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Whitework finished and a New Adventure

I have just realised that I have not shown the finished Whitework sampler – so here it is – it was actually finished back in July. The four sides have been hemmed and then it has been “sewn” to some mount board to give it some protection and to also allow me to carry it around easily. The finished piece is about the size of an A2 sheet of paper.

whitework-finished-14-7-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First the Saxophone, then the Whitework  sampler –  what am I going to do next?

The answer is that from 12th September I am going to be very busy learning lots of new techniques for the next three years. A couple of months ago I heard that I had been accepted onto the Future Tutor course run by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court.  I am very excited about the opportunity I have been given and know I am very lucky to be taught so many techniques by some of the best embroiderers around, and at the end to be able to pass this knowledge onto others. My time table for the first term has me learning seven different embroidery techniques!!

What does this mean for Needlework by Nikki? There are unlikely to be any new designs while I am studying – I think I might be a bit busy with other stitching!! But my existing designs will still be available for sale via my website and wherever possible I will continue to take my “shop” to the local Lace Fairs that I have attended previously.

I will try to keep you all updated on my new adventure and when possible post some pictures of my work.

Pente

There is a new addition to the Little Ones series – Pente has arrived. This makes a total of six designs in the series and seven different colourways.

pente  web

The instructions are available from my website – on the Little Ones page.

Southwark – another new colour

Southwark now has a new colourway available – meaning there are now a total of 5 versions. This new version is at the request of Lesley P. – one of my regular customers. She asked  me to arrange a list of threads replacing the Sea Blue with the Jade colour which was used to stitch one of the Zephyr designs. Here is the result of her work.

Jade and Sand - Lesley stitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have previously bought the instructions for Southwark and would like the details of the threads used in this version, then get in touch with me via the contact page on my website.

Lesley has also stitched the Magic Carpet design replacing the dark peach thread with a brown thread. The two photos below show the difference that can be achieved by changing just one thread. My version is on the left and Lesley’s on the right.

Magic carpet Lesley's colour

Zephyr

At last!!

The instructions for Zephyr are now ready and available for sale. Included in the instructions are the lists of the threads needed to stitch it in four different colourways.

Peaches and Cream

Zephyr Peaches and Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black and White

Zephyr Black and White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can also be stitched in Bronze/Green and Jade/Grey. Here are pictures of Storm at Sea stitched in these two colourways to give an impression of what Zephyr might look like.

green bronze jade grey

Apology number 2!!

All I seem to do at the moment is apologise, but I must do it again!

Due to a very slow recovery after a recent procedure on my back I am unable to attend  the Lacemakers and Needlecraft Fair at the Havant Leisure Centre on Saturday 21st November. I am sorry that I will not be here to meet up with all of you who have become “stitching friends” over the years, but I am doing my best to be back to normal as soon as possible.

I am finding that doing any one thing, whether sitting or standing, for any length of time causes me problems, so at the moment I am flitting between different things and basically getting nowhere fast!! I do think things are getting better slowly. My husband is proving to be a very good taxi service as I am still unable to drive.

In the meantime I have been able to do a little bit of sewing. I have completed some of the background music on my Goldwork Saxophone.

saxophone oct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who can read music should now be able to work out the etching on the bell of the Saxophone.

I have also completed another colourway of Southwark – this time it is in Peach and Cream threads on cream Mono canvas. Hopefully an alternative for those of you that do not like stitching on black canvas.

Peaches and cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This now means that Southwark is available in four colourways – two stitched on black canvas and two on a light canvas.

For my next project I have gone completely mad!! I have wanted to stitch Nova, a design by Genny Morrow, for several years, but have always taken it out of the “to do” pile, had a look at the thread list and size and then put it back in the pile for another day. The design uses nearly 120 colours of stranded floss and is made up of 396 different squares – a big project. I recently had the oportunity to do some minature stitching with my Goldwork tutor Shelley and thought – Why don’t I stitch Nova in minature?

So —— Nova is being stitched on 40 count silk gauze instead of the 18 count listed in the design, with one strand of floss instead of four, and using a ball-point beading needle (the only one that will go through the gauze). It is fun and, surprisingly, I am not finding it too difficult to work on such a small scale. Sometimes you have to complete the stitches in an unusual order, especially when couching threads – the holes in the canvas are difficult to find when the thread to be couched has been put in place, but on the other hand I do not have to lay multiple strands in place. I also have to think again when the instruction ask for two different colours of floss to be blended in the needle – not exactly possible if you are only using one strand to start with! To get some idea of the size, each square in the photo below is about 0.25 inches wide!! I find that on a good night I can complete between 3 and 4 squares.

Nova 1

 

 

 

 

 

Pente

Hi again – this should be the last time today!! I am now going to do some stitching.

There is a new design to be added to the Little Ones series. This is in response to a request by a lady called Barbara at the Havant show last November. She asked if I could work out the threads to do one of the Little Ones but in peach. Hopefully I have gone one better and come up with a new design as well – this one is called Pente. The instructions are not quite ready yet but if any one wants the thread list to use for one of the other Little One designs they have already bought then get in touch with me via the contact button on my website. There are now seven different colourways for this series.

Pente

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The goldwork Saxophone is progressing very slowly, mainly due to a problem I have developed with my back for which I am having treatment. I does mean I have had difficulty working on the large slate frame that it is being stitched on. I should be getting my new trestles to support the frame properly for stitching sometime in the next couple of weeks – a birthday present from Paul my husband.

Southwark – new colour

Hi again – twice in one day!

Here is a new colour variation of one of my older designs – Southwark. Many of you have mentioned at the shows that you love the design but are put off by stitching on black canvas. This option is stitched on Sandstone coloured canvas. If any of you have previously bought the instructions of Southwark and would like the list for the threads for this colourway then get in touch with me via the contact button on my website and I will email the list to you. There is another version on its way soon – this time on cream canvas.

Southwork - Sea Blue and Sand option

Southwork – Sea Blue and Sand option

Time – where does it go?

I have come to realise that there really are not enough hours in the day at the moment!! As a result of this some things have to wait – one of these is to not worry about frequent blog entries – the less time I spend on the computer the more time I have to stitch.

So what have I been up to for the last few months? Well when I looked back at my stitching pile the answer is quite a bit.

First of all – a big thank you for all the wonderful comments I received at the Weald Lace show back in March. It really gives me a big boost getting so much positive feedback. As a designer I tend to stitch what I like especially when choosing colours and it is nice to know that others like my designs too. It was also nice to see those pieces of work that some of you had finished.

For those that commented that trying to stitch with black threads on a black canvas at a show was hard work – you were right. Once I got home I realised the days’ stitching was all wrong by one canvas thread – so out it all had to come. “Unstitching” black was almost as hard as stitching black – however it only took me an hour to correctly stitch it that evening. The piece is now finished and I am working on its instructions. It is a companion piece to Storm at Sea – slightly smaller and uses less threads so will be slightly cheaper to stitch. I have stitched it in two colourways – Peaches and Cream and Black and White, but it can also be stitched in the two colours of Storm at Sea. I have also worked the thread list so that Storm at Sea can be stitched in these two new colours. If you have bought the instructions for Storm at Sea and would like the threadlist for these new colours then send me a message via the contact button on my website and I will email them to you.

Peaches and Cream

Peaches and Cream

Black and White

Black and White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the moment I am stitching an older design in two new colours. Many people love the design, but hate the idea of stitching on black canvas. This can be tough on the eyes if you don’t have good light to stitch in as I have recently rediscovered with the black on black I was stitching. The new versions will be stitched on Sandstone and Ecru canvas – more details to follow.

The Saxophone I am stitching in my Goldwork workshop is progressing – slowly!! The laid work is now finished – but oh boy! This was very tough on the fingers!! In the end I had to frequently resort to using a pair of pliers to pull the needle though the several layers of felt padding at the bell – my fingers would be too tired to grip the needle. I was given a choice at the design stage of having padding to make it more 3D or to stitch it flat. Having finished this section although it was hard work I think I made the right choice. It is not obvious from the photos but there were 6 layers of carpet felt used in the padding.

Saxophone - April

Saxophone – April

Saxophone - May

Saxophone – May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next stage is to work out the music which will “flow” behind the Saxophone – the etching on the bell should give some idea of the music I have chosen. I also have all the buttons to stitch. These are all going to be completed separately and added later.

I have also completed several pieces of stitching for my branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild for our entry to the Regional Day in July, but I will not be able to show photos of that until after the event.

I am still here!

As the title says I am still here – although I have not been making entries onto the blog. Unfortunately the work (pharmacy) – stitch balance has been tipped a long way towards the pharmacy side over the last several months. Due to changes at the shop at which I am a pharmacist, it means that I have had to give a lot more effort to that side of my life. It has all been very good for the pharmacy business, but has left me very tired each evening and as a result the stitching has slowed down slightly.  The good news is – I am still stitching.

I have to thank all of those people who visited my stand at both the Tonbridge and Havant lace fairs last year. The wonderful comments from you all certainly makes my day. This was my first time at Havant, and I was amazed at how busy I was. It was nice to meet a lot of new stitchers. I have updated my Diary page to show the Fairs I will be attending this year.

So what has been happening on the stitching front?

Storm at Sea is finished and now available for sale from my website. This is not a small design – it is over 15 inches square and stitched on 18 count mono canvas.

green bronzejade grey

The design is at present available in the two colourways shown above. The green/bronze option is stitched on Victorian Green canvas and the jade/grey colourway is stitched on Light Blue canvas. This design uses 26 different threads as well as beads. Among the threads used are Caron Watercolors and Impressions, Rainbow Gallery Splendor, Neon Rays, Petite Treasure Braid, Flair and Neon Rays Plus, Kreinik Silk Serica and metallic threads, ThreadworX floss as well as other silk flosses and cotton perle threads. I know this will not make it a cheap design to stitch, but I hope that those of you who do chose to stitch it have fun with the various threads and stitches I have chosen.

I am at present working on another two colourways for this design Peaches and Cream and Black and White. The threads for Peaches and Cream are shown below although since taking this photo I have substituted the Gloriana Silk floss for an alternative silk floss. This colourway is proving to be very pretty and very different to the previous two. It is being stitched on the cream canvas shown.

Peaches and cream threads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black and White colourway is a request by one of my customers  at the shows. It has not been the easiest to work out the threads, but I am nearly there! This will be stitched on black canvas.

I have also been working on a slightly smaller variation of this design, of which I should soon have a finished version. It uses many, but not all, of the threads from Storm at Sea (so it should be cheaper to stitch) and will be able to be stitched in the same four colourways. I will also be using for the first time Vineyard Classic Silk thread in this design. This is a thread I was introduced to by Yvonne of West End Embroidery in September of last year. I have really enjoyed stitching with it and expect it will make more appearances in my designs.

Away from the canvaswork – my first love – I am also going once a month to a class run by Shelley Cox at her workshop in Hawkhurst. I have been to a few one day workshops that Shelley has run on Ribbon embroidery, Mountmellick work as well as the Goldwork workshop mentioned in an earlier blog entry. This time I seemed to have jumped in the deep end!!

I am stitching a Goldwork Saxophone. After four classes I am now able to start stitching with the gold threads!! So far I have learnt how to fasten the fabric to the frame – I am using a proper slate frame for the first time, and how to develop and apply the design to the fabric. The next two lessons were spent applying the several layers of padding that will give shape to the Saxophone body. This is definitely a long term project, I will try to take photos when I have made more progress. I am hoping to get some proper trestles to rest the stand on for working in a few months – at the moment I have to balance the frame on a table with the help of my Lowry stand.

sazophone 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy stitching to all those following this blog, hopefully it will not be such a long wait before my next entry!!

Where have I been?

The answer to the above is busy. I also have another “proper” job as some would call it as well as my stitching and this has been keeping me away from the stitching a little more than I would like over the last few months. At least I still have the stitching to keep me sane in the evenings. Hopefully the work/stitch balance will even out over the next few months – oh dear I forgot about the garden!!

Well what have I been up to in my stitching world?

Let’s start by saying I usually have no more than one or two projects on the go at a time – I might have a large stash of future projects  – but normally I like to finish one before I start another. As this blog entry will show I appear to have a lot of unfinished projects on the go at the moment, all due to workshops run by my local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild.

Beaded Tassel update – As you can see I have completed four “legs”. I have decided to do the ends of all eight legs differently.

Four legs finished

Four legs finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tassel leg 1Tassel leg 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

tassel leg 3tassel leg 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bead embroidery – I attended a one day workshop run by Alison Nash to teach us the basics of bead embroidery, my piece will (eventually) be fastened to a hair slide. The techniques I learned that day I used to finish one of the ends of my tassel. I really enjoyed the workshop and could possible end up using some of the ideas in a future Needlework by Nikki design, although this is most definitely still on the drawing board at the moment!!

Bead embroidery 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldwork. This is technique I have long wanted to learn, but for some reason have not taken the plunge. So when I had the chance to attend a two day workshop run by Shelley Cox a graduate of the RSN, I made sure my calendar was clear. The photo shows the piece after the first day and our homework is completed, the second day of the course is this coming Sunday. I think I can say I will have a love/hate relationship with Goldwork. I love the stitching on the front of the piece and the techniques I have learnt so far, however I do not like tying back the ends of the gold threads once they have been plunged through to the back of the canvas!! There were over 150 to finish on the areas of Italian shading we were set for homework!!

goldwork - homework completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for my own designs. Those of you who saw me at Horsham back in March will be pleased to know the piece I was working on at the show has been finished and I am now working on the second colourway to iron out any design hiccups. I am also in the process of writing up the instructions as I stitch this piece the second time. It has a “working” title of Storm at Sea – as this is the name of the quilt block the piece is based on. It should (will?!!) be ready for the Tonbridge show in October.

Storm at Sea 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This by far the largest piece I have designed – it comes in at just over 15 inches square and uses a large range of threads, some of which are new to my designs as well as beads.

Storm at Sea 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally – there is a new date added to my Diary. I will be at the Southern Counties Lacemaker’s Fair at the Havant Leisure Centre on Saturday 16th November.