Eight-Point Woven Star

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Needlework, out and about, science fiction, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2016 by suetortoise

Here’s another interlaced stitch for you to try – you might find it handy for Christmas decorations and cards.

an-8-point-woven-star

The instructions look daunting, and the first few may seem very tricky to work. But once you’ve got the idea, you’ll find the stars quick to stitch. I suggest practising on Aida fabric with a fairly thin thread until you are confident, then you can try working on other evenweave fabric or just using a circle of 8 holes made in thin card. Continue reading

And Back Again…

Posted in Australia, Drawing and Painting, Embroidery, Family and Friends, out and about with tags , , , on October 16, 2016 by suetortoise

Well, I’ve been home for a whole week and I’m wishing I was still in Australia.

It was a good holiday, although the weather could have been kinder to us. It was great to meet up with KRin again at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne, and go with her to L’Uccello, The Kimono House and Maria’s Beads and Trims. When Kevon and I returned from a few days in Hobart, I got to meet Megan for the first time, in her brand new flat. I enjoyed seeing the originals of embroideries on her Emsley Rose blog and met Tommy the cat. Thanks for the Anzac biscuits, Megan, they were smashing!

cake-spotting

KRin and I choosing cakes at the Tea Rooms

Also on the needlework theme, I went to the excellent Annemieke Mein exhibition at Brighton Town Hall, and an equally wonderful quilt exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Add in a fair bit of sightseeing, visits to friends, great meals, fresh air and exercise and you can guess that I have come home very happy.

I’ll write a little more about the holiday once I’ve got my photos edited and my thoughts in order. This may take a while as I’m busy getting pictures ready for the annual art show at Novacon next month. I’m currently inspired by 19th century printers’ ornaments. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing:

strictly-veg-mini

Things happening, slowly.

Posted in Australia, books, Embroidery, everyday life, out and about with tags , , , on September 5, 2016 by suetortoise

curfew open

Well the last few weeks have been busy. I’ve held off from updating the blog, hoping that I could tell you that my sister and I have finally sold my parents’ house. (It’s been on the market for a year now.) We have accepted an offer and we’ve spent hours form-filling and answering questions and so forth. However, we’ve not yet exchanged contracts with couple who want to buy it. It is almost certainly a done deal, but until the papers are signed, I don’t like to tempt fate and say it’s sold.

I am just hoping the contract is ready for signing before I go off to Australia – and it’s not very long now! The flight tickets arrived yesterday. I’m really looking forward to meeting up with KRin and Megan at Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne on the morning of the 21st. I’m sure we’ll find a lot to talk about. They are going to introduce me to a needlework shop called L’uccello, too. I should be just-about over the jet lag by then.

The next day, Kevon and I are off to Hobart for a week. One of the people we’ll be meeting there is his elderly cousin, and my friend, Diana. Kevon suggested that I could embroider something based on the poem “Curfew must not ring tonight” by Rosa Hartwick Thorpe as a gift for Diana. I didn’t know the poem and wasn’t sure what I could do with it, but a little searching on the web found it. Even better, Abe Books lead me to a bookseller with a copy of a tiny book containing just the one poem and illustrations. The book dates from about 1890. The cover is a little time-worn, so I made an embroidered jacket for it.

curfew and hand

The book is only 12cm high. I’ve stitched Bessie, the heroine of the verse, climbing up into the belfry to stop the curfew bell from ringing. The drawing is loosely based on one of the sepia illustrations in the book, and is stitched in stranded cotton on white Egyptian-cotton sheeting. Most of the stitching is irregular stem stitch and straight stitches. I was pretty-much making it up as I went along, working over an ink drawing. After I’d finished the stitching, I backed the piece with pelmet Vilene and a second layer of sheeting, to make a sturdy cover. Not my usual style of work, but an interesting challenge. I hope that Diana will be pleased.

curfew close-up

I was also hoping I’d have the Hardanger bookmark finished to show you – I’ve done all the stitching, there’s just the hemming to do. Mitred corners are things I never feel confident about doing, so I need to be cool and calm and have plenty of time available when I start that stage. Right now I am anything but calm and trying to do fifteen things at once, so the hem-laying must wait.

This will be the last blog post before my holiday. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Hardanger embroidery – back to the fjords (via Sydney)

Posted in books, Embroidery, hardanger, Needlework, whitework with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2016 by suetortoise

I’ve been waiting eagerly for Yvette Stanton’s new book Early Style Hardanger since I first read about it as a work in progress, on her blog, White Threads. It sounded right up my street: firmly focused on the traditional Norwegian whitework technique rather than any modern interpretations.
I’m delighted to say that the book lives up to my expectations. It’s a substantial paperback: neat layout, enticing photographs, clear typography, copious step-by-step diagrams and charts. If I had to sum up the contents in one word, it would be ‘thorough’ – it’s one of the most in-depth single-subject embroidery books that I have seen.

Early Style Hardanger cover

Continue reading

Annetje Band Sampler

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by suetortoise

Annetje on light background

As promised, more about the band sampler. In March last year, I bought a bundle of charts for old samplers, from someone selling up stock. One of them was a reproduction of a Dutch sampler from 1663

Permin chart cover

The original sampler was charted by Permin of Copenhagen – it’s a massive chart on two huge sheets of paper. Worked over two threads on 30 count fabric, the size of the whole sampler would be 61 x 57 cm! Their reference number for the kit version is 39-8406 “Sampler ‘Antique'”. (Stocked in the UK by Sew and Sew, if you fancy such a mammoth undertaking.) Back in 1663, it was stitched by 11 year old Annetje Muusdochter, who lived in Broek in Waterland, near Amsterdam.

I can’t do better than point you at this blog page from Ex Antiques, who specialise in old samplers and have researched the Broek samplers – sixteen surviving examples known so far. They have a picture of the original. Not the clearest of photos, but close enough to show that the Permin chart is very accurate. The Ex Antiques blog is a treasure trove if you are interested in old samplers, particularly Dutch samplers. There are other posts about the Broek samplers, and photos of many of them.

When I saw the sampler, two things caught my eye. The first thing was the long strip of voided patterns on the left of the sampler: oh, how I wanted to work those bands! (More about the practicalities of working them in a momannetje church and housemarksent.) I definitely wasn’t interested in producing a copy of the whole sampler, although one or two of the motifs might be quite fun to adapt, and the lettering style is quaint, if not particularly easy to read. The other thing that caught my eye was the curious way Annetje had filled the gaps between the motifs and patterns – little shapes and signs made of straight lines. What were they? Some sort of code?

 

Continue reading

Finished!

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2016 by suetortoise

annetje band sampler

I’ve been working on this band sampler as a carry-around project for well over a year. I promised myself that I’d finally finish it this month – and I did – just! (Better photos and some more information about it will follow in my next post.)

Barred Box Stitch

Posted in Embroidery, Stitches with tags , , on May 21, 2016 by suetortoise

barred box sample complete

I was hoping to be getting on with my Dutch band sampler this weekend: it’s nearly finished at last. But I’ve got a stinking cold so I’m keeping the silk sampler safely out of harm’s way. Instead, here’s another stitch from the Mordvalaisten pukuja kuoseja book for you to experiment with. This one is a good line stitch, more solid than cross stitch. I’m calling it Barred Box Stitch as I don’t know its proper name. It’s a bit like that pencil and paper game of boxes.

Barred Box Stitch diagram

It’s worked in two stages. The first stage is just a row of vertical lines. The second stage completes each box: top, diagonal and base line. It’s more-or less reversible, too. It can be worked on the diagonal, and in various sizes. It’s very straightforward as a line stitch, but working around corners does take a bit more planning and the occasional ‘fudge’ if you want to keep all the diagonal bars lying in the same direction.

barred box sample in progress

The scrolling patterns on the sample are also taken from the same book. Here’s a chart for the pattern. barred box border chart (Click to see full size.)