After a snuffily start to the year, I finally made it back to the Royal School of Needlework last week. Between snow, illnesses and procrastination I haven’t made it this year. I think I have a standing email on a Monday morning to say cant make it again, so I was greeted with hugs and Happy New Year, before settling down to start work!
As I had forgotten most of my kit (who goes stitching without needles!) I started framing up my next project rather than mounting my canvas stitches. The last technique for my Certificate is Goldwork. I wanted to pick something with a bit of meaning to me for this project rather than do a more random design so I had a trawl of the Wellcome Images website and decided to go for a DNA helix.
So week 1 consisted of framing up the calico and then silk (100%silk from Silk route). Pouncing on the design and then the very nerve racking painting on – I don’t have the steadiest hand with a paintbrush and was very nervous of making a great splodge in the middle of quite a delicate design, but am quite pleased with the outcome – my best attempt to date!
So now my homework, stab stitching down the design- little stitches around the design to hole the calico and silk together and reduce the chances of bubble occurring while I’m working the design. Applying the felt padding to areas which will be raised and making a velvet board to cut the metal threads on to stop them pinging off all over the place.. Here is my first piece of felt on – just 17 more to go!
My resolution this year was to start finishing things, I’ve made a pretty good start..
I’ve finished two blocks for the Quilting bee I’m taking part in
The January block looks a bit tricky, so I’m putting that off to next week when my Mum comes to visit..
The canvas stitches piece I’ve been working on at the Royal School of Needlework, this piece is based on a painting by Georgia O’Keefe called Lake George, Autumn. This piece has been so much fun to do – I did go a bit mad with the shading, with sometimes more than a dozen threads in the needle at one time.
I have also finished a few pieces that I’m hoping to put up for sale in an Etsy shop – alongside their patterns.. Eek! I’ve been talking about this for a while now, but am close to making it real – I just need to fix the scanner and write up the patterns!
No cute photo of my son in the post, but while I’ve been productive in January, he has been in craft overdrive! He has discovered the joys of cutting and sticking! This spider was made one Friday morning before 9am. It looks likely he’ll be a lefty so I bought him some scissors just before the snow arrived, since then we’ve been drawing cutting and sticking pretty much every day.
I love sewing at Hampton Court and feel very lucky to have the chance to spend time in the classroom there. The Certificate Classroom is on the 2nd floor and has 4 of those lovely round windows to let in lots of light.
There are a number of work stations set up around the outside of the room, with adjustable trellis’ designed to hold your embroidery at the perfect height and angle..
So the challenge is to recreate these conditions at home..
My frame gets moved around all over the place!
As I’ve mentioned I like to sit in our dining room, I have the radio and, although the light is slightly better in the living room I have a daylight lamp which helps!
Here you can see my current piece held up by the table at the top and two storage baskets at the side each on a chair, which seem to be a good height for me! You can see the embroidery is surrounded with tissue paper to keep the fabric and already done bits as clean as possible while I’m working. I also use the tissue paper bits to hold my threads and the photo/ drawings I’m working from.
As you can’t see the actual embroidery so well on that last photo, here’s a close up..
Embroidery took a back seat for a while, there was the move, I got side tracked by quilting and generally got scared by the silk shading module of my RSN certificate. Now I’ve run out of excuses and have made myself buckle down and get on with it! Since we’ve moved I’ve made it in to Hampton Court three times for tuition days and I have another day booked a week monday – so have to get on with some homework.. tomorrow!
Here’s my frame all wrapped up, keeping all dust and ladybirds (we have tonnes this year) from harming my work..
and here is my piece so far:
hopefully I only have a couple of days left tuition on the embroidery and then you need a full day for mounting, a tough process I need to prepare my fingers for! Last time I could barely type after we’d mounted!
So that’s Crewel work down, silk shading nearing the end I still have gold work and a choice of canvas stitches or blackwork to go.
I finished Little Ted’s advent calendar just in time.. I decided to make it a week and a half ago, I always loved having a chocolate advent calendar growing up and as our little chap is both dairy and soya intolerant, it’s difficult to find anything he can have. I have actually got him a lovely paper calendar which is a nativity play – ill photograph it when we have more pieces in place..
So I am once again over compensating for the dairy thing by giving Little Ted extra treats
It’s made up of heart and stocking shaped pockets cut from red and white felt blankets from Ikea.
On one side is the number and the back is decorated with embroidery and felt hearts.. Each is different. The pockets are then pegged onto a ribbon with little pegs (it’s actually a kit to hang christmas cards – £1.99 from a local craft shop).
I worked on this for 4 days, with more time I would have put more planning into it, especially the embroidery – I did just make it up as I went. I also might have used templates and appliqué for the numbers, but given the tight deadline I’m fairly pleased!
And so we come to day 1, tonight we’ll be getting out the Christmas books. I love The Night Before Christmas and Raymond Briggs’ books and am looking forward to sharing them at bed time.
At the beginning of July I did my first module in the RSN’s Certificate in embroidery. You have to do four techniques: Jacobean, silk shading, blackwork/canvas & gold work.
For each subject you get 8 teaching days. I’m working at Hampton Court, but there are sites around the UK, San Fransisco and I think Japan – check out their website for a better list..
I did the Jacobean course as a 2 week intensive block and boy was it intensive! We were taught Monday to Thursday for 2 weeks and had the Friday and weekend in the middle for homework. Not realising how tough it would be when I booked it I worked the Fridays, which was fine but I was exhausted! I’m not sure if being local was an advantage or not, I had my family around me to keep me going and bring me food, but also to distract me..
I think I added it up to 60 + hours of work on the piece.
I’m writing this on the train to the first day of my second technique, silk shading.. I have tonnes of ideas and some lovely silk a colleague gave me a few years ago..
Just pulling in to clapham junction, need to change trains..