Archives for February 2015

A larger piece using whip stitch

Whip stitch close upA couple of posts back I was talking about whip stitch, and said that I’d be working on a larger piece which I’d show you when it was finished. Well, amazingly (as my completion record hasn’t been too good recently) I’ve finished it and here it is. Below there’s a photo of the finished piece, and on the left there’s a close-up so you can see the stitching. I used a piece of lightweight felt as a base, then layered some shiny silk gauze on to, then stitched into it in wavy lines. Pretty easy to do and a pleasing effect. We did a long car journey a few days ago and when it was my turn to be the passenger I sat and sewed this piece. Makes a long journey seem shorter.

Incidentally, this is the first post I’ve written on the iPad. And I’ve used photos taken with the iPad. I don’t know why I harboured the suspicion that this would be a difficult thing to do… As with most iPad activities it’s amazingly easy and intuitive.

Whip stitch completed piece

Forgetting how to do things: shisha mirrors

I was working on a little felt appliqué sample the other day, which I’d decided to embellish with beads and mirrors. I like shisha mirrors. I hardly ever use them, but I felt quite confident that I could apply them easily. That is, until I tried to do it. I threaded the needle, put some foundation stitches in to hold the mirror down and then…. well, then I got stuck. I watched a video tutorial on applying mirrors by Laura Kemshall in the DMTV series that she produces with Linda Kemshall (very good; you have to pay an annual subscription but you get a new video almost every week and it’s worth it). Unfortunately, although I understood what Laura was doing in the video, I couldn’t quite manage to copy the technique. So then I tried a website that shows, with still pictures, how to apply the mirrors. I had a bit more success with that, but I’ve ended up applying five mirrors and they all look different. Oh well, perhaps it’s age…. Here’s a photo of the mirror element and another close up of some beading from the same sample. Felt appliqué sample with shisha mirrorsFelt appliqué sample

Just messing about….

I’ve been just messing about with my supply of silk sari strips. I bought this particular batch some time ago from The Silk Route, and haven’t really found a use for them. Regular readers may remember that I’ve used these in the past, sewn together to create a base for embroidery, but this hank of strips were mostly just too narrow for this purpose. In this sample, I’ve used an offcut of mountboard (I love mountboard – so versatile) with regular vertical lines cut in it, as a base for weaving. This is a rather nice effect, I think. It’s not going anywhere – it will just sit in my sample book, but I like the look of it and I enjoyed producing it, and I don’t know that there are any better reasons for making something. Weaving using silk sari strips

I noticed that The Silk Route now has an online shop, which is a very good thing. I’ve bought a lot from them over the years at shows. I probably buy less now that I’m up and running with natural dyeing, as it’s obviously a lot cheaper to buy silk in fairly large quantities and do it yourself. However, their procion-dyed colours are fabulous, and I still buy them from time to time when I just can’t resist the temptation.

Playing around with surface texture

A simple way of playing around with surface texture is to use whip stitch to create bumpy lines in fabric. Jean Draper’s recent book (Stitch and Structure: design and technique in two- and three-dimensional textiles) explains how to do this. (I see, incidentally, that this book has so far gathered 22 5 star and 2 4 star reviews on, and I’m not surprised – it really is good and if I get round to it I’ll review it in a future post). I’ve been having a go at this, and below are two of the samples I’ve produced so far:Using whip stitch to create a textured surface

The first, in black and white, is using a woven, patterned cotton fabric of quite loose weave. I think that using a patterned fabric can produce some rather interesting effects, and I’m quite pleased with this. The loose weave texture makes it lovely to work with, and I wish I had more of it. This fabric was used to wrap a small piece of pottery that I bought from an artist in France last year, so it’s just a fragment. Using whip stitch on felt

The second sample uses an oddment of felt that I got out of an Oliver Twists Lucky Bag. I laid a small scrap of silk organza over the bottom left hand corner, just to see what it looked like. (I do wish, incidentally, that Oliver Twists had a shopping website. I usually buy something from them at the Knitting and Stitching Shows).

As I was pleased with these and the other samples of whip stitch that I produced, the next stage is to produce a larger piece. I’m busy working on this right now, and will post a photograph or two when it’s finished.

Getting things finished

Looking back, I see that in August last year I wrote about creating some nine-patch pieces of quilting. I started off with the intention of creating a sample based on the old quilt I saw at the Festival of Quilts. Here’s the photograph of that quilt again:Ann Howe 1890 - 1900

And here’s the photograph of the beginning stages of the nine-patch pieces:Nine patch quilting pieces

Sometimes, life just gets in the way and getting things finished turns out to take a long time. However, I am usually a finisher, even if the process is long and convoluted, and I’m pleased to report that I have now produced a completed sample.Patchwork sample It’s taken ages to produce this piece, and I’ve mostly worked on it in lots of short bursts of a few minutes at a time. When I look at it now I am reminded of the day I finished it off by doing the hand-quilting. I had the most appalling toothache, and felt very low because of it. However, I stuck to the stitching doggedly throughout that day, being unfit to do anything else, and I’m sure it helped. I’m pleased with the finished sample because I think it contains the elements that I liked about the original, but is not a slavish copy. I like the colour combinations, and the effect of using a range of different fabrics. This has habotai silk, silk brocade, dupion silk, cotton lawn, wool and a little bit of linen. I love mixing fabrics up.