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Purple Box

Last year’s stitching included a purple “box” I completed as an entry into a competition held in memory of a member of our branch of EG. As this member was the person who encouraged me to join the branch, I decided to stitch a piece of work that would show many of the techniques that I had been introduced to through workshops run by the branch.

Purple Box 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outside of the box was four panels of crewelwork with a ribbon embroidery lid. Most of the designs were my own but the crewelwork images were parts of designs from some of my books which I resized and altered the colours and some of the stitches – as I was running out of time – lunch breaks at work were not long enough!!

Purple Box - Lid 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the lid was removed the box opened up to reveal four labelled needle cases which held each of the style of needle I had used and a second box. The sides of this inner box were different styles of canvaswork – beading, thread couching and bargello. The final side was one of the blocks from my Southwark design.

Purple Box 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lid to this inner box was decorated with goldwork.

Purple Box - Lid 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When this second lid was removed the box opened up again to reveal a place for storing stitching tools and a cross stitched scissor case. I was lucky enough to find purple handled scissors and a purple seam-ripper, tape measure and thimble to go into this inner area. The construction of the box was definitely a challenge – it was eventually finished 2 hours before the meeting started!! If I do this again I need to think and research more carefully the construction details before doing the stitching or find a workshop!!

Purple Box 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS. I came second – so I was very pleased with my first competition entry.

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Long Time – No Posts!!

Yes it has been a long time since the last message, but I thought not a lot had happened to be reported on. But on looking back at the last few months I realized that I had managed to stitch more than I thought.

Firstly the reason for not much happening. As in my last post I reported that I was taking a long time to recover from the procedure on my back, to the extent that in December I was referred to a different specialist who requested another MRI scan to see what, if anything, had happened since the last scan had been taken two procedures earlier. The result was – nothing!! So this led to me having to have an operation on my back at the end of March to remove most of the disc that was causing the problem. So another two months off work to recuperate. At least I was just about able to attend the Weald Lace Fair a few days before the operation. It was hard work, but lovely to meet up with some old friends that I hadn’t been able to see for nearly a year. However, although the operation was successful in that the disc is no longer pressing on the nerve, I still have a lot of pain because of the inflammation caused on the nerve over the last couple of years, and it has now been decided that I need to rest my back as much as possible and avoid all the movements that trigger an increase in pain. This basically means no pharmacy for several more months (standing for any length of time is a major pain trigger!!) and having a slightly (sometimes this is an understatement) “foggy” head due to the pain killers. It also means that I should not sit in one position for any length of time so I have to limit my stitching.  I am sometimes frustrated with my limitations, but try to manage to keep a smile on my face.

Another issue that came to my notice in April was problems with my website. My website hosting company made changes to their website designs to make them more suitable to the many platforms we use to view the internet these days. I had the impression that the changes would not cause me any problems as I only had a very basic shop package. Wishful thinking on my part!!

Firstly my site disappeared for some people. If you are one of those then make sure that the address you have saved in your bookmarks is http://www.needleworkbynikki.co.uk.  There were other addresses that lead to the site but these no longer work.

Next I discovered that many of the photos had been reassigned to the wrong products and that the multiple colours for each design had disappeared. The photos have hopefully all been attached back to the proper designs now, but I still have not worked out how to attach multiple images. This is a problem I am working on.

Finally I discovered that the hosting company in their wisdom decided that my site was a wedding list site – I can’t think why!! This does mean that the contact button has disappeared and been replaced with a sign in button.

Please bear with me while I try to resolve these problems. I am having to redesign the website with a new design package from my hosting company and this is not easy when I have a pain-killer induced “foggy” brain and am not supposed to sit in the same position for a long length of time. I will get there as I keep telling myself!!

If you want to order any designs then rather than use the website direct you can send me an email requesting a design and giving your postal address (please no payment details in the email) and I will send you a PayPal invoice for payment.

Now a couple of photos of one of the projects I have finished since I last posted.

Nova - last November

Nova – last November

Nova has now been finished – a fabric mount made for it which was lightly embroidered. I had to use a curved needle as I decided the mount needed something added after I had finished all the stretching. The final size of the stitched area is 14cm by 17.5cm – if it had been stitched as designed on 18 count mono canvas it would have been 30.5cm by 37cm. The colours of a few blocks were changed when I had completed the design as they did not appear quite right. This was because I was only using one strand of floss throughout and Genny Morrow had a variable number of strands depending on the block design, therefore certain stitches (especially couching stitches) were more dominant in my piece and had to be replaced by a more subdued colour so as to not over-power the other colours in a block. So here we are 396 blocks later:-

Nova finished

I really enjoyed working on this scale and can already see me stitching other “large” designs in this way.

More complete projects will follow soon, but now I must move chairs!!

Apologies

Hi Everyone

For those of you hoping to see me at the Tonbridge Lace Fair on Sunday 19th October – I must offer my apologies. Unforunately have had to inform the organisers of this lace fair that I will not be able to attend this year. I know this is short notice but some of you will be aware that I have been having problems with my back throught the year, which has now meant I need an operation on it. I have just been informed that this operation should take place this next week and will mean that I am unable to drive or stand for any length of time for at least a couple of weeks afterwards. Hopefully sitting and stitching will be allowed!!

I hope to back to my usual self soon.

Nikki

 

New Years resolutions

Why the title of New Years Resolutions in July? Well I decided several years ago that instead of having a New Years resolution to stop doing something, that instead I would try to be positive and try something new every year. I do not have to decide on New Years Day what that something will be, but by the end of the year I have to learn a new technique and have a completed piece to show for it by the end of the year. Since I have started on this I must admit that all my new techniques have involved a needle in some way and I can see this continuing for a few more years. They  have ranged from box making – I made the box to show off one of my designs – Astral Minor, through beadweaving (a bracelet was completed) to quilting. The latter was supposed to be a simple Jelly Roll design, but ended up being double-bed sized! I did get a new sewing machine out of that project as my old one which was over 25 years old could not cope!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of my favorite projects have involved learning a traditional embroidery techniques – over the last few years I have had a go a ribbon embroidery, Mountmellick work and last year was Goldwork – the Art Nouveau Lily being my introduction to that technique. I can’t think of one of my new techniques that I have not enjoyed learning and most I can see myself revisiting once I have more time – my things to do in the future pile is getting larger!!  Some techniques I have enjoyed so much that I have started another piece virtually straight away as in the case of the Goldwork Saxophone.

However I don’t think I have finished a new project quite as quickly as this years technique. I had the opportunity to attend a one-day workshop that Shelley (my Saxophone tutor) was running on a Sunday back in June. We were given the choice of two designs to work on as well as two different colourways. I decided to be different and came up with my own colours!

Shelleys designs

Shelleys designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of the day I had learnt some new stitches but still had a lot of work to do.

End of workshop

End of workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I had enjoyed the day so much I decided to buy the instructions and fabric to complete the second design as well.  Both designs were completed within 4 weeks!! This is definitely a technique that will be repeated again soon. I am already thinking about a large design that I can work on once the Saxophone is finished.

Canterbury BelleSherwood Rose

Orange Balls

A mentioned in my last entry I had been doing some stitching for my branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild which I was not able to show yet. This is was because it was to be a part of our branch entry to the Regional day competition. The idea was for each branch to choose a colour from the colour wheel and to produce a display based on that colour. Our branch chose orange – which was initially met with groans from the members but proved to be a wonderful colour to stitch with during  the dark, dreary, wet winter we had and to make an orange tree.

Due to lack of time I chose to adapt some designs I already had into oranges. The first piece is a cross stitch pattern called The Quaker Ball published by Amaryllis Artworks. I stitched it on 32ct Belfast Linen in a colour known as Vintage Peach – it is not obvious from the photo but the fabric has a light orange variable shading to it. I also decided to use whatever orange threads I had – considering I can’t remember having stitched with orange before it was surprising how many I had – maybe the Husband is correct and I have got a lot of threads!! The ball is made up of 26 different pieces which all had to be joined together once they had been stitched – that took some concentration to make sure they were joined together in the correct order.

cross stitch ball 2cross stitch ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next two pieces were back to my favorite medium of canvas. I adapted  a key fob designed by Shelley Cox – by turning two squares into circles and again using all that orange thread I did not know I had. It is not easy to make even circles on canvas, but I think I managed – these are just backed with orange felt, with either beads or braid to neaten the edges.

canvaswork oranges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final piece was my holiday stitching. Paul and I took a weeks break upto Ripon in May – just as Tour de France fever was starting to hit the area. We were very lucky with our weather with only one slightly wet morning. I chose to do some beading on felt. On this occasion I did have to buy the felt (but it was also needed for the canvaswork) but again the beads were from stash!! I knew there was a reason I always want to add to my stash when I see stitching things reduced in sales. Basically I just added beads in different patterns to the felt that I had pre-drawn the  pentagons on before travelling. I must apologise to the owners of the cottage if they found any beads lying around after we left – I did my best to find those that “escaped” whilst stitching!!

beaded felt ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of the final effort by the branch – we ended up with over 70 oranges made by our members.

orange tree

 

Goldwork 2 – I’m getting there!!

Just a quick update on the Goldwork. There was much more of what I like about Goldwork this last Sunday – ie only two more ends to plunge through the silk and finish off. There should now be no more plunging before the design is finished. Hurray!!

We were shown how to do soft string padding (I’m sure mine looks like two thin yellow slugs!), cutting and chipping. With plenty of the last to finish off on our piece at home. We were also shown how to use broad plate. A nurse also on the course and myself (a pharmacist) soon got the hang of this once we realised it was like applying a crepe bandage. The others on the course must have wondered what we were on about!! Anyway here is a photo of the work so  far. I will next post when it is finished.

Goldwork after day 2

Goldwork after day 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS  I am finding I get a sore finger if I do much Goldwork each evening. Obviously my finger is only used to the blunter tapestry needles used for canvaswork. I know the answer to this is a thimble, but I gave up on that idea many years ago.