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.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Prizes, workshops and lace

You remember in my last post that I told you that I'd entered some of my embroidery into the handicrafts competition in our local flower and handicrafts show? Well ... I won three first prizes and one second! And was shortlisted for 'Best in Show'.

The large trophy in the centre is for being awarded the most points in the handicrafts section of the show.

It's been quite a busy couple of weeks actually as I've been trying to get all my pieces ready for our local Guild exhibition on Saturday 14th September (11am - 4.30pm in the Parish Hall at Kirkheaton if you're close enough to come along). I can guarantee that you'll be blown away by the handiwork of some of our members!

I've also attended two workshops ...
the first was held at World of Wool with a wonderful felting artist called Chrissie Day who lives in North Yorkshire. We made a handbag from nuno felt, which, for those of you who have never heard of it before, is made by felting woollen fibres into a pieces of openweave fabric, such as a polyester or silken scarf, which is what I used.

The piece of fabric I chose was patterned with poppies, so I chose autumn colours of wool (the bag is bright sunshine yellow inside) and red leather handles to pick up on the colours in the fabric. It has a firm metal frame and no stitched seams. I did do a little embroidery on the poppies when I got it home though (well, I had to didn't I?). The bag was finished in the day and only a little damp when I brought it home ... and I love it!!

The other workshop was run by a member of our Embroiderers Guild branch and we made a box. I know ... I've made lots of boxes before but I'm a firm believer that a girl can never have too many boxes and I thought maybe Janet (who makes the most beautiful embroidered boxes) might have some new tricks and tips to teach me - and I wasn't disappointed.

The lid still needs to be attached and, of course, we didn't get all of this finished during the workshop. The little lace flower you can see inside is going to be stitched on top of the lid (probably this evening). The flower was made a while ago as an experiment and is in three layers, with a hole in the centre of the bottom two layers so that when I stitch it in place with a pearl bead in the centre the upper petals should be drawn into that hole and should stand up a little. That's the theory anyhow. I'll let you know if it works.

It's a while since I showed you any of my lace, and this is the reason ...

This is what I've been working on - countless hours of work and it will eventually, when I've worked out exactly how to do it, will be attached to a plastic mask which I have. This is going to be entered into a competition too, but not until next year.

As a little light relief since completing the Venetian carnival mask, I've been making butterflies.

This is the first - much more free-form lace here and great fun to stitch. A second is already well on its way to completion in autumnal orange and copper shades.

And finally I've made a suitable background for the lace seahorse which I stitched for last year's needlelace challenge.

He's now mounted on a scrim covered canvas and, once he returns from the exhibition, will take pride of place on my wall.

Last but not least I thought I'd share with you a photograph of the corner where I create much of my embroidery.

My lovely rocking chair covered in my Liberty lawn patchwork quilt which sits next to the shelves which hold my thread stash. The fabric for this quilt was a gift from my daughter and I know that she'll be delighted to see that it is finally finished and in use on a chair which Willow doesn't like to sit in because it moves when he jumps onto it. How devious we cat-owners have to be :-)

Friday, 9 August 2013

Defeated by the heat

The summer heat this year - to which we in Yorkshire are so unaccustomed - has completely defeated me. I'm not really grumbling too much as I know so many people have enjoyed it, and it is far better to see the sunshine than the constant rains of recent years, but I have felt ill and constantly exhausted as a result - hence my lengthy absence. I have been stitching in the slightly cooler evenings though and there are completed birthday gifts to show you.

 First of all, a hardanger kit which I bought last year and has been waiting until I felt confident enough to tackle it. It's now completed and made into a cushion - in time for this weekend's local flower and handicraft show. I'm entering this into the soft furnishings category.

This kit was a birthday gift from my son - now turned into a beautiful pin cushion, which will certainly never have a pin stuck in it during my lifetime! Far too pretty for that so it will sit on my hearth to be admired.

 This little sampler bag was also a birthday gift - a kit from Jane Greenoff. Also now complete. See, I have been busy.

 Apart from the cushion I'm also entering two of my stitched books into the craft contest - my flower sampler book into the embroidery category ...

... and the Playing With Rainbows book into the 'any other item' category.

I've made a silk fabric patch to hide my name for the duration of the show.

And then there's the 3D box garden from the Owen Davies workshop in July. 

Here's where it was by the end of the workshop.

 Here it is with all the plush work finished - what a mess!!

 And after it had been shorn. Much better! The trimmings have been saved and put to one side for next spring when I'll put them out in a small wire cage hung from the bird feeder for the birds to use to line their nests.

 The gardens at the college where we stayed for that weekend were a great source of inspiration for future projects.
 Isn't this mossy wall beautiful in the late afternoon sunshine?

And here is the finished garden. I made some walls and a box to sit it inside - well it is supposed to be a box garden.

I covered the outside of the walls/box with heavy calico, covered them with gesso, painted with ivory coloured emulsion paint and then dirtied them up a little with a dry brush and a tiny bit of raw umber acrylic paint. Then I rubbed green and grey chalk pastels on paper then painted on the resulting dust to create a mossy appearance to the base of the walls.