Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Life Stitching

February 2, 2010

Life drawing is fun. Add embroidery into the mix to highlight some details, and it becomes brilliant.

We spent the day life drawing at school today. We didn’t have any professional models, so our tutors did that instead. These drawings are of Nikki, or Nicola Jarvis as the embroidery world know her.

I only used thread on the face, as I thought this was the most important area to work on.

And the back of the piece is quite interesting too.

Tech specs: Charcoal, calico, household thread


Back to Earth with a Bang

December 21, 2009

Remember me? I don’t.

Life got a bit funny, things got a bit hard-The Royal School of Needlework suprised me a little. But I’m ok now. I’m living in a house with internet (this is like a dream!) and I’m happier. Since I’ve got the internet, I’m going to be around more, I promise.

The astute amongst you might notice I’ve changed my header. I’m re-doing this blog now. I’ve finally admitted to myself I’m not as twee as I like to think I am and I’m celebrating that. I wear boots and I swear. It’s fun, especially in the Royal School of Needlework.

This piece has a story or two- it was originally stitched for the NSFW Phat Quarter swap on Flickr. It’s based on a painting of Sappho (doing what she does best, other than writing poems) by Édouard-Henri Avril. I wanted to create something that whilst being NSFW for the easily offended, it’s less something dirty and more something to be celebrated. Sex isn’t bad or disgusting. It’s not something to be shyed away from- it’s beautiful. And so, I give you embroidered cunnilingus:


I embroidered this in many public places, on many trains- although perhaps I enjoyed this most on the tube train to the Knit and Stitch Show. Sat amongst school friends and a tutor it was a good way to introduce myself. A stranger, also on her way to the show, joined in with the fun and complimented me on my stitching too.
A little while after finishing, and whilst I was saving up the money for postage, my Mother laid her greedy eyes upon it and fell in love. After pleading me and guilt tripping me with such lines as “You wouldn’t be eating if it wasn’t for me. YOU WOULDN’T EVEN BE ALIVE IF IT WASN’T FOR ME!” I relented and agreed to give it to her and Dad for Christmas. And I wonder why I turned out weird. I’ve now got to make something else to send to Jojobooster, and I hope she forgives me.

Technical aspects:
Stitched on a pre stitched pillow case I bought from a charity shop, I only did the women and the ‘Sappho’. When have I ever bothered to stitch a flower? I matched the colours, in more ways than one. It’s a quilted piece and done in chain and backstitch.

I’ll leave you with that for a little while.

Indie Tracks 2009

July 28, 2009

Whilst the manlier amongst us might go to Larmer Tree festival, cover themselves in mud and keep us all updated with pictures on their iPhone- My fun comes in the form of little festivals based on steam trains with farms nearby and twee indie pop bands playing in churches… Indietracks Indiepop Festival.

I took all my photographs on disposable cameras so you’ll have to wait a while for actual documentation of the extreme fun I had, but in the mean time, have a couple of snippets.

You remember when I told you about Eithne Farry? Well she was running a workshop there called ‘Hey Ho Let’s Sew’ to promote her new website (That I was unable to find… google search fail.) I of course went along ever so eagerly, and I ended up making this dainty little corsage:

I also got to meet her and I can now vouch that not only is she super talented but she’s also a lovely person. She has a new book out soon which I am very excited about indeed.

And finally, a little touch of what makes indietracks so unique and wonderful:

(I actually found that that was the friendliest donkey. Charlie the llama however – terrifying.)

They can take my blood but they’ll never take my Fiskars

July 16, 2009

I have in my head, an image of a perfect embroiderer. One who has reems and reems of threads and cotton and hoops and needles and books upon books of needlepoint. They have every possible accessory organised in the most perfect way.

I am the total opposite. I am a student without a student loan. So unbelievably poor. I get by on what I can. If I need something, I’ll buy it. I won’t buy it on the off chance that I might need it.

I’ve never bought threads in bulk. I don’t have a rainbow of every thread colour I might ever want, and I certainly don’t have those all in a lovely quality of DMC or Anchor… Most of mine are in ‘Venus’, 35p a skein, and you can certainly tell when using them to embroider.

This morning I went to buy myself two new skeins. One dark pink, and one to match a leaf from my garden. A one and a half hour roundtrip for a small amount of floss. Dedication.

I do have the odd prize possession. Amongst these, a washaway embroidery pen and wash away avalon film (which makes me choke… I much prefer the pen, but for precision it can’t be beat) but my favourite of them all- a pair of Fiskars Needlework Scissors.

I cannot begin to explain how completely amazingly useful these scissors are. My granny bought me a pair for Christmas 2007, for me to use them almost every day, until they disappeared. She bought me them again in 2008, and told me “I’m not buying them again!”

I’m really protective of these scissors. I once got in a small dispute over them when a girl from college asked to borrow them and fearing they’d be taken from me, I snapped “No because I’M USING THEM” I found this instantly hilarious, unfortunately she failed to see the funny side. There was bitching about me for sure that day. All for the love of fiskars.

This morning I had a blood test and they took so much blood I couldn’t believe it. I thought they were being greedy when filling up the first tube, four tubes later and I thought they might just be trying to kill me. Anyway, I’m still alive and am awaiting the results to see why I’m losing weight, why my toes are going numb and why I cannot sleep. Sigh.

Haven’t seen your face in a long time

July 9, 2009

So I’ve been absent. I’d explain, but once I start talking I can’t stop. So here’s my last embroidery series instead.

As Kurt Vonnegut once wisely said “A plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit.” So, for my last piece of work at Swindon College- I decided to attempt that.

I asked around for five little things that make life worth living. I came up with phonecalls from friends, the sound of nearby ice cream vans, fridge magnet letters, nice biscuits and warm, cozy, stripey socks.

I satin stitched a little picture of each item.

Before surrounding it with a little back stitched ditty, with cross stitch emphasis on words, to help the viewer read it how i’d like them to.

Then I blanket stitched it onto a kitschy homely/floral fabric background.

Then I mounted it in a tacky gold frame to finish the whole thing off.

I got a merit for the whole year, which whilst a little disappointing, is still something to be proud of… and now I’ve got the Royal School of Needlework to look forward to… and of course a life full of phonecalls from friends, sounds of nearby ice cream vans, warm socks, nice biscuits and fridge magnet letters. Bliss.

I won’t leave you without post for so long next time.

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment.

May 26, 2009

It’s a curse that the academic year comes to a close in the summer. Sure, it’s great that we then get to frolick around in the sun for six weeks or so- but leading up to that frolicking time, we have to just sit inside and sigh wistfully at the sun and the daisies and the joy whilst we stay indoors bored out of our minds.

It’s impossible to work in such conditions. Especially when friends invite you to fun things that you simply cannot say no to. I love my friends. I’ve just experienced what is posssibly the best weekend ever, but now I have to face up to the fact that my deadline is soon, and my work is not finished.

The project that I’m working on is a topic I’ve chosen myself. For the pretentious title, I chose “Beatific Visions” and for the brief I basically said I had to study the Christian Religion and discuss my own beliefs and create appropriate imagery based on traditional stuff to support my faith. Or something. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. And I still don’t. And I guess that’s the fun.

A little while back I bought a small wooden hinged shrine wotsit from a charity shop for 25p. On one side of the wotsit was a painting of God, with a book that I presumed to be a bible. Across from him was the BVM and their son, Jesus Christ. I decided to remake this for my project. This time, I wanted it to be more believable- more human. No pretty, demure looking women or ever powerful men.

I put myself in place of Jesus (Well, why not?) and represented myself by using an image from the story of St Rosa. She, the patron saint of embroiderers (No, really) was said to be seen by a servant as a baby, with her head transformed into a mystical rose. So there you go. Jesus with a rose for a head = me.

And the mother? That’s John Fowler. He’s a tutor at college. He really encouraged me this year and has been my rock. Without him I’d surely have gone mad, and I doubt I’d have stuck the year out or at least certainly not got to where I am now.

God. My God, challenge and a half. Choosing who wasn’t so bad- I just had to look for someone who I basically believed or agreed with every word they ever said. Who I trusted, someone who I thought was good and honest, who made sense of things for me… and who I unequivocally swear by. Even better, someone who writes books. That little wooden wotsit of mine has a book in it, remember? So. Who else could I go for but Kurt Vonnegut. I read Slaughterhouse Five in 2007 and I’ve never looked back. He’s a Humanist too, and famous for it. So there’s humour in that too. Embroidering Vonnegut as God, something he couldn’t possibly believe in.

Vonnegut’s got one of those faces that is impossible to capture. He’s come out looking way more stern than I’d have liked, but according to my mother (with no prompting) it looks like him. Despite the fact I have one of those wonderful wash away embroidery pens, I had no choice but to embroider Vonnegut by eye, because embroidery pen just wasn’t cutting it.

To finish off I had to figure out what words would go in Vonnegut’s bible. At the time I was deciding, I was sat watching Britain’s Got Talent (don’t judge me!) and couldn’t be bothered going to find some books to scan through. So I just scanned my memory for some of his more philosophical moments. And here it is, the Tralfamadorian view on time;

Sigh. Back to work now.

Finally stitching again

December 30, 2008

So, college has been mad. Ucas (uni applications) are mad things. Deadlines are mad things. Projects about immigration into britain are mad things (so I guess that’s my own fault for choosing it…), but it’s mostly over now.

I’ve finally been able to do some ‘me’ stitching again. Although, as usual, it’s for someone else. Someone else who adds to the hecticness of my life and the increasing difficulty in making blog posts. But, he makes it kinda fun. So I made him a mix CD. And the most important part of the mix CD? The cover.

Machine embroidery and hand embroidery on calico. I lined it with a shirting fabric that I stole from some fabric bins at college, but I forgot to get a snap of that. Just imagine a nice blue and white stripey fabric. The duffel is because we both wear duffel coats and it’s cute. And the cassette, well that’s just because I miss mixtapes.

I tried out my new fabric pen on the back, for the tracklisting.


Is two Geraldo tracks too many?

Also, because that doesn’t count as a Christmas present, and because he unexpectedly bought me on (Tsk!) I did a ‘quick’ knitting project for him.


It’s not just maroon and cream, it’s also got some navy blue and some black in there.

And the stitching pattern is pretty hot, right? It’s just stockinette stitch with some YOs passed over.

It’s the Boombah Scarf which is a free pattern on Ravelry.

Ah, machine embroidery…

November 9, 2008

How I have missed you!

enoch powell

enoch powell back

enoch powell

Let’s all guess my textiles project?

Petty Perfectionism

October 7, 2008

I kill myself sometimes. I just can’t help it- if I do something for someone else, it has to be the absolute best I can do. It has to be original and exciting and everything has to fit together. It is for this reason that I should definitely not ever undertake big projects. But I do.

My Beau is a self confessed computer nerd. He loves it all, but especially retro arcade games. And his favourite? Pac-man. So I think “Hey! Y’know what? I could make him a pac-man quilt. He’d love that.” And I mill the idea over for a while- thinking of the ways to do it, but I mill it for too long.. and suddenly I notice this is far from an original idea. There are pac-man quilts all over craftster. Gutted, I think of a way to make it exciting, make it my own. And boy, I wish I’d never come up with one. But I did. Why not make it so you can move the characters around- like a real pacman game? I’ll tell you why not. Because this takes forever. Because this is impossible. Because sewing on that many buttons is enough to drive anyone mad. Because finding a place that can sell you 80+ of the perfect kind of buttons is impossible, so you have to make your own out of fimo, only the shop doesn’t have enough yellow fimo so you have to buy super sculpey and paint them all. Because all those materials and threads and notions soon chalk up a huge bill. But, I love punishment, and I love my Beau. So I did it anyway.

Here’s a poor quality full on snap of said quilt

pacman quilt

And some deets.


pacman felt toys

pacman dead ghosts

But, he loved it. And he was worth it. And I guess I kind of feel proud of myself.

We made a gif of it in game form this weekend.

Craftster Challenge #30 Cozies with irony

September 9, 2008

I wasn’t going to join in. I hate irony. I love cozies. It wasn’t for me. But then I made a cosy, and thought “why on earth not?”. I knew I wasn’t going to win so I’m pretty smobbed with my four votes! (three, if you don’t count the one I placed… ahem.)

It’s for my shiny new laptop.

It’s lined with gingham, and uses a beautiful elephant ribbon I got in return for a swap package.

elephant ribbon


Exciting times. Smile.