Sunday, 2 August 2015

Nuthatch in Spring

At the beginning of July, I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of Trish Burr's London classes. Trish designed this piece especially for the UK classes because the Nuthatch is native to the UK. I would recommend  taking a class with Trish if you get the opportunity. She provides very clear explanations of the techniques and lovely kits. I particularly like the way she explains how her approach to needle painting is evolving.

This was my first completely silk shaded piece of embroidery. I have done smaller amounts of silk shading on previous pieces but my results always seemed a bit crowded and clumsy. I was a bit nervous attending this workshop because I thought I might be aiming a bit high. But what a surprise it actually looks like a bird! Trish's choice of colours really helps of course and the steps are broken down clearly.

It's always interesting to meet other embroiderers at workshops.  Over lunch I was talked to lady who had been retired for 20 years about how her list of UFOs had continued to increase (quite dramatically) since she had retired. She has come to the conclusion she will never finish all of her UFOs and she just enjoys working on them. I have completer/finisher tendencies or to put it another way, I like to tick boxes. I also find myself thinking about the next piece of embroidery which means I get stressed about finishing the current piece. Recently I followed the Here and Now Meditation guide on My Yoga TV which is all about being present in the current moment. The conversation I had with the retired lady reminds me that I need to enjoy what I'm doing when I'm doing it, in the here and now. Actually finishing something is just a bonus. I think you can tell I enjoyed embroidering the Nuthatch.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Happy Birthday to me

It wasn't a big birthday this year - unless you're a geek like me and occasionally quote your age in hexadecimal - in which case I was 0x30! However Jen still made me a lovely cake. This was her first try at proper sugarpaste flowers and I would  say it was a very successful first go.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Whitework Button - Buttercup

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Jenny Adin-Christie  at Embroidery Now in Winchester. We were given a choice of 5 button designs. I chose to do one of the simpler designs to give myself the best chance of finishing it. The strategy worked because here is the completed button. The design is small (1 1/4" across) and for the majority of the stitching I found it helpful to use a magnifier. It was my first workshop with Jenny and the fact that I was the only first timer in the room demonstrates what a great teacher she is. Jenny's kits are beautifully put together and include very detailed instructions - well worth the money. It was also my first time at Embroidery Now. I have been thinking of attending one of their courses for some time but it took until this year for the stars to align enough that I was free at the right time and spotted the class before it booked up. Their venue in Winchester is lovely and Jane Bennett who organises the courses made me feel very welcome. I'm definitely hoping to mage a return visit - I just need those stars to align again!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Fishing Teddy Bear Cake

It was my brother's 50th birthday on Easter Sunday which gave us an excuse to make him a cake. As my parents live near a canal he has been an angler since his early teens and he has soft spot for bears. So it had to be a fishing teddy bear cake. My contribution was baking the cake - the rest was all Jen. She followed an online tutorial to model the bear but the hat and sandwiches were her idea. The bite out of the second sandwich was a particularly cute touch. The lake was flood filled royal icing and the waterfall was piped royal icing. The grass was done with a special purpose grass and fur piping nozzle, which worked really well.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Beaded Kumihimo Necklaces

After having some success with a beaded kumihimo bracelet, last year I decided to try a simple necklace with size 8 seed beds. This has proved to be a very useful necklace and encouraged me to try a few more designs. Around this time I found  the Kumihimo Beaded braids  Facebook page and was overwhelmed by the inspiration. 

The first design I tried was  the Kumihimo Twins Necklace by Yvonne Roseanna Reavis in Beadwork magazine October 2014 with topaz AB seed beads and amethyst AB superduos . Using the superduos proved to be a bit tricky but the result has a nice texture.

I've recently redone this design with silver lined crystal seed beads and indigo orchid superduos. The effect is more formal I think.
While I was at the Houston Quilt Festival last November, I made my usual visit to the Accent Bead stand and couldn't resist the Trellis necklace kit, which uses Czech spade beads and long magatanas. I love this necklace. Despite the spiky look, it's surprisingly comfortable to wear.


I like the magatana section of the Trellis necklace but it tends to be invisible because it is designed to be at the back of the necklace. So my final necklace is white and crystal AB long magatanas and aquamarine AB seed beads. My inspiration for this necklace was frosty mornings but it also makes me think of seafoam.  

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sweet Cherry Cake


The February half term holiday was good opportunity for Jen and I to co-operate on a cake. We picked the Sweet Cherry design by Linda Garnham from the Spring 2015 Cakes and Sugarcraft magazine. After the mad frenzy of her Art GCSE last year, Jen was missing painting and she made a fantastic job of the painting cherries. My contribution was baking the cakes and making the cherry decoration for the top. This was a simple design and fun to make.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Sashiko Pincushion

Here's my first finish of the year. It's a kit from Euro Japan Links. I actually started it 2 years ago but put it to one side because I wasn't particularly happy with my stitching. When I was in Houston last year I visited the KimonoMomo booth and bought some sashiko bits and pieces. Carol Ziogas, the owner of KimonoMomo has some videos on her blog, which are worth a watch. When I got home from Houston, the technique clicked. So I started afresh and I was much happier with the stitching this time. It's a small square of shippo design which wraps around the cushion.

I was particularly pleased with the back of the pincushion because the design centred well.

This project has had an air of serendipity about it throughout. When I drew up the shippo design at the start, I found I had the perfect tool - a sashiko template from Sharon Pedersen. This was part of the kit from the Sharon's Sensational Sashiko workshop, which Steph and I attended during our first visit to the Houston Quilt Festival in 2008. This workshop was all about sewing sashiko designs on a sewing machine - a great technique, which I'm hoping to come back to in the future. The table runner below was the result.