I have always been fascinated by the idea of blackwork – particularly the more pictorial versions …
Dodo is from the Royal School of Needlework and Fish from needlenthread.com
but even the samplers appeal to me…
I have done a bit with my machine…
But never anything by hand. So when it was suggested at my embroidery class I was eager to give it a go.
The tricky bit for me is thinking about the path the stitches should follow before starting (I believe the aim is to have the back similar to the front because you don’t want shadows appearing on the front).
Little Houses from Family Circle magazine 2016
I looked at these little houses and thought they would make a great school holiday project. I would whip one up as an example and then set the girls to it – you can see how much of my example I finished (school starts again tomorrow!).
I’m using a plastic canvas I found at Spotlight. There was no count on it, but I am using 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss. I strip the floss and then put it back together – Mary Corbet writes about it here.
Little Houses Progress
I anchor my thread with a waste knot (more Mary Corbet) and secure the thread with my first few stitches. Once I have been going a while I just use the existing stitches to anchor my new thread.
This is counted cross stitch, so requires a bit of concentration at first, but once you get going you can use your existing stitches as reference points. When I get to that point I listen to pod casts – BBC World Book Club. Dan Snow’s History Hit are two of my current favourites.
If you want to make your own Little Houses you can download the pattern here – you will have to provide an email address, but you can always unsubscribe later.
Little Houses, Favourite Scarf and Nowhere Cowl
I finished my favourite scarf – it is currently blocking on my outdoor table. I am not too happy with the kitchener join – I think I should have had the pieces abutting each other rather than wrong sides together when I did it.
On the left of the image is the start of one of my Little Houses – I have to say working on the plastic canvas is surprisingly fun.
On the right of the image is my Nowhere Cowl – I don’t know if you can read it in the image, but there is quite a nice message about how the chart seems daunting, but is really quite easy. So far that does seem to be the case – it is quite easy to remember each row as I am doing it.
Craftsy – In the Hoop Gifts
I have also been watching my In the Hoop Gifts craftsy class – just the lesson on making zipper pouches. I do like the instructor – Sue O’Very -I am going to have to go and buy labels! I like how she has constructed her zipper bag and there a lots of little hints and tips I can use for other projects. Now to just get onto making one.
I know another new project – does anything ever get finished around here?
I found this project in the Christmas edition of the Family Circle magazine. I thought it might be something that the girls would like to do. You can find the project sheet here.
I have purchased supplies (I have no idea if my plastic canvas is the right size, but it was all I could find), wound the DMC thread onto the cards and now I am ready to go.
Resting Birds are blocking
The embroidery is finished! By the end it was terribly out of alignment – more a rhombus than a square. I have blocked it, but I suspect I will have to block twice.
I have been terribly grumpy all day today – for no real reason, but I feel angry. Two hard games of netball didn’t help although often a good run around can lift my spirits.
Anyway, to feel less wild, I decided to ignore my to do list and knit …
This is the second half and I don’t think I have too much more to do, which is great because I have subscribed to the Inspired by Islay club that Kate Davies is running. I always love her patterns (even if I don’t knit them) and her essays are fabulous.
Still working on the background
I am still working on the back ground – it is a good thing to do while watching television or when I am too tired to tackle anything challenging.
I am hoping to get it finished this year – so I can start a new embroidery project next year.
I have been watching The Crown
How amazing is this show? You see the Queen young and a bit awkward (Philip already seems like a bit of a tosser).
Resting Birds – The Background
I am still working on the background – diagonal cashmere stitch – it is much quicker than the tent stitch and I have got myself into quite a nice rhythm, so even the tricky edge bits aren’t so bad.
I have been listening to Tess of the D’Urbervilles while stitching (read by Anna Bentinck) – damn you Alec D’Urberville and Angel Clare!
Background of my resting birds
Well I finished the design on my Resting Birds cushion, so now it’s just the acres of white background. I didn’t want to do more tent stitch, but wasn’t sure what else would work and then I came across an image of this – it’s a canvas work lobster from the Royal School of Needlework and I loved the background.
By RSN Future Tutor Auburn Lucas
I searched through my needlepoint ‘bible’ (-The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen) and discovered it was diagonal cashmere. I have to say there is quite a bit of compensation and I am finding it a bit tricky when I need to restart (after running into an edge or something), but I do like the effect.
We’ve been away – a relaxing, wintry holiday where not a lot got done. There was even a kangaroo in the garden.
Kangaroo in our back garden
I wanted to take portable craft with me. I took the birds …
I now only have the back ground to complete and I need to decide what stitch to use. I’ve decided to let it sit for a bit and see if inspiration strikes.
Progress on the second half
I also took this scarf away – I am now onto the second-half. It is an easy pattern to remember, which makes it perfect for movie and television knitting (currently watching The Man Who Knew Infinity), although I do often forget the P2tog at the end of every second row (not such a bad mistake I usually pick it up early on the next row).
More of my birds …
One day this might be an amazing resource of how long one woman took to finish a needlepoint cushion cover! I am still working on it – and thinking about what to do with the background? Same stitch? Something different?
But while I am stitching this I have been watching things – The Night Manager, Nebraska (this is such a beautiful story – definitely worth watching if you like character development over plot) Gemma Bovary (this is a bit of a modern re-make of Madame Bovary and it is in French and English with subtitles – incredibly beautiful to watch (I wanted to move to France), but subtitles do make it a bit tricky to do your needlepoint!) and now Suffragette (I haven’t watched all of this, but I am impressed with what I have seen).
I have a few more things – in what Mr H calls my digital pile – The Baz Luhrmann Collection (I am sure this will be fabulous), The Musketeers Season 3, Indian Summers Season 2 and the first season of Orange is the New Black (I have to be careful when I watch this that there aren’t in little people about). I wonder if I have enough to make it to the end?