Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Embroidered pictures: Lone Tree

I am busy getting ready for my second trip to Thailand. Five fun days of teaching crewel shading in Bangkok and Chiang Mai before Adrian joins me and we have a few days of total relaxation. Ahhh.....

As so often happens when I am really, really busy I manage to get completely side-tracked...
I love designing for kits and classes but it is nice to stitch just for me from time to time and there is something I have been burning to do for a very, very long time. Embroidered pictures.

I am not stitching realistic thread painted pictures like the immaculate pieces by my dear friend Trish Burr or the ridiculously beautiful landscapes by Monica Kinner of My Sweet Prairie (have a look on Monika's flickr page and you will see what I mean) - I could never stitch like that in a million years.

What I have in mind is something a little more... impressionistic, perhaps?
I have had this postcard (a picture by Pete Dobre, a very talented Australian landscape photographer) for years. I realise that to some the Australian outback look barren and empty, but I love it. Yes lush forests, pristine beaches and green rolling hills are lovely, but there is something about the outback that gets under my skin. The size of the sky, the rough and tough nature of the vegetation and the red, red colours of the dirt. I want to stitch that...

...and I know full well that I don't really have time to do it at the moment, but I started anyway.

Only time will tell how long it will take (it is rather ambition in size, but how can you stitch a massive desert on a tiny piece of cloth?) or even when I will get back to it again. I am just revelling in stitches and colour and breathing in every minute I can sneak away from much more important things to stitch another bit of red, red dirt.

Anna x

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Snow Berries crewel work

The season is changing outside and apart from the glorious colour outside my window, it seems Adelaide weather decided to completely skip autumn and head straight into winter.

I finished the new crewel embroidery piece early in the week - the colours of the vine outside 'jumping' onto my canvas. Coincidence?  Certainly not deliberate -I only spotted it now putting these pictures side by side.

Once I changed a few colour and stitches (see here) it was a pleasure to finish. A few satin stitch leaves, French knots and rows of stem stitch to complete the last leaf... 

I have already other pieces drawn up (in my head) surprise, surprise. Snow Berries will become available as a kit in the shop but it won't be until next year (sorry). I have so many things to finish before then and without saying too much yet - Snow Berries is potential going to be part of something very, very special...

Anna x

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Snow berries WIP

It is a good sign when you look at something with fresh eyes in the morning and feel happy about the progress (read 'changes') of a piece of work. After a rather frustrating start, I am now (finally) feeling happy with the progress of this piece.


The first step was to change just one of the tones in the large top petals from the aqua-teal to a blue. It never stops to amaze me just what a big difference a subtle change of shade can make.


The idea of a dainty sprig of buds was replaced by some more solid shapes and now look more like berries - Snow Berries

The stem is double blanket stitch in dark teal and a light golden hazelnut. I love double blanket stitch for stems like this - the purl edge of the stitches form such a neat, defined line along each side. The first time I really took note of the stitch used like this was in a project by Hazel Blomkamp - she uses so many different stitches in really clever ways so if you are ever looking for inspiration I can highly recommend her kits and books.

This new project is not just about looking 'right' - it is intended as a class project for Bath Textile Summer School next year. I am over the moon to have been offered the opportunity to visit the UK and teach and of course wanted to do something special for the girls in Bath. One of the reasons I am constantly drawn to crewel embroidery is that it offers so much scope for exploring stitches to create texture and subtle variation of colour. Snow Berries certainly has been a bit of a challenge but I am confident that it will allow students to have good fun and play with all of those things.

I just need to finish those last little bits now...

Have great week.
Anna x

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Changing colours

I hope you all had a relaxing break over Easter. We did.

I spend most of my time gazing at the view from the balcony - I mean, how can you not with a view like that? It is lovely calm bay and the colours of the sea, and the sky changes constantly. I love it most in the evening when the sun hits the rocks on the islands just out from us.

I did pack this project into my bag when we left for the beach house, but I must confess that it stayed there most of the weekend. Talking about colours, I was looking forward to stitching this one when picking out my favourite shades of teal and turquoise. With little splashes of raspberry pink, I was quite certain that it would be an easy one...

... but it seems that every time I think a project will be 'easy' and just flow, it does anything but. Parts are turning out nicely - like this little leaf. Though I am still not sure if I might change the curly tip to a different stitch.

The flower - (or is it a pomegranate perhaps?) is also on its way after a bit of 'reverse stitching' I am happy (I think) with how it looks... though the more I look at it the pale China blue may have to give way for a different shade.

... but overall - it is just not there! It will get there I am sure, but there is a little way yet. It is so frustrating to look at something and know it is not quite right, yet I cannot put my finger on what it is... I will let you know when I work it out.

Have a great week,