I’ve just finished another two pages of my Stitchbook Project. This is a year long course organised by Helen Bellingham of Untangled Threads, which is based not too far away from here in Scarborough. Each month there’s a different type of textile or stitching to try, there’s lots of little samples to try and then one larger piece to pull it all together. I think it will be a great way to learn about those things I see at shows but haven’t got a clue what to do with,like Tyvek, kunin felt, joomchi or gel plate printing. Helen makes a video to show us what to do, as well as providing written instructions.
Last month was all about textural stitching – it’s certainly pushing me out of my comfort zone as it’s much more abstract than my usual stitching…
This month it was Pleats and Edges. Our box of goodies contained denim, cotton tape, twill, embroidery thread, calico…we made samples of pintucks, gathers, pleats, smocking, irregular gathers.
What I like with this project is being able to follow the instructions but still be able to make it your own. The first sample was some pleats, I decided to embroider in the teal thread provided along the top. That was the start of the theme for the page, just a little bit of embroidery in teal.
One sample was pintucks, I have to confess I stitched these on the machine, but I then hand embroidered them to change direction in the middle. The smocking one was designed to be less formally stitched, but I decided everything so far reminded me of the Victorian clothing and embroidery, so I went down a more formal route. I did some smocking years ago when my daughter was little, I dug out an old book and did a short strip of traditional smocking.
There were about seven samples all together, we then had to arrange them on a piece of soft denim. I could only fit five on in an arrangement I was happy with. One sample has gone in the sample box and the other I used for my second piece – more of that later.
I stitched them all onto the piece of denim using running stitch and french knots. I added some tiny mother of pearl buttons to add a bit of interest, but also to continue the Victorian theme.
I wanted something underneath my pleats and after a bit of rummaging I found a beautiful mother of pearl circle, I’m not sure what it was for as I found it in my mum’s stuff. It just fitted under the pleats…
I went slightly off kilter for the final piece, in the instructions we layered up several types of fabric and then ‘quilted’ the centre, having cut out a frame in the denim. We were then to use any technique we chose to decorate the frame.
I decided to use one of the sample pieces which I hadn’t had room for – a larger rectangle of regularly gathered folds. I gathered the folds up irregularly and started to add different ideas from the samples, together with some very pretty trim I had in my stash.
I stitched a length of soft blue trim down one of the folds, I pleated a length of blue lace along the side, tucking most of one edge under a pintuck. I hand stitchd a running-stitch with some tiny buttons along the pin-tuck.
I found a narrow length of cotton which ws actually left from trimming blocks with a rotary cutter, I managed to gather one length to tuck in a fold and twist the other length down the side.
I stitched on half cotton balls which Helen had included in the pack and added herringbone and some mock smocking too. I was pretty pleased with the finished embroidery…I’ve just realised that it looks a bit like a snow scene when it’s on its side, well that was a fortuitous accident!
My next job was to make a textile frame. I cut a rectangle in the denim and decided to use the leftover centre to embellish the edges. I cut it into 6 strips and gathered them onto a long thread. I could then lay them along the border, twitsing as I went, securing it down with french knots.
I’m pretty pleased with my two pages, I like the neutral colours, the next box (which has already arrived!) is on staining fabric, so hopefully I can continue my neutral palette.
If anyone fancies starting the stitchbook project, I think there are still packs available – it’s a limited number. I’m learning lots of techniques and ideas and it’s ceratinli making me think outside the box!
I’ll be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for more inspiration.