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.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Red-nosed Reindeer Christmas Cake

Jen has produced another masterpiece for our Christmas cake this year. It's another Karen Taylor design from her book - "Quick Cakes for Busy Mums". I think this cake must fit that description because Jen was much less stressed when she finished and it was even ready in time for Christmas!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Kirigami - a joint effort

A few months after I started learning Japanese Embroidery, my friend Steph brought over her JE bits and pieces from New Zealand when she visited the UK during the 2012 Olympics. This included a couple of frames with designs in progress. One of these was her phase 2 piece, Kirigami, started in June 1997 at a class in Wellington.  Steph had completed all the main motifs in the piece beautifully - the Chrysanthemum, Cherry Blossom, Plum Blossom and Pine. My favourite motif is the three-dimensional effect in the Plum blossom. It positively glows when the sun shines on it.

Her flax leaf effect in the Chrysanthemum is super-accurate. It's really easy to pick out the stars or cubes, depending on how you look at it.
All that was left to do was the single central braid for the cord and the staggered diagonal strings, so this was a great opportunity for me for me to learn those techniques. It was also an opportunity to try the finishing process on my own. It went OK but it was still pretty nerve-wracking.