Sunday, 2 July 2017

Small Gold Butterfly

The main project I'm working on at the moment is my phase 4 Japanese Embroidery piece - the Butterfly Panel. After finishing the circles around the red butterfly, there was a bit more variety for the large and small gold butterflies. The small gold butterfly is now finished and the large gold butterfly is coming along as well.  

All I have left to do now, is to surround the large gold butterfly with circles. As it will be a larger area than around the red butterfly, it is still likely to take me a fair few months more. Here's how the whole design looks so far.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Wave Handbag - avoiding second side syndrome

I am continuing to work on the Wave Handbag from the JEC as a background project. In my last post I had completed the lines for the flap and back piece. I decided to invest in another JE frame so that I can work on the smaller front piece at the same time. By working on both pieces simultaneously,  I can make sure I have enough beads for the front and flap of the bag to match. It also means I'll avoid procrastinating finishing off the second side.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Blue Dagger Kumihimo Necklace

I'm struggling to come up with a name for this necklace. The design is Pipalicious from Prumihimo but used daggers instead of pip beads. It is a short  necklace so it should sit as a collar. The daggers have a cool grid design and came from Stitch'n'Craft. This is a project that will bring back happy memories. It was my travel project on a trip to Japan earlier this year and pretty much all the braiding was done on the bullet train.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Wrap Bracelets

Wrap bracelets have been on my to do list for a couple of years. My first attempt wasn't successful because the semi-precious stone beads I used were too heavy for the leather cord. Last year when I spotted the Beads Direct Make It Break project was a wrap bracelet, I thought I'd have another go. The kit included tila beads, seed beads, waxed cotton cord and a Swarovski button for the clasp.

After watching a couple of videos which suggested holding the cord under tension, I pinned the cord to a block of  polystyrene foam, which I had covered in calico. This helped a lot and effectively gave me a third hand. As the bracelet got longer, I moved the start of the bracelet to the back of the block, so I was always working in a comfortable place at the front of the block.

There was enough supplies in the kit to make 2 bracelets, which meant I was able to make 1 for each of my girls. It was a relaxing project to do - I may try making another one in the future.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hearts for Manchester and London

I grew up in Manchester and my parents still live there. I also have 2 teenage girls so the situation is waiting in a theatre foyer to collect the girls after an event is a very familiar situation.  So it was with disbelief and great sadness that I read the news about the terror attack in my hometown. When I heard about the #AHeart4MCR project I was inspired to create this bead embroidered heart. The deadline for the Manchester heart drop was a bit sooner than I expected and I knew I wouldn't get it finished in time.

A new call for hearts was raised by #AHeart4LDN after the London terror attack, so I decided to change tack and make machine embroidered free standing lace hearts for the London drop. I used designs from Kinship Kreations, which stitched out beautifully on Brother machine. As recommended  I hooped 2 layers of water soluble stabiliser which made the result quite stiff. I thought this would make the hearts more robust so it was probably a good thing, as the hearts would be hung out on the street. I embellished them with hot fix crystals for a little bit of sparkle and posted them off.

The heart drop in London was yesterday and I was delighted to see a twitter post with a picture of one of my hearts. I have no idea who the recipient was but the fact that she was happy to receive it made my day. This success spurred me onto finish the bead embroidery on my own heart this weekend. Now I just need to work out how to mount it. My original intention was a simple stuffed heart but I think it would look better as a flat heart with a covered cardboard backing to give it a bit more support.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Red Butterfly

It's been a bit of a marathon of going around in circles but the first butterfly for my Phase 4 Japanese Embroidery piece is finished. It's taken well over a year to get this far. I stalled a bit last year but a new year's resolution to get it going again has paid off. This is the first of 3 butterflies - the marathon will continue for some time to come.  I have a trip away coming up at the end of the week so I am very deliberately stepping away from this piece from a couple of weeks. Hopefully I won't have too much trouble getting going again when I get back.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Making Waves

My current Japanese bead embroidery project is the JEC Wave Handbag.  The design comes in 2 parts. A larger piece which forms the bag back and flap, and a smaller piece which forms the bag front. Even though I am treating this as a background project, I've made reasonable progress over the last couple of months, finishing the outlines on the back and flap. The entire design will be blue iris triangle and seed beads. The original JEC bag had hex beads instead of the triangle beads, so I know my bag will look slightly different when it's finished. The triangle beads form a new clean line when they are couched down but I'm not sure how they will look when 2 lines are side by side. I am imagining choppy seas!

I've come to conclusion this is not going to be a very photogenic project. The blue iris beads look lovely close up but they come out very dark in a photograph. My camera phone automatically brightens the shot if I don't take the picture quick enough. If I take the picture too quickly the auto focus doesn't have time to work. I will probably need to ask Jen to take some pictures with her proper camera when she's home for Easter.