Posts Tagged freehand machine embroidery

Here Be Dragons Drinking Tea

 

One of my daughters has a blog which, unless you are an avid gamer, you won’t be subscribed to.  I am a follower but only to show support as I don’t understand what she’s talking about half the time not having played computer games since they phased out Space Invaders.  I am therefore not qualified to make comments on her post but usually  press the ‘Like’ button as it amuses me to see my little house avatar in amongst the ‘cool’ ones of the gamers.

Anyway, when she first started the blog she had a cat’s face in a slice of avocado as her avatar – a bit like the ‘breaded cat’ phenomenon but with avocado.  Understandably, she wasn’t really sold on it as it didn’t reflect her blog content (even though it does reflect her sense of humour!).  By chance, she met a girl on a train and they got talking about gaming matters and the girl could also draw.  So she asked her if she would draw a new avatar – it was a long train journey – and it has now been adopted for

‘The Dragon’s Tea Party’ blog.

Both my daughters are addicted to tea – I blame myself although it could be worse. They aren’t dragons though – just to be clear.

She has a new job to start in July which will involve a move from London to Dorset and her first ‘proper’ flat which she will share with her boyfriend who is also into gaming (luckily) and I anticipate there will be a lot of a particular nerdy/geeky sort of décor around the place

So, as a little housewarming gift, I dropped my feed dogs, attached the darning needle and came up with this.

I was going to attempt the freehand embroidering of the name of the blog too but I was so pleased with the dragon I didn’t want to push my luck in case it all went pear shaped.  I’ve used more fabric that I usually do so it’s a bit more freehand machine appliqué than freehand machine embroidery but I wanted to get the green colour just right.

As I used scraps of fabric I’ll add this to Kate and Gun’s  ScrapHappy day which you can read about and see links to the other participants here

 

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Out For A Ruby

I think I have said on this blog before that life is too short to stuff a mushroom but, evidently, it’s not too short to paint rose petals with egg white and dust them with sugar.

Why, I hear you ask, were you engaging in the sort of shenanigans usually only bothered with by celebrity chefs and contestants in baking competitions?  Because I was making a dessert for a Ruby Wedding celebration is my answer and I thought it appropriate to have red rose petals sprinkled artfully over and around said dessert.  Well – they were definitely red to start with but after a brush with the egg white they turned a pinker shade of red.  No matter – they were pretty anyway and I move even closer to my Domestic Goddess status .

Some friends of ours were celebrating 40 years of marriage – and look! they’re still laughing.

A mixture of French and Brits were present to help them celebrate and, of course, being a Ruby Wedding Anniversary, there had to be a Ruby Murray on offer.  Firstly because you can’t get a decent curry here for love nor money unless you make your own , secondly because we are Brits and we have to have curry occasionally in order to survive and what better excuse than when the name is in both titles?  For those not in the know a ‘Ruby Murray’ is cockney rhyming slang for a curry.

The occasion demanded another foray into my new passion for freehand machine embroidery.

Colin is a massive Chelsea Football fan and so I had to portray him wearing something with the crest on it and Jan has got a gorgeous mass of curly hair.  They are dog lovers and have a particular soft spot for golden retrievers which they generally find in re-homing centres and so they had to be in the picture too.  I must perfect my dog breed representation but you get the drift.  I was gratified to see that, despite not having seen my gift at that point, Colin had dressed to match it.

I had a bit of a scare because when I showed my French sewing buddy the embroidery last week she told me that a Ruby Wedding is not 40 years of marriage and, even though I would practically have signed away my house on the certainty that I was right, I did have to Google it when I got home and discovered that the French call it a Ruby Wedding at 35 years – trust them to be different 🙂

So, I didn’t have to undo any stitching and the French friends and neighbours present at the ‘do’ all happily went along with our quaint foreign ways anyway  – even sampling the curry!

Anyway, back to the rose petals which I used to adorn a fruit tart  – my contribution to the dessert table.   If I tell you it was an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe it won’t surprise you to know that it probably didn’t do anybody’s cholesterol levels any favours.  Originally a black and white tart – using blackberries and whitecurrants – this was, once again, from her ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ book which is now my go to bible for puddings/cakes and other wickedness having rediscovered it on my bookshelves recently.

I thought the raspberries would look like little rubies – well big ones actually –  if you had one that size in a ring or a couple in a pair of earrings you wouldn’t complain would you? **  

The digestive biscuit base was ‘enhanced’ by a spoonful of cocoa powder and the mascarpone filling was ‘further enhanced’ by some melted white chocolate, the remainder of which was grated on top (well, most of the remainder, some might have found its way elsewhere 😉 )  Anyway, I think it was good but, by the time I got up to the dessert table, it had all gone.

The dessert table – before

I should have nabbed a slice instead of taking photos 😦   Luckily, I have made it once before, without the cocoa and the white chocolate and I know that version was good and, as it so happens I have a photo of it too, albeit taken on my phone in artificial light.

I only paint rose petals on special occasions 😉

 

** I was reminded here of one of my favourite one-liners from Only Fools and Horses  where Del buys Grandad some strawberries and he complains they’re not very big to which Del replies ‘What do you mean they’re not very big? You wouldn’t want one of those up yer nose for a wart would yer?’

 

What do you mean they ain't 
                                          very big? You wouldn't like 
                                          one of those up yer nose for 
                                          a wart would ye

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Is It Mothers’ Day Where You Are?

It’s not the Fetes de Mères (Mothers’ Day) in France until the end of May but as my Mum is English and in England, today is Mothers’ Day as far as I’m concerned.  Also, since Mlle. Tialys the elder lives back in the U.K. now, I only stand a chance of being remembered on Mothers’ Day if we stick to the U.K. one because she will see all the palaver surrounding it beforehand and remind her sister who is still in France and would otherwise be blissfully unaware of it.

Who better than your mother to practice on when indulging your new sewing passion?

Unfortunately, even though my crochet hook has been a blur, I didn’t manage to finish the blanket I was hoping to give her for Mothers’ Day but, being my Mum, I’m sure she’ll forgive me.

Remember the Stitching Santa organised by Sewchet I participated in last Christmas?  When I received my goodies from Pippa at Beads and Barnacles she included this turquoise drawstring pouch.  I was thinking I could use it to keep my current small crochet project in and saw another opportunity to practice the freehand machine embroidery I’ve become keen on.

Just the right size for keeping  my Fusion quilt squares in which, as you can see, is progressing slowly but surely, one square at a time.

The yellow thread started out as a representation of a slip knot.   It went a bit awry but you get my drift.

It can hang on my pinboard which I am very happy with as a way of keeping my tools and other bits off the surfaces but within easy reach.  I have two of these side by side and painted them duck egg blue to go with the woodwork on the top floor of my house which is where my sewing room is.

I bought my own Mothers’ Day gift – just in case my girls didn’t remember  –  this cool ‘maker’ pin from Jodie at RicRac.  I thought it would be just the thing to wear when I’m selling my wares at the fund raising craft fairs I sometimes do and, in fact, will be doing one next Saturday.  (It wasn’t really a Mothers’ Day gift  to myself  – just an everyday indulgence – but it was an excuse to show it to you)

 

 

A craft fair next Saturday?  Sounds like another opportunity for some freehand machine embroidery I hear you say – and, of course, being a fund raiser for a retirement home for unwanted old and disabled dogs, it had to have some sort of pooch on it.

Flex Frame Glasses Case with Freehand Machine Embroidery (with one I made earlier)

 

Much as I love the effect of the stitches against linen, this was a complete pain to thread the flex frame through at the top due to the linen itself being thick, plus a layer of fusible fleece and a cotton lining.  So this will be unique in the true sense of the word and not in the sense of  ‘rare’ or ‘unusual’ which seems to be in common usage these days  because I really am only making one of them.  I am going to rope in Mr. T and see if we can work out a way to make the channel at the top somehow separate from the body so I don’t have to go through all the thicknesses.  I’ve seen one done like this but the channel was not the full width of the case,  and I prefer it if it is,  so maybe I could adapt that.

Meanwhile, so far today – it’s 09.20 – I took Mr. T. a cuppa in bed and said ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ in what I hope was a sarcastic manner,  although I know I’m not his mother.  There is no sign of a card anywhere nor email nor text from the U.K. nor from the room at the end of the corridor where Mlle. Tialys the Younger will doubtless remain entombed until around 1300h, which is her usual habit of a Sunday.

I’ll let you know if things change.

UPDATE:

There was a lot of staggering and muttering ( and very possibly a lot of  husband/father involvement) and these appeared.  The morning staggering was even more pronounced than usual as we forgot to put the clocks forward last night so time was confused.

They looked better than this before I unwrapped them and then hastily wrapped them back up again for the photo so I could show daughter in the U.K. what she had instructed her dad to get me 😉

I must confess to a nostalgia for the early days when I got a cup of tea and croissant brought up to me in bed, a flower out of the garden on the tray and hand made cards with masterpieces such as this within.

Not the most flattering of images conjured up of me there but I’m guessing the rhyme was the important thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Travelling Sketchbook Comes to France

from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook 

Last year I mentioned that Anne Lawson, a talented botanical artist, instigated a sketchbook which would start with her in Australia and make its way around the World to interested parties who signed up for the project and, at each stage of the journey, a new entry would be made.  As everybody who signed up for it is a woman, it became known as ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook’.  I believe there have been others but this one – our one – began life in the Spring of 2016.

I cannot draw or paint to save my life,  nor have I ever attempted to write poetry,  but I knew that other media was acceptable so thought I’d join in for fun. Then I started dreading its arrival when I saw the standard of entries as they were added to the book then recorded online.   The sketchbook finally arrived in France last week – people have been taking their time enjoying the book and considering what to contribute and, despite having considered other options, I decided to go with my first idea.  I have taken photographs of most of the entries but didn’t take the book to pieces – too scared – so apologies to the sisterhood if I’ve cut a piece off or haven’t done their piece justice with my photography.

Click on the name beneath the images to go to the contributor’s website.

The sketchbook started and will end with Anne who set the bar high with her sketch of Kakadu Escarpment along with her garlic and lilies that adorn the front and back covers.

by Anne Lawson

Staying in Australia and up to Queensland to Kate who added this delightful paper pieced patchwork feather together with the lovely words beneath.

by Kate Chiconi

Staying in Queensland for a tasty, beautifully illustrated Ratatouille recipe from Sandra.

by Sandra Gay

Moving back down to Victoria, Chas created this brilliant cycling trail map to show us some of the sights to be seen from a bicycle on the way to Melbourne’s National Gallery. This is a long, fold out map so I’ve just included a small detail.

by Chas Spain

The last stop for the sketchbook in Australia was with Sandi Worrall -Hart who wrote a beautiful poem called ‘ The Explorer’ which you can see included in the collage below cleverly compiled by Alys from all the entries so far in the book at the time it reached her in the United States.

by Alys Milner

From California to Mount Vernon where Sue added these gorgeous mixed media pieces using fabric, beads, thread and charms.

by Sue Brown

Over to Ushasree in Indianapolis for an eyecatching and colourful collage of small delights

by Ushasree Gudipalli

Then a trip over to Europe and Greece with this take on the naming of Athens.

by M.L. Kappa

From Greece to Germany where Constanze produced this lovely textile piece which reflects the snowy landscape around her as she created her entry for the sketchbook.

by Constanze Hofmann

The sketchbook should have stayed in Germany for another entry but, unfortunately, Annett is struggling with some health problems at the moment and didn’t feel able to contribute – we wish her well and hope she’ll be able to join in next time, should there be one!

So, to France and to me.

I’ve told you I can’t draw or paint.  Kate, Sue and Constanze had already done perfectly lovely works in textiles and fabric so what to do?  I  thought about something knitted or even a bit of crochet but it would have to be something quite tiny and relevant.  Back in 2016 I attended a workshop on freehand machine embroidery and my plan was to practice and practice and produce something lovely for when the sketchbook arrived at my door.  Time passed – quickly as usual – and I didn’t get to practice as much as I would have liked but freehand embroidery is a forgiving craft and I hope I’ve produced something – though ‘naive’ (polite talk for ‘simple’) – that sort of enters into the spirit of the sketchbook, using thread instead of a pencil.

by me

I know it looks like a kid’s drawing but that is sort of the style – honest!   I like using natural linen for freehand embroidery as I think it sets off the fabrics and stitches really well but it frays like a bugger so I have deliberately frayed the edges and run a couple of rows of stay (I hope) stitching around the perimeter.  If you’re wondering what the blue lines are they are my interpretation of the map of the World.  It is very imprecise! Australia is disappearing up the skirt of the last sister, Europe is frillier than necessary and there appears to be a squished square country north of the barely recognisable British Isles but you get my drift.  As I’m an English expat living in France I  introduced a bit of entente cordiale by using French linen  (the type they produce to make those classic linen t-towels) and the dresses are all in Liberty of London fabric.    I didn’t want to make any political statement but, as it was a recent event and as I know one of the sisterhood went along with a pink plastic bag on her head, I’ve included a pink pussyhat wearer just to be topical.

As soon as I’ve worked out how to add this to the book – the linen is backed with calico and card so I’ll probably glue it in – it will be on its way to the United Kingdom for its last two entries, then back to Australia where we have hopes that it will be digitally scanned so we can all have a copy to keep.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the Sketchbook as it stands so far in Tialys blog form .

A great project to be involved with  🙂

 

 

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