Archive for mother

A Little Progress

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Family and Friends, museum with tags , , , , , on September 2, 2012 by suetortoise

A quick post to update you on various things.

Zodiac Box 2012

My mother was discharged from the cardio ward in Shrewsbury three weeks ago, and transferred to Ludlow Community Hospital. She is likely to be staying there for some time yet. This makes visiting much easier for my father, and it’s a friendly atmosphere for her. So I am back to making twice-weekly visits on a country bus service which detours from the A49 through various towns and villages on the way. Stitching on the bus makes the long journey seem shorter, but the work needs to be fairly sturdy and shockproof. (Otherwise I spend too much time unpicking my progress when I get home.) My stitched boxes are ideal for travelling as the sections are easy to carry about and easy to see. I finished this one on the way back from Ludlow on Saturday.

It’s a design I’ve used several times before, with minor variations and with various colour schemes, and it is one of my favourites. The thread is acrylic DK knitting yarn for with Twilley’s Goldfingering for the glitter, and it’s worked on 10-mesh plastic canvas.

Here’s a work that’s still in progress:

Heartsease WIP 2

I’m currently working on a little rococo stitch pincushion top (probably a pincushion, it might be used for a needlecase or sachet instead). This is very portable, small enough for my handbag, but too intricate for stitching while on bus journeys. The fabric is not evenweave, I’m not sure of the fabric content but I suspect it is a polyester, or polyester-cotton, rather than linen. It’s rather pleasant to work on, whatever it is. It’s a open-weave fabric with a count of 33×38 – an oddment from a curtain and upholstery shop. That lack of evenness makes it ideal for old sampler designs like this, which look very much livlier when the warp and weft count are not the same. I’m using machine embroidery rayon 40 for this, with the  two roving strands in the twist separated and used together. (In many cases I’ve used one strand each from two different colours to make a blend.) Not the easiest of threads to work with, split like this, but it gives much better coverage on the rococo stitch than the thread used just as it comes from the spool. Here’s a chart for the heartsease flower, which is based on a motif on a spot sampler in the V&A museum.

Viola tricola  - rococo stitch chart

Talking of museums, Shrewsbury Museum service are still trying to find out more about the ownership of the Bowdler Picture before contacting the V&A. They’ve discovered that it came to them a few years ago, but whether it was a donation or a loan or just left with them for an expert opinion is still unknown. Investigations continue… My next major article on the blog will be a piece about some other objects from the museum collection – some old boots – and the story behind them.

Back on the embroidery front. I’ve got another long term project using chain stitch in silk thread on linen, based on a 16th century book illustration. It’s not portable enough for bus trips, hospital visits or wet lunchbreaks, so it’s growing very slowly at present. I’ll write more about it later, when the stitching is a bit further forward, but here’s a quick glipse of one of the figures to pique your curiosity. This chap looks as though he’s rather surprised to see me using something other than rayon thread or acrylic knitting yarn!

Curiosity WIP 1

Thanks for the very positive responses to my trellis stitch pages. Do let me know if there’s some other embroidery technique or stitch that you’d like me to tackle in depth for you. I enjoy a challenge!


A Fairly Positive Update

Posted in everyday life, Family and Friends, out and about with tags , , , on April 24, 2012 by suetortoise

 I apologise for the delay in updating this blog. On the Sunday before Easter, my mother was rushed to hospital in Hereford with breathing difficulties. The last three weeks have been rather frantic. At first, Mum was in the emergency ward and we were wondering if she would last until my sister came up to see her on the Thursday. She did. A few days later, she’d rallied a bit, and was transferred to a medical ward. Now she’s made more progress and has been transferred from Hereford County Hospital to Ludlow Community Hospital – much nearer her home in South Shropshire, to a ward with a very pleasant, friendly atmosphere and caring staff. They are trying to build up her strength and recover some mobility. She’s still on oxygen to help her breathing, but she’s looking much better. Life is a little less fraught again.

It takes me as long to get to Ludlow on the country bus as it takes to do the 50-mile trip to Hereford on the train, but it doesn’t cost much and it’s an entertaining journey with several long detours from the main A49 along narrow, winding roads into little towns and villages, with frequent stops to let people on and off, and manoevers to pass other vehicles. All this in the lovely South Shropshire hill country in springtime. (I could go to Ludlow by train in half the time, but at more than twice the fare.) So I’ve been travelling to and from hospitals and dealing with all the various problems arising rather than doing much else outside of work.

One of the delights of the season: Balwen Black Welsh Mountain lambs - with their black and white markings, they look like a cross between the sheep and the sheepdog.

One other thing that I have been doing is working on a forthcoming exhibtion at Shrewsbury Museum – this is of writing inspired by items in the museum collection. I’ve been helping Adrian Perks, the curator of it, to prepare the written material for display and create the object labels; we are also producing a small booklet with the same material. It is something I’ve never done before, and has proved quite an interesting challenge.

The Elizabethan-inspired embroidery test piece of my last blog post is progressing slowly. I am about two-thirds of the way through now, and having fun making little strawberries with corded buttonhole stitch. This isn’t something that I can do while sitting on the bus to Ludlow, it’s too fiddly, so I am also making another one of my stitched boxes. These are ideal for travelling: portable and easy to see. So long as the bus is not too crowded, I can make good progress on a box as we judder and twist through Condover and All Stretton, Leebotwood, Wistanstow and Onibury.