Tag Archive | hand embroidery

Love is in the Air continued….

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As promised in my last blog here is the update ……  After working with the tweed and silk velvet earlier this week I am now well and truly addicted to these.

I have continued with the heart theme to produce a trio of completed pictures that I would like to share with you.  (please excuse my shadow in the photographs- if anyone can advise me on how to photograph framed work behind glass I would appreciate the advice)

Here are some close ups

Double heart

 

Heart in Heart

 

Of course I am always drawn back to flowers – so here are my flower interpretations of this technique.  Again I have used a combination of tweed/wool and silk velvet fabrics with free machine embroidery and hand embroidery.  Both have been embellished with buttons and I have added an eyelet charm on ‘Double Bloom’

In the Breeze

Double Bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you like these – I am off to find some more tweed and silk velvet 🙂

 

Love is in the Air

Walking through the shopping centre today I found that love was definitely in the air – there were Valentine gifts and cards in every shop window.

This has been my inspiration for today.

Love is in the Air

Close up of loose French knots and vermicelli free machine embroidery on the tweed.

I have loved working with the rugged woollen textures and contrasting them with the luxurious silk velvet so I decided to work with larger ‘scraps’ today.

Three contrasting wool and tweed fabrics were layered onto a fine wool.  These have been attached with free machine vermicelli stitch.  I have added silk velvet hearts using free machine embroidery.  The piece has been further embellished with hand embroidery using hand dyed threads, a glitter thread is used for running stitch down the right and loose french knots are added to the tweed using a fine cotton perle.  A ‘love’ charm is added for accent.  The final piece is framed in a box frame.

Close up of large silk velvet heart and running stitch with glitter thread

 

 

I will keep you all updated on my next projects with these fabulous textures…….

Close up of small silk velvet hearts and heart embellishment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is in the Air

Bits and Bobs

How many of you have a cupboard full of fabric scraps and bits and bobs that ‘will come in handy one day’?  Well I have to admit that I have cupboards and boxes of fabric scraps.   Over the last couple of weeks I have challenged myself to incorporate these within my embroideries and I would like to share with you some of the results.  I have produced three miniature quilts using this method.

Background fabric created using free machine embroidery onto fabric scraps

Background fabric created using free machine embroidery onto fabric scraps

 

I have used a range of fabrics and textures to create a background fabric.  These have been layered and pieced together with free machine embroidery, these are worked on 3″ squares.

By using different fabrics, papers and lace you can create an interesting and textured background fabric.

Shabby chic inspired my first couple of quilts. Live, Laugh Love and Love, Life, Happiness were embroidered onto the background fabrics along with free machine appliquéd hearts.  The fabrics were further embellished with hand embroidery and buttons.

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The first set of squares I created were Live, Laugh, Love.  I made a background by quilting a piece of hand dyed cotton using free machine squiggles and hearts.  The squares are hand sewn onto the quilted fabric; the back fabric is attached and the edges are finished using blanket stitch.

Close up - Live, Laugh Love Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up – Live, Laugh Love Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Live, Laugh Love Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Live, Laugh Love Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Love, Life, Happiness quilt I made a background fabric from fabric scraps.  I have free machined strips of fabric together and then quilted them.  The three squares were then hand embroidered onto this background and finished with blanket stitch.

Close up - Love, Life, Happiness Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up – Love, Life, Happiness Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Love, Life, Happiness Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Love, Life, Happiness Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the rugged finish on both of these miniature quilts and the most satisfying thing is that all materials were found treasures in my bits and bobs box.

As you will know by now I love flowers and at this time of year I am fascinated with the delicate structures of the seed heads.  My third quilt is inspired by these.  I have free machined seed heads onto my pieced background fabrics and then further embellished with hand embroidery. My backgrounds have been created using fabric scraps/strips and free machined together.

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Close up - Seed Head Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up – Seed Head Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Seed Head Miniature Quilt www.kateskloths.co.uk

Seed Head Miniature Quilt
www.kateskloths.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have loved making these.  They have provided me with the perfect opportunity to switch off and unwind for a while.  A good coffee and a relaxing playlist always help.

 

Wildflowers

Since my post last week I have been inspired to create some pieces of  textile art that I would like to share with you.

My love for wild flowers has been my inspiration over the last few days. Here are some of the photographs I have used for my inspiration along with my embroideries.   These are worked on a cotton Jacquard woven fabric with layered organza and tulle embellished with hand embroidery .

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Daisies in the hedgerow

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Daisy Embroidery

 

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Purple flowers in the hedgerow

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Purple wild flower embroidery

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Ragged-Robin

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Ragged-Robin Embroidery

I can honestly say that I have managed to rekindle my passion and love for hand embroidery;  this has proven to be the best medicine for me over the last few days.

Rekindle the Passion

Unfortunately over the last couple of weeks I have struggled with my balance; as I have been unable to get around very much I have had time to rekindle my passion for textile art.  I have so many beautiful threads and fabrics that the first problem I have had to overcome is what to choose? I am not going to lie this did take me a couple of days 🙂

My favourite techniques are hand embroidery, free machine embroidery, layering fabrics and adding textures so I have initially concentrated on using these.

Yesterday was a struggle for me with regards to moving around so I sat myself down with a few scraps of organza and tulle, my hand dyed embroidery threads, a few beads and a piece of woven Jacquard cotton.  A couple of hours later I was relaxed and pleased with the end result.

Hand embroidery on Jacquard cotton

Hand embroidery on Jacquard cotton

Close up of couched boucle and French knots

Close up of couched boucle and French knots

 

I have used some of my favourite colours and stitches including French knots, couched boucle yarn and straight stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand embroidered flowers

Hand embroidered flowers

 

I have started some layering and free machine embroidery so hopefully there will be a new post in the very near future ……

Red Campion

Red Campion inspired Embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Red Campion inspired Embroidery
www.kateskloths.co.uk

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Last weekend my husband and I took our little dog Mini for a walk in Plessey Woods , this is a country park close to our home in Northumberland.

Red Campion Flowers at Plessey Woods, Northumberland

Red Campion Flowers at Plessey Woods, Northumberland

It was a beautiful afternoon and as we walked through the woods down to the river we found the riverbank filled with Red Campion flowers.

I love these with their brightly coloured flowers and delicate centres.  These photographs have been the inspiration for this embroidery.  I decided that I would create a layered background for this embroidery.  Many years ago I used to teach this workshop and I called it ‘Encrusted Surfaces’, this is a technique that I frequently use as it is simple yet produces a highly textured background.  Many people can find it a bit daunting when faced with starting a piece of textile art, I have been asked many questions regarding this concern for example, where do I start? or  how am I going to fill this fabric with stitches?  This technique allows you to create a background that is not too restrained by your inspiration material and will enable you to be influenced by the colours and patterns of your chosen subject.  I am going to show you how I have used these photographs as inspiration for a hand embroidery.

Stage one – Preparation of background materials:

Top left - Background materials. Top right - Cutting hand dyed vilene into leaves. Middle left - Cutting the paper flowers. Middle right - Scrunching the paper flowers. Bottom left - the textured paper flower unscrunched. Bottom right - background materials prepared. www.kateskloths.co.uk

Top left – Background materials.
Top right – Cutting hand dyed vilene (lightweight interfacing) into leaves.
Middle left – Cutting the paper flowers.
Middle right – Scrunching the paper flowers.
Bottom left – the textured paper flower unscrunched.
Bottom right – background materials prepared.
www.kateskloths.co.uk

The first step is to investigate your stash of threads and fabrics and select shades and textures that will complement your inspiration pictures.  I have found a range of green fabrics in varying textures and shades, some hand dyed lightweight interfacing, pink/red paper flowers, hand dyed silk tops and some hand dyed threads in shades of green.

The first preparation stage was to cut up the hand dyed interfacing into leaf shapes – I simply cut out a pointed oval and then snipped the edges with my scissors.  The next stage was to prepare the flowers – I found these paper flowers in the card making section at a local craft store, these were the perfect colours but they were the wrong shape therefore I began by cutting into each petal so that they closely resembled the Red Campion flower shape.  The paper flowers were also quite uniform and rigid so I scrunched them up and rolled them between my fingers and then gently unfolded them to produce a textured flower that could be used on the background.

I do not throw anything away – all of the cuttings from the above were kept and I also added a few more snippets from the other green fabrics and mixed all of the green snippets together – I found some tiny storage containers, you can see one of these in the photograph above, these are ideal for keeping scraps, you must not mix your colours, you must keep the same colours in different shades together to produce a palette of different colours.

Stage two – Creating your background

Top left - remove bondaweb from backing paper. Top right - tear bondaweb into small pieces and sprinkle onto the backing fabric. Middle left - pull out some hand dyed silk tops and add a thin layer. Middle right - Add fabric snippets, thread and paper flowers and then cover with bonding powder.  Bottom left - cover the whole design with fine organza. Bottom right - cover with baking paper and press. www.kateskloths.co.uk

Top left – remove bondaweb from backing paper.
Top right – tear bondaweb into small pieces and sprinkle onto the backing fabric.
Middle left – pull out some hand dyed silk tops and add a thin layer.
Middle right – Add fabric snippets, thread and paper flowers and then cover with bonding powder.
Bottom left – cover the whole design with fine organza.
Bottom right – cover with baking paper and press.
www.kateskloths.co.uk

The background is produced by layering, bonding and trapping fabric snippets and fibres.

First select a piece of fabric for the back, this must be large enough for your embroidery and strong enough to support all of the layers that are going to be applied.  Cotton calico is a good choice of fabric for a light background but for this project I wanted a darker background and therefore I have chosen a dark green cotton fabric.  The first layer is bondaweb – this is essential to bond all of the layers together.  I find that is you apply a sheet of bondaweb onto the background fabric the completed work is stiff and more difficult to embellish with embroidery.  I overcome this by peeling the bondaweb off the baking paper, tearing into small pieces and sprinkling onto the background fabric  – this produces a more pliable background.  An alternative to using bondaweb could be hemming web.

The next layer provides texture for the background foliage – add small slivers of silk top fibres.  To do this you must gently pull some fibres out of the silk tops and place on top of the bondaweb – this layer must not be too thick as it only needs to produce a wispy appearance and if it is too thick the layers do not sandwich together very well.

The fun starts here – You must now create your design.  Add the paper flowers, leaves, small lengths of thread and sprinkle with the snippets – I have added the red paper snippets in two areas to represent the buds and flowers in the distance.  The green snippets represent the background leaves and foliage.

Once you are happy with your design stop adding stuff!  There is a saying ‘less is more’  which refers to the notion of  simplicity and clarity leading to good design.  Less is more in this case refers to the fact that your layers will not bond together if they are too thick 🙂

The next layer is an adhesive layer – I find that bonding powder is the best product for this – just add a light sprinkling over the entire design and right to the corners of your backing fabric.  If you cannot find any bonding powder then you must remove some bondaweb from the backing paper and tear into small pieces, these are sprinkled over the design.  Make sure your bondaweb is in small pieces as it can often be seen in the final design.

The final layer will trap all of this work together and therefore must be a very fine organza.  I have used a green organza on this design – you must make sure that the organza you choose is translucent enough to show your design and the colour must not dominate your work or mask the design colours.  Layer the organza onto the top of your design, cover with baking parchment and press to ‘stick’ all of the layers together.  Please please remember to use the baking parchment or your iron will be a mess; also the iron must not be too hot or it will melt the organza.

Step three – Have fun!

using embroidery to add detail to the layered background www.kateskloths.co.uk

using embroidery to add detail to the layered background
www.kateskloths.co.uk

I use many different types and thicknesses of embroidery threads in my work to add dimension and texture to my  finished pieces.  My threads are all hand painted to add variegated colours throughout.

In my Red Campion embroidery I have used the following threads: fine cotton, stranded cotton, fine silk, cotton perle no 8 and mercerised cotton.

I began by securing the large flowers with five long stitches from the centre to the side of each petal.  I added detail to the leaves with fly stitches and used stem stitch for the stems.

To create the texture of the flower centres I used a small piece of pale pink purl, this is a very tight spring coil of fine wire, which I pulled to expand the coil.  I then twisted this into a small ball and attached it to the flower centres using french knots sewn using a pale pink stranded cotton.

The next stage was to add some detail around the flowers using fly stitch, lazy daisy, straight stitch and french knots however I did not plan the next step that would add some further shading…..

The fatal cuppa

The fatal cuppa

Remorseful Adam with his cup of tea

Remorseful Adam with his cup of tea

I had been working on this embroidery when my son arrived for a visit.  I put my work onto the table next to us and made a cup of tea. Aunty came in to see us and as Adam stood up to give her a hug, with tea in hand, he spilled some of it onto my embroidery –  The fabric dried well however there is a bit of staining on my paper flowers.  This just goes to show that nothing in life is predictable and this shading has added some depth to my work – can you spot it?

 

Adding embroidery to the background. www.kateskloths.co.uk

Adding embroidery to the background.
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Final touches

Close up of flower centre to show detail of uncoiled pink purl and pale pink french knots. www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up of flower centre to show detail of uncoiled pink purl and pale pink french knots.
www.kateskloths.co.uk

To finish this and add further dimension I prepared some more paper flowers in the same way as I had for the background.  These were added to the foreground using straight stitches, uncoiled purl and french knots.

This kind of embroidery is perfect for hoop art.

Here are some photographs of the final piece.  I hope you have a play with this technique.

Close up view of final Red Campion embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up view of final Red Campion embroidery
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Completed embroidery photographed among the Red Campion www.kateskloths.co.uk

Completed embroidery photographed among the Red Campion
www.kateskloths.co.uk

Poppies

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Remember ……..

Poppies GardenI walked into my garden this morning and looked at these beautiful poppies.  Sadly they are a little bit past their best but I still admire them every day. These poppies were taken out of my Grandmothers garden when she moved out of her home to live in a care home several years ago.  My Grandparents had lived in that house all of their married lives and it was the only home that I had ever visited them in.

I can remember all of the fun times we had in that house.  It was filled with love and laughter.  I love these poppies and the memories they bring.

This afternoon I called into a local shopping centre, the Metrocentre in Gateshead. I do not particularly enjoy shopping and therefore visiting such places is a rare occurrence which is only compensated with a shoe purchase. However getting back to my visit … I came across a spectacular poppy art installation in the middle of the mall, this was a really pleasant surprise (it was actually installed last August which shows you how often I visit shopping centres).  This poppy installation is a commemorative piece of art that really struck a chord with me this afternoon and I would like to share these thoughts with you.Poppies Metrocentre

My grandfather fought in WW2 and he rarely spoke about his experiences until the last few years of his life.  He was a brave man and will always be my hero but most importantly he was a loving grandfather whose words of wisdom will remain with me forever.  Some of these do include, pull your shoulders back, stand tall and be proud – I can always here this when I begin to slouch or loose my confidence another one is bulls**t baffles brains – my sons love this one.

My grandmother was a creative person who always supported my decisions and I dearly miss her.  She was an inspiration to me with her kind words, patience and  she had the ability to make anything out of nothing – she could feed a family of four out of her and grandads dinner rations and still have enough for the two of them; she could entertain all of the grandchildren for hours with a comb and a piece of tissue paper and she could make the best dress up outfits from random things lying around the house.

Remembrance – these poppies have brought fond memories flooding back and got me to thinking about the creative textiles that I have produced using poppies as my inspiration. I would like to share four of these with you today.

Poppy 1 – My Stenciled Poppy:

www.kateskloths.co.uk

Stenciled Poppy www.kateskloths.co.uk

Using a stencil is a brilliant way of adding colour quickly to a background fabric.  You can use commercial stencils and fabric paint if you wish however I have made this stencil out of firm card and cut the design using a craft knife.  I have used a textured unbleached cotton fabric for the background and stenciled by using a small sponge and applying acrylic paint.  These paints are thick enough to transfer the image without smudging under the stencil, it is not necessary to use fabric paint if you are not going to launder your textiles and as this is decorative the acrylic paints work brilliantly. I have further embellished the poppy by embroidering long straight stitches using a rayon thread, this adds some detail and shine onto the petals and leaves.  I have attached small black beads for the flower centre and stamens. I love the texture of the fabric in this poppy.

Poppy 2 – Appliquéd Poppy

www.kateskloths.co.uk

www.kateskloths.co.uk

This poppy has been appliquéd onto a cotton calico fabric which has been hand dyed to produce different shades of black and grey. The poppy petals and leaved have been appliquéd onto the black cotton, I have used red hand painted silk habotai for the petals and  green hand dyed cotton muslin for the leaves.  To appliqué the petals and leaves I used the following technique:  the desired shape is drawn or traced onto the paper of the bondaweb.  This is ironed onto the reverse of the fabric and the shape is cut out.  The fabric shape is then laid onto the backing fabric, glue side down, and ironed into place.  The fabric is stiffened slightly with the use of bondaweb.  When applying sheer fabrics it is important to protect the iron with a sheet of baking parchment. The outline and detail have been free machined onto the leaves and petals.  Black beads have been attached to the flower centre.  This is such a simple technique that can be used on many different projects.

Poppy 3 – Free Machine Embroidered Poppies

Free Machine Embroidered Poppies www.kateskloths.co.uk

www.kateskloths.co.uk

This is actually a small piece of work that has been free machine embroidered onto silk and again I have attached a few small beads for the flower centres.  I would like to further develop this site to include step by step tutorials so watch this space!!!

Poppy 4 – Poppy Play Time

www.kateskloths.co.uk

www.kateskloths.co.uk

This is my favourite poppy because it is the most creative and was a lot more fun to create.

I started out by sponging some acrylic paints onto a piece of cotton calico – no particular pattern was used and I roughly sponged a darker green where the stem and leaves were going to be and sponged some red paint where the petals would be.   I then had a bit of a ‘play’ with different fabrics, these included organza, net and hand painted lightweight interfacing. I created the different leaf and petal shapes by using a soldering iron to melt away the edges of the fabric producing a texture around the edges.  These were sewn onto the background fabric using simple embroidery stitches. Again i have used black beads and french knots in the flower centre.

Any textile work should be fun and you should not be afraid of experimenting.  As a child you have no fear of doing something wrong and therefore play and explore to create art.  As an adult you should remember how to play with materials to create textile art – within art there are no mistakes.  There is a saying that I strongly believe and use it with my students:

‘Creativity is about allowing yourself to make mistakes, Art is about knowing which ones to keep.’