The Stitchbook Collective

I’ve just completed another month’s project for the Stitchbook Collective, this is a monthly on line course organised by Helen Bellingham of Untangled Threads which is teaching us different techniques each month, she sends a box out which contains everything you need, it’s a great way of trying all those things you see at shows but not quite sure what to do with. For someone like me who tends to do quite neat and precise stitching, it’s certainly pushing me out of my comfort zone! Each month we aim to produce two finished pieces which are then stitched onto calico pages to make a book.

The first month was all about texture…

The second month was pleats and tucks…

This time it was dyeing…

I put aside an afternoon when I could have a clear workspace in the kitchen – dyeing was definitely not an activity for my sewing room! Helen sent three Procien dyes, magenta, turquoise and lemon, together with the salt, soda, plastic bags and gloves and lots of different types of fabric to dye.

Altogether there were about six different samples to try dyeing, from basic soaking, to tie-dye, painting with dye, achieving different tones and seeing the different ways different types of fabric take up dye. My favourite was the DMC white thread which went into the purple dye wiith the cotton, polycotton and muslin, it came out beautifully and subtly variegated. All good fun!

We also tried rust dying, wrapping calico round rusty nails and washers and soaking in white vinegar before leaving it to dry for 24 hours, I did wonder if I’d left it too long when I first saw it…

Stitchbook collective

I unwrapped it and rinsed it and I was pleasantly surprised with what came out…

Stitchbook collective

I then had to create something with it!

I decided to use Helen’s suggestion and just concentrate on small areas. I found three 2″ squares where I could ‘see’ something in the rustmarks. I then used some similar coloured embroidery thread to try and make it into an embroidery. I saw some flower heads in one, so I added petals, grasses etc. The second one looked like a sunflower head, so that just needed lots of lazy-daisy petals. The third one looked like butterflies, so I just went round the wings and added boddies and legs.

Stitchbook collective

For my second sample I decided to use the purple samples, three different shades from one batch of dye. I started by arranging the calico, polycotton and muslin together and started to use the DMC thread for some Kanthe style stitches. I was a bit bored after three rows, so I decided to do three rows of three, just enough to hold it all on! I then added three strips of other fabrics – the tie-dye one and magenta – and stitched them on with three rows of Kanthe stitch.

I then got all arty farty!! I remembered an app on my phone called What3words. Someone has divided the country into 10′ squares and each square has three random words attached to it. If you are lost somewhere and need help (could be in a forest on on the motorway…) if you give these three words to the emergency services they can find you easily. I checked the three words for my sewing room and wrote them on little pieces of mulberry paper before stitching them on with three buttons. For on-line security reasons I took the three words at either end of my sewing room and picked three from those – glad, flock, robes – I told they were random!!

Stitchbook collective

I’m really enjoying this project – it’s so far away from my usual neat embroideries or cross-stitch! This month’s box is called Joomchi – something to do with mulberry papers apparently, I’ll get Christmas out of the way so I can give it a bit of time!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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12 Responses to The Stitchbook Collective

  1. nanacathy2 says:

    I love all your pieces, such fun. Sometimes getting arty farty is the right thing to do, love the random words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That project looks like so much fun! And you are doing great, so much creativity in those rust sunflowers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. anne54 says:

    Isn’t it great when people push us out of our comfort zones? I wonder if you have tried dying before? I look at it and think “That would be fun” and then I think “Oh no, the mess”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      I’ve not tried dyeing before, though I did buy a starter kit at Yarndale in August – it’s still sitting in its box, at least I’ll have an idea what to do with it now! It wasn’t as messy as I thought it might be – I put a large piece of plastic down and wore gloves the whole time.


  4. Sandra Croley says:

    Wow, there is a lot of beauty in this post! You are very inspiring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mandycurrie says:

    Hello Margaret, your project is really going well. I’ve seen a similar book to this before and it’s so inspiring. I’ve never dyed before either, my Mum did the old fashioned way in pots of coloured water on the stove and I decided it was just too messy for me. I do like fabric painting though. I love following your progress. Regards Mandy xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great project! I am fascinating by the rust dyeing you did!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. daneesey says:

    Oh my gosh, your sampler stitcheries are amazing! I’m so impressed!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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