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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.

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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.

Catch up!!

I start a blog with three quick entries then nothing for several weeks!! So what have I been up to?

First, as promised, here are some quick photos of Tettara the next design in the Little Ones series. I am in the middle of writing up the instructions for this design, which will hopefully be completed and checked in time for the Weald Lace Fair in March.

Tettara - sunflower seeds

Tettara – sunflower seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tettara - salt and pepper

Tettara – salt and pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The names refer to the Caron Collection Watercolors thread used as the basis for thread selection. The same selection of threads can be used for any of the Little One designs – so if anyone has bought the instructions for a previous design in this series but would like to stitch it in either of the above colours let me know via the contact button on my website and I will forward the thread lists.

I also completed my mother’s Christmas present back in November, but have only just received the photos. I usually take photos of all my work for my records, but on this occasion I forgot!! I had to wait until after Christmas before asking my Mum to take photos to send to me. My Mum loves fuchsias and every year I try to find something for her to stitch incorporating a fuchsia. I picked up the fuchsia fabric a couple of years ago at the quilt show at Ardingly and it has sat in my stash waiting for me to do something with it since then. The bag pattern is Raspberry Ripple by Melly and Me. This time I decided to stitch the bag myself rather than give everything to Mum to complete. She thought it was a bag I had bought over in the USA not realising I had made it myself – quite a compliment as it was my first attempt at making a bag!!

Mum's bag

Mum’s bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the bag

Inside the bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November I attended a workshop run by the Tunbridge Wells and District branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild. It was on Beaded Tassels by Libby Smith. I had a great day, but on returning home the brain went into overdrive!! The tassel would have 8 “legs” but I did not want to repeat what I had started 8 times. So I decided to start again!! As I was travelling up to my parents near Leicester by train the next day (family birthday party + Xmas pressie delivery) I packed my beading equipment and took it with me. You get a lot of attention when beading on a train!! This is still a work in progress, but below is a photo of the tassel so far. I have used Peyote stitch to form the toggle at the top and each of the legs is stitched using tubular square stitch using the same pattern but a different combination of beads. It  took from St Pancras to Leicester to complete a leg!!  I hope to finish each leg in a different way using the techniques we were shown by Libby.

Tassel 1

Tassel 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the December meeting of the branch we had a members meeting on the subject of Xmas stitching where the members were give a choice of three projects to stitch. The committee of which I am treasurer had met a week earlier to “test stitch” these projects. One of the projects was Doves of Peace which were stitches with white felt. As usual I had to be different – so I stitched Robins!! For further information about what the guild branch gets up to have a look at our blog – twegblog@wordpress.com

Robins not Doves!!

Robins not Doves!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of December I started a new job – apart from designing needlework I also work as a pharmacist. This new job involves slightly more hours than I have been working for the past few years. I also managed to get a chest infection the day I started – as a pharmacist I should know what to do – but I had to concede defeat and visit the doctor. A long course of antibiotics later – it might have been shorter if I had rested but I continued to work (!!) – and I was nearly back to normal by Xmas. It did mean there was virtually no stitching in December (and the main reason I have not made any entries on this blog). As those that know me – I must have been ill not to stitch!!

Come the New Year and the needle is back out.

At present I am working on a new Needlework by Nikki design. This one is large compared to the Little Ones series and will use a bigger selection of threads and beads than most of my previous designs. It is most definitely a work in progress. I will try to take some photos when light is better – this mornings photographic efforts have not worked.

This afternoon is going to be spent clearing the drive of snow – I should have been at work today but unfortunately my car and I do not do snow!! Once we get the drive clear – our drive is quite long and steep – then we have to think about the road. I can see it being a few days before we can escape by any means other than on foot.

My Stitching Beginnings

I started stitching canvaswork about 20 years ago, having previously stitched a few crosswork charts. The very first design I stitched was Spirit of the Southwest by Susan Portra – not the smallest of designs to start with!! I did not have a clue what many of the threads were and so took the easiest (but not cheapest!!) option of buying it as a kit. By following the instructions carefully I was able to complete it in a few months – I even managed to master tidy French Knots thanks to Susan’s wonderful instructions. Many of the threads were only available from the USA – and in those days there was no internet. I also found a framer who was able to cut a mount to fit the outline.  After a couple of holidays in Florida I discovered another designer – Jean Hilton. I spent the next few years stitching as many patterns from these two designers as I could get my hands on and my holiday spending money would allow!!

With the internet becoming more widely available I was able to find more designers, although most of those I stitched were still from the USA.

I started charting and selling my own designs nearly three years ago, when I was given the opportunity to cut down my working hours and spend more time stitching. Previously due to a very long  and busy working day, I had found it hard to concentrate on my own designs and would spend my evenings following the instructions of other designers to help relax. Although I followed the instructions for the designs I would very often change the colours/threads that were specified, either because I did not like the colour or I could not get hold of the thread here in the UK.

My very first charted design was Seasonal Cross and went on sale in March 2010 and Needlework by Nikki was born.

Seasonal Cross

Hello

Welcome to my blog. I will use this to keep you up to date with my stitching adventures – whether they are new designs on my website, new techniques I am trying or designs published by other designers. To see my designs for which the charts are available for sale please go to my website                                                                                                                                                            www.needleworkbynikki.co.uk

My designs are only available online or at the lace/craft fairs I attend, details of which will be updated on the Diary page.