Archive for Embroidery

Going for Gold

Posted in Embroidery, museum, Needlework, out and about, Stitches, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2018 by suetortoise

Hanny Newton (standing on left) and about two thirds of our workshop group busy with their stitching.

I have just spent the day at an excellent goldwork workshop, here in Shrewsbury.

Hanny Newton is RSN trained. She produces beautiful work: combining technical excellence with fascinating simple design. Have a look on her website – although photography never does goldwork full justice. She’s a very good tutor: inspiring learning by experiment, rather than pedantic coursework, but able to give lots of tips and pointers.

I have never had a great urge to get into goldwork as such – although it is hard not to be a little tempted after today’s workshop. However, this day was focussed on couching, and knew I did need help with that! I’ve let myself down with bad couching when I have wanted to edge silkwork with metal thread (an effect I really love), so I went hoping for help and tips. I wasn’t disappointed. I have come home with lots of good advice about the thread to use (fine passing) and how to get it to sit neatly in place – and to stay there.

We were in a beautifully light room, in the barrel-vaulted attic of a medieval mansion house, part of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. We were one storey above the Corbett Bed, and I think that some benign influence from that feast of stitching percolated up to inspire us.

It was a relaxed and friendly day, everyone enjoyed it and learnt from it. My humble efforts are hardly worth showing here, but I was there to learn, and I hope that I can practice and do better. You can see rather wobbly lines of couching, some playing about with buttonhole stitch as a couching technique (one of the triangles is detached buttonhole stitch) and an attempt to couch down a big twisted cord, going from very visible stitches to hidden stitches. That one was not much of a success (I was getting tired by then), but all the experimenting was valuable.

Thanks to Hanny for an excellent day’s stitching, and to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery for setting it up for us and providing refreshments. More please!

On Friday I am off to Sewing For Pleasure at the NEC in Birmingham. I will be touring the embroidery supplies stands looking for fine passing thread!

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Silk from China

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , on June 20, 2017 by suetortoise

As regular readers will know… (Hello, Regular Readers of Tortoise Loft – The Blog. Thanks for sticking around!) My usual go-to silk thread is DeVere Yarns lovely 06 silk. Fine, smooth, filament silk with a very slight single twist to make it manageable. It comes on neat cardboard bobbins and in a good (and slowly increasing) range of colours. I can highly recommend it.

I’ve recently got hold of some Chinese filament silk through eBay. I thought you might like to have a look at it.  Thread purchases from eBay can be somewhat of a lucky dip – I’ve bought ‘pearl cotton’ that was actually spun rayon (very nice rayon – I use the thread a lot) and ‘real silk’ that was just filament rayon. I didn’t want to pay a high price for the Chinese ‘silk’ without knowing what it would be like. I’ve been hankering after some for a year or more. Fortunately I got a pack for the minimum bid price recently. (This was on my third attempt – previously I’d been thoroughly outbid.) Continue reading

The Stash

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by suetortoise

I’ve been wanting to write about “stash” for a while: those boxes, drawers, cupboards and bags full of fabrics and threads, half-finished projects, purchasing failures, patterns, kits, books and equipment that accumulate around embroidery and craft people. Stock that we so often find ourselves embarrassed by and apologising for. Creative textile people generate stash. Most of us end up with far more than we can use in lifetime (and still don’t have quite the colour or type of thing we want for the next project).

“I’ve got far too much stuff, I’m sorry!”

Stop apologising for stash. It’s a resource. It’s stock. It’s the educational toy you can play with to learn new things, try out new stitches and techniques. It’s the bits and bobs you can spare to get a child or a friend started on the hobby, or provide just the right thing for someone else’s project. It’s an emergency supply for when you can’t afford or can’t find materials to use. It’s sheer inspiration: textures, colours, weights, combinations: options that you can get to know and that will suggest uses and ideas and become part of your mental toolbox when you design. Riches to be quietly proud of, not some sort of waste that needs using up like kitchen left-overs. With a few exceptions, fabric and threads will stay good and stay usable for a long, long time. Enjoy it, look at it, play with it, learn it.

Continue reading

Exquisite Silk Embroidery

Posted in books, Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2017 by suetortoise

While I was at Sewing For Pleasure, I spotted some copies of this book on a bookstall and had a quick browse. But by the time I went back to the stall to buy a copy, they had all been sold. Eventually I tracked down a copy on Book Depository.

Chinese Embroidery: An Illustrated Stitch Guide is by Shao Xiaocheng and published by Better Life Press (ISBN 978-1-60220-015-9). It’s a good-sized hardback with over 160 pages and colour illustrations on virtually every page. I certainly don’t regret buying it. I have found it useful, interesting and inspiring, but I do have some serious reservations about recommending it. So this will be a mixed review.

Continue reading

Meetings

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Needlework, out and about with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2017 by suetortoise

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. Continue reading

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