Just when I thought I’d sorted out what I’d be doing for the next few weeks, along comes the delivery of linen scrim, and within no time at all, I’m diverted off on to another track.
I wanted to try the scrim, because although I adore the variable, loose weave of the hessian that I’ve been using, it is hairy and I think gives me a few issues with sneezing and sore hands.
Linen scrim seemed to be a useful alternative.
I quickly set up a piece on the 17″ frame – it felt as if it needed a frame – and put needle to the canvas.
The first thing that struck me, was that this scrim is going to take a lot of stitching – sooooo many stitches! (I estimate about 20 stitches per linear inch – 400 per square inch). I’m not afraid of working large or slow pieces, but this felt a touch daunting.
But once I’d experimented with different strands of wool/silk/cotton, I found I’d somehow become attached to it. I had originally thought I’d just do a few square inches to see how it worked, but now I’m sure I’ll carry on with it.
As with the hessian, I find that the softer canvas feels attractive to work on.
On the plus side of using the tiny gauge, I now have a good excuse to use some of the yarns I’ve been keeping from Stef Francis and Oliver Twists – yarns that would have been lost on a bigger gauge piece. I’ve also tried out some Anchor Perle cotton. It fascinates me how each different type of thread lies down in the canvas with its particular character.
So, a delay on progressing the stonework idea – but a bit of an education going on instead.
This morning it has rained! That’s put my in a good mood because we’d begun to imagine that we were living in a drought region, but I digress, no, this morning despite already being in quite a good mood, I decided to treat myself to some retail therapy.
I wanted to find a local shop selling interesting embroidery/tapestry wools. I don’t know about where you live, but around here, there is very little choice. There is in fact a lovely little shop in town, who carry a reasonable selection of the basic Anchor and DMC yarns, but ever since the VAT went up to 20%, they seem to have lost the plot a bit on their pricing. I know it’s probably easier for them to punch through £1 per skein, but when I can go to Hobbycraft and pay 89p, I’m afraid with the quantity of wool that I buy, I’m going to look for the cheaper option.
This is a shame, because I do like to support local businesses, but I’m not really impressed by their current pricing policy.
Of course I could buy online, and indeed, as you’d expect, this is considerably cheaper, even after postage is included. But often I’m quite intuitive about the colours and especially the textures that I want to sew with, and it just doesn’t make that easy when all you can see is a tiny patch on the screen. I like to be able to feel the colour with all my senses (I know that doesn’t make sense, but I’m right).
What I’d really like to find its someone selling individually dyed batches. I love the yarns that Stef Francis produces, but unless I’m being dense (quite possible I know), I don’t think they do wools – if you know otherwise, please let me know, as I love her silks and cottons. So is there anyone producing similarly exciting effects and shades in wools?
Well I haven’t exactly found anyone around here – yet, but I will keep looking. Nevertheless, this morning I discovered ‘Threads & Patches’ in Fenny Stratford, near Milton Keynes. Although I’ve lived nearby for years, this was the first time I’d been there. It’s a quilter’s paradise. The most amazing fabrics and lots of friendly people buzzing about. They have workshops there regularly so it had quite a community feel. The telephone barely stopped ringing the whole time I was there, so I’d say they were doing pretty well on the customer service front.
One lovely touch, they have a ‘do-it-yourself’ tea room – what a fantastic idea!
I couldn’t find the Appleton’s threads I’d been hoping to look at, but Heather quickly obliged me, despite it obviously being quite a tricky request – why can’t Appleton’s supply display/merchandising units? Come on chaps, get your act together. Anyway, Heather was wonderful and I’ve come away the happy owner of some new colours to add to the piece I’m working on from the car boot sale.
I had a quick chat with a couple of ladies in the car park – (yes, they even have their own quite large car park) – who were clearly regulars at the shop. One lady told me that she came regularly from Luton. I told her it was my first visit and she said she thought I’d be coming back quite often now, and do you know – I think she’s right!
If I’ve managed to do it correctly, you should be able to click on the picture and go to The Balancing Kiwi’s brilliant post about the shop. If not, well try clicking here instead