Jillian’s Retro Nativity Scene

Hi everyone

Christmas is soooo close!

Here’s a very special retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath. It’s a wallhanging and the colours and design are very evocative of the 1970s…..

Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath  copy

Detail 1 of Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 5 of Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 6 of Retro Nativity Scene stitched by Jillian Bath Wishing you all a joyous Christmas and a sparkling 2015!

Carmen

Siennese Illuminated Treasure

Hi everyone

I hope you’re really enjoying the lead up to Christmas.

In this post we’re sharing an inspiring piece that celebrates Goldwork and Stumpwork embroidery. It’s an Alison Cole design called a Siennese Illuminated Treasure and it’s been stitched by Fran Novitski.

Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

When I studied the photos I could just imagine this gorgeous box being tucked away in the saddlebags of the Three Wise Men on their way to the Nativity. What do you think?

Here’s some wonderful eye candy for you thanks to Stewart Bath’s photographs:

Detail 1 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 2 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 3 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 4 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 5 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 6 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 7 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Thank you Fran for sharing this exquisite treasure with us and Stewart for the great photos.

Enjoy!

Carmen

Embellished Cross Stitch

Hi everyone

I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well. I think I’m in denial about how much I still have to do!

Given that this is the season for lots of glitz I’m going to share an exquisite and complex cross stitched piece that includes some lovely embellishment. It’s called Autumn Lady and has been stitched by Sharon Burrell. It’s a Mirabilia design by Nora Corbett.

Here’s some great eye candy for you to enjoy:

Detail 1 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 3 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 4 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 5 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

and here’s a detail that’s just so cool:

Detail 6 of Autumn Queen x-stitched by Sharon Burrell

I’m in awe of the consistency, precision and control in Sharon’s stitching.

Bye for now!

Carmen

 

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Hi everyone

In this post I’m sharing some lovely Christmas stitching.

Santa Stocking

First up here is a too cute felt Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath for one of her grandchildren. It’s from a Bucilla kit.

Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 1 of Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 5 of Santa Stocking stitched by Jillian Bath

Isn’t the detail just wonderful?

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard

As you know our 2014 Creative Challenge was Stitching Love and Hope and involved re-interpreting WW1 silk postcards. Many of these postcards were of course Christmas cards sent to loved ones back home.

Lesley Jemesen’s elegant and beautiful postcard is called Remembering with Love and has a Christmas theme stitched mostly in metallic thread:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Lesley Jemesen

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Lesley Jemesen

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Lesley Jemesen

 

Enjoy!

Carmen

Postcards with a Difference

Hi everyone

For the start of the week I’m sharing four postcards from our 2014 Creative Challenge to re-interpret WW1 postcards.

The first two feature ribbon embroidery.

Robyn Duncan has created an elegant and understated postcard with a lovely message:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Robyn Duncan

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Robyn Duncan

Diana Churchill has also used ribbon embroidery to create a delicate and evocative heart with a simple but poignant sentiment:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Diana Churchill

Detail1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Diana Churchill

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Diana Churchill

The next two postcards use Whitework to create a subtle, delicate and beautiful message.

Annette Horvath’s postcard combines Cutwork with a charm to evoke the period:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Annette Horvath

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Annette Horvath

Ros Stanford also uses Whitework to create this refined symbol of a heart (love) that incorporates an anchor (symbol of hope). She’s added a sprig of rosemary for Remembrance.

2014 Creative Challenge Postacrd by Ros Stanford

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Ros Stanford

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Ros Stanford

These postcards are all profound in their own way with the common thread of elegant embroidery techniques to create powerful symbols of love and hope that resonate deeply.

Have a good week!

Carmen

Sashiko Sampler Quilt

Hi everyone

This post is specially for those of you who love Sashiko.

I’m sharing a Sashiko Sampler Quilt designed and stitched by Jennifer Zanetti. It’s a large quilt that would easily fit a Queen size bed and is an absolute tour de force. Here it is hanging to give you an idea of the size:

Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

It’s full of detail and in real life the visual effect is that the Sashiko Samplers seem to ‘float’ on the surface of the quilt.

Sashiko

The word Sashiko means little stabs or little stitches.It is a traditional form of Japanese needlework that evolved in the Edo period (1603-1867).  In this period there were sumptuary laws that delineated class lines by defining what people could wear. Only the nobility could wear silk, bright colours and large patterns. Commoners (merchant and peasant classes) could only wear homespun fabrics dyed with indigo.

Cotton was imported and beyond the means of ordinary people. So they spun cloth from hemp, wisteria and paper mulberry. It’s thought that the original fabrics had a loose weave and the warp and the weft provided linear patterns for the running stitch. At this time cloth was a precious commodity because it was time-consuming to produce so it was imperative to find ways to conserve scraps of old clothes and re-purpose them.

So the origins of Sashiko are utilitarian and developed out of necessity. It was used to strengthen cloth, quilt layers together to create warmth and to mend and recycle worn out clothes. The indigo dye was durable and thought to repel insects and snakes.

The Sashiko patterns also had a spiritual significance e.g. where the threads of stitches cross over is called the me which in Japanese means ‘the eye’. These ‘eyes’ protected the wearer and in the museum examples of the garments worn by fishermen and farmers you can see that they are densely stitched with Sashiko patterns and hundreds of ‘eyes’.

If you want to read more about the history of Sashiko there’s an interesting essay here by Michele Walker who has worked with the last generation of women to practise Sashiko in Japan.

You’ll find a really useful set of tips on Sashiko plus a great listing of other resources here.

Sashiko Samplers

Now for a closer look at those  Sashiko Samplers and some awesome eye candy. Here’s a striking combination that deploys the Asa no ha pattern between two fans:

Detail 1 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and closer

Detail 2 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

This next one is a variant of the Schippo tsunagi pattern

Detail 3 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

While the next block is a more complex variation of the same pattern:

Detail 4 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this is for all of you who love to look at the stitching in detail:

Detail 5 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The last in the indigo series of Sashiko blocks is this Maru-Bisha-Mon:

Detail 11 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The variation in the blue is due to the light sources in the room. On the quilt block it’s a uniform colour.

The indigo blocks are balanced in the quilt by a series of Sashiko Samplers in white with an added decorative theme. Jennifer has added a stitched bird to all of these white blocks.

We’re starting with  the  Hana-bishi pattern:

Detail 6 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then on to the Nowaki pattern:

Detail 7 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then the Hana zashi pattern

Detail 9 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this pattern which I haven’t been able to identify:

Detail 10 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The final white block has the Seikai-ha pattern with a quilted panel as contrast:

Detail 12 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer ZanettiThere are also Sashiko quilting elements in the design which create a visual and textural effect:

Detail 14 from Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 15 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

I really haven’t done this quilt justice as the overall design is incredibly intricate and complex. Jennifer’s choice of fabrics complements and in some cases echoes the Sashiko samplers. The geometry and spatial configuration of the blocks alone deserve a blog post.

But I have picked out one of the many decorative blocks in the quilt to share with you as the end note for this post:

Detail 13 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Enjoy!

Carmen

Counting Threads

Hi everyone

I hope you’re having a great weekend. In this post I’m going to share two works that use different counted thread techniques.

Blackwork

The first uses Blackwork which is an embroidery technique that dates back to at least the 16th century. It’s also called Spanish Blackwork because it’s thought that it was first brought to England by Catherine of Aragon. It became very popular during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as a decorative element on clothing but gradually lost ground in the 17th century.

If you’ve read The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer you might recall that he describes the clothing of the miller’s wife in this way:

“Of white, too, was the dainty smock she wore, embroidered at the collar all about with coal-black silk, alike within and out.”

The stitches that are characteristic of this geometric technique are Double Running Stitch (also called Holbein Stitch) and Back Stitch. It’s usually stitched on an evenweave fabric.

Flight of a Butterfly

Flight of a Butterfly  is a beautiful Blackwork and Goldwork design stitched by Sharon Burrell. Sharon began this piece as part of a class with Tanja Berlin at the 2013 Koala Conventions. She says that it was the first time she’d done any Blackwork and she absolutely loved the experience because Tanja was such a fantastic teacher. Sharon also found Tanja’s class notes really helpful for finishing the embroidery after the class.

Here’s some awesome eye candy of Sharon’s lovely stitching:

Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Exquisite!

Now to the  second counted thread technique……

Wessex Stitching 

When I first came across this technique I thought it looked a bit medieval and assumed it must be very old. The ‘Wessex’ name also adds to the aura of history because during the Anglo Saxon period it was a centre for embroidery and illuminating.

But no it’s actually a more recent style that was created by Mrs Margaret Foster (1843-1936) who lived in Bath, England. Very little is known about her life but her technique, Wessex Stitching, has endured because after her death her sister donated all her notes and the 300 pieces she developed for an exhibition to Gawthorpe Hall.

Gawthorpe Hall has an awesome collection of lace, embroidery and other textiles. It is absolutely on my bucket list. You can read more here.

Wessex Stitching combines a limited number of stitches in a wide variety of patterns and colours to create a decorative effect. It’s also usually stitched on evenweave fabric.

The Broken Window

We’ve been progressively sharing with you the postcards made for 2014 Creative Challenge  Stitching Love and Hope. The postcard we’re sharing in the post is a wonderful modern re-interpretation of the WW1 Silks.

It was created by Catherine Fetherston and is called  The Broken Window. It was inspired by photos of church ruins in France in WW1. The embroidery technique used is Wessex Stitching.

I find this postcard very moving and profound in its understated elegance. The colours and design Catherine has chosen are very evocative of a stained glass window fragmented and yet still splendid in its beauty.

Here are some photos:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

What do you think?

Enjoy!

Carmen

Lest We Forget

Hi everyone

In honour of Remembrance Day I’m going to share four more awesome postcards from our Stitching Love and Hope Creative Challenge to re-interpret WW1 Silk Postcards. All four postcards feature poppies.

The first is a beautiful Needlelace and Stumpwork postcard by Sharon Burrell:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

This next lovely postcard is by Jenny Clayton:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jenny Clayton

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jenny Clayton

Margaret Roberts has stitched two delicate and vivid poppies on her beautiful postcard:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Margaret Roberts

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Margaret RobertsWhile the message in Luba Tomaska’s evocative field of poppies sums up the solemn purpose of today:

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge postcard by Luba Tomaska

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Luba Tomaska

 

If you want to see all the Stitching Love and Hope postcards that we’ve shared to date then go to the Challenges Gallery here.

Bye for now

Carmen

Brazilian Beauty

Hello again

I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend and finding time to do some stitching.

This post features a beautiful piece of Brazilian embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell. The design is by Delma Moore for Blackberry Lane and is called Shades of Autumn.

Brazilian Embroidery

This technique is characterised by the use of rayon threads which have a sheen and a special z twist to them.

While the motifs are usually flowers the stitches used create a very textured and dimensional surface. If you love doing Bullion Knots, French Knots, Cast-on Stitch and Drizzle Stitch then you’ll love doing Brazilian embroidery. I can’t say that Bullion Knots are my favourite stitch but I do find them easier to do with rayon threads – somehow they’re more forgiving and it’s easier to control the tension and shape the knot after you’ve pulled the needle through.

The backgrounds which are flatter use stitches like Stem Stitch, Fly Stitch, Fishbone Stitch etc.

If you’d like to watch videos of how to do these stitches then head over here to Mary Corbet’s website.

Sharon’s Shades of Autumn

Here’s some awesome eye candy for you to enjoy:

Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 3 of Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 4 of Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 5 of Shades of Autumn Brazilian Embroidery stitched by Sharon Burrell

A big thank you Sharon for sharing this beauty and to Stewart (Bath) for the great photos.

NSW Embroiderers Guild – Exhibition

If you’re in Sydney next weekend you might like to head over to this exhibition:

Surprise Exhibition copy

Bye for now!

Carmen

Some Stitchy Insect Goodness

Hi everyone

Hope you’re having a fun weekend with some time for stitching. Here’s some eye candy for you to enjoy with a cuppa or a glass of your favourite drink.

Pat’s Reverse Applique

In August the Creative Group had a session on reverse appliqué and Pat Bootland had fun creating this piece:

Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Here’s a closer look at the insect embellishments……

Detail 1 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 2 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 5 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 4 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 3 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Cool aren’t they?

Jennifer’s Elizabethan Panel

Now I’m taking a chance in sharing  this next piece with you.

I’m currently in North Queensland visiting family and I’ve been very lucky to enjoy a wonderful Elizabethan Panel designed and stitched by my sister-in-law Jennifer. It’s done in silk threads on silk and  measures 1.55m by 0.6m so it’s an amazing work. The central design revolves around 14 birds in padded needlelace.

This embroidery is a tour de force and is embellished with an awesome selection of antique beads and gemstones.

I hesitated to show it to you because it’s not yet blocked and stretched and because the photos are taken with my point and shoot camera – so there’s a lot of finessing still to do.

But it’s very doubtful that I’ll ever be able to show you this piece framed and photographed by Stewart Bath as it’s a long way from the Atherton Tableland to Canberra. So I’ve decided to jump in and share some small design elements.

Here’s a small section of the whole:

Section of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

and here are some stitchy critters and flowers:

Detail 1 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 2 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 5 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 3 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 6 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 7 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 8 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 9 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 10 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 11 from Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Cross fingers, toes and everything else that we might be able to share the whole piece sometime in the future!

Take care

Carmen