I first heard about #sewing4thesoul a couple of weeks or so ago, I’m rather late to the party but it’s just what I need at the moment, a bit of relaxed stitching for the enjoyment of stitching. It sounds similar to the Stitchbook Collective, but concentrating on the actual stitching, rather than trying different products and techniques. I hesitated at first as I was several months behind on the Stitchbook Collective, however I made a concerted effort over the last few weeks to catch up, so I feel able to start this one now.
#sewing4thesoul is a stitch-a-long organised by Anne Brooke, she’s the designer of Harold the Hare, she does some lovely embroidery kits too. She lives over the hill (well, a few hills!!) in Brighouse, not that far away. I think she started a stitching for the soul project at the beginning of the year, it was like a stitched roll. It was meant to last all year but when the lockdown happened, it was finished a lot quicker. She then started a textile book.
She’s released lovely, gentle, chatty videos on YouTube of the different pages she is stitching, I still haven’t worked out how often they’re being released, possibly weekly. Anne is stitching hers on a book made from batting. I can see it would make a lovely tactile book but I wasn’t sure about stitching straight into a book that’s already made – it sounds like it could be awkward as it fills up. I’m stitching mine using the pages from Untangled Threads – calico pages I can bind together later with beads.
I’ve just completed the first two pages…
Last year the Cone Exchange from Harrogate, which is a fantastic textile community recycling project, came to talk to us at Skipton Embroiderers Guild. He had a little stall too, I bought a fabric sample book – one of those with a range of furnishing fabrics in. It cost me all of £3! It’s beautiful, it has embroidered flowers, monograms, linen, expensive fabric! I decided to use this as the base for my stitch book. Anne suggested we chose one colour to go right through the book, not necessarily as the dominant colour, more of a continuing thread, so on each page there will be at least one thing of that colour, it could be some stitching, or a button, a piece of ribbon…I looked at the colours in the sample book and decided on a sort of ecru / taupe.
For the first pair of pages we had to create something with circles and squares, using just straight stitch. She talked through how she had developed her two pieces, giving us ideas on how to start. Straight stitch could include anything from running stitch, cross-stitch to seeding or stars.
I chose a few fabrics from my book, the first colourway was a soft red and a neutral ecru sort of shade. I cut some squares, the edges frayed nicely. The middle square is a checked linen and the top one is a lovely loose weave striped linen. One stripe is quite coarse, the other is gauze like. I cut the circle out of one of the fabrics with the monogram on.
I started off stitching everything down with a basic running stitch, I then carried on with running stitch around the circle and along the strips. The curly piece of thread is couched on with a cross-stitch. I’m pretty pleased with how this one’s turned out.
The second piece was to involve a circle cut out of fabric, so based around a hole. I found this one a bit harder to get started on, I think I found it harder to choose which fabrics would work. I cut the circle out of the checked linen again and laid the gauze striped linen behind, lining up the stripe with the check. I then had a rummage in my textile box and found a small piece of harris tweed which worked colourwise and it fits in with the other natural fibres. I cut part of a circle, so it would echo round the main circle.
I then played around with threads, lace and scraps until I was happy-ish. The frayed strip is a scrap off the gauze striped fabric – it frays beautifully!
The curly thread helps to link the design to the first one, it’s stitched on with long and short stitch. I did some seeding at the top, tied cross-stitches along the red line, running stitches to continue the lines across the circle and the stars at the bottom are a nod o the comet flying over us at the moment – not that I’ve managed tosee it yet – it’s always cloudy when I look out! The lace is an old piece I’ve had in my stash for years. I stitched the piece onto the page using a slanted stitch which follows the line of the tweed. I like this one but I’m still not so sure it doesn’t need something else to make it pop. It will have to stay pop-free as it’s stitched in now!
I do like it with the light behind it though…
I’ll be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link to see lots more hand-stitching.