vein on the leaf and the stamens, which are Satin.
I've been busy finishing the dolls, which are getting ready for their 15 minutes of fame in the newspaper... and working. That's why I've not been here. You'll see soon enough though and I'll certainly make the hugest announcement when the girls are ready. I love them myself. The fabrics are gorgeous.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bug From 'A Schole-House For The Needle' 1632

The design is so old. Coincidentally, a friend managed to get hold of a facsimile of the original book, published in 1998, (ISBN 1 872665 72 1 in case you're interested).
It's a pretty little bug. I worked it mainly in Chain stitch with Flower Thread.
I'm probably repeating myself with pictures by now. If I was better organised I'd write myself a list hey? And I am pretty good about such stuff (I delude myself)... but I'm so busy! When will it stop? The business? I've just this week started a new job so it'll take me a bit to settle in. Then I have to organise my life around it with the view that this is it! This is how much time I will have from now on, and so if I am to complete the many things I desperately must complete, then I have to do it! And NOW! So... it follows that I'd better get off the computer and do some work. Trouble is, it's housework I need to do first. Boring!
My Detached Buttonhole lace star is over the main 9-patch seam to disguise it a little, or to break up the straight lines. The favourite colour and a favourite fabric too. Again with Flower Thread. I love it's delicacy, and the matt finish. It's boring if we use the same textures all of the time. Oh, and the woven grasses are a favourite piece for their texture. That colour again!
Really, I've moved into flourescent colours or light pinks at the moment, but my class girls think of that green as me because it had been for so long and it crops up in the class curriculum a lot. And I drool over it every time (907 for the initiated).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Last Picture Until I Photograph The Inside

My initials, as you see. Easy peesy.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Students Version Of My Lady

The face is coming out incase you're worried! I redesigned the picture I'd done for the big quilt giving it a bigger dress, more your 'Crinoline Lady' style. I've drawn up a bloke too. Dini has used mostly Perle 8, with Stranded for the flowers in the basket. You can see the sample of Needlelace on the hem of the skirt.

My version in in the body of the Crazy patch, bottom right-ish on red, but Dini wants to make a small hanging with geometrically seperated images, and maybe a border in between like the inner border on the quilt.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some More Of The Bag

I realise that I havn't photographed the inside, which is lovely (groovy) old maybe 60's or perhaps 70's fabric. I think 60's. It's at Lazy Daisy at the moment, spruking for a class, but I'll be there tomorrow too so I'll try and remember to take the camera.

I am taking my bunnies into Craft Victoria's shop on Monday during my lunch break. Frances Atkinson from The Age newspaper is going to do a little article on them for the column 'I Made That'. I'm not sure if they'll be in next week or later, amd it isn't a big article, but I'm excited.
It's raining outside, warm in here. My honey-bunch is going to our caravan by the beach for the weekend for a father and son fishing adventure (hopefully the fish comply). I'm off to play with my daughters and maybe my son as well. It's my eldest girls birthday!! Yay!! Although 27 is just ridiculous and I can't believe it. I know we feel this almost every year, but it's getting ridiculous!
And I have a class Sunday at my house. All Welcome! rmsquare@connexus.net.au

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm A Bit Sick Of The Colours Here But Then I See It Every Day And I've Moved On. 1996 Is Ten Years Ago!

The initial is from the 'Encyclopedia of Needlework' by Therese De Dilmont, that beauty I refer to here and there. It's straight out of the book, enlarged a bit, but otherwise exact. I used an antiqued cord, with the ends Satin stitched over. If you can get the book, do. It's the 'Desert Island' one. You know... if you could only have one... etc. etc. The date is one of my daughter's birthday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Traditional Wheat Like You See On Old Bread Cloths...

This lovely design came from ...er...ah... I can't think of her name...sorry! The book was/is called 'In Stitches' and was written by an English comedian who used to do her embroidery during breaks on set. Great book. I learnt a bit from her attitude and dedication to beautiful work, and to 'going for it'. She did a few pictures, one of her son lounging on the couch, a pig and something else that I liked a lot.
Please tell me if you know who I mean so I can give credit where it's due.
I chose my own stitches for the design, using... Padded Closed Buttonhole (all the heavy sections of the stems), Closed Herringbone (for the small sticky-out-bit coming off the left-to-centre wheat head, it's called Plait stitch in link but it's really Closed Herringbone), Whipped Stem stitch (for the skinny sections of stems), Satin Stitch (for all of the wheat heads) and Straight stitches (from the wheat heads).
Easy Peasy! Simple stitches. Closed Buttonhole, or Broderie Perse (no-one's told me if that's the right name yet)... is such an easy way to get the fullness of Satin stitch without the need for such finess. It's very pretty and effective. The 'spine' of the Buttonhole gives a strong, graphic edge to any design, so it can be better than Satin, often. I love Satin stitch though. I want you to know that.
You can see one of the butterflies I worked out for the 'Butterflies In The Meadow' kit, just above the wheat.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cutwork Heart And Crown

I have an old, unfinished doyley my Grandma had been making which inspired me to lend my hand. The motif that you see is worked in Broder cotton, an absolute favourite of mine. It's easy done, with pad stitching underneath the buttonhole. What's that called, when you work the buttonhole close like that, to make it Satiny? Some French name... Broderie Perse?

At the moment I'm working on some Reticalla lace with Buttonhole Bars and Detached Buttonhole, can't show you my design yet but I will.
The fur fabric is peeking through.
P.S. If you follow the 'Directions' link at the bottom of the page on the 'Reticalla' link you'll find some good info.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another Swallow From The Big Crazy Quilt

There are more Bag pictures to show you yet, but I have to keep the mystery and intrigue going so I thought I'd post some others from the quilt instead, although, the night is young.
This picture was taken from a stick-on pretend tattoo I bought from a Show. Like an agricultural type show. I'd intended to wear it to one of the quilt show presentations, just peeking above my left breast or something, but accidently left it at a newsagency in their photocopier, never to be seen again.

The top tail wing is annoyingly crooked, but you get that. 'Eitlean Beag' means 'Little Bird' in Irish Celtic. The words are around the other way, that is... 'beag' is 'little' and 'eitlean' is 'bird'. I was sitting at the Hoddles Creek Draught-Horse Festival, embroidering as a demonstrator for someone or another, and an oldish Irish gentleman came up and talked to me for some time. I could have listened to him all day too, with his gorgeous accent. I'd been embroidering the Armstrong motto (my maiden and maybe soon to be reclaimed name) which is 'Invictus Maneo' ('I Remain Unvanquished'... a lie, by the way) and I asked him if he could give me some Irish, since he told me he studied the Celtic. I'll always remember him.

The swirley surrounds are from the yugoslavian Embroidery book I keep mentioning. I miss that book.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Details, Hope You're Not Bored Yet??

Here is the pattern for my butterfly. It's all Knots and Bullions, with a Stem stitch outline (I'd do it thicker if I did it again, more significant), Satin stitch pink spots with Stem stitch outlines... It's all written there on the diagram.
When I say Velvet stitch, you might know it as Ghourdies or Turkey Knot? I can't see a suitable link else I'd conveniently and typically, helpfully and (always) happily give it to you.
Make the Knots FAT and many-wrapped, using all 6 strands and keep varying how many wraps you do, you know... 4-6-8. Something like that.
Show me if you do one! I get all alone and lonely if you don't share.
You probably didn't notice, but I've missed a bit. Not on purpose, I just didn't notice and now I don't care.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Detail from Somewhere On The Bag

These borders are pretty. The Chain scallops with Fly stitch edges and Lazy Daisy centres is a variation of the border on the front of the bag, I thought it up all by myself! I think. Or did I adapt it from one of the books? Hmmm...
The other one... with the roses... is surely from a book. It's always hard to tell because we rarely follow exactly, hey? Either/Or... Nice! The fatness of the velvet and of the threads is lovely in the flesh.
'My love's like a red, red rose that's sweetly something in June
my love is like the melody that's sweetly sung in tune..."
Sorry! But I can't remember.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Sides Of The Bag

You can see I love that Maidenhair stitch. And that good old Chevron stitch! Really, there's nothing much else here, excepting some Buttonhole (you're not getting a link to that!), some Bullions and another Maltese Cross. Er... ah... Lasy Daisy... Hmmm..? As I said before, the idea was to keep the bag chunky and fairly simple.
It annoys me how I revert to old favourites instead of TRYING OUT THE CRAZY BORDER STITCHES! What is it that I havn't done that yet after TWO extremely dedicated attempts? I'm a bit thick!
To tell you the truth, one of my favourite Crazy Quilts is stitched ONLY in Feather stitch with a wheat-gold coloured thread, like a heavy perle or silk. Beautiful. It doesn't weem to matter how well its stitched or how limited, Crazy always looks good. You can't go wrong. Carole Samples book, magnificent and the best ever though it is... is very sterile in its perfect stitching, in my opinion. My most professional, art-schooled, cleverest side of my (otherwise humble) opinion.

Monday, May 22, 2006

But I'm Just Going To Show You A Bit At A Time

Otherwise there'll be too much to tell.

This is (obviously) the front, or back of the bag. Once again, I had no intention of working any PICTURES! For goodness sake! I just can't stick to that SIMPLE plan! I made it to help sell some hand made wooden handles Bustle & Bow's had got in, but in the end the handles didn't suit the bag, so I took these off an old tapestry bag I'd been given (which was useless because the side gusset was so narrow you couldn't get your hands into the bag).

I began to make a 'Carpet' bag in all brown velvets, with green and gold threads only... which got boring pretty quickly. Very quickly. Again, as with the big quilt, the idea was to showcase the incredible borders from (particularly) Sarah Bonds little brown book. The butterfly-looking border below the 60's trippy butterfly is an adaptation from Carole Samples book on Crazy Quilt Stitches.

I liked the old, old friendship quilts where the women wrote their names in ink... and in keeping with that I wrote the poem in indelible ink:

'A fair little girl sat under a tree

Sewing as long as her eyes could see

Then smoothed her work and folded it right

And said "Dear work, Goodnight, Goodnight!"

When and if I get to writing a book of my designs and methods, I have always set this poem aside for the last page. It's by Baron Houghton.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Grandmother's Fan Detail

Otherwise known as 'Japanese Fans'. I call it 'Grandmother's Fans' because of my darling Grandma.
I put a lot of the woven Maltese Crosses over the quilt, particularly on the fans. If you take your time, they're not difficult, I promise, and they're fun. I space the outside stitches a bit... that is, don't have them meet in the middle (you'll see where I mean if you look at the link), this accentuates the cross a bit.
The spiders web is worked in some mohair I pulled out of a fancy knitting wool. It had ribbon and this and that all bundled together.
Using the Holly-Hock old-fashioned fancywork as a border also works well. I did a big one on the Lion & the Unicorn cushion cover I'm making too.
The black line you can see at the bottom of the photo is the outside binding/border.

Crazy Quilt Detail

I thought I'd pop in a few of the less pictorial details from the quilt. This one shows an amazing piece of Indian metal and silk weave I bought. It was already crinkled, so Smocking seemed an appropriate response.

I find that adding texture like this works well if you keep it to a minimum. Rucching and abstract folding also looks nice, but too much and you've got a mess. Remember that the Crazed effect is already a bit messy, so it doesn't work when you get too carried away with the texture (in my humble opinion).
The border to the left is done with two rows of a Feather stitch variation (work three on one side, then jump over the other side for three), which is couched at the junction, then Knots. Bullion roses with Fly stitch leaves finish the border combination.
Please excuse the inadequate illustrations for stitching, they are the best I can find at the moment. If anyone has a better source of instructions, please send me a link!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tropical Fantastical Ceylon Stitch Tree

It's either called Ceylon stitch or in this case, Vandyke stitch with the single loop in the middle as you see in the picture (see here for genuine unadulterated Ceylon stitch). I think it's called Loop stitch too. Depends upon where you look. The tree trunk is Stem stitch, worked up and down, then Buttonhole stitched over the top. Oh, and a few stray Knots for fruit.

I've decided to call these knots Pekin Knots, which is the true name, excepting I've wrapped a few times. I grew up when French Knots were single wrap Bullion stitches, and they sit differently. Colonial Knots do that figure-eight thing. Pekin Knot is truly, really correct.
My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Couched Tree

I bought a hank of beautiful hand-spun linen some years ago from one of the first Stitches and Craft type shows, the first one I'd been to at least. Each hank had a variety of shades, and I used the browns here in the trunk of the tree. They are each couched down with a lighter shade of silk. Foliage is worked with Appleton's crewel wool in Leaf stitch. Easy. Grass is Bullion.

'C' is for Claire, my eldest daughter. This patch of the quilt looked very dark in comparison to the rest, so I had to bring in more reds and yellows... before it was put together I lay them all out to see how they worked together and figure out a final order for the pieces. The little cross-stitch pansy is worked on hand spun silk and (the design) comes from an old book, or a newish book of old designs at least.
Just peeking out from the right of the bigger picture is a Shisha mirror, ensconced in a Buttonhole flower.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Appliqued Bee

The Bee was a long time favourite of mine. So much so that family and friends bought me bee things all of the time... Bee cards for my birthday, Bee ornaments etc. One little girl made me a Bee embroidery, which was such a lovely gift (I'll find it and show you).

The fact is, Bees are lovely things and well suit embroidery. Have a look at my so named Rabbit Cushion for another example. There are others besides, either not finished or worn out. I need to buy a scanner so I can give you precise patterns here abd there.

This one is appliqued in a crushed velvet. with silk/metallic fabric wings. Usually I work the legs in Double Herringbone stitch, but these are simply outlined and filled with Stem stitch, with a single Fly stitch on the end. An open Cretan stitch background works well as it looks like honeycomb (see the Rabbit Cushion again), and I'm sorry, but I can't find a link to show you how!

The fiddle on the wings and for the feeler thingy's are just Back stitch. Easy!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Detail Of St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow.

And no, I've never been there, nor am I Russian in any way. It's just such a beautiful and astounding building. My friend Pia Beck embroidered an amazing series of street-scapes from photographs she'd taken in India, and it inspired me to include this building on my quilt.

The embroidery is worked using machine rayon, single strand DMC, some fine silk and er... ah... a bit of metallic old-gold. Hmmm, have to think hard. I stitched the white bits in Chain stitch firstly, with Satin stitch over the top. What else..? Long and short stitch, or needle painting for the larger areas, some Buttonhole on one of the little striped onion domes. The 'Norman' tower (an artistic addition) is worked in Ceylon and Detached Buttonhole stitches.

The cathedral took a few weeks and a trip to the optometrist to complete. I'd strained my eyes so much with the ridiculously close work that I was going cross-eyed. I couldn't focus, anyway, I don't really know it I was cross-eyed, but I absolutely couldn't focus. The optometrist said it was because I was holding it so close, my poor eyes had to fight for focus, and since I sewed for hours on end they got tired and decided not to play anymore.

He also said it is not possible to damage your eyes by bad light/eye strain etc. Which is good, huh!

To the right, just above the cathedral, is a lovley 'tulip' looking border I found in a book of Yugoslavian embroidery. I'll draw it out and take a photo for you if you want. I've used the design elsewhere too. Great book, but it was lost or stolen from the library and so I can't get to it anymore. Not at Amazon either.

One of the cift cards features St. Basil's too, over on the Bobby's Cards link, if you're interested.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Only Piece Of Whimsy On The Crazy Quilt

Using machine rayon, it's worked mostly Chain and Fly sitches. It was fun playing with the colour and, although the stitching is fine and took a little while, it was very simple. I don't mind if you copy the design, if you want to. You don't have to. It's not an assumption that of course you will want to and I'm being a big head. It's just that, on the off chance that you do and you wonder if it's ok, it is ok.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Silver Eye

Silver Eye's used to flit about on the property where I lived when I made the Crazy Quilt, but I didn't realise until later.

The detailed picture here is larger than the original embroidery, which measures 7cm (just under 3inches) across.

When you stitch in this 'Needle Painting' style, always use ONE thread of stranded or similar thread. You have a lot more control, and will get a finer result. Two threads won't lay properly without prompting and any time you think you're saving is wasted. It doesn't take as long as you'd think anyway.

Take your time and place each stitch deliberately. I would, in this case, work the satin stitch sections of the wing first, being careful not to overlap the 'feathers'. Actually, that's very important. If your lines are ill-defined, the picture becomes muddy or messy right there.

With the needle-painting, work in the main colours with random-length stitches (which takes concentrating as we tend to naturally want to work evenly!). Next, blend with in-between colours, a stitch here and a stitch there. Squint a bit now and then to see how it's going. Leave a gap for the eye, raher than adding it on top, which makes it look boggle-eyed. The legs are worked first in Chain or Stem stitch, with Satin stitch over the top.

I worked the background in afterwards.

It's a pretty little bird, but had I thought it through a bit more, I would have embroidered it on a complimentary-coloured background, rather than the similar gold silk.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Glimpse Of My Latest...

I'm sorry in advance, for not giving you enough... or proper pictures... and for being sketchy about the desired outcome... but it's still a little bit under wraps. I love a dramatic launching and all that, and hope to get something new and exciting and never before seen etc. into July's Jeff's Shed Vic Quilter's Bash.

The big pictures here are visual 'quotes' from a magnificent book called 'Rapt In Colour' put out by The Powerhouse Museum and The Museum of Korean Embroidery. I have mentioned it before, but say again, it's worth its weight in golden-foil-wrapped Lindt chocolate, even in plain gold. Lindt-coated gold, or vice versa.

The once-again badly photographed (pink) photo is of a little thing I'm working on to fit into another bigger thing I'm working on. The pictured from the book influenced the pink thing, and many others in between, including BC1 (Brown Cloth 1) in the cards.

I do apologise again and again with much bowing and scraping for the shonky photo, it's just that I'm impatient to add posts so as not to be boring, but I'm leaving and getting home in the dark at present.... if you could find it in your heart to forgive me I'd be most grateful. Of course I'll change the picture ASAP.

This method is 'building', which I go on about because it's so good to do. Like 'Log Cabin' but unstructured and completely organic. Go any which way you choose. Try it!

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Lion & The Unicorn Floor Cushions

This is the nice corner of yet another cushion top, a floor cushion. It's pair is well worn so I shounld get a wiggle on and finish this... It's too dark to photograph the other now so it'll have to wait.
I love the gloss mohairs available, and working on something like this looks good with big, fat stitches. I have a few more of the tapestry slips here too, but really have gone slightly off the style these days... I mean, they're classic and innately lovely, but I'm a bit over the symbolism and the medieval style... as far as emulating it is concerned at least.
I want to be now baby!
Maidenhair stitch is a beautiful thing, and can be embellish endlessly, like all of the others (just thought I'd share that with you).
(And you know what, I just noticed how less sombre my colour choices are these days. Compare this to the previous post!, which is much newer, must be like... I used to be skinny and now I'm a bit chubby and people say it's because I'm happy!)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Future Cushion Top

This is a piece I put together a little while ago. I have an idea to put a whole lot of swooping bluebirds across it, and do the border stitching in a soft Duck Egg colour, maybe only in simple Feather Stitch. Perhaps. Anyone who knows me will laugh... things often start out to be simple, but... well... the thing is, the piece dictates how you go along and sometimes it works better to be more elaborate.
I have a tan rabbit fur jacket someone gave me (probably my daughter Claire), and I'll make the cushion up in somewhat the same manner as The Rabbit Cushion, with the sections around the sides pieced in both fur and fabric, then the back in fur. That orange velvet you see in the picture is the most luscious velvet in the known world... I have the tiniest amount so it'd better amount to something in the end. I'll probably go the bobble fringe again???
You will notice that my patches are appliqued, rather than 'flip and sewn'. I much prefer this method, and feel it gives me a better ground for embroidery. I can place the pieces wherever I want. The flip and sew method means every piece has a centre, and every piece has long, straightish patches surrounding that middle and I find it limiting, although it really is just a different approach.
The patches are sewn on with a Ladder Stitch, simply running inside the fold of the top patch, and then down into the ground fabric. There is no need to be too close-stitching as the embroidery goes over the top.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Thought I'd make a site just for the Crazy Quilt work

I've made a few Crazy bits and pieces, so I thought it appropriate to document them better than I have in the past. I'll begin with the photo's you have all seen in the other sites, but promise to add others. At the moment the quilt is in Heidleberg at 'Lazy Daisy', the bag is in Warburton at 'The Patchwork Teahouse' and oh, the Crazy picture with the Bluebirds is also at Heidleberg. I have another here which I'll get up as soon as possible..... I have to pull it out of its frame so will need to gather some courage and bother.. I intend to use this site as a crazy embroidery working reference, an ongoing and hopefully handy reference... just have to get the quilt back!

By the way, tyhe big quilt pictured here is nowhere near as blue.

Until I get it all happening, you can see the pics here.