Archive | July 2015

Canvas work Embroidery

At work this week there were a couple of colleagues leaving who had helped out over my sick leave. I really wanted to give them a small gift as a way of saying Thank you.  I would like to share with you the gift cards I made for these colleagues.

Embroidery on CanvasCanvas can be a brilliant background fabric for small projects as it is stiff and easy to handle however the stark whiteness can often put people off using this fabric.  By colouring the canvas it can be used for free embroidery as you do not have to cover all of the background.  I colour the canvas using silk paints as these are colourfast once pressed with a hot iron.  When canvas is wet the stiffener used in the fabric sizing softens and the canvas will quickly lose its shape therefore the canvas must be pinned out into position onto a board to prevent any distortion.  Once prepared the canvas may be painted with the silk paint, this must be then left to dry thoroughly then it can be unpinned and pressed.

Small flowers embroidered onto painted canvas www.kateskloths.co.uk

Small flowers embroidered onto painted canvas
www.kateskloths.co.uk

 

 

 

This gift card was embroidered onto hand painted canvas using rayon and cotton embroidery threads.  The stems are embroidered using straight stitches, the flower petals are bullion knots and the flower centres are french knots.

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy embroidered onto hand paintd canvas www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy embroidered onto hand painted canvas
www.kateskloths.co.uk

 

 

 

The daisy in this gift card was embroidered using cotton embroidery thread.  The petals are embroidered with pistil stitch and the flower centre is  embroidered with french knots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet

CrochetCrochet – A new way for me to lose hours and days…… I would like to share with you my new waste of time that has me totally hooked……

In April I taught myself how to crochet.  This is something I have wanted to learn for many years however never managed to get around to it.  Whilst recuperating from a period of ill health I sat down with a book, You Tube, some yarn and a hook, a few months later I am hooked!  I began this process by practicing stitches and trying to keep the same number of stitches on each row, I met a lady in a wool shop who kindly showed me how to start a chain and how to stitch a treble – she told me that this was the one and only stitch I would need to learn to move forward and after leaving the shop I have practiced and practiced. Crochet Hat

The most confusing thing about crochet is the name of the stitches – trebles, as I learned IPad coverthem, are actually doubles in American patterns and doubles are singles – talk about making things complicated however this is where You Tube has helped me because I have been able to watch stitched being worked and then decide what they are called.

My first project was a hat and then I decided to have a go at amigurumi and I also made an iPad cover.  The hat was a success – the rabbit was … well all I can say about the rabbit is that I have tried and the lady in the wool shop was right – trebles are the best.

Rabbit2Rabbit1

 

After trying a couple of small projects I then began a blanket – I have called this my recovery blanket and I have then moved onto a couple of shrugs (I don’t have photos of these yet but they were mainly using treble stitches and I even tied new patterns and V stitches)

Recovery blanketrecovery blanket 2

 

With this new hobby I was quickly collecting a variety of new bits and bobs including hooks and stitch markers – I have managed to pull myself away from my crochet for a while to make a storage roll.  Now sewing is my first love and always will be so it only seems fitting that I have used my sewing skills to make something to keep my hooks safe.  I have made this out of a selection of remnant fabrics I had in my sewing box.  I began by making the inner of the roll by stitching down narrow pockets for the hooked and using ribbon for the needles, scissors and pins.  The outer cover is decorated using crazy patchwork with free machine embroidery over the joins.

Crochet storage roll

The opened roll with storage for hooks, needles, scissors and stitch markers

The opened roll with storage for hooks, needles, scissors and stitch markers

Crazy patchwork with free machine embroidery on crochet storage roll/

Crazy patchwork with free machine embroidery on crochet storage roll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So last week I began my next crochet challenge and this one might take a while.  At the Woolfest last month I bought a beautiful hand dyed indigo extra fine merino and silk yarn.  This was in a hank so last week I sat myself down and wound it into a ball – this took a lot longer that I had imagined, I have 100g of this yarn which is lace weight and approx 800m long – thankfully I have a twirly gig that helped..

Starting to wind the extra fine merino and silk yarn into a ball

Starting to wind the extra fine merino and silk yarn into a ball

 

The ball of fine yarn is nearly complete

The ball of fine yarn is nearly complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have made a start at a fine shawl – it is worked on a size 2 hook.  I have taken the pattern from a You Tube demonstration from which I have made notes and written up the pattern in a format that I can understand.  This project may take some time…. I will keep you all updated on my progress

The first motif

The first motif

 

A couple of more motifs later....

A couple of more motifs later….

Crochet is starting to take shape - It s going to take some time....

Crochet is starting to take shape – It s going to take some time….

I am pleased to say that after showing my friend Cath how to crochet a granny square she too is also hooked and is now having a go at a shawl  🙂

 

 

 

Daisies (and a Vulcan)

 

Daisy embroidery photographed with daisies in the garden www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy embroidery photographed with daisies in the garden
www.kateskloths.co.uk

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The other evening my husband was reading my Woolfest blog, although I was in the other room I knew he had read it all as I heard a small gasp and then the words ‘Oh no!’  I guess he now knows that I am planning to do a little bit of dyeing so it will not come so much of a shock to him when he arrives home from work to a house full of wet threads!  With this in mind I thought I would continue with a bit of textile work for the minute and creep back up on the dyeing.

Last weekend my husband and I went on a beautiful walk in Cumbria.

Kate at Isel Bridge

Kate at Isel Bridge

We have a humble abode (a small caravan!) in the North of the Lake District and this is our bolthole.  My husband loves to fish which is ideal as I get to spend some time sewing or just relaxing.  We love to walk – preferably a pub walk where there is always a light refreshment either along the way or at the end.  Last weekend we walked from our caravan along to a beautiful little place called Isel and then we called into the Lakes Distillery on the way back, it would have been rude to walk past and not pop in.

Along our walks I am always on the look out for wild flowers and my husband loves some water so that he can look for fish – my goodness we really know how to enjoy ourselves 🙂 This was a perfect walk to combine fish and flowers…..

 

Daisy hedgerow at Isel Bridge, Cumbria

Daisy hedgerow at Isel, Cumbria

Dancing daisies

Dancing daisies

Close up of daisies in the hedgerow

Close up of daisies in the hedgerow

We walked down the river which led onto the most tranquil country lane, the hedgerows were filled with colour and scent.  I have photographed so many flowers I could be embroidering for a long long time.  Along the walk I photographed an abundance of colour icluding Buttercups, Clover, Vetch, Red Campion, Forget-me-nots, Irises, Herb Robert and Thistles.

My favourite flowers were the large Daisies in the hedgerow.  I love the simplicity of this flower with the bright sunshine center and clean lines of the petals – this has been the inspiration for my next embroidery………

 

 

Vulcan overhead

Vulcan overhead

Vulcan approaching

Vulcan approaching

Vulcan leaving

Vulcan leaving

As we continued along our walk we heard a rumble in the sky -the Vulacn was approaching.  This was a wonderful sight.

In the late sixties and early seventies my Dad worked on these magnificent beasts in the Royal Air Force.   2015 is the last year this aircraft with fly.  It was amazing to see and hear this aircraft so close and we were directly under the flight path – it is a shame the cyclist did not appreciate it as much as we did.

 

 

 

So back to my embroidery…. Daisies

 

Daisy Embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy Embroidery
www.kateskloths.co.uk

I prepared the background by using a piece of hand dyed muslin and backed this with a piece of cotton calico for stability.

The Daisies are three dimensional and have been worked on water soluble fabric.  I trapped some yellow silk fibres and fabric scraps between two sheets of water soluble fabric – I arranged these in circles to represent the flower centers and secured these in place with machine embroidery.  The flower petals were also worked with machine embroidery and when I was happy with the shape I washed away the water soluble fabric and allowed the flowers to dry.

The leaves are hand dyed muslin and scrim secured with hand straight stitch and once the Daisies were dry they were attached to the background fabric.

 

 

Close up of daisy embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up of daisy embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

I now need some more spare time to produce textiles from my other photographs – Oh and I also need to dye some more stuff……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woolfest

Last weekend I visited the Woolfest at Cockermouth in Cumbria.  Woolfest leaflet

This is an annual festival of wool with craftspeople and artists celebrating the best of British wool.  The Woolfest is now in its tenth year and attracts many visitors and a wide range of exhibitors from sheep breeders to spinners and weavers.  The festival is held in one of the local livestock centres and the stalls are erected in the cattle mart area there are many demonstrations and sheep parades along with many exhibitors including yarn producers, knitters, hand dyed yarn and textile artists. This is a brilliant exhibition that really inspires me and also costs me a small fortune stocking up on my stash.

I visited this exhibition with my mother, mother-in-law and aunt.  We arrived early and made our way around the first small hall.  There are so many beautiful hand dyed yarns it is difficult to decide which are the nicest.

 

Hand Dyed Yarn and Fibres Woolfest 3Hand Dyed Yarn and Fibres Woolfest 2Hand Dyed Yarn and Fibres Woolfest 1

This year I have had a period of ill heath and I have been suffering with a balance disorder.  This has prevented me from working on my sewing machine for periods of time and therefore as part of my recovery I have taught myself to crochet.  I am really enjoying it.  As a child if I was ill my mother would wrap me in her ‘poorly blanket’, during this illness I have crocheted myself a blanket however I am calling this my ‘recovery blanket’ as it has helped me recover and enabled me to fill my days.  Indigo Dyed yarn

So back to the Woolfest – with a new string to my bow I was even more delighted with the choice of yarns on offer and could not quite decide what to crochet next or with which fibre or colour……
I eventually succumb to the most delectable extra fine merino and silk yarn hand dyed with indigo and an added sparkle yarn – I have decided to crochet myself a fine shawl – the next bid decision is to choose a pattern so this could take a while.

Creative textiles is ,my first love and always will be and therefore I was drawn towards the fabulous textures and colours that were on display.

weavingPatchwork Sheepyarn sheepHand dyed feltShoppingFelt hand Weavingyarns

 

There were also the nicest breeds of sheep that were so well behaved – nothing compares to a natural fibre.
Sheep

As I walked around this exhibition I realised how much I missed dyeing my yarns and fabrics and I was inspired to start and dye some more – this time just for fun 🙂  I found myself being pulled towards the undyed yarns and dyes and then I took the plunge!  I bought myself a small stash of undyed yarns and some new dyes.  Watch this space as I might be messing up my kitchen pretty soon.

Not sure when I should tell my family – I might just surprise them.

 

Undyed yarn stash