Friday, 10 October 2014

TAST 3 - Cretan Stitch

I've used the Cretan stitch to make a festive wreath.  I went around the circle three or four times in different shades of green, and once in brown to give the effect of twigs. To prevent too much uniformity in the greenery I slanted the arms of an open Cretan stitch and inadvertently discovered the similarities between Cretan and Feather stitch.  I've since discovered that Cretan stitch is also known as Long-armed Feather Stitch, so it wasn't exactly a breakthrough discovery!  It's a nice stitch to stitch, if you know what I mean, having a nice rhythm once you get going.

For more about TAST, to join in or to see what everyone else has been stitching, head over to Pin Tangle.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

TAST 1 & 2 - Fly and Buttonhole Stitches

I joined TAST at stitch 36 with every intention of keeping up with the weekly 'challenge'. But alas, life and other crafty interests got in the way and it fell by the wayside.  Thankfully, Sharon at Pin Tangle has made it easy to stitch along regardless of where you are in the list of stitches.  I really do want to improve my embroidery repertoire and it's nice to have a visual record, so I've gone back to the beginning and will work my way through the list. Eventually!

The first two stitches are Fly stitch and Buttonhole stitch.  My Buttonhole offering was inspired by Wallachian embroidery which resembles satin stitch, but is worked purely in Buttonhole stitch. Mine has quite a few gaps and is a bit uneven.  I just didn't have the patience to do the technique justice!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Fabric Shopping... African Style

I'm currently visiting family in Lagos.  If I'm perfectly honest it's not a place I feel completely comfortable in, never having lived here and with visits lately happening only every few years.  I always seem to get the blues a little when I'm here - maybe it's not having any friends here (besides family), or the heat, or a side-effect of the anti-malarials, or all of the above.  So this week I was glad that I made it to the market to do some fabric shopping.  I mean, what could be better than shopping for fabric to chase the blues away?  Especially when it's bright and colourful.

Bright Ankara fabric on display
My first stop was Balogun Market on Lagos Island.  It's a huge market selling practically everything, with a good portion of it given over to fabric - a few stalls selling general fabric, with the majority selling Ankara (the brightly coloured, wax-resist printed cotton that is associated with Africa), brocade and lace.  I was interested in the Ankara.  It is usually sold in 6 yard bundles but occasionally you might find someone selling offcuts or willing to cut into a bundle for you.

Prices are usually in the range of about N250 ([Nigerian currency is the Naira] which is just under £1) a yard to N500, but you could pay more depending on where you shop, particularly if shopping outside of the market.  With prices like that it would be easy to lose your head, but I exercised a bit of restraint.  Having said that, now that I'm sitting here writing this I'm starting to wonder if I should have bought more!

...and more fabric!
My second stop was Oshodi market.  A smaller and less salubrious market perhaps, but still with bags of choice and much better prices.

My fabric haul
As you can see I've definitely got a preferred colour palette - turquoise (my new favourite colour), pinks, lilacs and the occasional green.  I tried very hard to go for some different hues, but I kept coming back to those colours.  At this point I've got 25 yards of fabric, all for the princely sum of about £25!  I've told myself that this is enough, as I don't actually have any projects in mind for all this fabric.  In fact it's been an age since I did any proper sewing, but it's all so delicious and takes up so little space!  I'm not sure I'll be able to resist buying more if the opportunity arises, but then who knows when I'll get another chance...  Right?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Scrappy Gift Tag

Oh my goodness, was it really March when I last posted?  Time is really racing by!

I have been dabbling in card making, in fact I've started a new blog to keep track of my card making and papercrafting exploits.  One of the projects I completed recently was this simple, but pretty gift tag.  While sitting in the park, looking through the photos on my phone I thought how well the design would lend itself to being reproduced in fabric. 

It would be a great hand sewing project and the perfect way to use up fabric scraps. Strips of fabric stitched together and embellished with felt flowers or shapes, a few sequins, a bit of wadding to give it some body, and embroidered wording. What could be simpler? In fact, I don't know why I haven't tried it yet!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

I've taken a real shine to stitching little embroidered hearts, and lately other shapes too. I'll show the ones I've completed another time, but here are my latest creations.

I've gone back to the beginning of the TAST list and started incorporating those stitches into the designs. I do like the red & white heart. I just need to trim off the excess and fix a felt backing to it. The butterfly feels like it's lacking some pizzazz, but I'm not quite sure what to add. I was hoping the metallic thread (which isn't showing up very well in the pictures) would lift it a bit. Maybe I should have used gold. Any suggestions?

Work-In-Progress Wednesday is a chance to show what you are currently working on, and hopefully encourage you to keep moving forwards with your unfinished projects. Join in with Sharon at Pin Tangle.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Heart to Heart

Back in October when I visited the Knitting & Stitching show I picked up some back issues of Stitch magazine. This issue jumped out at me because of all the colourful hearts on the cover, and on closer inspection there were several other lovely projects inside.

It's been a while since I did any creative activities. I just seem to be too tired to think in the evenings lately. But a couple of evenings ago I remembered this issue of Stitch and decided to have a go at making my own embroidered heart brooch.

It's probably a bit too busy, but I haven't decided yet. It's not a style that I've had much experience with, but I think I like it. I've got three more hearts prepped to go and I'm already thinking about different shapes. It'll be a great way to use up some of the multitude of fabric, ribbon and yarn scraps and buttons that I've accumulated.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Happy 2014!

I'm really looking forward to 2014.  I don't have any lofty ideals. Quite simply I hope to do better. Not that I did badly last year, it's just that I hope to learn and grow and develop from where I am now. From a crafty point of view that means that I hope to make time to practice my needlework, I hope to develop my skills and I hope to stretch and explore my creativity.

Wishing you a year full of learning, growth, development and fulfillment.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Colour Inspiration - Pink and Aqua

I am loving everything aqua at the moment, from greens with the slightest hint of blue, to deep teal, to blues with the slightest hint of green. And when coupled with pink it's even better.

What's your latest colour crush?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

TAST 67-68: Fancy Hem Stitch and Slipped Detached Chain Stitch

I've decided to make my own Christmas cards this year. I like the idea of embroidering some of them so this TAST offerings has a bit of a Christmassy theme.  I've made a little Christmas tree with the Fancy Hem Stitch and Slipped Detached Chain Stitch.  The sparkly thread is Anchor metallic. I found it a bit tricky to stitch with as it sort of unravelled when pulled through the material, but I found that if I let it unravel the final effect was still OK.

For more information about TAST pay a visit to Pin Tangle.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Knitting and Stitching Show

Last week I was lucky enough to make it to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.  It was my first time at the show and I was beyond excited at the prospect of an entire (child-free!) day to look at stitchy goodness.  It was a pretty dreary day, but that didn't dampen my mood one bit.

I had a vague shopping list in mind, which I'm glad I did because otherwise I think that the whole thing would have been overwhelming.  That, the fact that I forgot to take more cash with me and many of the card terminals weren't working because of a lousy signal, and the fact that I refused to pay almost £2 for the privilege of taking money out of the cash machines that were dotted around saved me from spending A LOT more money than I did.

There were so many amazing, beautiful and inspiring things on show, but of course I also forgot to charge my phone so only came away with a handful of photos!  Please forgive the quality of the photos - I took them all in a hurry so that my battery would last and some of them are a bit out of focus, but here are some of my favourites:

One of the first things I came across was a display of quilts. I'm not a quilter but some of the creations were amazing, like this elephant quilt (I didn't see a maker's name).  I just love the colours in this.

Also this mini quilt "The Rose of Versailles" bu Kumiko Frydl.  From a distance it looks like pink fabric...

...but get close up and you can see that it's all been stitched!

I love this embroidered clock that I saw at the Embroiderers' Guild stand.  My picture doesn't do it justice at all (not least because it isn't quite in focus!), but it really was breathtaking. I also saw some fabulous examples of floral stumpwork, but alas no pictures :-(

One of the stands that I couldn't buy from because of a lack of cash and no card facilities was Aarti J which was filled with some of the most gorgeous trims that I have ever seen.  (Probably a good thing that I couldn't spend there.)

It was a great day out, but by the end of the day even I was starting to lose the will to look at more fabric!  I came away with a pretty good stash - several fat quarters and half metres of fabric including a good selection of Christmas fabric, fabric wax crayons, dissolvable fabric, quite a few magazine back-issues including Stitch, some linen thread yarn, buttons and brooch backs:

Did any of you get to the show?  What goodies did you pick up?