Happy Easter!

Hope the Easter bunny was kind to you all. We had a great weekend, the kids stuffed themselves and we had a lovely bbq yesterday with friends. I've been enjoying doing a tiny bit of hand embroidery for a uni project, it's actually been really nice to do something by hand again.

It's basically just a bit of a highlight on a lino print but I think it looks alright, I've just got to hope my lecturer likes it.

On another note, lino printing on fabric is flipping hard work. It's ok as long as you don't mind a faded print but hard to get anything sharp. I think I ended up with about 15 prints before I had something I could work with.


Blue bird

A while ago I did a needlework of a Blue Bird. It's a smallish piece (about 20cm by 30cm), on a darkish grey silk, and is my take on a bird looking after it's eggs.

At the time the image was really strong in my head, I had a source photo of a bird (I think it was some kind of wattle bird) which I drew, then drew again for memory, then again, until I was happy with the result. It doesn't look much like the source anymore!

I kept everything really simple, the tail was supposed to be the highlight, the rest was just lines and shapes.

The branches were lovely to do, and turned out so well. I just started with one line of stem stitch, then added various lines of stem, back stitch, chain stitch etc. until I was happy with the finished product.

The concept of doing a little bit of the whole thing at a time was really important with this piece as I didn't know what I was aiming for 100% when I started. It was important to fill in one line or colour, then move to another section. I did the first set on the tail, then finished the bird and went back again, then added even more stitches to the tail as the last thing I did.

The nest is a tangle of appliqued 'novelty' threads and yarns. Some were dense, some feathery, some black, white or inbetween, and the overall effect looks great, considering how simple it was. I have recreated this kind of nest on other pieces and love it every time - so simple (if time consuming) to do, as long as you keep checking the overall impression and get the balance right.

It's one of my favourite pieces, it hangs in my kitchen and I love looking at it. There is something so loving and protective about the little bird looking after her nest.

It's lucky I love my husband...

Cos he certainly knows how to pick his moments. I'm very tired. He knows I have a headache. I'm trying to get some work done (not fun sewing work, boring admin work) and have finally caught a moments peace. And in he stomps with "so whats for dinner?"


I'm working with an idea to do a series of panels, on beautiful fabric with simple but effective patterns, and sell them at the Old Bus Depo Markets one Sunday. If I could raise a bit of cash it would help me buy more fabric for headboards. I've done a few, ran out of staples so haven't mounted them yet, but I'm happy with them so far.

Some pics of recent work:

Grey panel, red felt circles and simple stitching.

White cotton panel, with print. The circles are blue/grey handpainted felt, and I used a combination of machine quilting and hand embroidery and beading. The first pic has our resident willy wag-tail on the fence, he often sits there while I'm sewing or designing. I used interfacing behind the fabric while I used the machine, but still found the fabric was distorted by the stitching - I think I'm just going to have to use less stitching on the panels until I can figure out a solution.
I'm working on a simple crewel design for the next panel. More to follow :) 

Seedling in progress

Here is the seedling with the top finished:

I spent ages trying to figure out where to put the 'hope' but I'm happy with it in the roots. I don't want it to distract from the seedling, which should definately be the first thing to strike the viewer, but also to be easily visible so it's not missed when you look at the picture close up. I love the way the word is created from a single thread.
Now I just have to quilt it... 11 days to go!

Here we go...

So, I've decided it's time to do something different. I'm hoping that my long history of writing a diary will mean I'm more likely to keep this Blog thing up?

Why I am writing this:

  • I want motivation to keep doing my embroidery
  • I want to keep a record of my techniques, thoughts, processes, materials, inspirations and anything else that comes into my head while I'm creating a design - and I hate visual diaries (remind me of Yr 8 art)
  • I want to connect with other people who are fascinated by embroidery and want to do more than cross-stitch.

I have been embroidering since I was 5. Not that I was any good then, but I remember being totally focused on getting the stitches neat. Design and creativity were not a factor then - I just wanted to 'colour inbetween the lines' if you know what I mean.

I did a few of those kitsch long stitch with a plastic frame numbers - I think mum had a miss piggy one on her wall for a while but it's been mercifully hidden for the last few years. I progressed to cross stitch and spent ages doing kits of flowers and bunny rabbits.

Mum had an 'encyclopedia of needlework' from the 70s which I started delving into for more ideas which is when I discovered canvaswork. To start with I liked that you still counted stitches and followed a basic pattern, and I starting doing a form of 'paint by numbers' with designs - find a picture I liked with numerous small areas then fill them in with a different stitch in each one.

This then led into using small stitches on finer fabric. I started using a very regimented form of stem stitch, as I was still counting threads all the time. It was about this time I moved to Sale (Victoria) for work and was introduced to the work of Annemeike Mein. This was like a revelation - she did whatever she wanted with fabric and thread, didn't follow any pattern and went outside the lines! I both liberated and a little daunted - how could I ever hope to be able to produce anything like what this incredible lady did?

So I started looking into Jacobean crewelwork, which is still quite regimented but allows you to be a little more creative.

OK, so it's 10am on NYE and we're off on a relatively kidfree (still have the baby, mum and dad are taking the bigger two to Questacon) trip to the Art Gallery so I will have to continue this later. I never realised how complicated my journey has been so far!