Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Here is Hanazume, my Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 piece. I have been thinking about trying Japanese Embroidery for the last 18 years, since my frient Steph headed off to Bournemouth to do her phase 1 piece. Intially I was put off by the cost and  I had just started bobbin lacemaking, so I concentrated on that for the next couple of years. With the arrival of my daughters, cost became less of an issue and time became more scarce. So over those 18 years, whenever I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show, I would linger by the JE stand and think "maybe one day". A job change in 2005, resulted in a house move to Fleet 18 months later and the end of a commute round the M25, which often took an hour and a half on a Friday night. So now I had more time and even better, a sewing room or as the girls called it, Mummy's play room! Around this time I discovered Japanese Bead Embroidery, which I thought I would find easier to get to grips with and it was. After completing Calm Flow earlier this year, I decided it was finally time to take the plunge. I was worried that after thinking about it all this time, it would all go wrong but I have really enjoyed doing this piece. It was a challenge. I would guess that I could have done 2 or 3 pieces, with the number of times stitches were undone and redone. Now it's finished and off at the framers, I am ready to start my next piece -"Flowers from the Heart of Japan". As well as being relatively local, my teacher, Jean, is generous with her time and her knowledge. What more can you ask for?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Gnome Needlebook

At the end of April I was able to go to a workshop with Lynette Anderson and started this needle book. It turned out to be a very relaxing workshop. I chose to buy the kit for the workshop so I only needed to turn up with the most basic sewing equipment. This kind of stitchery is typically done without a hoop. I found that a bit strange to start with but it made it easy project to travel with. It was perfect for the trip to Center Parcs the following weekend. Especially when we had to hang around the villa for the best part of a day because the main water supply to the entire site had gone off!

I was a bit of a rebel. Rather than stitching french knots in the sky, I added aquamarine hot fix crystals. Can't resist a bit of bling! I had a few problems making the ties. Turning the fabric ties with the end sewn up defeated me. So I left the tubes open and added fabric beads on the end. The instructions for the fabric beads came from Kumiko's Sudo's beautiful Omiyage book.

Friday, 20 July 2012

When it reigns...

I made this necklace as a present for a friend's birthday. Steph moved out to New Zealand in the mid 90's, so we don't get to see other all that often. While Steph and I enjoy a lot of hobbies in common, our styles in clothing are quite different. Steph tends to wear dark colour blocks with bright or dramatic accents, while I'm drawn more to patterns and lighter neutral colours. So when I make something for Steph I have to think outside my own colour choices. This necklace was a pattern in the February 2012 issue of Bead and Button magazine. The colour combination is pretty much the same as the design in the magazine but I had to have faith. With all that gold and silver, it looked so bright to me while I was making it. But I think it turned out OK.