Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Stressing about distressing?

A lot of people stress about how to make their carefully worked project look old - look distressed - as if it had been around for at least a hundred years.

Is that you?


Well, allow me to help you out.


These first couple of pictures show how easily linen can be made to have that old, found in the bottom of a dresser look.

This is a 32 count Tin Roof linen, note the tiny holes and pulled threads? These are all at one edge of the linen, suggestive of many years of storage and perhaps moth nibbling? It happens!

Not so noticeable here, so if you need a more subtle look, this might be for you.


Many stitchers choose to age their threads after stitching, but may I suggest this?

Now here, as you can see, the threads have been pre-aged. This is a very quick process which, if not monitored, can quickly make your threads unusable, but rescued at just the right time results in a stiff darker hued thread, often separated into its component strands, supremely convenient for stitching, especially as the single strands are of different lengths, allowing you to choose the right length for the project in hand. The freeing of the threads from their labels enables a more random, casual colour scheme.

Now, here is something I think you may not have considered in your quest for authentic ageing.

This embroidery hoop has, as you can just make out, a rough uneven surface. This can, without any effort on your part, catch on your linen, allowing threads to break, and to snag and drag, resulting in tiny holes similar to, but different from, those illustrated earlier. You may also find, for that final touch of authenticity, that it can result in minute specks of blood being scattered on your project, which quickly darken to brown stains which are almost impossible to remove. A wonderful, antique, much sought-after look.

All I need to do now is to reveal how you can achieve this look, add more prims to your dough bowls, suspend more ornaments from your feather trees.

There are many makes available on the market, some of which you may be familiar with, but throughout the many years I have been stitching, I have found the most effective to be this,

The Irish Setter puppy.

This little creature will, without even being asked, turn it's attention to almost any craft.

Here, a rare picture of her at work as she stretches a piece of crochet to a more convenient size.

And here she unwinds a ball of wool, ready for use.

So there you have it. 

If you prefer your work vintage, buy a puppy.

Better still, buy this one.

Final thought, you can have her. 


Irene xxx

Monday, 12 January 2015

Poppies and musings.

So, I didn't want this new-found enthusiasm for posting to fade and decided to do a shortish posting showing a very pretty poppy ornament.

I always start off with the intention of a short posting but then my fingers run away with me and I don't know where to stop, but this time ......

I'm not sure how I found this designer - I think maybe seeing some of her biscornu on Pinterest but she is so clever.

Her name is Faby Reilly and she is French, although her web site is also available in perfect English.

It's odd - I said in a previous posting how much I loved Stacy Nash designs, and I do, but these are entirely different and I love them too.

I wonder what it is that defines our taste? Why some things appeal and others don't, why things at almost the opposite ends of the spectrum can have the same attraction? 

These philosophical debates are for another time, methinks. ( remember 'short' posting?) but it's interesting isn't it?

I read somewhere once that we could be attracted to our romantic partners looks because someone of similar colouring, eyes, face shape once peered into our pram when we were babies. Scary thought eh? 

Faby Reilly designs beautiful biscornu, where the stitching creeps across the join lines, but also other projects too, like needle cases, humbugs, purses, hanging ornaments, all following a theme - poppies, wild roses, a Christmas collection. Lovely. I bought tons. Of which I have actually stitched? 


But a nice one.

These photos seem a bit dark, but I hope you get the idea. I finished the ornament with a black bead edging and hanger and added little tassels with red bead accents. There are also little beads used in the design. Those red circles are not buttons. Oh no sirree. They are woven-spider-web-stitchy-things. I am not just an expert on the sewing machine and an expert technician, I am an accomplished embroiderer too. Why the Royal School of Needlework haven't picked me up is a mystery.
See how the poppy buds come around onto the back? 

So there you have it.  Hopefully a new designer to you. Go have a look at her site. I could add a link here but I don't want to blind you with science.

We are experiencing gale force winds in the UK. The shipping forecast for ships at sea around the UK predicted severe Gale Force 10 winds overnight. Let's hope everyone stays safe. And that the enormous DEAD pear tree in the garden next door does not squash my house. 

What would I grab first? Presuming all living things were safe. Tell you next time!

Thank you again for your comments, and just for reading this, even if you don't comment. It is always appreciated.

Have a lovely, safe day,

Love Irene xxx

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Garden Maiden Sewing Roll.

Well, look at this, I'm back again.

Obviously this can't go on, two postings in one week, but when the muse strikes......

This project was an exclusive kit from Nashville Market last year, designed by Lori Markovic from La-D-Da. It contained everything needed to complete the sewing roll.

The threads are a mixture of GAST and WDW and the linen a lovely 30 count from Weeks called Confederate Gray ( or if you're English 'grey')

I must admit that I have quite a decent stash of threads and linen now, thanks in particular to my blogging best friend Carmen Sutton of Cardman Antiques who has sent me lots of lovely things, especially linens. But even so, there is a pleasing comfort in having a kit with everything there. You can settle down to stitch with such a shiver of anticipation. Carmen was responsible for getting hold of this kit for me too. Thank you so much.

Also, here in the UK unless you are very lucky, you never get a chance to handle ( well, fondle really) linen and to see some of the different shades. This Confederate Gray was lovely to use, as was the  Dolphin used for the Emilia Poole piece. I don't think I would ever have chosen the Dolphin to order online - too risky - but it was beautiful.

This is the roll rolled. It looks quite wobbly here, but it isn't. ( Say this with certainty and it will be believed)

This is the roll unrolled. Really nice isn't it? 

The inside of the roll. Just in case you couldn't work that out.

Now - I put off stitching this because it really needed some machine stitching. Quite precise machine stitching really. And I am soooo bad with a sewing machine.

But ..... look!

I did it. And it looks fine. I even managed to stitch the ribbon in without being able to see it. 

I could probably make a wedding dress now, if anyone needs an expert seamstress?

I will finish with a picture of the two dogs. I think this one just captures the look of resigned despair on Bronte's face. Cassie is sitting on her back and before and after this photo was chewing on her ears.

Don't worry, I don't let this nibbling go on for too long. I take my turn too!!! My ears are equally chewed.

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post. It is so gratifying to know you are there, my loyal blogging friends.

Irene xxx
PS. Just checked the blog online and only part of the pics are showing. Need to work on that!! Try to imagine the missing parts! 
PPS. Had a fiddle and the pictures are better. I could probably work for Microsoft now if anyone needs a expert technician? 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A return. Emilia Poole and puppy news.

I know. 

Just ages. 

People always say 'Life got in the way' and it does. But not Life with a capital 'L' - no - just life. An ordinary, mundane, shopping, cleaning, eating, sleeping, stitching sort of life. 

But a good life for all that.

So I decided, again, to reinstate my blog on January 1st - a new year, a new beginning. Check out the date today. January 3rd. Failed again!

I have quite a bit of stitching to share, but I will do it gradually over several postings, if you can bear to stay with me for a little while.

If you have kept me on your list of blogs. Thank you. I hardly deserve it, but thank you.

So, today, Day 1, I will show you Emilia Poole by Stacy Nash. I love her designs more and more, she just seems to hit the spot with me.

This is the front of the oval box. Nothing like stating the obvious! 

The front of the needle case book. 

Now - this should be the back cover, but I was so absorbed with getting the woollen binding stitched properly, that it became the inside instead. Well, I won't tell anybody if you don't. The initials are those of Anne and Carmen as we did this as a stitch-a-long.

I added a little strawberry scissor fob using the lining fabric which is not very clear here, and the woollen pin cushion.

This was my first attempt at lining and completing a box finish and I really love it. The scissors are an old pair I picked up at an antique market for a few pennies. 

I have just one more thing to share before this shorter than usual post. 

This is Cassie. She is just 12 weeks old and is another Irish Setter puppy. We lost our gentle Meg a short time ago and she left such a big hole in our lives. Cassie is soooooo sweet and sooooo naughty. 
She is fast becoming friends with Bronte who is now 3 years old.

 They play together a lot and Bronte has the patience of Job with this needle-toothed baby! 

I was contently sorting beads - as you do - at the dining room table and could hear the two dogs 'playing' in the drawing room. I was engrossed sorting the very pale pink from the pale pink and chose to ignore the rumpus happening in the next room. My son eventually asked me to go have a look and I discovered they had brought down 2 rolls of toilet paper and were having a grand game. The room was fast disappearing under this soft comfort tissue!!!  

Well, no doubt there will be more to tell and to show next time. 

If you chose to read this, thank you, if you choose to comment, it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Happy New Year!

Love Irene xxx