Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stitch Tree

Do you have a favourite tree?
I do. It is neither a fancy cultivar, rare speciality or  spectacularly big - it is an simple gum tree, and they of course grow everywhere here. The thing with my favourite gum tree is that it is not an ordinary gum tree. It is one Tilly and I often pass when we go for our walk..

... the original tree fell over in a storm some years ago, but instead of just falling over and die, it has turned into a beautiful bridge with small trees growing across it. I am sure possums and other creatures have fun playing on it when nobody is watching.

After our walk today, I have been busy getting ready for a new, 6 week workshop that is starting tonight...

Traditionally embroidery classes tend to be a based on recreating an existing project and I often get asked about how I make choices when design a project for a class. I thought it might be fun to create a class that will help teach participants to create their own work by giving them choices in how they choose to stitch a design.

Trees in all their shapes and forms are such a fabulous subject for stitching which is why I have chosen a tree as the motif for this class new class.

What I have prepared is for a different kind of sampler. Instead of stitching the traditional row after row to learn and practise stitches, this 'sampler' is in the shape of a tree.I have drawn up three different shapes of trees, each in two sizes.
Everyone will be choosing their own tree and will later be adding leaves, flowers or whatever else they may want to add, and stitching in in their own choice of threads and colours.

I will usually be busy packing kits and supplies before a class, but this time I am simply itching to start stitching my tree.

As I often do before I start something new, I have prepared a little inspirations or 'mood' board of colours and shapes that appeal to me but I have deliberately not started my version yet because I don't want anyone to be influenced by the choices I make for my tree. Instead I will be stitching along with everyone else and I can't wait to get started and see where it takes me.

I will be sharing my progress (and everyone else's) here and on Facebook so you can see how it goes. You might even like to join us. If you don't have a tree to stitch, I have uploaded the tree shapes I have drawn HERE so if you would like to stitch along with us you can.

Best stitches,

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I am back...

... after a fabulous week away.

I started last week, with a fantastic 2 day workshop with the Flinders Branch of the Embroiderer's Guild. We had a couple of fabulous days in Laura, South Australia stitching Toadstools & Brambles, chatting, stitching, eating (nothing quite like country catering - thanks ladies for the yummy piles of cakes and sandwiches!), stitching, laughing, stitching and chatting. What better way to spend time with other stitching enthusiast?

Since I was already partway to the Flinders Ranges, Adrian and a couple of our friends drove up to meet me and we continued on to Arkaroola, a Wildlife sanctuary at the northern end of the ranges.

I know camping (ok, we did stay in a very basic cabin) and big, wide, open spaces are not everyone's idea of a good time away, but I love it and this place is breathtakingly beautiful.
We had the most glorious weather, walked in dry creek beds, climbed up and down rocks and went on some amazing (bur for me, pretty nail biting) 4WD tracks (but I am chicken when it comes to that kind of thing.

There were creatures everywhere: echidnas both in the bush and under the cabin we stayed in; had to do a bit of a detour to get around a large brown snake that was still too cold, slow and lazy to get out of the way; spotted a couple of dingos; saw colourful parrots, loads of small birds, hawks and eagles; big and small lizards - mostly on the road, soaking up the spring sun; Emus - lots of them, proud emu dads in groups looking after dozens of little, striped emu chicks. And of course, kangaroos and wallabies (smaller kangaroo-looking creatures). Most importantly loads and loads of Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies...

Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby
These pretty little wallabies with their yellow striped tails are among my favourite animals. Sadly they have been declining in numbers and when we were at Arkaroola almost 20 years ago we only saw two. This time, they were everywhere - I lost count after day one, which was just fabulous. One day when out walking, we disturbed a group of 20 or more and watched them scatter up a steep cliff, almost as agile as a group of monkeys (only no hands!).

We got back home Sunday and I have spent the last two days catching up - finding it a little tricky to get back into the swing of things, but today I am back stitching the goldwork bird...

Best stitches,
Anna X

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Goldwork project

It started with a sprinkle of flowers...

I have been tinkering away on a new class project. The group in Bangkok have asked for something with pretty flowers that uses purls and spangles. Sometimes I just go straight to the finished design, but with this one, I felt I needed to play around with a few ideas first.
I had toyed with the idea of doing something delicate and dainty, which is why I chose a pastel coloured silk for the sampler...

I like my goldwork to be rich and lush, so the background fabric was quickly replaced with a much darker shade of teal-blue that I really makes the sparkle of the gold and shades of pink silk thread 'sing'.

The top part of the wing, is a stitched with pink glass seed beads with fine smooth purl curved around each bead. I wanted to make sure the shade of pink was not distorted by the blue fabric, which is why I had applied a piece of ivory cotton to that section to begin with.

I admit the top of the wing was a little fiddly but result, I think, well worth the effort.

The bird is only missing her legs.. I can't do them until the little tree she is perched on is finished. (Sorry about the terrible photo).
I am going to be away next week and would like to have the embroidery for this project finished before I go. So - back to the hoop...

Best stitches,
Anna x