Meet the Empress

I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve got several finished pieces to show you, but I shall talk about just two for now, and my trip to Stitching for Pleasure.

This is the stitched box I started a while back (here’s the first post I made on its progress). It took almost forever – all that metallic thread, very hard on the fingers! The last stitch went in just at the end of February. I call this one “Empress of Mars”.

Here’s a close up of the lid, to show off the texture and the central decoration. The pink cut-glass beads came from an old necklace. I attached them with strong thread, before hiding that with metallic thread on top.

On Friday, I went to Stitching For Pleasure at the NEC, once again meeting up with Rachel from Virtuosew Adventures, for a natter and a look around the stalls and the exhibitions. Rachel’s superb piece “Leaving the Tyne” was on show in the Embroiderers’ Guild display of their “100 Hearts”. I was pleased to see it was one of three given pride of place right at the front entrance.

On my wants list this year were some more colours of Gütermann Sulky Cotton 12 – which I found on the Barnyarns stand, Some Stef Francis Superfine silk thread from the Silk Mill stand, a couple of fat quarters from Bombay Stores, and some offcuts of evenweave from Fabric Flair which I think was on the Yorkshire Book Company stand. I was remarkably restrained and didn’t buy anything not on my list, this year, despite temptation. Although I did come home with a portable, rechargeable LED lamp. I was only intending to look at the different models this visit, but i made my mind up quite easily. I’ll talk about that on another post, as I haven’t yet tried it out properly. All in all, a very successful and enjoyable day out, but very tiring.

There’s nothing like a day spent looking at supplies and lovely finished pieces to get the old fingers itching to try things out. Needless to say, I ended up spending much of this weekend making yet another bookmark. This one is on a piece of 28 count cotton evenweave from my Fabric Flair purchases at the NEC. It’s printed with pale blue random ‘clouds’ and is stitched with one strand of a slightly darker blue stranded cotton (two strands for the buttonhole stitch edging). Stitches used include double cross, tiny eyelets, a big spider eyelet and something like a double leviathan stitch. I’m quite pleased with this one. I think it’s made something quite delicate out of a somewhat unprepossessing piece of fabric.


11 Responses to “Meet the Empress”

  1. KRin Pender-Gunn Says:

    Your work is beautiful.

  2. suetortoise Says:

    Thank you, KRin. I truly enjoyed making these two pieces – i think that shows!

  3. The Empress is looking very fine indeed, and yes, the bookmark is making the very most of the fabric.

    We had a lovely day, didn’t we! I was so glad to find I was still happy with “Leaving The Tyne, 1915″…

  4. Erica Marsden Says:

    I love the box. All that work was SO worthwhile. The bookmark is delicate – just delightful.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thank you, Erica. Both of these were made up as I went along, which is half the fun: I was pleasantly surprised by the results!

  5. Hi Sue,
    Lovely stitching on your box–and I have a question as to how you do the finishing stitch that joins the pieces of the box. The other day I noticed a work posted by someone else. That work used what may be the same stitch you used on your box–but it didn’t cover the edge nicely and detracted from the entire finished piece.

    By contrast, yours fully covers the edge of the base you stitch on as well as completely filling in between stitches. Clearly you cannot fold the fabric over to try to contain the edge! Do you have a special technique for making your edging stitch look so good? The result is so good I want to have it in my “toolbox!”


    • suetortoise Says:

      Hi Ruth. You’ll find my joining and edging stitches on the charts on the stitched boxes page. Seams are basically cross stitch in two journeys, edges are a “two steps forward, one step back” overcasting. I find these work well.

      • Thanks for pointing me at the instruction pages–I’d never noticed them before but now I see I will have to spend some time here! (Small font and black background keeps me from reading a lot of webpages very thoroughly .) Till now, I’d just looked at the item you’d made, and read the blog about how you devised the design, etc. Thanks so much for putting up these instructions. I probably won’t be making a box but I will be trying out some finished edges in the future. i’d always looked forward to your next projects–and now look forward to reading more about your past ones!

      • suetortoise Says:

        If you make one of the two boxes with instructions, you will have learnt all the basic techniques. Do make sure you use Darice #10 canvas, as the stitches won’t work properly on other types.

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