Several pleasant, embroidery-related things to talk about this month, including a trip to the NEC in Birmingham: blogger meets blogger.
I haven’t yet mentioned the Saturday-morning stitching group that is run by Shrewsbury Textiles and Creative Stitch (STACS) – the group that formed from the local EG group, when we voted to go independent last September. I joined the Saturday stitching group in January. It’s a friendly and welcoming bunch. There are usually about half a dozen or so adult stitchers, as well as a small but thriving junior group (who make interesting things on the other table). We meet at Bayston Hill Methodist Centre on the first Saturday of the month, where we have a well-lit room to work in. I am enjoying the chance to stitch in company again.
This month I spent most of my time there working on the crocus with the pencil-painted background. It is now finished. Considering it was done as an experiment and for practice in working with silk, I am quite pleased with how it has turned out. All of the crocus is stitched in Devere Yarns 06 silk using about a dozen shades and blends and even some ‘crystal’ (optical-white) silk lightly dyed with a pinky-purple Inktense pencil, to get a shade which I didn’t have. I wanted to give some quiet visual interest to the painted background, so it is covered with rows of irregular running stitch using a single strand of fine spun silk: A A Superfine Silk from Stef Francis. This is random dyed – all the background is stitched with the same skein.
The regular monthly STACS meeting was fascinating this month as well. Five members demonstrated different techniques to us. The audience was split into five groups, the demonstrators had fifteen minutes each for their presentations to each group, then ‘all change’ and on to the next demonstration. This worked well, as the groups watching were small enough to get a good view and hear clearly. We had a brief look at spinning and weaving, three-dimensional beadwork, needlefelt sculpting, machine embellishing and finally silk paper-making. I hadn’t seen needlefelting or an embellisher in action before, so those were interesting even though, like the spinning, they involve the dreaded w-o-o-l, so don’t tempt me to try them for myself. The silk paper-making does tempt me, although I keep telling myself it’s too messy for me.
I’d bought a ticket to Sewing For Pleasure at the NEC on the 17th of March. When I happened to mention this in an email to Rachel of Virtuosew Adventures blog, and long-time reader of Tortoise Loft, she said she would be there the same day – let’s meet up! And we did, and much talking ensued, a lot of looking at the exhibits and the stalls, and a certain amount of spending. Rachel’s company really made the day for me. In the photo we are at a display of sumptuous beaded and embroidered clothes. (Please note Rachel’s own embellished and embroidered skirt.)
This is a close up of that dress you can see between us (Grand Habit, it says on the label.) I couldn’t get a better photo in the dim light.
I came back from the NEC full of determination to keep improving my silk stitchery. Practice, practice, practice…. here’s a practice piece I’ve just finished. 5 colours of 06 silk and white stranded cotton.