Friday, 29 June 2012

TAST2012 Week 26

Sharon's TAST stitch for this week is the Palestrina Stitch. It is also known as Tied Coral Stitch, Old English Knot Stitch, Double Knot Stitch, Smyrna Stitch, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are other names as well!

Anyway, it is a fun and easy stitch and VERY BEAUTIFUL.

 It took me some time to find a nice design but I finally let me be inspired by Swedish folk costume. In a book (Hemmets Handarbets Lexikon, Band 4) I was attracted to a photograph of a hat for the ladies of the district of Gagnef, Dalarna, in Northern Sweden.

It has an inner hat of starched lace and an outer cap of printed calico. One part of the calico print features a beautiful leaf and that leaf is what I have tried to interpret here with Palestrina  and Satin stitches. Instead of embroidering the dots I made a little dent in my pearl stash and added a row of pearls of various sizes.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Greeting cards and the Dragonfly

I have been busy making a few birthday cards. I won't show them up close until the recipients have received them, so here are just a few titbits:

Now, one card I just have to show in full (the lady who I made this for is not a blogger), and that is the DRAGONFLY.

Chris Richards at Ella's Craft Creations has embroidered some stunning dragonflies. She is a master stitcher and has kindly offered a tutorial on her blog. What an excellent idea for a birthday card, I thought, and following Chris's simple and clear instructions made this little one.
It is not in Chris's league but I am quite pleased with the result. Actually it was much easier than I had anticipated and so much fun. I can highly recommend having a go.
One change I made was to use pressed Angelina fibres for the wings instead of the organza ribbon in the instructions.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

I have worked on my bias tape quilt.

The forth border has an undulating ric-rac line. On top of the ric-rac, I have used metallic thread and there are small detached chain stitches along the edge.

Now for the quilting; I made rays spanning outwards with the traditional running stitch. I then whipped the stitches with metallic quilting thread to add a bit of sparkle.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

TAST2012 Week 25

Cable Chain Stitch is the name for this week's TAST challenge.
Some participants seem to love it, others not. I belong to the former group and had great fun making this piece.

Two wonderful things happened while I made this:

1) I was slow at starting and the advantage was that I learnt something from another member who had already posted her contribution! From Carolyn Foley over at Caro-Rose-Creations I picked up the idea of making several wraps around the needle for the 'link' which creates a little bead-like knot (green short corner lines, see above). Thank you, Carolyn.

2)  I later experimented by wrapping the thread a couple of times the other way round the needle, which resulted in a very different looking chain, more of a cord (the yellow cross in the centre).
I was then so happy to see that Lakshmi of Hand Embroidery from Sadalas  had made something similar, a Cable Twisted Chain.
We have also both made a 'Magic Cable Chain' where the colour changes (the blue&red chain circle).
Here I am stitching along in Japan and Lakshmi, you are in India, doing almost the same variations of the stitches at the same time. Is it TAST telepathy? Whatever it is, it is great!
Lakshmi has posted a tutorial for two of her stitch variations. Go and check them out!

A big thank you to Sharon and to all who take part in TAST for sharing ideas, thoughts, tutorials and the love of embroidery!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A snowman in the rainy season

What on earth is a snowman doing in the rainy season?

Well, do you remember the post about NHK Partnership Quilts 2013? I wanted to finish my entry as soon as possible, so set about making my block last night. In my stash I found the beautiful navy print with silver trees and thought that would make a nice mountain. Navy sky and a full moon - well the theme IS circle after all. The snowman was easy to make out of three circles. I added a muffler, a bucket for his hat and a few colonial knots became the eyes and buttons. Of course he needed a carrot nose and twigs for his arms.
Most time was spent on making the Swedish flag. Here I took the aid of the sewing machine and rotary cutter.

Had this poor man been 'real' he would have melted and rained away in the dismal weather we're having in Tokyo today. Sometimes it is nice to be just a few pieces of fabric!

Should you have a chance to visit Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2013, do check him out!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Carrot or whip

Sharon at Pintangle has offered another great service - to share our work in progress on a weekly basis. I think this could be the answer to my dilemma of starting a project and then slowly loosing pace and interest/enthusiasm for it until it has turned into a dusty UFO. It will be my personal carrot or whip to complete things.

I have already shown a bit of work on my bias tape quilt here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Since then I have completed the embellishment on the print border and this now becomes the first show and tell on Work In Progress Wednesdays Sewing Bee:

Quilting in gold thread, beads and pink pearls.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Print, gold and pearls

First of all, I would like to say THANK YOU for all your kind comments recently. Yesterday I was both stunned and extremely honoured to be highlighted by Sharon for my effort with the Buttonhole Wheel. It must have been a hard task for her to select just a few as there were so many lovely items, cogwheels, flowers with faces, calligraphy, scribbles, trees, pebbles, even the illustrations for a song... Check them all out from the Comments on Pintangle.

I have been hard at my bias tape quilt but not quite finished embellishing the next border. I will show you what I am working with: a Jinny Beyer print border fabric, pink pearls and beads and gold thread.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

TAST2012 Week 24

As you might remember last week was a TAST free week. Sharon at Pintangle suggested making something out of the old stitches and some participants made lovely pieces. I used the week to work on my bias tape quilt instead.

We are back to normal routines and for Week 24 we were given Buttonhole Wheel. This is a fun stitch and does not have to be made into a perfect wheel. Half a circle, quarter or even just a thin triangle would be OK. I immediately thought of a picture frame and designed some arty flowers for the picture.

Friday, 15 June 2012

The China Tea Cup Border

The second border from the centre on my bias tape quilt has a very special pattern.

The story is that I saw it on a tea cup in Gothic House, a superb Bed&Breakfast in Norwich, UK. I can warmly recommend anyone looking for a special place to stay in Norfolk to head for this wonderful B&B. High quality of everything, from the warm welcome, the exquisite rooms and the scrumptious breakfasts...

Where was I, yes, the tea cup. As you can see from the picture below,  this is the old type of cup without a handle. Clive kindly let me take a photograph and I set about planning a quilt border based on the china pattern.

The pink flowers are made with a 'Quick Turn' and you can read about how to make them and the green bias tube here, here and here.

I thought simple cross hatch quilting would be best for this part.

I know some of you want to see the whole quilt, but forgive me for being a tease, I will expose it bit by bit. Sorry!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Floral sequins

The floral sequins are on:

You can also see how the first border looks together with part of the centre block.

On the TAST front, there is some progress to report; a floral display is beginning to take shape. No picture yet.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The first border

It's wet and cool in Tokyo, so I changed the background display to something 'rainy'.

There are several borders on my bias tape quilt.

On the first one I appliquéd a meandering pink tape. On top of that I made romb shaped straight stitches and in the centre of each romb I placed a sequin and a small seed bead. On the outer edge I added small detached chain stitches in lime green. I have now made a couple of quilting lines along the tape and in each inner valley I quilted a circle. 
Today's job is to add  floral sequins in those circles.

Another job for today is to ponder what to do with the new TAST stitch, which is Buttonhole wheel.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

More embroidered petals

Here are some more of the bias tape edged petals:

Two of the petals have Zig-zag stitch, an attractive stitch I picked up last year in the UK. It is easy and fun to make and when adding a short running stitch over the crosses it gets even prettier (I think).
You can also see Couching, Running and Half Feather stitch

Saturday, 9 June 2012

What to do during the rainy season

It's official! The rainy season has set in in the Tokyo area. Muggy, sticky, humid and wet, that is what the air will be like for at least a month.

So what is the best activity to do when you can't go out? Well, stay indoors and work away with needle and thread of course!

Right now I am quilting a crosshatch on my bias tape quilt. Before I show a detail of that, here is a shot of another of the floral petals edged with bias tape that I have bedecked with embroidery.                              

Now what can be seen here? We've got: Detached chain, Running, Closed Feather, Whipped running, V-stitch, Colonial knot, Scroll and Couching stitch

Friday, 8 June 2012

NHK Partnership quilt 2013

Last night NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) showed in their craft programme, Sutekini Handmade what's in stall for the quilt show in Tokyo Dome next year.

Every year in January Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival is held at Tokyo Dome. It attracts crowds of people both from Japan and abroad. There are many things to see, the contests of course, antique quilts and works on loan from quilt collections around the world.

One of the 80 Partnership quilts from 2012. There are 120 blocks in each quilt.

Many visitors come to have a look at their own block in the Partership Quilts. I contribute with a block every year (to read more and see my previous entries look at NHK from the drop down menu at the top).

For 2012 the theme is CIRCLE or CURVE. There are so many possibility for this, e.g. Drunkard's Path, Dresten Plate, Fan, Snowball...

Or what about one of these things:
The sun setting in the ocean
The full moon
a tennis ball
the OS rings
Sunbonnet Sue with a balloon...

Should you wish to participate, then these are the rules:

  • one block per person
  • 22cm x 22cm with a seam allowance of 1.5cm included
  • flimsy block, i.e. no wadding, no quilting
  • your name should be written with pen in the seam allowance of the lower right hand corner
  • your block should have reached NHK by 31st August, 2012
  • enclose a note with your name, address, tel no, email address
  • send to:
Partnership Quilt
NHK Sutekini Handmade
2-2-1 Jinnan
Tokyo 150-8001

Anyone contributing with a block should be sent a postcard with information about into which quilt the block has been included. This is a great help to find your block should you have a chance to visit Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival next year.

How about contributing?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Two coloured chain

Yesterday I showed a detail of a two coloured chain stitch which is not the usual Magic Chain stitch. I learnt this neat stitch from Totsuka Embroidery Stitch Book 3 where you can find a lot of variations of the Chain Stitch. In the book there is no name for this stitch, not even in Japanese.

Anyway, I made a simple tutorial:

You need two threads of different colour on your needle.
Take a stem/outline stitch with one thread on each side of the needle.
You get a 'chain stitch' with a link in two colours. Continue stitching in the same way.

Here is another version:
Alternate the placement of the two colours, left and right of the needle.
The chain then looks like this.
Finally I want to show you the traditional Magic Chain stitch. This can often be found in stitch dictionaries:

You start with two threads in two colours.
Place only one thread under the needle and make a chain stitch.
Pull both threads, the blue makes a link in the chain. Next place the yellow thread under the needle.
When you pull both threads this time, it is only the yellow that makes a link. Continue to alter the threads and,  hey presto, you've got a Magic Chain.

I hope this little tutorial was fun and inspiring.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A TAST-free week

Sharon let us cast a vote on having a 'catch up week' and the result is that Week 23 is a TAST-free week. Those who still want to do something along the TAST project are invited to make some 'eye candy' out of a number of the stitches we have learnt so far.

I am thinking about it, but thought I should used the free time to catch up on my UFO quilt. It has been in the making for a long time and I have reached the quilting stage.

In the centre there are some appliquéd flowers. Around the flowers I have worked echo quilting.
The edges of the flower petals are covered with bias tape that I have embellished with embroidery stitches.
Among the embroidery stitches you can see: Fly stitch, Herringbone stitch, Running stitch, Detached Chain stitch, Couching stitch and a variation of the Magic Chain stitch. It is along the inner edge of the bias tape, worked in blue and green thread. Actually it is worked like a back stitch or Split stitch. Does anyone know what it is called in English?

Friday, 1 June 2012

TAST2012 Week 22

First of all, to those visiting my new blog for the first time, Welcome!

Due to changes in the IT world and the fact that many of my TAST friends have had trouble accessing or following my old blog I decided to make a new, fresh one. I am still a bit unfamiliar with the workings of Blogger so bear with me...

Anyway, let's talk about stitching! This week Sharon of TAST2012 gave us the Knotted Cretan Stitch to tackle. Unfortunately, I really had to tackle this stitch. It was new to me and however much I like the plain Cretan Stitch, this knotted version was a struggle. First of all you need to think in mirror image to make the second (from down to up) part of the stitch, secondly the thread got tangled up all the time and I am sure I have misplaced the lower knot several times.

So I simply made a frame and rows of stitches of different size and in a variety of threads. The most fun was adding the beads in the middle of the blue stitches. When I had finished, I saw a pattern of fish bones in my white stitches  and made a little fish skeleton, too.

                                                                                              Among the photo galleries I have created at the top of the blog there is one for TAST2012 where I have collected all the stitches we have made so far.

Bye for now and happy needlework!