I’ve taken part in travelling books several times, both with Skipton Stitchers and internationally, the idea is that you start a book on your chosen theme, put some embroidery in it and pass it on, you take it in turns to do a piece of work for each person’s book. When your book finally come’s back to you it’s full of beautiful embroideries from your friends.
This year at Skipton Stitchers we are doing Travelling Pages. I think it’s a great concept… each month there is a theme, quite deliberately broad but generally along the theme of our next exhibition which is called ‘There is no Planet B’ Those of us who wish to take part do a small embroidery (to fit in an A5 book) on the theme for the month, pop them in a plain envelope and then swap it for another envelope at the meeting. This way we will gradually each have a unique collection of embroideries.
This month the theme was oceans.
When I thought about oceans, I felt that really oceans are still one of the great unknowns, there’s so much under the sea that we have no idea about. I’m very interested in the natural world, I’m always trying to extend my knowledge on birds, trees. flowers etc, but when I thought about it, I know very little about oceans and their creatures. Even something fairly common like shell-fish…how do they make their shells? Do the rings on a shell indicate age like the rings of a tree? Does the shell grow as the fish grows? How long does it take to make a shell?????
I decided to do an embroidery of a scallop shell. I chose some suitable blue fabric for the background and drew the outline of a scallop shell.
I decided to use spiders web stitch in order to get the ridges effect of a shell. I’ve always liked the effect when I’ve stitched them in cross-stitch projects, however this was a much bigger area. I stitched the supporting threads in a fan shape across the shell and started stitching.
What I hadn’t anticipated was that it’s actually a large area to cover with this stitch, and despite using a hoop, it was very difficult to maintain any sort of tension. I persevered, changed thread colours to add interest, included beads and sequins, partly to add texture, but also, if I’m honest, to fill the area a bit – it took a fair bit of stitching.
As it grew, although I was initially disappointed with the effect of the spiders web stitch, I decided it looked a bit like the distortion you get seeing things through moving water. The colour changes, by chance, also looked like a beach and sea scene…
I was fairly pleased with the final piece, I trimmed it to about 5″, backed it with interfacing and blanket-stitched round the edge. I popped it in an envelope ready for the meeting.
It was quite exciting choosing an envelope and looking inside to see what treasures someone had stitched.
My chosen envelope contained a stunning embroidery of coral by Dee Pollitt, it’s gorgeous, I’m in awe of all the French knots and bullion knots, piled on top of each other. It reminds me of a trip we did to the Great Barrier Reef on one of our holidays to Australia.
Next month’s theme is species at risk, so I’ll have to start thinking about that one soon.