It’s THE most busy and stressful time of my life right now, hence the long gap, but fear not, my needle is not resting idle and turning rusty.
Cross stitch, same grey palette as my original skull pillow, it’s nice to get back to the lovely calming rhythm of little x’s. Although this is a smaller scale than my original, and you can see at the top of the pics my wonderful contraption gifted my my guru, which allows me to stitch in this dull Yorkshire winter without going blind. So I stitch two-handed using my fanny frame, and look through the integral magnifier which forms the front part of this anglepoise daylight lamp. It’s a marvel.
This was a learning process project. I hadn’t done most of the stitches before having really focused on cross-stitch work, so I wanted to teach myself more freestyle techniques – satin stitch, french knots, spider-web stitch, seed stitch. I intend it to be the first of a series of poisonous mushroom ‘samplers’.
I could accept the argument that the skull is unnecessary – but I can’t resist the nod to old Victorian poison bottle labels. I am me, after all.
You can read more about the process of this piece here and here.
I really need to get better at taking photos, I know, I know.
These are all on one piece (top photo) of freestyle hand embroidered insects, by my Mum.
This is the piece my Mum is most proud of. It’s counted cross stitch from a pattern (I don’t know who by) on black Aida of a stone bust of the Virgin Mary.
Super kitsch classic counted cross stitch. This was in my bedroom when I was little and I still love it now. A doll’s house. My 9th birthday present.
This was one of those work-in-progress pieces that took my Mum years to complete basically because I think she found it so hard on her eyes with the size and all the different shades. It’s on evenweave with linen threads I think.
My Great Aunty Kora’s crewel work fire screen that she did when she was in her mid to late 30s, so about 1957ish? Apparently it was for a competition run by the Blackpool Evening Gazette and she came 2nd.
Mum has also given me a whole bag full of amazing 1930s-1950s white cotton tablecloths and doilies and things with hand embroidery and crocheted edging, and reams of hand lace and tatting too! Call me sacrilegious but these were rotting in a drawer anyway so I’ve dyed half of them to velvet black to go on my stall at the next Reetsweet event on 5th December (and you can read a sweet interview with me about my jewellery on their blog here). The rest were really too pretty or plain or too small but will all, I’m sure be upcycled and embroidered on soon.
She also finished my pillow for me. It looks so good!
In other news…I’ve been a bit lax lately posting, I’m sorry. Just. So. Busy!
But expect a flurry of posts coming this way over the next few days as I have a week of free evenings next week. A whole week! When I say ‘free’ obviously I mean I will still be working on various projects, but I am taking December off from doing my Aromatherapy case studies, so no after-work massages, and lots of sofa-craft time.
Plus I’m going to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching exhibition on Sunday so you know they’ll be loads of pics of my haul.
So more Satin stitch and Long and short stitch. The spots are what I’m most happy with. A very successful experiment with a stitch I found in my fave Anchor stitch book – Spider’s Web Filling. Basically I’ve made a 2-ply thread from 2 different shades of cotton for the ‘spokes’ of the web which make the base, and I tried to make the centre point match the original photo – so not all actually in the centre. Then using a lighter shade for the centre bit I wove in and out of the spokes, then switched to a slightly darker tone for the outside. I couched all the edges in with the dark mushroom colour in single strand back stitch, and where I felt like it was a bit ‘flat’ I’ve added a few more spokes on top in the same colour. Quite labour intensive, but I love how it’s turned out.