I’m a bit behind with my posts at the moment, August seems to have been a lot busier than usual with short trips away, family visiting and days out, there’s no sign of life quietening down until mid September if my diary is anything to go by! So, there may be a few posts late or out of sinc, this is one such post!
A couple of weeks ago I went down to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, I had a fabulous time, more of that later! As I was down for nearly two days, I had booked myself in to a couple of one hour workshops.
The first one was called Vintage Botanical Embroidery. We used scraps of vintage linens and fabrics, arranged them on iron-on fleece (but no iron, so we pinned!) and then embroidered the outline of a couple of flowers by stitching through a simple design on tracing paper. We then started to use a Kanthe type stitching to bring all the other fabrics together. Whilst I wasn’t keen on my actual piece, I think it will be a useful technique when I start my mums stitched memory book.
The second workshop was by Crazy Mary, it was called Silken Strata, I loved it. She had lots of sari strips which she had ironed and cut into their little pieces. (For those of you not familiar with sari strips, they are obviously the waste product of the sari-making industy, you get a big bundle of narrow strips of all sorts of colours.) We chose four or five strips, laid them in a row over a square of fusible pelmet vilene and ironed them on. She then spread out a wide variety of goodies on the table, embroidery threads, fibres, cords, (all those lovely threads I get in mixed packs at Oliver Twists and then wonder what to do with!) ribbons, beads…and we basically couched rows of threads across the silk in random lines. We didn’t have time to finish it in class so took some extra bits home, finished the couching and then added beads and sparkles.
I’d bought a picture mount from Mary as they do look nice in a narrow mount, however I had a bit of a light bulb moment when I was thinking of making a cushion for Ilkley Show. The show schedule called for a colourful cushion but no patchwork! I could use my Silken Strata!
I found a lovely rich blue shot taffeta in my stash, it’s quite heavy and textured, so it was perfect for a cushion. I’d just bought a 12″ cushion pad which would be the ideal size for a little design. I trimmed the embroidery to 1/4″ bigger than the pelmet vilene, I then stitched the taffeta around the embroidery to make a 12.5″ square.
The cushion needed a little something to bring the wide blue border and the centre together. I chose two perle cotton colours and stitched three rows of running stitch about 1/4″ apart along two sides of the embroidery and extending to the edge. I used a hera marker to draw the lines which worked really well. The running stitch was simple but just enough, so I stitched a back on, I didn’t want to bother with a zip as it isn’t really washable anyway, so I just slip-stitched the edge closed.
It still needed something round the edge and having rummaged in my trims drawers I found a cord which is pink, red and mauve striped but it’s still very narrow. I think I bought it as a possible inside trim when I was making my Chanel jacket. It picked out the pink in the embroidery perfectly. I hand-stitched round and the cushion was finished.
I entered it in Ilkley Show on Saturday and won first prize 🙂