Spring flower…

needlepoint flower

 

I hope you’re not reading this from beneath a ten foot snow drift – my other half keeps referring to the weather as ‘a cold snap’ and I keep reminding him, that this weather has been consistently atrocious since November, and snap it certainly isn’t.

But in other news…

Slow progress is being made on the – shall we call it flower?

I have a fairly clear idea of how the flower is going to develop – I’ve put a couple of baskets of yarns together and I keep looking at them, imagining where I’m going to put them all – so to contrast with the couching of the flower, the outer sections are rather more restrained.

The recycled sari silk is delightful to work with. The thickness varies quite widely, and some sections are decidedly fluffy, so stitching it in becomes experimental – I like the feeling that the yarns are deciding the texture of the piece for themselves – putting the stitches in, feels almost passive.

detail of recycled sari silk couching

Just before the weekend snow, I nipped outside and took pictures of the few brave buds to have risked showing their faces this winter…

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I’m wondering if I was getting subliminal messages about the colours – notice any similarities between the flowers and the flower?

 

Happy stitching – stay warm.

 

 

 

Moving on…

I put the last few stitches into the Gothic Window on Tuesday evening, and as usual, it will now go on the pile while I decide what if anything to do with it – am I the only person who loses interest once the stitching is finished?

Strange really, because I feel very attached while I’m working them, but once they’re finished, I want to move on to the next piece. If there’s anyone out there with a burning need to finish off, frame, hang, or otherwise use a pile of needlepoint, I have a stash that could keep you busy for yonks.

Anyway, moving on…

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I didn’t intend this as I was drawing it and painting up the canvas on the kitchen table yesterday, but I think months – or perhaps years – of watching Flog It! at tea-time (mainly to annoy the girls!), has affected me – can you spot any Moorcroft influences here?

In my mind, I’m working out how I’m going to stitch the design, and I thought I’d couch the edges of what I’ll loosely call the petals (you might prefer strange splodge shape), with the recycled sari silk, then see what works in the layers between. Perhaps it’s that edging that makes me think most about Moorcroft.

As ever, I don’t expect the finished piece will look much like this, but I need a place to start.

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It’s about 24″ square, so should keep me off the streets for a while.

Happy stitching.

 

 

 

 

Gothic sun window nearly stitched…

Well, if you can rely on me for one thing, it’s that I’ll be slower than planned getting something finished. So you won’t be surprised that the Gothic Window is still not completed, but it’s really very close and the light was so good today, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures.

gothic sun detail

 

There’s just a bit more of the sun to stitch.

gothic sun detail

 

As you can see I’ve gone totally overboard with the metallics and shiny threads.

gothic sun

 

I just couldn’t help myself.

gothic sun corner

 

I’d like to say I’ve managed to purge myself of the shiny obsession,

gothic sun detail

 

but it would be a lie. In fact I went out last week and bought a couple of new twinkly threads. I’m just a sucker for anything glitzy.

unfinished gothic sun

Quite by chance, I caught a TV programme on iPlayer all about the stained glass east window at York Minster in the week. I’ll always be one of those people who can just stand and stare at these amazing pieces of art – I suppose after 600 years or more, they still work their magic on me.

Happy stitching.

 

 

Gothic window…

The stitching has been especially slow for the last few days – isn’t it unfair how much life sometimes intrudes on stitching time…

But here is the current piece of work-in-progress, Gothic Window.

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I’m struggling with the light (or more accurately, lack of light), but you get the idea.

I wanted to try adding some gothic structure to the piece, I know I’m obsessed with stained glass, but I thought I’d see if I could contain it in a semi-gothic frame.

Of course, my hopes for anything to stay straight while I stitch it have been dashed. I know I could go back to using interlock, but I’m still having too much fun with the scrim, despite the way it laughs contemptuously at my lines.

I’ve painted some of the canvas with acrylic inks to give it a tiny bit more bite and stability – it also stops me getting snow-blindness, sewing on the white scrim.

I had a mixture of twinkly blue threads that called out to be used in this window, although you can’t really tell from the pictures – it does look quite sparkly in real life.

If I can keep all the spinning plates in the air this week, I’ll hope to show you some progress next week – no promises mind, we all know where plans get us.

Happy stitching.

Great stitchy excitement…

Well, it is now confirmed – I can get high on stitching…

Last week, I mentioned that I’d seen some couching samples worked by Kat at Of Gardens, Grandmothers and Gleanings. Kat very kindly sent me lots of information, and also links to some simply incredible medieval opus anglicanum pieces.

I ached to have a go at the couching, and decided to daub a bit of paint on the scrim first.

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So this is what I started with.

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I put in a few random lines of couching, just to get a feel for it – it was love at first stitch.

But something about those opus anglicanum pieces had wriggled their way into my consciousness. So the girl who practically never strays far from tent stitch, found herself going mad  – free stitching all over the place.

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The textures are fascinating.

I am having more fun than drinking a bottle of Faustino I.

Happy stitching!

Time To Shell Out…

Remember the other part of the hessian experiment?

The shell

The Shell, in progress

This is the 10oz hessian, with a considerably tighter weave than the 7.5oz, although still soft and quite variable. I don’t know what it is about working on this material, it certainly has its frustrations, but I really like it – perhaps it’s the drapier texture, I’m still not sure. Perhaps it’s because it’s irregular, and that appeals to the bit of me that doesn’t like to play by the rules. Anyhow, I’ve picked up The Shell again and am making some progress on it. I think I may have mentioned before that this is not my normal palette, and I’m finding out about these more subtle colours as I go along, but it makes a change, and as I’m currently brooding on developing a stained glass inspired piece, this one is keeping all those glorious exuberant shades under control until I’m ready to let them loose.

Happy stitching, drawing, quilting etc.

Possibly Finished?

The tree might be finished…

I persevered – it was lovely to stitch, soft, yielding, warm. But it has given a whole new definition to wonky.

It hasn’t told me what it wants to be – I thought perhaps a rather arty wall hanging…

It would however need the skills of a remarkable magician, to overcome the wonkiness.

Years ago I made some clay pieces that might lend themselves to weighting the bottom edge.

But right now I think I’ll put it away and move on to something else. Maybe inspiration will strike if I stop trying to force it.

A Bit Grumpy…

Ever had one of those weeks?

I can’t really complain – but I will anyway.

The thing is, the tree is coming along very slowly, but I can’t say I’m all that happy with it. In my mind, it was going to have more contrast, more texture, more je ne sais quoi.

And it doesn’t.

And although I want to sit and slap some ideas around, I haven’t managed to do that yet – partly I suspect because I’m trying to solve the tree problem and I don’t want to leave it without feeling happier about it.

So, I’m feeling a bit grumpy and a bit out of sorts. And the best thing when I’m in this frame of mind is to get off and moan in private.

I’ll come back when I’ve got my happy face back (as my mother thankfully never said).

Have a good weekend.

Slow Stitching & Fast Nature

Slow progress on the canvas, but lots happening in the garden.

Spot the bee on the blossom

I don’t seem to have made much progress on the canvas this week, but I’ve been distracted. Mother Nature is performing her seasonal miracles in the garden and you’d have to be hard-hearted not to want to watch.

On March 1st, I took some pictures.

Snowdrops on St Davids Day

I’m no gardener, so everything that comes up in my little patch has well and truly got here on it’s own merits, but I’m always fascinated by the way that life springs up from the cold and dark winter soil.

Snowdrops appear every year. I’ve never planted any.

Eternally interesting ivy

Ivy winds itself around the trees and over the fences. It’s welcome in my garden, the flowing leaves take off the sharp edges of the fences. A touch of ‘The Secret Garden’.

Today, daffodils have flowered.

Spring flowers

Sunshine is pouring through the window and energy is seeping back.

Here are the stitches.

Slow progress

I’ve resorted to a frame for the time-being – just too soft to keep tight for stitching, but once it gains its own strength, I’ll take it off again.

detail

Not using my normal vivid palette on this piece – yet. It might call out for colour as it develops, but at the moment, it’s pale.

Hope you’re having a productive week.

Trying Out The Hessian

The girls are back at school this week, so at last, there’s an opportunity to start work on the new hessian.

Tree Design on 7.5oz Hessian

The first piece I’ve used, is the 7.5oz hessian. This has a very large hole and irregular weave. After I’d painted in some design guides, I ended up hemming the edges because it was already starting to fray.

Then I tried stitching it for a couple of hours.

I soon found that tent stitch didn’t work at all well. I think the size and unevenness of the weave made it pull up in a rather unpleasing way.

I unpicked it and instead, I started using some random running stitches to try and give it a bit more structure. That works reasonably well on the background, and I then tried randomly tent stitching into the vertical running stitch lines, which also felt quite effective.

I’m not sure yet though how to approach the tree itself. It needs more thought and probably some experimentation. The canvas is very light-weight, but will need a lot of stitching over – it seems to cry out for texture. I might even go into town and see if the knitting shop has any wool that might lend itself.

On the plus side, working with such big holes makes fast progress, so although it’s a big piece, if I can decide how to work it, it shouldn’t take too long.

But…

This morning, I had the uncontrollable urge to tent stitch something – well it’s been a week!

So, I took out the 10oz hessian, and had a go at putting a design together.

Shell inspired 10oz hessian

I decided to hem it straight away, before I got into the sewing; this stuff really frays badly and as I can’t easily put it in a frame, I thought I’d give it a sporting chance and roll up the edges.

So, this is what I came up with.

I had a look in the box of colours and chose an assortment of paler colours to try out with this.

The colour palette - possibly.

I might change my mind when I get into the sewing, but I’m a bit tired of blues and purples at the moment.

I’ve got quite a few things to do today, (must buy more eggs for pancakes) – but hopefully I’ll get on with it this evening

Needlepoint Therapy

We’ve had an emotional few days here. I won’t trouble you with all the details, they wouldn’t really register as a tiny drop in the ocean of many people’s woes, but suffice to say, we’ve had tears aplenty. It’s at times like this, that I find myself sewing, purely for the benefit of the process itself. For me, this really is needlepoint therapy. Somehow, when I pick up my needle and start to fill in the holes in the canvass, a gradual calm comes over me, that can be difficult to find in other ways.

I’ve come to realise that for me this is a kind of meditation. At some point in the process, my mind comes in from the cold and begins to focus. This I find enormously relaxing. The downside is that when I’m in this state of, shall we call it ‘process flow’, I don’t always stick to the design ideas I started out with. This doesn’t bother me at the time that I’m doing it, but sometimes the outcomes aren’t exactly what I’d been expecting.

At the moment, the only really satisfying piece that I’m working on, is the one on the upholstery canvas. I find that the texture – somehow both soft and firm at the same time – is comforting to hold as I work on it, but of course as I knew it would, it bends like crazy. The design is rectangles and lines – a greatly inspired choice I hear you say, for a wonky canvas, but I don’t mind that. The thing is, it’s not really achieving the ‘look’ I’d had in my mind when I started, and I think that’s mainly because I’ve spent more time working on it while I’ve been upset, than perhaps is good for the design.

So, I think I shall make the most of it, by designating this piece my therapy canvas. It won’t matter to me whether or not anybody else likes it, what matters is that by doing it, I’ve been keeping my self together. It’s my self-healing work.

Probably not an inspired choice of canvas for a straight line design!

A Home For My Stitching Musings.

Hello, thanks for finding me here.

This is the first post on my new blog, Dreaming In Stitches. I’ve always been a closet stitcher, ever since I was a young woman, and over the years, whatever else I’ve been up to, I’ve always used sewing as a means of relaxation and a way to escape from the busy stuff going on around me.

For practically my whole adult life, I’ve never told anyone about my love of stitching and textile art, or indeed admitted to doing it myself, I just thought it was something I did to unwind. But recently, I’ve realised that it’s the art form in which I feel most at home, and it’s actually important to me to have pieces in progress in order to express myself.

So I suppose you could say that I’ve decided to embrace my creative streak and get involved in the world I love.

I’m no textile artist, I’m just a woman who loves to sew. Mostly I sew canvas work pieces, what some people call needlepoint and others call tapestry, but I’m a sewing tart, and can quite easily feel happy trying out all kinds of techniques.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about the things I’m doing, what’s inspiring me and who’s work I’m drooling over – amongst other things. There might well be the odd rant or ramble too.

So thanks for stopping by, I’d love it if you’d come here again, and if you feel the urge, it would be great to hear from you too.