Doodles and Growing Old

Over the last 18 months when my stitch group, Skipton Stitchers (formerly Embroiders Guild) met over zoom many of our members started stitching 4″ squares to make a display.The idea was that each month people would do a little embroidery on a certain colour which could then be joined together as a display. You could embroider in any style you wanted. I must admit that I didn’t join in over lockdown as I always had so many other projects to keep up with. However when I saw them all on display at Yarndale last month I did have a twinge of regret as they did look amazing…

When a request went out to make extra colours I immediately volunteered, turquoise and purple were the colours I chose.

I started with the turquoise one. I looked initially for the background fabric and found one just the right colour with twirls and swirls on. I then pulled out a variety of threads and beads to give me some ideas.

I decided to embroider over the twirls with different threads and different stitches. Some threads were variegated, some DMC,others were varying types of thread, textured ones, thick ones. I started off using blanket stitch, chain stitch, herringbone and couching…

I’ve decided turquoise is a very elusive colour! it sort of merges into blues and greens so it wasn’t easy selecting colours. The most ‘turquoisy’ ones were the thicker textured threads which I couched down, I tried to use a different stitch with each thread, there’s buttonhole, chain, whipped back-stitch, stem stitch, herringbone…

I added beads where the fabric had dots until I was happy I had stitched enough. I trimmed it to 4″ square, applied some iron on interfacing to the back to give it a bit of weight before neatening the edges with blanket-stitch.

My turquoise square proved quite time-consuming, so if I was to finish the purple one in time I needed a simple design. It came to me at around 2am – all the best ideas seem to appear overnight! Luckily I still remembered my idea the next morning…

One of my favourite poems is by Jenny Joseph, the first lines are

When I grow old I shall wear purple

I chose some purple bumbleberries fabric (by Lewis and Irene) not too dark but not too light either. Having practised on paper first I wrote the line in pencil on the fabric and with some calico behind to give support I used split stitch to embroider the letters. My idea was that I would fold the fabric so it looked like the front of a dress or shirt with buttons, I decided to tuck some purple lace under too and hand-stitched it down just with a running stitch down the side of the fold. All I needed then was buttons, despite having a drawer full of buttons I couldn’t find ones that were the right size and colour without breaking into a set of say 8 buttons. Eventually I resigned myself to some which came in a box of vintage buttons, they were to me your typical grandma’s cardigan button, somewhat old fashioned! I was just about to stitch them on when I had a brainwave, I stitched them upside down, so they are a much nicer plain button. I’ll still have a look in town tomorrow in case there is something else more suitable, but for now it is finished, ready to take to the meeting on Monday…

If you live within reach of Skipton you might like to know we’re having an exhibition on the 29th and 30th October of stitching we did during lockdown. It’s at Christchurch, it’s free and you might even recognise some of my work!

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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10 Responses to Doodles and Growing Old

  1. What a fun project Margaret x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane M says:

    Wow they all look amazing including your 2, what an excellent project.
    Great idea using that brilliant poem as inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

  3. endrickwater says:

    Good for Skipton! I remember seeing something similar done by Stirling (formerly EG), and it made quite an impact. Your group’s has done the same, and your individual contributions are wonderful additions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tialys says:

    What a great display and your two contributions will only enhance it I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely project 🤩

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Juliana Ellington says:

    Your turquoise block is so beautiful! I can see why you would want to join this project, and your work is so unique, that it will be a wonderful addition to the whole. I read that poem long ago, probably when I was in my 40s. Now that I am almost 72, I appreciate it even more! I’m glad you used that line for your block.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    What a super collaborative project and I love your contribution.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kathyreeves says:

    I love your blocks. The entire display is just amazing, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Emma says:

    This is such a beautiful idea, and I love your stitching 💙💜

    Liked by 1 person

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