Archive for stitchery

Woven Diamond Stitch – Star Variation

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by suetortoise

Firstly, a big hello and welcome to the people who have visited thanks to Mary Corbet’s kind mention of my previous post on her blog, Needle’n’Thread. (If you’re reading this and you like embroidery and don’t already know about Needle’n’Thread – go and see what a treat you’ve been missing!) I hope you’ll find your visit to Tortoise Loft worth the journey. Don’t be shy to join in the comments if you have something to say, or want to ask a question. This post is a follow-on from the previous post, and assumes you’ve read that first.

woven diamond var star in progress

Here’s a slight variation of Woven Diamond Stitch that does not seem to be shown in Mordvalaisten pukuja kuoseja, but it’s a very obvious development. I call this ‘Star Variation’. Just a slight change in the spacing, but how different from the original version: more open and much livelier. Continue reading

Woven Diamond Stitch

Posted in books, Embroidery, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2015 by suetortoise

Woven Diamond Stitch Border

Here’s another one of those interesting interlaced stitches from this book on the Internet Archive, Mordvalaisten Pukuja kuoseja, a book of old Mordvin costumes, embroidery patterns and stitches. This one is very similar to the Woven Circle Stitch from my first post about the book. It’s worked in much the same way, but the 8 points are spaced in a diamond shape. (I don’t know what the proper name for the stitch is, so I’ve called it Woven Diamond Stitch – does anyone know the proper name?) Continue reading

Woven Circles and a Fascinating Book

Posted in books, Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2015 by suetortoise

woven circle stitch bookmark

If you read the comments under my previous post, you’ll see that Elizabeth gave us a link to a selection of patterns from an 1899 book about traditional Mordvin costumes, concentrating on the embroidery designs. (These are Eastern European costumes. I knew nothing about the Mordvin peoples before I saw this book, so I can do no better than point you at the Wikipedia entry for Mordvins.)

The whole book is on the Internet Archive, Mordvalaisten Pukuja kuoseja, and it’s fascinating. It has many, many pages full of embroidery designs, carefully charted on graph paper, and drawings of the embroidery in use on costume. A wonderful resource. The text is in Finnish and German, but the main part of the book is the plates.

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Blackwork Sprig Chart

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by suetortoise

blackwork sprig chart

Here’s a chart for the blackwork design on the card. It is an old sampler pattern, with a simple border added. Note that each stitch of the sprig is over two threads, but the four-sided stitch is over four threads. This kind of simple, traditional motif can be endlessly adapted and altered to suit other purposes.

It’s been quite a while!

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Family and Friends with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by suetortoise

30 sitches to the inchI didn’t mean to stay silent for so long, but life has had other plans. Let me start with a quick update on my father’s health. Dad came home from hospital in March. He’s not so mobile now – he can’t walk – but he’s recently got an oxygen machine, which helps with his breathing, and he’s started working on his computer programming again, and showing some interest in life. My sister has been staying with him to help him. I took over for ten days at Easter, to give her a brief break, and I am usually there on Saturdays, so she can go out, but Frances has done the lion’s share of the caring and I don’t know how I’d have coped without her.

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The Dragon is Done

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 22, 2014 by suetortoise

Tanya's Dragon - finished
I’ve been staying at my father’s place this weekend. A very pleasant weekend. Eating curry, going for walks in the sunshine, doing a few odd jobs and errands for Dad – and putting the last few stitches into the dragon.

I’ve made some minor changes to the detail stitching from Tanya’s original design. Things that seemed to suit the colours I’d chosen and the personality that my dragon was developing. When a piece of embroidery starts telling me what it wants done, I usually listen. The main change was re-drawing the eye. I’m pretty pleased with the way it came out. I learnt a lot, too. I didn’t really take to split-stitch as a technique, but I was definitely getting much better at it by the end.

Last post I mentioned that I’d talk about the materials this time. The fabric is linen or a linen/cotton mixture – there’s a lovely flax smell when you press it, but it is quite soft and not as eager to crease as most linen. It was a tea towel from Shrewsbury market a few months ago. The weave is fairly close: I did a rough thread count and found it about 44 x 38 to the inch. It took the yarn well, without puckering. I used a size 20 chenille needle for all the stitching.

The yarn was fine acrylic machine-knitting yarn – two-ply, and very similar in weight to Appleton’s crewel. (As I’ve mentioned before, using wool was out, because of my stupidly sensitive skin.) The story of the yarn started two and a half years ago, when striped scarves were the in thing.

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And Then There Were Two

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework with tags , , , , , , on May 1, 2014 by suetortoise

Violet and Primrose finished
Just a quick post to show you the finished violet and primrose pictures. I wanted the violets finished by the end of April, and the last stitch went in yesterday, so I actually made my deadline!

Here’s a close-up of the violet:

Violet in Silk, 5 - complete mini
I’d like to do a third spring flower, but which one to choose? I’m thinking I might do a daisy – they are so glorious at this time of year and the size is about right. What do you think?

Little Clicks and More Stitches

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Needlework with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by suetortoise

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.

And For My Next Trick…

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2014 by suetortoise

Primrose in Silk complete

The Primrose in Silk  has been finished for some time. (This is not a very good photo, but it’s surprisingly hard to photograph – I’ve had several attempts.) It’s not a flawless piece of embroidery – but I’ve learnt a lot in the stitching of it. I enjoyed the process and I’m quite pleased with the finished result. In fact I enjoyed this silk work so much that I have just started a companion piece – with violets.

I couldn’t find a suitable design, so I made my own drawing. (It’s largely based on Mabel E Step’s illustration in Wayside and Woodland Blossoms Series I  by Edward Step, published in 1905, but I also used photos and other references.) It’s roughly the same size as the primrose and I’m using the same fine silk dupion and fine silk threads from Devere Yarns as well as some very old Gütermann silk buttonhole twist (divided into three strands). I am going to enjoy translating it into stitches. I hope I can make use of all the lessons I learnt from working the primrose, and I hope that I’ll learn some more skills in the process.

Violets in Silk, 1 - a start

I’ve been asked to list the various stitches used on the primrose, so here goes. The petals are in long and short stitch with an outline of stem stitch worked afterwards, the flower centre is a coiled bullion knot and the calyx is a mixture of fly stitch and stem stitch. The stems are filled with an under layer of diagonal satin stitches, covered with feather stitch and edged with stem stitch. Rather a long and loose stem stitch makes the midrib and veins of the leaves. The leaves are filled with French knots and outlined with stem stitch. The underside of the leaves and the main root are in chain stitch, with stem stitch again for the small roots. I think that’s all except for various odd stitches here and there to fill in gaps.

 

 

Dots, Stripes and Good News

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Family and Friends with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by suetortoise

Primrose in silk, 5 - leaves started

Let’s start with the very good news: my father is home from hospital, and is doing very well indeed. Apart from a slight slurring of his speech when tired – and he gets tired very easily – along with a slight slowing down, his recent stroke has left little evidence. He’s still not able to write very legibly yet, but he was working on his computer program within three hours of being home. Not bad for nearly 94!

Getting his house ready for his return was a chore as the central heating boiler needed repair, but that was fixed just in time to warm things up before he arrived. And his friends and neighbours and carers have been brilliant. A huge thank-you to Hereford hospital for their marvellous work in getting him through this. He is truly grateful to them, and they looked after him well, but oh, he is so very pleased to be out of there and back in his own home!
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