Monday, 12 April 2021
Monday, 22 March 2021
It's quite a pretentious name for such a little hoop - Ice Flame Flower - but it's the one that's stuck in my head so that's what it will be. This is a bonus hoop if you like because I came across the fabrics all tucked together in my stash whilst I was putting together a different hoop. Stash fabrics generally get put into the drawers any which way (I had started out all organised and colour coded but it swiftly gets out of control so I've given up) but these ones had been put all together and yellow and blue is such a smashing colour combination, don't you think?
I had a spare 10cm hoop lying around, as you do, so I quickly cut and stitched the fabrics down which was literally the work of five minutes and meant I had a spare hoop for a rainy day. Something this size is also great for travelling with, not that we're going anywhere at the moment, because you can just slip it into a bag with a couple of skeins of thread, a needle and your scissors and have a project to work on wherever you end up! I quite enjoy going somewhere with a lovely view, parking up, pouring a coffee from a Thermos and settling back for some relaxing stitching, maybe followed by a walk.
We've been very restrained though and barely used the car at all other than for hospital visits and the odd back up food shop so no gorgeous views for me! Lockdown in Winter is much harder than lockdown in Summer - you can't get outside as much, the light is generally poor even in the middle of the day and the trees are all asleep with not much colour outside the window to look at.
Maybe that's why my Stitchscapes are getting even more colourful, as a way to combat the grey outside! Although, saying that, we went for a walk around the town at the weekend and marvelled at the Daffodils, early Hyacinths, Crocuses, Grape Hyacinths, Celandines and green buds coming on the trees. It was the Spring Equinox on Saturday so we are well on our way to colour and the outside now! There's even a tentative countdown to the end of lockdown too which is marvellous!
I hadn't originally intended to use the smooth purl pieces on this Stitchscape as they arrived well after I'd tacked the fabrics down, but a couple of the colours I'd purchased went so brilliantly with the blues that I just had to use them. The pieces cut were much smaller than in the Tourmaline Peak Stitchscape so they are tighter and more compact and actually I'm really pleased that I had these because otherwise this piece could have been quite boring!
The top layers are really simply treated, seed stitches cover the top blue layer with bullions on the fabric edge, a single strand of split stitch follows the horizontal lines on the striped yellow fabric below and a neat-ish row of french knots top the edge.
I've used a slightly brighter yellow to work two strands of straight stitch between the dots on the yellow underneath, which is actually a polka dot print, to create a grid like appearance, with french knots in a contrasting blue at the point where the stitches meet on the dots.
The statement flower at the bottom had initially had all obvious lines in the batik print drawn round with a single strand of back stitch in a matching blue colour. The centre of the flower had some little sections in it which were also gone around with back stitch and the smooth purl worked in the larger areas around those circled sections. It looked a little bit bare in the centre where the holes were so I went back and filled in those sections with lovely oily blue beads which has worked really nicely because it adds a different sort of shine to the centre.
It doesn't always show up well on camera but in person you can really see the stripes of the coils the smooth purl is made up of and they have a soft edge to them where the light reflects - it's a tricky thing to try and explain and I'm probably not doing a very good job! Can you sort of see it below?
I was thinking of leaving it there, other than edging this layer, but it looked a little naked so I decided to try little french knots in the petals matching the colour underneath. I love that the colour gradients and changes around the flower, very much like the flames it's named after! I started with the yellow that's almost heading into green and worked two strand, one twist french knot all around the edge and in the centre of the spikes into the centre, filling in areas of the body of the petal and switching to two twist french knots in sections to cover more ground. As the colours change around the flower I've changed my colours to a much warmer yellow and a rosy orange, to a dark green, a purplish brown and even a really light zesty green - although that one matches the bright yellow a little too well so you can't really see it.
The edge of this layer was then finished with a contrasting single strand of running stitch just along the edge of the fabric to help hold it down and prevent any fraying or movement (and provide the opposite contrast to the polka dot layer above), and then two full pieces of 6 stranded floss twisted and couched down using a single strand of the same colour.
I really like the composition of this piece with the smooth purl and happy shininess at the bottom. The extra colours in the flower just lift the piece slightly from being dull and boring but the general combination of colours is warm and happy so I'm very chuffed with my bonus Stitchscape!
The stitches used in total are; seed stitch, bullion knots, french knots, split stitch, straight stitch, running stitch, couching and beading. Nice and simple!
I will probably back this piece with white felt and then add it to my Etsy shop at some point where it can hang out with all of my other original pieces so if you are interested, keep your eyes peeled.
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Tuesday, 9 March 2021
The last little Stitchscape in my set of three featuring felt rocks is finished! It completely flipped from when I first put the fabrics together as my initial thoughts were that it would be a kind of soft, misty morning piece with pale greens and lilacs. However, before I started this one I'd gone down a rabbit hole of discovering goldwork purl pieces (long lengths of tightly coiled wire in various widths and colours which can be trimmed to length and are hollow) which ended up with several different colours of 1mm smooth purl lengths in my Etsy basket!
The metallic colours are a bit darker than my original vision but I was very excited to have a play around and see what I could create. I had started the top layers whilst waiting for the purl pieces to arrive, but as soon as the parcel hit the doormat, I was snipping little pieces off and threading them to make fun loops around the rocks! You can make these pieces as big or small as you like, just cut them to size and thread a needle (I used a beading needle) through the whole length. Depending where you put your needle back through the fabric you can keep these as flat pieces (which I think is more traditional for goldwork) or as I've done, make fun loops that interlock and go in all different directions.
The top layer is a beautiful fabric print made to look like a sunrise/sunset with silhouetted birds. I haven't used the birds in this piece as they would be too large but the colour of the sunrise clouds is really pretty with cream and purple blended together. I've just worked a single strand of back stitch around the more obvious colour changes or cloud lines and used a variegated thread to try and match a little bit of the blending of colours. The same thread has been used to make bullion knots at the top of the fabric although it's come out quite blue there.
The next layer down is a pretty floral piece and I wanted to keep as much of the texture of the flower as I could. The print itself was slightly blurry so I had to guess or go over some of the details but where there were obvious petal lines I worked a single strand of whipped back stitch, again with a variegated thread so there are some differences in colour where I've whipped over the original back stitches. Between those lines I worked single strand straight stitches to try and show the direction of the petals and add more texture. At the centre of the flower I've made two strand, one twist french knots in that orange/coral colour to help start balancing some of the smooth purl in the same colour at the bottom.
The minty leaves in the centre were worked with fly stitch using two strands so they stand out a bit more, and the same minty colour was couched to the top of the whole layer as a contrast.
The blue/green batik layer under that has had all of the green leaf patterns covered with satin stitch, although I've tried to vary the direction of the satin stitch as I prefer the way it looks rather than having everything going in the same direction. Where I could I went with the length of each leaf and worked outwards along the stems.
Not all of the blue edge was covered by satin stitches so before working another line of couched thread along the fabric edge I've done a discreet running stitch just a couple of millimetres in from the edge. This is a great technique to keep those edges neat where your stitches actually in the layer may not be protecting the edge. If you are doing the same thing you want to work your running stitch far enough in from the edge that it doesn't fray.