Wednesday, 25 March 2009

To Err is Human

The karayori and katayori threads used for the calyx and branches have to be soaked in water and allowed to dry thoroughly to set the twist. When the plum blossoms were complete, I twisted my threads, wound them onto a glass, soaked them and left them to dry ready for the next day. I remember it was late when I did this and I was probably a little tired. Although I referred to my box chart (a stitching guide for the design), I mistakenly made a karayori instead of a katayori for the branches.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I only discovered the error after I had used most of the thread to couch along the branches and realised I was going to run out. I referred again to the box chart to make sure I used the same number of threads. The box chart said to use a katayori and the thread I had been couching was a karayori.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Karayori is the smoother of the two threads. I had stitched mainly the twigs and small branches and had sufficient left to complete the remaining twigs. The more knobbly katayori that I made, I used to stitch the main branch.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

We have plum tree in our garden. The new growth is quite smooth, and the older branches are more gnarled. Although my plum blossoms are not as suggested, I like the outcome of my mistake. Perhaps it was divine intervention.

Happy Stitching

It All Adds Up

I am taking advantage of the lighter mornings and a slight change in our daily routine to fit in 30 minutes embroidery before work. As I said before, I don’t get a lot done in the time but I do get something done.

It is surprising how 30 minutes here ...

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

... 30 minutes there ...

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

and another 30 minutes here ...

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

... gradually add up and before you know it, another part of the design is complete.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

30 Minutes more

Another glorious spring day and another 30 minutes at the frame before I went to work.

I don't get much embroidery done in 30 minutes but it's amazing what a difference it is making to my day. Is it the weather or is it making a little time for me each morning?

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A Day in Paradise

Because of the warm spring sunshine ...

Because of the sweet fresh breeze drifting through the open patio door ...

Because of the bird song and Borodin’s "In The Steppes Of Central Asia" playing softly on the radio ...

Because of the wild plum blossoming in the hedge ...

30 minutes at my frame this morning felt like a day in Paradise.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Travelling Books - 9 January 2009

Close to where I work is a large cementary. Sometimes I take a walk there during my lunch break. In January we had a several days of freezing weather inculding a couple of days of freezing fog that left everything covered in a thick haw frost. I went to the cemetary to photograh the winter foliage encrusted in ice crystals.

While there I spotted a granite memorial with an ironwork surround. The ornate metalwork was festooned with frozen cobwebs. The contrast between the three elements really struct me. The fragile cobwebs, so easily destroyed by the weather, the iron slowing decaying after many years of exposure and the granite, ancient, and seemingly impervious to the elements.

This was the inspiration for the page in my first travelling book. I first sketched a design based on the iron work. I used the grainy fabric that I created on Play Days - Part 2 to represent the granite in the background and the fabric created in Play Days - Part 1 for the iron work.

After machine stitching around the design outline with metallic thread, I carefully cut away the top layer to expose the 'granite' fabric.

I then cut out the design and removed the tracing paper from the remaining areas.

With white Medeira metallic thread, I hand stitched cobwebs onto the ironwork.

Every photograph, every thought is a moment frozen in time. On that ice encapsulated day, even the cobwebs had an air of permenancy.

Happy Stitching

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Workshop - Kathleen Laurel Sage

The beginning of March has been so busy. I have attended a workshop - organised by my branch of the Embroiderer's Guild, a 5 day Japanese Embroidery course, a 5 day course for work and an Embroiderer's Guild branch meeting.


When Kathleen Laurel Sage was guest speaker at our Branch last June, members where so taken with her 'Extrav-Organza Delights' that they requested a workshop. Kathleen is a super tutor, relaxed, confident and good fun. She has spent a lot of time experimenting with her technique for layering and cutting back organza. Kathleen supplied kits at a discount for the class or assisted students in realising their own design. I chose to work from a kit as I wanted to spend my time learning the techniques rather than developing a design. I found it very difficult to choose between the beautiful designs but finally opted for the Chrysanthemum kit, partly because the orange and green colour scheme is an unusual one for me to work with and partly to chose a different one from everyone else.

The kit contains all the material required, except from machine sewing threads, to complete the design.

During the workshop, I nearly completed the design. It only took me a couple of hours the same evening to finish it off. That is quite unusual for me as I am such a slow worker.

A really enjoyable workshop, and a very pleasing finish.

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Guest Speaker, Jan Beaney

I'm not terribly good at remembering names. It is not unusual for me to think that I have never heard of our guest speaker only to find that I am very familiar with their work. However, there are some 'names' in the world of embroidery that even I cannot fail to recognise. I had never met Jan Beaney before tonight but many of our branch members have, either at talks, or through workshops and courses; they hold her in high regard. From her talk tonight, it is easy to see why they find Jan so inspiring. Her observational skills are evident in her photographs, her sketchbooks and even in the very words she uses to describe her work. Her fascination with colour, light and texture is obvious and her ability to convey a sense of mood and place is remarkable.

Most of our branch meetings are well attended, but tonight we had the highest attendance of members and guests for some time. The ripple of excitement before Jan's talk was palpable. I don't think anyone left disappointed, I certainly didn't. I am doing a workshop with Jan later this year. I was already looking forward to it, now I can't wait to spend a day with this inspirational lady.

Happy Stitching