Colour, colour everywhere!

I think Summer is passing us by here in Edinburgh, it’s been mostly wet and cold – we even switched our heating on – IN JULY!!!!!

Frustration with the weather has spilled over to my torn strip sample, it isn’t really going anywhere! Since last time I have worked on the areas that didn’t feel right and added some more strips.

Torn strip sample

Torn strip sample

It is interesting how looking at a photograph helps me to see things I don’t notice looking directly at the sample – the yellow strip on this bottom left layer needs to be trimmed back.

Where now though? These are the ideas I’ve had going around in my head:

  • I’ve been playing around with some ideas in Photoshop using circles and squares/rectangles, the idea being that these would be stitched in heavier threads using a solid line – back stitch most likely.
  • Another thought I had was to take a variegated thread and stitch loads more horizontal lines of running stitch over the whole thing.
  • Shisha mirrors! As I’ve said before I love stitching Shisha mirrors, is there room for some here?
  • Maybe I should just cut the whole thing up and use strips of it elsewhere!

All that colour has me a little uncomfortable, I tried converting the image to black & white and have to say the tones looked okay. I keep thinking that I need to add something really dark, maybe the shapes?

As you can tell I’m very undecided. Do you have any thoughts?


Take A Stitch Tuesday & Not a stitch sampler then!

Take A Stitch Tuesday

Some time ago a friend was working on a wonderful crazy quilt sample that she was doing as an online class with Sharon B; this was my introduction to Pintangle. Sharon’s blog is dedicated to hand embroidery and crazy quilting with lots of patterns, tutorials and templates and the very popular TAST – Take a Stitch Tuesday.

Back by popular demand, I decided to to join in with this latest TAST challenge which is to produce and share a sample using the stitch of the week with a new stitch given, as the name suggests, every Tuesday. I thought this challenge might prove a distraction from/inspiration for my torn fabric strip sample!

Week 1: Fly Stitch


Week 2: Buttonhole Stitch


I already had these strips of calico backed with wadding so thought I would work as many varieties of the stitch on each one to eventually make up as a stitched sample book. Others are embellishing patterned fabrics or producing pictures and fabric books, there is such a variety and it’s lovely to see everyone’s ideas and beautiful embroidery.

I don’t think it is too late to join the challenge……………

Not a stitch sampler then!

I eventually decided to add some more torn strips to my sample, sticking with running stitch to attach them.

Torn Strip Sampler

Think I need to trim some from the 2 attached at the top that have long expanses of yellow & purple – they unbalance everything.

I have some thick threads that I dyed at the same time as these fabrics so I’m thinking I might couch some down, just need to think about the design. I also like the idea of adding some shisha mirrors – just because I love stitching them!

Any other ideas would be very welcome.

Work in Progress

So I’ve been dipping into my stash of procion dyed fabrics and decided to use up some of the smaller pieces that I just couldn’t bear to throw away.

I really enjoyed making torn strip samples on a workshop with Ruth Issett and, as much of my stash includes fabrics dyed following this workshop, I thought I’d make a larger piece in this style.

I started by gathering together my torn strips in varying sizes and colours then tacked them randomly to a ground of calico fabric.

I then thought ‘what now’ and sat around just looking at it for a while! Do you ever have that feeling, you get so far and then lose momentum?

I thought about free machine stitching everything in place in order to catch in all those frayed edges but I quite like them, they add a soft texture. So I decided that I would make this a hand stitched piece and I would use only my own dyed threads.

My starting point has been to use a simple running stitch to secure everything in place; I chose an orange shade as this contrasts nicely with some colours and tones in with others.

Close up of stitched strips

Close up of stitched strips

What to do next is the question.

I’m thinking some kind of stitch sampler but I will need to be careful that this background doesn’t just become distracting – possibly a layer of organza on top to knock back some of the colours a bit?

Thinking cap on till next time!

Inspired by Lynda Monk

As well as designing and making my entry for the Hillarys Craft Competition I have continued to work on samples using techniques in Lynda Monk’s books.

This particular technique is quite magical!

Lynda Monk Sample 1

I have used a base of pelmet/craft Vilene (S520 or S80/240), that is coloured with water based paint – Brusho Crystal Colour in this case. When dry Bondaweb is used to fuse a layer of transfer foil on top then a sheet of tissue paper is lightly adhered using PVA or acrylic medium before more PVA/acrylic medium is rubbed liberally into the surface. As it dries the colour on the Vilene migrates through to the surface.

This sample has a lovely pitted Sample 2asurface that arose by accident, I think my iron was too hot when transferring the foil so it lifted some of the Bondaweb off. A happy accident as I really like the distressed look.

Not such a happy accident – the highlighted area on the image shows a tear in the tissue paper – you have to be quite careful when rubbing the medium into the surface to avoid holes in the tissue. Depending on your project this could easily be covered up with an embellishment.

I have used my samples to make a couple of books and practice my bookbinding stitches.

The red book has four signatures and I have used basic long stitches but twisted each pair 3 times for added interest.

The yellow book has 8 signatures stitched in a zigzag line diagonally across the spine, 4 lines go one way & 4 the opposite way giving the diamond pattern down the centre of the spine.

I used 120gsm paper in this yellow book; in order to use it as a sketchbook it really needs a bit more support to give a firmer cover.

Lots more sampling to do I think!

A Stitching Hiatus

Who knew that getting a new boiler installed could cause so much upheaval?

Our house is very small, it cannot really accommodate a stitcher/crafter and a musician in the same household! Trying to confine all our equipment to the small area not impacted by the work took a long time only to have them come in on the morning work started to announce that more space was needed and a frantic effort was required to move more furniture!

Now the new boiler is in but we are still waiting for the chimney breast to be blocked in so that the decorating can be completed; it feels like we have been squeezing around obstacles for months but we are slowly getting there.

This has been an ideal opportunity though to focus on organising all my materials and equipment in a more business like manner. To get some inspiration I have been trawling websites and magazines for ideas. My most coveted workspace would have to be this one at take a look at the rest of the pictures, oh for this much space!

craft room organization

My reality is a tiny dining area that has to function as dining room, home office and sewing space so I have to make use of some outside storage and a bedroom cupboard; I think this is where most of my problems have arisen – having similar items in different locations.

So here’s my plan:

  • Sort through EVERYTHING and only keep what I will really use.
  • Store similar items together.
  • Sort out my fabric stash and create a record of what I have and how much.
  • Label and record location of everything.

Do you have a dedicated workspace or a shared space? What would be your best advise for getting organised?