Little Clicks and More Stitches

Violet in Silk - over halfway

Just over three weeks ago, I became aware that some damp was getting into the mansard roof here at the Tortoise Loft (and the roof is partly my front wall, as my flat is in the attic). Nothing too bad, but some obvious signs at one end of the living room, probably from the long-neglected guttering above. And the next day I heard a strange little noise coming from the same bit of wall.

A brief “tk-tk-tk-tk-tk-tk” sound at irregular intervals. It didn’t make sense as any kind of natural noise from water ingress, so what was it? A bit of web-searching revealed the answer: deathwatch beetles in the old oak timbers that have got damp. (There’s a recording¬†here on Wikipedia which gives you a good idea of the sound. It isn’t like a watch ticking, but it is very like someone winding an old-fashioned pocket watch.) Needless to say, next morning I got in touch with the housing association that I rent from. I’ve already had a visit from one of their surveyors, with another surveyor from the company that owns the building due next week. So, with any luck, they will be able to make arrangements to get the offending roof and guttering repaired and deal with the leaks and my little clicking friends. But I could have done without this upheaval, and rather wish that they had done at least some preventive maintenance on the roof in the last 14 years I’ve lived here!

Meanwhile, I’ve been pressing on with my violet embroidery. The picture above was taken this morning. It’s slow progress as I can only do the fine stitching when the light is excellent and my patience for this detailed silkwork only lasts for a few needle-fulls at a time. (If I do too much, or work in bad light, I end up spending half the next session unpicking. I somehow doubt that I am the only stitcher this happens to!) But the plant is really starting to take shape now, so – provided I don’t rush and ruin it – I think I will be quite pleased with the finished piece.

I will be spending Easter with my Dad. I would like to get that big leaf finished while I am there.


13 Responses to “Little Clicks and More Stitches”

  1. Gorgeous!!!! But those death watch beetles sound like something from an Agatha Christie novel!

  2. Ouch about the beetles Sue. The shading on the leaves on this piece is amazing. The blue just works so well. I hope you have a lovely Easter.

  3. I do hope the deathwatch beetles are soon routed – it’s the sort of upheaval one could do without.
    Still – good progress, and and the colour variation in the leaves is really gorgeous!

    • suetortoise Says:

      It’s quite fun choosing which combination of thread colours to use next. I have a vague idea of where the lights and darks and the bluer and the yellower areas will be, but mostly I play it by ear.

  4. Elmsley Rose Says:

    It’s looking beautiful – the colouring of the petals looks Just. Right.
    I hope your Dad is continuing to improve.
    Deathwatch Beetles are SO Edgar Allen Poe! But yuuuuuk!

  5. The blue highlight to create some shine on those leaves is terrific. I’d never have thought of that.. Reminds me of VanGogh using green in his face. Great Job.

    • suetortoise Says:

      It’s really just colouring-in with silk instead of pencils, Ruth. I’m so used to blending all sorts of colours in pictures, to make flat areas interesting, so I treat the silk in the same way.

  6. Found your blog this morning and have enjoyed looking through it. You can add me to your list of followers now.
    Your work is lovely and I really like the shading on the violets’ leaves. I have to admit to being a true novice when it comes to thread shading and I’ve never tried using silk threads either – too scary!

    • suetortoise Says:

      As soon as life stops being quite so chaotic here, I shall settle down to a proper look at your blog – a quick glance this morning impressed me very much. Some lovely designs. Silk isn’t quite as scary as you might think – I’m a novice with flat silk and I am enjoying learning how to work with it.

  7. I have a shoe box full of Chinese silk floss and every now and again I have a look at them. One day soon I will find the courage to actually sew with them. I’ll write a post when I do! Thanks for the reciprocal follow – hope you’re not disappointed when you delve a little deeper.

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