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!





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


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!


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.


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.



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.


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



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!


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.



Now we’re on the home strait!


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.



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!


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.


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:)

Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge: Tree Rhythms – Part 1

I took a leap of faith this year and decided to enter the Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge, and my piece is currently on it’s way to the Guild HQ  – the closing date is this Friday so I was pretty close to the wire in finishing it but then I’ve always been a last minute push kind of person!

I’ve taken photos of the embroidery in progress – from the first ideas to the finished piece – so I’m publishing them in parts as it would be a bit overwhelming all in the one post!

First off is a gallery of the trees that got me thinking of how to interpret the theme ‘Tree Rhythms’:

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I have to credit my dog for helping me along with this idea as it’s through our walks that I came across these tree carvings. He was busy having a mooch in the bushes and doing some serious nose mapping so I was gazing about waiting for him to get a shift on when I saw the ‘Steve ‘n’ Linda 1990-Forever’ carving in a tree trunk. I started thinking about who Steve ‘n’ Linda were, was their love forever? Was she there when he carved it? Did he carve it as a surprise for her? I wonder if they remember it’s here?

I started looking at all the trees I passed then, thinking of the people that have carried on the tradition of carving their name in a tree, wanting to leave a lasting reminder that ‘I was here’.

Did a Google search on tree carvings a few days later and found a fascinating blog post on what are technically described as Arborglyphs (or the name that sends my Sociological side all a quiver – “culturally modified trees”)

After I read this, the idea of making an embroidery based on a culturally modified tree (that is the last time I’ll use the phrase, promise) was cemented in my mind.

I love the early stages of planning a new piece - so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that's in my minds eye!

I love the early stages of planning a new piece – so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that’s in my minds eye!

The close reader will see that I originally had a swastika as a possible addition to the embroidery – my thinking behind this was that people leave marks signifying hate as well as those of love. The swastika is a symbol that is as familiar to us as the shape of a love heart, both having the power to stir strong emotions within us. I decided to ditch the idea (I might return to it at a later date!) and go with one large Arborglyph instead:

A rough sketched design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

A few days later – 11 Jan 2014 – A rough design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

So I’ll leave it there for tonight and tomorrow I’ll post the first stage of the embroidery – creating the base fabric. Off to check the progress of my parcel on the Royal Mail website now!

Thanks for reading!