Monday, 25 June 2012

The Skirt Project

The second project I embarked upon having begin to do embroidery has turned out to be a pretty mammoth task! I have always had an ambitious streak when it comes to craft, I suppose it is the will to create something I will actually use. Perhaps at some point I will show you my second or third crochet project, that was a pretty big deal a while ago.

Anyway, what I wanted to do with this was to embellish a piece of clothing, and still actually be able to wear it. I chose big, bold colourful designs since the way the skirt hangs really demands something dramatic ... oh and I had just bought a large pack of brightly coloured threads!

It is by no means finished, and I'm still working on it bit by bit, but other things, mainly gifts for people took over my attention. So here it is in it's unfinished state, artfully hanging on a rosebush (where else can a girl display her handiwork?)

The skirt project, unfinished as yet, but it makes me happy to look at it!
This project will always remind me of learning various stitches, if only because you can see in it all the mistakes!

You will certainly be able to see from the next picture, evidence of my improving dramatically at chain stitch...

detail from the Skirt project, with chain stitching in the bottom left corner, and much better chain stitch towards the middle!

On the left you will see large clumsy chain stitches, and on the right small delicate ones, you just don't get this kind of character when a machine does all the stitching.

You can even see, in faint orange crayon where the next leaf will sit - when I get around to putting it there.

I have no doubt that you will be seeing this project again, hopefully when I've decided what to do with the rest of the white space - especially the back, I feel like I can't just leave the back blank when the front is so flamboyant!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Inspiration post {1}

So I went to the V&A museum last week with my Mother. This is the third time this year that I have been, and I am sure that there will be plenty more inspiration posts based on exhibits and collections on display there. For this one I am going to concentrate on the collection that I have been waiting for since January – the fashion collection.

Since I started getting interested in embroidery I have wanted to go back to the fashion collection at the V&A because I remembered a childhood visit there when I first saw some of the most amazing outfits and pieces of clothing that I have ever seen and I wanted to see how embroidery fitted into the story of fashion.

Well, the answer seems to be that artistic embellishment of the most beautiful design and style has been a part of fashion for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and there are certain classic aesthetics that, over time, just will not go away. There is a particular style that interests me at the moment. One example of this kind of work is the background of this blog, which is from an 18th century waistcoat in the V&A collections – it is this botanical, floral, look, elegantly done in repeating patterns and rich colours on a pale background.

Evening dress
Evening dress by Balenciaga from the V&A Collection
The exhibit that interested me most this time was the dress pictured here. Made by Balenciaga in the 1950s, the embellishment could be 200 or more years older.

The distinctively 50s shape is complimented and enhanced by the timeless embroidery.  It just seemed to show me that great craftsmanship will look amazing in any era. Great work is always great, and therefore my interest in hand made fashion with great, beautiful embellishment is valid, there is a place for it everywhere.

I know I’m a long way off from being able to produce anything approaching this, but that’s why it’s called inspiration. I would love to be able to decorate anything in such a complimentary way as this.

God Bless,


Thursday, 14 June 2012

The First Post...

Well, this will be my first blog post, the purpose of this page is to collect and share pictures and writing about my embroidery and needlework.

I suppose I should start by sharing how took up sewing! The story begins on Ash Wednesday this year, when I decided (for better or worse) to give up all forms of TV for lent. This is quite a big thing for me, I wouldn't say that my favourite thing to do was to watch TV but I just seemed to be sitting in front of the computer screen for evenings on end watching TV on demand. Not fulfilling. So I gave it up.

The first night, I actually did my ironing for the first time in I won't tell you how long. But there isn't enough ironing to last me 40 days so I had to find something else to do and one of the things that sprung to mind when I was thinking was to take up embroidery. It seemed like a good idea so...

I popped out after work to get an embroidery hoop and some threads, and I downloaded some antiquated volumes about needlework from Project Gutenburg, and set to work on my first project. I started by embroidering a pillow case with some flowers and leaves, and sent it to my Grandmother, I thought she would appreciate being the first to see my work - by this time, I had made up my mind that this was not going to be a one off!

Since then I have been working on a couple of other projects, I have given my newly married brother and his wife a rose that I designed and embroidered for them and have been endlessly working on a white skirt, working extravagant flower motifs - you'll see that soon I assure you but today I want to show you my Grandad's sparrow. 

This little guy is on his way in the post to my Grandad, who enjoys watching the birds.

This was mainly done in encroaching satin stitch, which I learned here, with a little couched satin stitch on they eye, which I was taught by none other than Mrs Beeton. He's probably not ornithologically (which isn't a word) correct. But he has a lovely colour scheme, and has made me fall in love with browns and grays in an altogether new way!

So I will try to keep you updated with my endeavours in embroidery and quilting {my even newer hobby!} and show you some of the inspiration behind it.

God bless,