Ice Sheets at Loch Errochty

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Back in February last year I spent a week up in Loch Rannoch in Perthshire. I’ve visited this area many times (Schiehallion is my one and only Munro!) but I hadn’t been up to Loch Errochty before – so glad that we trekked up there as when we crossed the dam that spans across the foot of the loch we saw these amazing ice sheets:

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As soon as I saw them I thought of rippled silk –

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So my plan is to try and recreate this as a textile piece – I’ve bought a metre of pure white silk and thought I would use either black satin or velvet as the base, I think I’ll do a trial run first with some cheaper nylon fabric before I start messing around and cutting up the silk!

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Also need to choose which section of the ice sheet to focus on – if my trial run goes OK then I might do a few of them – thought it would look good as a triptych but as I say we’ll see how it goes!

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The Loch Errochty Monster? A spirit in the Loch? My Dad thought it looked like a dragon – you could see so many patterns in the ice

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At the other side of the dam is the power station. If I had the cash and Scottish Hydro were willing to sell it to me I would convert this building into my Highland retreat so if I get a sudden multi-million pound windfall look out for me chatting to Kevin McCloud on Grand Designs!

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My sister was getting bored waiting for me and Dad to finish taking photos so she entertained herself leaving marks in the snow:IMG_5418I’m planning to get started on this in the next couple of evenings – I thought by writing about it I’d feel compelled to start it so hopefully I’ll have something to show by the end of the week…my Dad turns 60 this year and I’d love to give him something to remind him of our holiday (he’s sold a few of his photographs of the ice sheets at Craft Fairs down south!) so perhaps this will spur me on a bit too!

 

 

 

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Tree Rhythms – Mission Complete!

DPP_0204aWell I was up till 1 in the morning getting this finished and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. Instead of photographing it under the dingy lights in the house I thought I’d show the embroidery in a natural setting so I took these on a lunchtime walk using the proper camera instead of the one on my phone!

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Ideally I’d have liked to photograph it next to the tree carved with the names but that would have meant going down to the park before work (meaning a v early rise!) but I was really pleased with how my bark looked next to an actual tree.

I have loved working on this! Having seen the standard of stitching from other members of the Embroiderers Guild I’m not sure I’ll be a challenge winner but it was the first time I’ve made something to a brief and actually met a deadline (If I make anything for birthdays/anniversaries etc. I never allow myself enough time!) This was also a great opportunity to use some new techniques  and it’s given me more confidence in trying out new ideas and allowing myself just to have a play about with materials to see what happens!

Time to get working on the next idea now…

Thanks for reading! x

Tree Rhythms – Part 3

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Was it forever?

Well after mulling over the Tree Rhythms piece I decided to ditch the heart and go with ‘Steve n Linda 1990-Forever, I like how the carver wrote ‘forever’ underneath the date, it’s as if they’ve left a space to insert the date of the end of the relationship!

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Here’s a pic of the first stitches, there’s 4 layers of fabric here including 2 of the bark printed fabrics. The top layer is a green polyester net fabric and a hint of the printed fabric can just be seen underneath.

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I’d got some green felting wool from good old Lidl a few months back and I’d crocheted up a sample rectangle one night just to see how it looked felted. It was lying about on my desk with no real purpose then I had a ‘wait a minute’ realisation that it would be great as a bottom layer for the embroidery.

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Pics show the lettering and one of the slashed sections revealing the felt underneath. I’ve got to say I was pushing my poor machine to the limit with all the layers I was forcing it to stitch! There was a fair few jarring moments going round the letters and I ended up using a leather needle as I broke a couple of the standard ones, but she did me proud and finished this part of the stitching.

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Here’s the selection of thread I used to create the bark detail, really enjoyed swapping colours and adding new dimensions to the piece

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For the next stage, inspiration came from these glossy ivy leaves and the vines working their way up the trunk – can’t beat a walk with the dog as a time to come up with ideas!

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I picked some leaves, scanned them into the computer, then printed them out onto a tshirt transfer sheet (thanks again Lidl!) I ironed the transfer on to a thick canvas then stitched the vein detail on each leaf.

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Now we’re on the home strait!

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Here’s all the pieces ready to be put together (This is the stage I was at 3 days before the closing date!)  I made the vines using a tight blanket stitch of cream tapestry wool to cover a thick cord.

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I loved how the buttonhole stitch curved around the cord creating a second vine, the stalks of the ivy I’m really proud of – I wrapped embroidery thread around a doubled up piece of craft wire then attached them to the backs of the leaves, glad I made the stalks quite long as well as I could coil them around the cord to secure them – 1 less stitching task to do!

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Here’s the main body of the embroidery, I pulled the edges of the fabric around the shape of the felt – the sides are by no means straight but I think the curves make the embroidery look more like a piece of bark.

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Detail of the bark stitching – I used a mix of straight and zigzag stitch – had to keep telling myself not to stitch over every inch of the fabric!
Well I’ll leave it there just now, once I get on the laptop I’ll post the photos of the finished piece taken on the ‘proper’ camera:)

Tree Rhythms Part 2

I thought I’d try some fabric printing to use as the base for my embroidery. Out with the dog again, I collected some sections of bark that were lying along the path. Once the bark had dried a bit I set to work with the printing. I really enjoyed doing this – lovely to mess around with paints for a change! I concentrated on shades of green and grey and used plain cotton and a thinner polyester net curtain fabric to print on.

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I used acrylic paints which gave the fabric a coarse texture I really liked. A great discovery while printing – using an old clear plastic book jacket I rolled paint directly on to it and scratched out in reverse the classic Initials in a heart shape tree carving,

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Once it had dried I layered up some fabric and got stitching:

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I liked this design but it just wasn’t grabbing me so I left the project for a week to give it a bit more thought…