I would like to wish everyone who drops by this blog a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018.
Instead of a plant themed Christmas greeting I am sharing with you my Christmas sewing and craft projects this year. I have really embraced my love of sewing and embroidery this year and made some lovely new friends through it. Apologies for the poor quality photos, they are from my Instagram account and have lost something in quality in the transition to the blog.
The top photo shows a wall-hanging I have made this year. The centre is embroidered in red work and has a quilted border. It’s only my second wall-hanging so I am pleased with the outcome.
The cushion was designed and made for my Embroiderers Guild Christmas competition. The theme was ‘stars’ and I was thrilled to claim second place against tough competition. You can see the other entries on our Facebook page (see 16th December). I have to say though that sewing on white felt wasn’t the best idea and I learnt that I’m not very good at repetitive things.
My final project is a ribbon wreath. It was very easy to make just involved a lot of ribbon cutting and tying – simple but effective
I hope you enjoyed seeing something different to my usual plant themed photos. If you are interested in my handicrafts I share them on my Instagram account and maybe I will share some more on the blog in the New Year.
So it just leaves me to say Merry Christmas.
Finally, a completed project. I finished the paisley embroidery weeks ago but as ever I am very slow in finishing off the project. Part of the problem is that I needed to get the sewing machine out to sew the cushion cover and I do most of my crafting in the evenings whilst watching the television and machine sewing needs to be done in the dining room. Anyway, today it has rained more or less all day, so there was no opportunity to garden, my other main distraction and so the cover was sewn. It took no more than 30 minutes to sew together which just shows how ridiculous my procrastination is. If I am honest the other problem I have with finishing projects is a lack of confidence. I rarely wear jumpers or clothes these days that I have knitted or sewn so much so that I don’t bother any more which is why rediscovering embroidery is such a good thing for me. I am really pleased with the cushion it is one of the nicest things I have made in ages and I feel encouraged to carry on with the other embroidery projects I have planned.
Donna’s comment on my last post that the first paisley motif made her think of a whale with flowery eyes made me chuckle and since then all I can see are whales. I have completed the second motif now which looks even more like a whale than the last one!
This motif is much better than the last one as I have abandoned the waste knot starting method so the ends are secure. I haven’t got bored of french knots yet but I am more and more convinced that I get more enjoyment from the crewelwork I did in the last project.
Two more small motifs, or whales to do, and then I have to decide whether to do some motifs on the back of the cushion and then to sew it all up and finish it!
In the meantime I am looking for the next project which will be crewelwork or maybe a go at Needlepainting. I think I want to get a little more experience and practice under my belt before I launch into the design course.
I had been making good progress on the paisley designed cushion cover but I suspect I am about to take some steps backwards.
In my last post I mentioned how frustrated with the transfer method suggested with the pattern in the Stitch magazine I was. I used a transfer pencil and despite repeating the process several times the pattern was barely visible even with my glasses on! So I decided enough was enough and drew in the design freehand which turned out to be quite easy really given the simplicity of the design. I definitely prefer the pounching transfer method.
Anyway having transferred the design I have made good progress on the largest motif. The outline is in stem stitch, with the flowers made up of detached chain stitches and French knots. I have to say that I have felt that any doubt I might have had about French knots have definitely been put to bed. I also enjoyed the crewelwork project much more as I like the complexity of the stitches and effect achieved.
All seemed well until I realised that my approach of using a waste knot was failing dismally. I had learnt this method of starting off a new thread on the previous project where it was great. Essentially you start the thread off going down from the top side of the fabric a little way from where you will be stitching. Then when you have finished you snip of the knot and the thread is caught up with the stitches on the back of the work. This worked well with crewelwork due to the density of the stitching but with the current project it hasn’t work since the stitches are quite well spread out and so there is nothing really to catch the thread. I really should have twigged this a little earlier.
Therefore I am going back to my old approach for the rest of this project catching the thread under previously sewn stitches and I think I might have to re-do some of the work I have already done but I think I will come back to that at the end.
I am still pondering the Embroiders Guild course. I think I might go for it as it will bring out my creative imagination which must be lurking somewhere, although if I could find some sort of distance learning course through which I could learn skills such as goldwork, blackwork or stumpwork I would prefer to go for one of those.
As I have mentioned before I am a restless soul and I often have to find something to occupy me when I am watching television in the evenings. At the start of the year started to learn crewel work but this is new to me and I have been getting stressed with it not looking as amazing as the picture. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a bag of cotton I bought from a local flea market and crochet a cushion cover.
It was completely liberating as I had no pattern, no instructions, I just made it up as I went a long. Flicking through some magazines I spotted the idea of doing a flap to close the cover and rummaging in my button box I found some suitable buttons. Doing the buttonholes was easy and to finish off the edges I did a couple of rows of double crochet. It isn’t perfect as some of the tidying up of loose ends show if you really look hard but I am very pleased with it and as I don’t have any picture or pattern to compare it to there is nothing to say I didn’t do just great!
I wonder if this is why I struggle with patterns as there is, for me, a pressure to replicate the picture and standard. I think there will be more of this freestyle creativity in the future as it is just so liberating.