Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stitch chat...

... Along the Grapevine
I hope you all had a lovely break with family and friends over the Easter break. We spent a couple of day catching up on bits and pieces around home, before heading up the river to spend a day with family. It was really, really nice to get away, even if it was just for a day and brief sleep-over before heading back.

Before we left I spent an afternoon stitching quite a few of the grapes on my latest crewel embroidery project. It is great fun creating these plump little circles, randomly mixing the different shades of dark pinks. I know I have mentioned how much a love Whipped spider's web stitch before, but it really is so easy to do. I guess the one thing that can be a bit tricky, is getting the spokes evenly spaced around the circle. This is what I do...

 1. First I divide the circle into halves by placing two opposite stitches. Each is stitched from the edge into the centre.
 2. If I need eight spokes, I then divide it into quarters - again placing each stitch from the outside into the centre.
 3. It is now easy to divide each quarter and that way get eight evenly spaced spokes.

4. Whipping. The trick to get the whipping sitting nicely is pushing at rounds towards the centre, rather than pulling the wraps tight.
I push the needle towards the centre each time I slide it under the spokes to make sure the wraps are close together.
I find this works much better than trying to get them into place by pulling the thread tight, especially when working with wool.

I have put a FREE download of the stitch for you here.

I usually don't like doing anything more than once, or repeating the same stitch or pattern over and over, but with these Whipped Spider's web berries, I am really enjoying watching the individual circles coming together and turning into a bunch.

Happy stitching,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Along the grapevine

We have been super busy for the past two weeks in preparation for this years harvest. It all culminated yesterday when the vineyard was full of pickers and tractors and trucks. Today we breath a sigh of relief that the harvest went well and is over for another year.

In between the pulling off of nets and picking, I did bring out a piece of crewel work I started quite a while ago. You know how you start something and then you are not sure if you really like it? I remember putting this one aside feeling very 'not right' about it...

I cannot for the life of me now see the 'not right' part. The middle leaf needs a bit more work done to it but I am liking the overall look of it and the layering of so many shades of green creates on the leaves.

The completed leaf is stitched in Battlement couching which creates a lovely layered shading.

1. First you stitch a normal trellis, keeping the spacing of the stitches quite large.

2. Then you stitch a second layer over the first, using a different colour or shade. 
Each stitch is placed exactly next to each of those in the first layer. 

3. Next you stitch a third layer, again using a different colour thread and placing each stitch along side each in the previous layer.

4. To finish, each intersection of the TOP layer only is couched in place.

Although it is not a super common stitch it is quite often used in traditional crewel work. What I really like about it is the even and subtle blending of colour it forms within a shape.


Only three grapes were stitched when I pulled the piece out of the cupboard. I remember thinking that I would use a variety of circular stitches....
I don't think so any longer.

. I love these fat and plump whipped spider's web circles, so I think I will just use one stitch, but a variety of shades instead and see how it goes...

Happy Tuesday stitching everyone,
Anna x

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Under the big blue sky...

Apart from a spectacular thunder shower a few days ago, the weather has been amazing lately. Not too hot and brilliant blue skies every day. 

Indoors, it has been a somewhat slow progress on getting my own big blue sky finished. It didn't really matter though - it wasn't about time, or finishing - row by row the gap in the sky closed under my needle.... until I realised, I was likely to run out of the main shade of blue, and that I somehow had managed to loose the label with the colour code.

I finished it yesterday, with not a single strand of blue to spare...
The entire sky is filled with parallel rows of very long split stitches. To blend from one shade to the next, the colours are alternated for a couple of rows.

The fallen branch was finished by adding a wired piece to the end of it. For now it is sitting a almost flat against the background so that it doesn't get caught and damaged, but I will bend it out a bit more before the piece is framed. 

It is nice to stand back and look at the finished piece and realise it is pretty close to how I had pictured it in my head.. not exactly, but close.

I have linked the posts on the progress below if you feel like a recap of how it came from the rough sketch below to the finished piece.

... I think I need to work on something really, really colourful now. But first we need to get this years harvest over and done with.

Have a lovely week,
Anna x