Thursday, 28 July 2016

July 2016 Bead Journal

July was somehow an unsatisfactory month. It's not quite over yet but I've finished my Bead Journal Project piece anyway.

So why was it unsatisfactory? Well, there seemed to be a lot of waiting for things to happen and a general air of impatience and sometimes lethargy in the house with little bits of worry thrown in. There were some nice things too. For some reason I feel this piece sums it up quite well. We had a few scorching hot days which is why I chose this particular fabric with its 'scorch' marks. In fact it's a fabric I rust dyed some months back. The overall brown theme represents the general 'unsatisfactoriness' of the month, with the little coloured beads being the nice bits.

I've been doing more embroidery lately so I wanted to include some here. I recently bought a back copy of Embroidery magazine which had an article about Ollivier Henry. He makes the most fantastic historical costumes and is an expert embroiderer but despite being able to do just about every stitch there is he says that left to himself he would choose buttonhole stitch, couching and French knots so I decided to use just those stitches in this piece. The couching at the top covers the pen line where I accidentally used a permanent pen instead of my fabric marker. These lines are making quite inventive in finding ways to cover them up and I quite like the way it's making me do things I wouldn't think of other wise.

Here are a couple of close ups which, unfortunately, are out of focus. I'll retake them when I have time,

Button hole wheels filled with beads and French knots.

I forgot to mention the three turquoise beads and the square white and turquoise one. Well, despite the month being a bit iffy, some of the things we've been waiting around for look like they might be really positive in the end so these splashes of my favourite colour represent the feeling of good things to come.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Little Windows Beaded Quilt

I've called this a beaded quilt but by rights it's got more embroidery than beading. Here it is.

This is a tiny bit bigger than normal, maybe about 12" by 14" (haven't measured it). It was inspired by a piece of textile art called 'The Old Garden' shown here on the right by the Polish artist Bozena Wojtaszek. Her amazing blog (where you can buy her work) The Textile Cuisine, is here and the link to 'The Old Garden' is here.

I was quite pleased with my effort until I took another look at Bozena's and now I realise I've still got a lot to learn!

Here are a few close ups.

I've just noticed that most of these are sideways but never mind. All of the fabrics (apart from the backing) are fabrics I've dyed myself. I do quite like the combination of different colours and textures. I'm also quite pleased with the black/brown back stitched flowers shown above left. I used a stamp to stamp on the design then stitched over it. This piece also has some stitches that were new to me including the braided chain stitch shown above right.

I seem to be moving more towards embroidery and away from all beads at the moment. I already have plans for my next piece but more about that later. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Embroidery stitch library

This isn't really a blog post, it's actually somewhere for me to keep a stitch library. Stitch libraries are easily available online. The one I use most (which I think is excellent) is run by Sharon Boggon on her website Pin Tangle. But this page is really just for me to keep a note of stitches I've actually tried myself. It's a bit like my Natural Dyeing Results page - meant just as a resource for me but shared in case anyone else is interested.

picturestitch and location

Back stitch
Little Windows

Blanket stitch
 or Buttonhole stitch
Little Windows

Braided chain stitch
Little Windows

Buttonhole bar
Little Windows

Buttonhole wheel
Little Windows

Cast on stitch
Little Windows

Chain stitch
Bright White

Cloud stitch

Cross stitch
Rose Central

Detached chain
stitch or Daisy
Little Windows

Feather stitch
Rose Central

French knot
Little Windows

Parma stitch
Little Windows

Pekinese stitch
Bright white

Satin stitch
Rose Central

Stem stitch
Rose Central

Bright White

Whipped wheel
Little Windows

Saturday, 9 July 2016

June 2016 Bead Journal Project

I'm a little late with this piece.

The inspiration for this one was the idea of bravery and courage. This has been on my mind this month for two reasons. Firstly, a number of people in my family have made quite brave decisions recently. For some this has been to do with their careers, others it has been whilst travelling and others have broadened their horizons by doing new things. Each of these have required courage and the conscious decision to do something that they personally might have found quite a challenge, even if someone else wouldn't have. 

The second reason that bravery has been on my mind is because I had the chance to visit my great grandfathers grave on the French/Belgium border. My great grandfather joined the army as a volunteer in the first world war despite being in his late thirties and blind in one eye. He was not considered fit for front line service and spent some time working in the ambulance service in the UK, but as the war progressed and more troops were needed even those not considered A1 (fit for the front line) were sent abroad. He worked for more than a year in the labour corps not far from Ypres. His letters home played down the danger and indeed, as a member of the labour corps, he was always behind the front line. Unfortunately, just four weeks before the end of the war the supply line he was working at was shelled and he, along with four others and a large number of horses was killed. He is buried in a small cemetery on a hill by a wood in a very peaceful spot. 

I chose the colours purple and gold because they reminded me of medals and medal ribbons (the British Military Cross is hung on a ribbon of white and purple, and of course there is also the US medal, the purple heart.)

The fabric is a piece I made using flour batik just over a year ago. I've kept the beading to the edges so that the lovely design of the fabric still shows. I also used one of my favourite buttons.

It was one of the buttons which came from the gumball machine in the church-turned-antiques market. I've been back since and the machine is gone sadly. I often struggle to use 'special' beads and buttons but this piece felt worthy enough!

This piece is also a good example of necessity being the mother on invention. When I marked up the fabric I accidentally used a pink fibre tip pen instead of my fabric marker pen. I then missed the sewing line and ended up with a pink line visible round the edge of the square. In order to hide this I embroidered scroll stitch over it. I quite like the effect but probably wouldn't have done it otherwise. I've made the same mistake on a few other pieces so I'll have to find a variety of inventive ways to cover it up.

I haven't posted anything since last month's bead journal project but I have been working on something. It combines a lot of embroidery as well as beading and seems to be taking me a long time but I'll get there in the end.