Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Teeny tiny toadstools

As regular visitors will know I've been having a break from teeny tiny chrysanthemums, but not to stitch teeny tiny toadstools.  This teeny tiny toadstool is a gift to myself from myself and comes from the very talented hands of Gretel Parker who, on her blog, describes it as the home of the creator of ‘Puddletown Tales’, childrens illustrator, needle felter and toymaker living in a tiny cottage in the Cotswolds countryside, England. With cats.

Gretel makes the most wonderful needle felted sculptures, and I have long been in need of one (or maybe more!). One of these days the fates will collide and I will be able to commission a piece. The sculptures are in great demand as as soon as they appear in her Etsy shop they disappear.

At the weekend when I was having a little surf round the net and doing my usual visits to various blogs and websites and, oh joy, a wonderful teeny tiny toadstool had appeared in the shop.
So I bought him, and yesterday he arrived to live with me.

He is wonderful, from the teeny tiny seed beads to his teeny tiny cap. I love how the green moss is creeping up his trunk.

And here he is posing in front of two Puddle Town Tales books (French versions for my niece and nephew, but English is available, click on the picture for the link to Amazon) which feature more needle felt creations and illustrations from Gretel.

PS - Gretel will be having a book signing for Puddletown tales in Oxford soon - check out her website for details - do go along and say hello if you can. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Autumn shell box

I've been living with this little shippo style since my last post.  I decided I didn't like it as the scale just seemed wrong.  I took it out and went back to the original.

This is a very small scale, the example here is only 3cm across, which means each little shippo is only 5mm wide - 1/2 the size of mine.

So, out it came and I re-did it on a much smaller scale (no pictures I'm afraid).  I still wasn't happy with it, the scale works but I wasn't happy with the embroidery or the colour.  The shapes show up much better on the white background.  I didn't want to introduce any more colours into the piece so I think I'm going to have to practice this on some kind of sample piece.

So out it came again and I've decided to do the outside of the shell box in a much simpler way, I've used the same size lattice as I've used for the tie dye on the large shell.
With simple knots in the centre.

I'm happy with how this has worked out, and it mirrors the tie dye on the large shell very well.
The colours of the tie dye on the large shell are a matched to each other. The lattice over the white foundation is actually the same colour as the other foundation.

We almost always work tie dye over a white foundation, but I have to say I do like the coloured background on this shell.  I think I may use this style of tie dye again. 

This piece is coming on quite quickly now. I've got all but one of the various sections sorted with techniques and colours. Just the outlines on the small chrysanthemums and shells to figure out now, but I've had an idea about this today so that will be the next thing to try out.

So here is where I'm up to now.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Shell box and chrysanthemums

After our recent trip to Edinburgh, I felt inspired and was looking forward to getting back to my own embroidery.  I'd made some progress on the large chrysanthemums but was still not sure how the lower layers of petals would work.

I enjoy the challenge of taking a colour picture and turning it into an embroidery, but this chrysanthemum has been through about five or six different versions to get to this point.  In fact, even though I thought I'd got this right on a previous attempt I still wasn't sure about it and had been very near to giving up on this piece, but then came our trip to see Kusano san's work. Her kind encouragement to develop our own designs struck a chord in me and I came back with new energy and excitement.  I had one or two false starts for the background petals, but then it all clicked into place and suddenly, as if by magic ... 

I have a few more petals to do, but my fingers know what they are doing now with this so I was able to leave it and go onto another section - the lid for the shell box. 

It looks a bit wonky in the photo but it isn't really.  I thought I'd put a lattice design over the lid top, but then decided I didn't like it so it came out.

The guide lines on the sides of the lid is for the shippo design.  Rather than our usual way of doing this I'm working it like the example below.

First the main lines with a 2-1 twist. 

Then the holding lines to shape the main lines, black couching thread.

Then the stitches to fill in the centre.  I think I'll change the colour of these, there isn't enough contrast between the centre and the edge.  But for the moment it will stay in and I'll live with it a while.

I was going to do the flower on the top of the lid with a stitched transfer but then I thought I'd like to create some kind of embossed feel so I cut out the petal shapes in a light card and, after taking out the lattice, I tacked them onto the foundation. 

I'll need to put some short stitch holding on here to keep the foundation in place, but I had enough for today so will get back to that. I really like how this has worked out, I think it works really well.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mary, Mary quite contrary

... how does your garden grow?

With silver bells

 Silver obi with hand embroidered cords and tassel

and cocckle shells,

 silver obi with woven chrysanthemum

 and pretty 'mades' all in a row.

  orange obi with sagara nui (knots)

 Well, I know it doesn't really match the nursery rhyme, but that tassel reminded me of a bell and I couldn't resist.  These three obi are recent purchases from Ichiroya, I bought them intending to use the undecorated portions of the silk for my own embroidery, when they arrived the embroidery and weaving was so lovely I had to share.
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