My table is clear and usable for the first time in MONTHS! I am sitting at my computer like a civilised human, not scrunched over it on my lap like the last picture in a comedy ‘evolution of man’ illustration. Lucy moved in with me nearly a month ago :D and although the co-habiting is lovely, my tiny flat has had an onslaught of possessions that has been tricky to work through. But last night the in-laws came for a celebratory housewarming paella so we really had to get a grip and make the place nice. The evening was lovely and they brought us many delightful gifts (including a drill set which we are crazy excited about) but the best part for me is probably the re-discovery of my dining table and today’s prospect of a whole day to work at it! I am starting with a breakfast of some toast made from the roasted garlic loaf I made yesterday and writing this little update. I’m keen to get the sewing machine out and make more cushions. I have a heap of unloved knitwear brought home from work. I have sold some cushions from the Etsy shop! Admittedly, only to my adorable friend Pete, but a sale is a sale. Plus I’ve had some interest from my Lucy’s parents who would consider selling some in their fancy interiors store, so I should really up my game for them and make a few with proper labels and fastenings. I’m thinking it would be good to embroider labels with ‘Milkbottle’ and some fabric/care info, I just need to find the best way to do that quickly and simply. Embroidery-wise I’m pushing to get this guy finished: The cross-stitch of Raven Rouge at the Art Macabre death drawing session from ages ago. The lovely lady who is the subject of this picture has shown an interest in having it when it’s done, so that’s giving me the incentive I needed to actually crack on! I’d also like to get the girls-in-knickers embroideries framed up today. I’ve acquired two vintage hoops (thanks to a recent bout of ebay addiction) which I think will be perfect. I’ll put these up for sale too, although I’ve no idea how much for yet. And I signed up for the certificate course at the Royal School of Needlework! I’m so excited. I’ll be starting Jacobean Crewelwork at the end of June. Going to have a nice day out to Hatfield House to get some Jacobean inspiration. The assessment criteria are pretty strict on this module, holding me very close to a traditional tree of life design. No room for naughtiness. Not that Jacobean is the most inspiring medium for subversive subject matter. It’s the silk shading module that is most tempting – I desperately want to stitch pubic hair while everyone else is doing kittens and pansies. Lucy’s Christmas jumper is coming on nicely: I’m up to the fair-isle section on the front now. Those two massive balls of yarn which I got at Ally Pally last year are stretching really far. Once I’ve finished both the body panels I’ll weigh the green again and split what’s left into two balls, and that will pretty much dictate the design of the sleeve. Lots of green will mean the possibility of more detailed fair isle and a shorter white section at the top, only a little will mean a short green cuff with a simple design to transfer to the white. It’s fun to make this up as I go along! Just need to make sure that the angle at the top of the sleeve runs smoothly into the shoulder and we’ll be golden :) And just for a little dose of cuteness I’ve been making these baby socks too: Sometime I feel super frustrated with myself for mot getting much done, but actually when I look at things laid out like this I am pretty happy with what I manage to do. If only I didn’t have to go to work!
Amy’s christmas present is done and given. I’ve been dying to put progress photos of this on Instagram, but then the festive surprise would’ve been somewhat spoilt.
But here you have it, retrospectively step by step. This was a Sue Hawkins kit that I bought at the Ally Pally knitting and stitching show this year. At several points I thought that I’d made the wrong move picking this and it was weird and pretty dull, but actually I loved the little guy in the end :) The colours are quite dark and as a result the backstiching isn’t as clear as I’d have liked, but in general it was a nice kit with clear instructions.
I did have to buy extra thread for sewing up, whether that was because there wasn’t enough in the kit or because I’d used the wrong colour I’m not sure! But I popped accross to John Lewis on Oxford Street and I have to say I wound I really pissed at them; the lighting in there is so misleading, I left with totally the wrong colour. And I’m not much of a complaining customer, I’ll put up with almost anything, but this really irked me! The selling of that whole department is based on the selection of colour, I’m sure it doesn’t take the brains of Britain to realise they could do with natural light! I emailed them, I got a very general response, and I’m left feeling like a marginalised crafter whose work is no more important than a child making a sock monkey. Less so infact, seeing as the kids shit is next to the bloody light well. Screw you John Lewis, SCREW YOU!
My lovely friend Lauren has been a big fan of the embroideries I’ve been doing lately, and she’s requested one of her own for Christmas. So this weekend I got the fear and figured I should get a shift on with that.
So here’s the work so far. I’m quite pleased, although I wish I’d done it on a more tightly woven fabric because this is getting quite distorted and I’m a bit worried about trying to steam it flat! Her face is nice though, and the hands are less terrible than they could be. I’m sewing this in Appletons crewel wools, which I think I enjoy more than the usual embroidery floss, and trying to get tones in without any background shading. Fingers crossed she’ll end up as a nice piece.
I’m pleased with how this turned out :) I traced out the basics of a photo onto graph paper and added the block colour. I started out following it literally as a chart in a normal scale cross stitch, but it just looked terrible, far too tiny. So I started over, with bigger crosses and following the chart as a guideline. Left the pants until last, that was a bit of rookie error, didn’t have a clue how to stitch them. Ended up with half size crosses, which were a right pain but I’m pleased with the effect. It’s not easy to stitch on top of a regular cross though, as and when I start the next one I’ll try to leave a space. I’m also a little disappointed with the hands, the mitten hand leaves a lot to the imagination and the other side has a very lumpy finger – will crack it next time.
So I want to take this and make prints, although I’m not really sure how to go about that. Scanning it was not a sucess. Maybe the best way is to take a photo and retouch it in photoshop if needs be? I’d also like to do others in the same style but various colourways, I have the same fabric in blue and mint so they’d be a nice starting point. Just need to look through some more pictures of scantily clad girls. Tough life.
My favourite time of the year! Fuck Christmas.
Yesterday was for shopping, with my mum and her friend Jane. Was relatively well behaved on the finances, although I did have a few treats :) And got a couple of Christmas presents, including Latvian mittens that mum picked out, which she may get finished or still in kit form depending on my time management. Picked up some little skeins of wool for crewel embroidery, want to have a go at portraits of some kind, or something a bit random. Will be fun to play :)
And today I’ve been in the Upcycling Academy with the Craftivists. We’re collecting signatures on a giant embroidered petition, together with War on Want (look them up here) the campaign is raising awareness about sweatshop labour under the slogan Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops. I’ve met such brilliant people today! Sarah Corbett runs a brilliant collective here, doing some witty and inspiring work, so I’ll be happy as a clam back there tomorrow!
I signed my name, of course! But with time on my hands I think I might have gone overboard on the embellishing.
It’s only October 2nd, but there is a Christmas tree in my office today and I definitely heard Mariah’s dulcet tones earlier on, so I figure the deluge has started.
I would REALLY like to go the RSN again next year because it was so fricking awesome last time around, and seeing as there’s no way I can afford to do the certificate any time soon (I have done the maths, it did not look good) this would be a very welcome compromise.
In order of preference, I fancy:
1. Progressing with Jacobean Crewelwork. (Could maybe progress from Bird to Tree, or even Lion.)
2. Goldwork Squirrel. (Who wouldn’t want a gold squirrel?)
3. Beginners Silk Shading series. (Because once I’ve learnt to flowers I can ditch that and do rude things instead!)
Or all of them would be fine too.
Thank you muchly,
PS. I have finished the bird now and will take a better photo when it’s mounted etc, but even the WIP shots make me happy :)