Sunday, 29 April 2012

Mushroom, mushroom!

At the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch show at the NEC in March 2012 I was fortunate to be able to go on a silk shading hand embroidery workshop with Katie Pirson, where we started this mushroom. I've now finished it, and taken photos of my process in finishing it as a hoopla too, for future reference.

It was really nice to be able to work on something with silk shading/long and short stitch, as it is a very useful stitch to have in my repertoire. Katie is a brilliant teacher; I agree with her that it should probably be called 'Long and even longer stitch'!

My finished mushrooms:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (26)

And here they are on my hoopla wall:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (24)

I finish my hoops with a layer of wadding behind the embroidery, which gives a really lovely raised appearance:

Silk Shaded Mushroom (17)

I also wrote up a tutorial for finishing hoopla hoops with a layer of wadding and a felt backing, like these, so that next time I don't have to try to remember what I did. it's in this Flickr slideshow, with directions in the captions:

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch

I'm working on the second embroidery in my elements series, Earth, which is lots of strong lines on a handmade green and brown felt background.

I've been enjoying looking up stitches in my lovely new-to-me 1946 edition of Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches which I bought for £5 in Stratford over Easter. Discovering new stitches is very satisfying.

This evening, I picked out Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch, which takes a bit of thinking, but is very attractive when worked in cotton Perle. It is the green line in the photo, with some square chain stitch above and knotted chain stitch below.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Forays into Felting

Inspired by my friend Margaret, who makes lovely felt, I got up this morning and decided to make some felt.

I wanted to make a piece with colours to represent air, that I could then embroider into, so I gathered some white, grey and pale blue wool and silk, and some white Angelina.

Using Jane Doe's felting tute from Craftster (, I worked onto a cut open carrier bag, then a big sheet of bubblewrap, and wrapped it up in one of my bamboo place mats.

I started with a full layer of white, then one of grey-blue, then a mixed layer of white, the silks, Angelina and blues, then I added more wool over the silk and Angelina to make sure they'd incorporate fully.

I felted away, to the musical accompaniments of Lost Prophets*, turning my work, until I had a good solid felt, probably about 10-15 minutes of rolling. Shocking the felt was fun - I wrapped it up in the place mat and whacked it on the staircase, then jumped on it on the floor.

I've now got a lovely piece of felt drying, ready to start stitching into.

Some things to bear in mind next time:
* the silk incorporated well by itself, so next time I'll try it without wool on top, as it has become somewhat buried.
* the kitchen worktop was a good height to work onto, but a bit slippery for rolling the placemat onto, so I laid it onto a cork surface protector, which did the job.
* it worked best when the placemat was rolled away from me, so that the roll stayed together.

Now, I'm going to do a few more. I want to try green, red and purple ones.


* We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan ( is awesome felting music!