Stitching the Forth Bridge

What possessed me to attempt to stitch the girders of the Forth Rail Bridge? This has felt like the stitching equivalent of the mythical never ending paint job! I used to do 15 minute stitching sessions when bubs was sleeping but then I got sidetracked with other things and this has lain dormant next to my desk for about a year. The image is a tracing of a woodblock print that I found online, the bridge is such a beautiful structure and I still marvel at the scale of it despite seeing it and crossing it nearly everyday for the past 13 years. 

I’d initially planned to stitch the whole picture in red thread but I think it might look better with some additional colour.

So over the past couple of evenings I’ve stitched the bridge while watching Charlie Brooker ‘s Screenwipe, the fabulous Cunk on Christmas then tonight’s episode of Sherlock. I’m gutted that I’ve only got a tiny section of it to do and I can’t find the bloody thread that I used and of course I didn’t make a note of the number/make either! I’ll have a proper look in the morning, I can always make a start on the other sections and hope I can find a close match in the thread stash! 

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Benbecula Bus Embroidery

I started working on this piece in January last year but life got in the way and it lay abandoned in a drawer until September this year. I saw an advert for the Fife Art Exhibition which is open to artists without a formal art qualification who live in Fife so I thought that as this piece was close to being finished I’d get my arse into gear and enter it.

I saw this beautiful Bedford bus – which was used by the Caledonia Macbrayne ferry company – on a trip to Benbecula a few years back. I’m a big fan of ‘Quilting Arts’ magazine and seeing the amazing examples of textile art created using photos I had wanted to try a photo based / realist embroidery for some time. Stage 1 involved printing  out the photo,outlining the main parts of the image then tracing it on to thin paper which i then transferred to fabric using a light box. Then the hard part of the painting began…

I found the painting an enjoyable challenge, trying to find the exact shade, especially making more of the same colour I had created (too light,too dark, not ‘red’ enough…) but once it was finished I was really pleased with how it was looking,those patches of white on the bonnet really bring the image to life, I was so excited to get back into my comfort zone to start the stitching!

I attached the painted fabric to fleece and stitched the main lines of the bus in matching thread.Although this did push sections of the image out I wanted a more 3D effect so I cut slits in the back of the work and burrowed in thin lumps of stuffing, I discover later that this is called trapunto embroidery so that’s another new skill learned through this project! 

So here’s the finished piece hanging in the gallery, the artwork above mine was a red setter made from bark! There was certainly an impressive range of work on display and the exhibition was a great show case for the talented people in Fife. All of the work was for sale and I had mixed emotions about mine being unsold (it was a bargain at £80!) but it will be on display in my living room and I’m proud that a piece of my work had been included in an exhibition. I need to start planning for next year now! 

Finished Projects 2 years on…

Well it’s been nigh on 2 years since I’ve posted anything on here,I bet you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see how far I’ve got with the various projects I’ve featured on this blog! Well I’m glad to say that my Aubrey Beardsley embroidery is now finished, framed and hanging on the wall in the living room of the house I moved into at the tail end of 2014 

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Aside from the wonky border I was really pleased with how this turned out although looking at these photos I spot a number of dog hairs trapped beneath the glass so I think a polish is in order!

I also finished my crocodile stitch bag (lined and with a fitted zip no less!) last summer:

The yarn I used in this bag was 100% nylon and I can confidently say that I will never work with this kind of yarn again as it was horrible to stitch with. Thankfully I used it all up in the bag so there is no 1/2 ball left 2 taunt me!

I’ve been working on and completed a few other projects over the past year, the majority of them have been for my beautiful little girl who has just turned one so I’ll post pictures of these over the coming weeks. 

In common with a lot of people I find the Autumn an energising time of year and now I’m into a routine with the little one I have more time for doing embroidery and crochet (the things that keep me sane!) so I’ve spent 15 mins this afternoon writing up my winter list of stuff I want to do and restarting the blog was one of them. Just have to keep the momentum going now! Thanks for reading x

Bring me the Head of John the Baptist

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I spent a good chunk of the Easter weekend working on my Aubrey Beardsley ‘Salome’ embroidery which has lain neglected down the side of the sofa for a good couple of months. The reason for the title of this post is due to a surreal moment I had on Good Friday watching the film ‘King of Kings’ – a classic Biblical Epic from the early 1960’s (aren’t the best of this genre from the 60’s?) while I was stitching. As I worked on the hair on the severed head of John the Baptist, the film grabbed my attention as the scene I was stitching was being played out on screen!

But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus. (Matt 14:6-11, D-R)

 (Thank you Wikipedia for a brief Bible Lesson! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salome)

I’ve never read the Bible and I’m only half way through the Oscar Wilde play from which the embroidery is taken so I’ve started looking at the subject matter slightly differently now!

Here’s how Salome is described on her Wiki page – I think Beardsley totally captured her sensuality in his illustration:

Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, notably in regard to the dance mentioned in the New Testament, which is thought to have had an erotic element to it, and in some later transformations it has further been iconized as the Dance of the Seven Veils.

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As you can see I’ve neatened up the edges of the applique and I’m really pleased with how this is looking now. I’ve taken the decision to fill the entire bottom section with a mix of split stitch and stem stitch which is opening me up to a fair few hours of intense stitching (I must say that stitching black thread on black fabric isn’t exactly thrilling but the density it gives to the embroidery is worth it.
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Still a way to go with it and I’ll probably leave it lying for another spell while I work on other things but at least I can see the end in sight now!

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

Beardsley Embroidery progress

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I’ve spent a couple of hours this week working on this neglected piece, I’m pleased with how french knot corner has turned out and it’s lovely to have a section finished

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However it hasn’t all been merry carefree stitching as I’m having some problems with the bottom section as I have tiny strands of the red fabric poking through my outline stitches

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I can’t seem to cut the red fabric any closer to the stitches and I’m worried that I’ll accidently snip the black stitching – this has already happened to me when I did my initial applique cutaway – so I’m not sure what to do here. I did think of gently applying black paint around the edge of the stitching or the route I don’t really want to go down – stitching the entire bottom section…If anyone can offer me any advice on what I should do I would be extremely grateful!

Beardsley Embroidery

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I picked this up again tonight for the first time in ages, I spent about an hour working in French Knot corner and considering how this was the section I was least looking forward to I’ve really enjoyed stitching it. I love the texture the knots have given to the piece and now it’s nearly finished my thoughts are turning to my 2nd dreaded section – the hair of Iokanaan…
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