Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Summer school and stitchery

Last weekend I went with a group of friends from my local branch of the Embroiderers Guild to our annual summer school. It's held at an agricultural college in East Yorkshire and there are people there from all over the Yorkshire and Humberside region. It's good to meet up with friends old and new and to learn together in lovely surroundings.

There is a beautiful walled garden in the grounds, which they open up for us on the Saturday afternoon. 

Aren't the carvings on these benches amazing?!

There are usually four workshops to choose from and this year there was a traditional silk and goldwork class making a Tudor design taken from the sleeve of a lady's gown, a goldwork class which used traditional techniques in modern ways, an experimental mixed media class and a needlelace group. No prizes for guessing that I took the needlelace class! Actually I would have loved to do the goldwork and I did buy the tutor's book so I'm planning to play with that some day soon.

Here's what I did over the weekend. It doesn't look like a lot of work does it? The flower is quite large though and the thread is very fine - machine embroidery cotton. I learned lots of new techniques as this is my first piece of Point de Gaze work. As lace goes this is quite a recent style and was first made in Belgium in the latter part of the 19th century. The flowers are three dimensional with extra petals stitched to the front of the flower - you can see the outlines of the extra petals laid on the matte film waiting to be stitched.

I've done quite a bit of additional work on it since I came home. I'm loving these deep purples!

This little sampler was what I was working on before I went away. The key thing on this piece will be the edgings (cordonnettes) which will be decorated in lots of different ways in the Venetian Gros Point style. This technique is much older as it dates back to the 17th century.

And in the evenings, when the light is too poor to stitch with fine purple thread, I've completed another double page spread of the embroidery sample book. This page is blackwork - another big favourite of mine.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Bedroom at the retreat

The bedroom in the retreat is beginning to come together. I'm still working on a quilt for the bed and I need to put some kind of decoration on the back wall - artwork or drapes, or maybe both, but I decided to show you anyhow.

This is the chest of drawers - all empty at the moment. Do you like the lamp I made, with its pretty lace shade?

and this is the bedside rug that I stitched.

This is the table from the living room, complete with holiday scrapbook, mobile phone, jug of country flowers, coffee mug and two Cath Kidston fabric covered notebooks.

My own garden is in full bloom at the moment - a bit of a jungle thanks to all the rain that we've had but I have to admit to rather liking that wildness so I won't be cutting it back any time soon. I don't live in the country but I always wanted a cottage garden, so that's what I have.

This rose was given to me for my 50th birthday so it's now 14 years old - and still smothered with flowers every year from June to September, and beyond.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Out of the workroom

The retreat, that is. I moved it out earlier this week. It's not completely finished but it's almost there and I really needed the space on my workbench to work on other things. So ... high time I showed you the latest pictures.

This is the decking on the front of the retreat...

and here is the other end of the decking, complete with sewing box at the ready beside the wicker chair.

and here's a peek in through the door with the light on. I'll show you more pictures of the inside next time.

At our dollshouse club we're getting ready for the annual show and this year we're each making a table for a table-top sale room. The owner of my table is selling patchwork materials and quilts.

It's not quite finished yet - the baskets need filling with threads and I need to think of something else to put down there on the floor - perhaps some quilters' rulers or something.

I know it's not Saturday ...

... but here's a stitching roundup anyhow. I didn't post last weekend and I'm away at our Embroiderer's Guild summer school this coming weekend so there'll be no post again. So this is a review of my latest stitching adventures.

The first piece I have to show you is another piece of lace. This one is worked in really fine silk threads - from my favourite thread lady, Stef Francis, again. I mounted it on a piece of silk and then onto the lid of a box which holds note cards.

The second piece I've been working on is my sampler book. The Little House Sampler page is complete and the band sampler is almost finished. There's a lot of spare fabric around the edge of each page as the finished page size is just a little larger than that border around the house picture. Lots of pieces to make miniature cushions for the dolls house and book marks for gifts!

There will be more lace to see next week as the summer school workshop I'm doing is on needlelace, led by Pat Gibson. Pat is well known as both a lace maker and a textile artist and did publish a book entitled Needlelace Stitches - sadly now out of print though I did manage to buy a copy online.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lace and samplers

This is the piece that I've been working on for the past couple of months - finished at last!

It is a copy of a motif from a piece of 17th century lace which is part of the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and it will be one of the pieces that I contribute to next year's exhibition on 17th century embroidery that our branch of the Embroiderers' Guild is putting together. 

I was given the pattern and a photocopy of the original lace way back in October last year when I went to my lace tutor's studio in Wales on a lace-making holiday. Bearing in mind that I only started making lace in July last year, for a long time it felt like a challenge too far! Then in April or May this year I started thinking that maybe I'd give it a try - nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. I go away for another lesson with Pat in a couple of weeks' time so watch this space to see what we make then.

Apart from the lace, I've been working on the sampler book which my son gave me for my birthday. Here are the first two pages finished ...

and the third one begun.

I've also been stitching a patchwork quilt for the retreat. I printed a picture of patchwork onto some cotton fabric and then backed it with wadding and a piece of cotton fabric and just stitched along the lines - so much quicker than stitching together all those little squares. The binding is attached so now I just need to slip stitch that in place and the bed has a quilt.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Retreat progress

I will start today by giving a big welcome to my new followers. It's lovely to have you around. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my offerings.

I have made quite a bit of progress on the retreat in the past week and now I'm onto the really fun bit - making the building look cosy and lived in. It's all fun of course, but I do enjoy the search for all those little bits and pieces of accessories and soft furnishing that make a miniature home come to life. So, here's the latest guided tour ...

The carpet is in place in the living room and since taking this photograph I've added flowers and a couple of notebooks to the table and a lamp beside the armchair. I'll show photos of that in the next report.

The back door has a lock and handle, and there's a new set of shelves above the sink. Can you just see the cat's food bowl down beside the dresser too?

I added a washstand upstairs and, of course, made some suitcases in pink and cream leather as additional storage - and a pair of fluffy slippers in pink. I'm not sure those particular toiletries will stay. I have some which are much prettier to add instead I think.

There's a new chest of drawers (minus handles) beside the bed and a wicker chest together with a shabby little bird cage. That sharp angle on the roof is a little tricky to fill but I'm getting there. Do you like the sun hat hanging on the end of the bed? That may eventually go outside on the deck but just for now it's safer hanging there.