Archives for category: Unfinished Projects

This is another Embroiderer’s Guild project I came across while I was tidying up, (one of many). It’s a scissor-keeper done in detached button-hole stitch. A new stitch to me, and it improved as I grasped it. This is the nearly finished first attempt. I then saw Alex’s and realised how messy mine was, big, uneven stitches. I pulled it all out and started again.

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I did more smaller chain stitches round the edge of each petal. This in turn means that there are more detached buttonhole stitches too.20140219-153735.jpg

I’m about to start the second petal here. I’m much happier with how it looks.
20140219-153819.jpg I like the effect of the varigated thread.

20140219-153851.jpgI done burgundy french knots for the centre of the flower. I want to put some beads amongst them too. Then it’s almost ready to make up.
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While I was patiently (!) waiting for my canvas work to be thoroughly dry, I decided to pick up another UFO.

My first quilt. This was started in 1999. Yes, you read it correctly, and I really did start it 15 years ago. I’ve done the main part of it (I’ll post that another day). I’d abandoned it when it needed a lot of careful hand-stitching to applique the letters and numbers on it. Something more exciting must have distracted me, I’ve no idea what.

But as with many of my returned to projects I’ve learnt new skills in the interim that will improve the finished result. At Embroiderer’s Guild early in the year we had a talk and demonstration by Jean Proud of her Baltimore quilts. She showed us how to make an invisible stitch to applique with, I’m still trying to perfect it, but it’s an improvement on my earlier appliqued letters.

Back to the quilt – it’s a memory quilt of a holiday in Tucson, Arizona at Easter in 1999 with a very dear American friend, each patterned fabric telling part of the story. The patterned quilt fabrics were all bought in America. All that remains to be done is to finish off appliqueing the “Easter 1999” across the bottom. The letters were already made, a hundred plus 1 inch squares of paper with a 1 1/2 inch squares of soft green (the colour of the saguaro cacti) tacked round each square of paper, then invisibly joined together as the letters for “Tucson” and “Easter 1999”.

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The pile of letters ready to put across the bottom of the quilt.20140709-171729-62249711.jpg

The back of the letter “R”. This was the tricky one as I had to make two triangles to make it look like an “R”.20140709-171730-62250732.jpg

I recently bought a metre metal ruler and this proved invaluable when lining everything up, and centring it all. I used a water soluble pen to mark in my guide lines, working from my long age drawn out pattern.20140709-171730-62250193.jpg

Ready to start stitching. You can see a bit of the main part of the quilt, but I’ll show the rest when I’ve photographed it all.
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At the top you can just see part of the already stitched Tucson.20140709-171730-62250442.jpg

Although my first quilt is not finished yet, I must have made about 20 others all of which were finished relatively quickly.

For some reason when I posted this last week it didn’t appear! And only part of the draft was saved. Frustrating, but hey, so here I go again.

I’d nearly got to the end of this section when I realised it wasn’t going to meet up properly. It would have involved loads of unpicking, again. I decided to finish it off and see if it was obvious. I showed it to 3 observant folk and none of them could find it. Phew! I even have to look hard for it myself a few days on.

20140612-204639-74799672.jpg  The finished piece.

20140612-204639-74799891.jpgBut it wasn’t really as big as I wanted, and there is enough canvas to make it a bit larger. So I’m now putting on an extra border to make it bigger. I bought several feather filled cushions some years ago. One of which was ear-marked for an Indian cushion I received as a “thank you” for making a quilt for friends that was inspired by  several of these cushions. No idea what I was planning on doing with the others. But I want this cushion to be the same size.

This is it so far. I then had to take it to be photographed for “insight” open artist studios in North and North East Lincolnshire the last two weekends of September and first in October. More about this nearer the time. I was so close to finishing it but just ran out of time. Usually it’s not the whole piece that’s used for the brochure, so not really a problem. I just wanted to finish it off.

20140612-204640-74800089.jpgI’ve used the same pattern (just over more holes) as the outer border and the divisions of the sections.

IMG_1604The 2 small triangles and one large triangle give the impression of a heart, so it will have a border of hearts, once I get it back.

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This is the stitch I’d started for the final strips a month ago. I was not really happy  with them, but wasn’t sure why, partly the colours, but mainly the stitch. I’d even sewn in all the loose ends, so I could assess it better. And finally, at the group this morning I realised what  the problem was – the main sections are diagonal stitches, the ziz-zag strips and the border are horizontal stitches and I was the adding vertical stitches. It was just too much. Also they didn’t cover the canvas well with the pinky yarn.

 

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I then started on the other side with Creole stitch, this is worked on the diagonal. It was very small and the scale looked unbalanced (I forgot to photograph this stage before I took it out). I then did my own variation on this stitch, which I’m sure is not really mine, and has it’s own name, but I’ve not spotted it in a book – yet. I’d also done the Creole stitch going from right to left, and I wanted the stitching to go from left to right on this side to lead the eye in to the centre.

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I started off with just two colours to make it a more restful area, but didn’t want it too stripy, so planned on doing two rows of one colour randomly. But the darker tone then became too dominant. (This sounds like Goldilocks and the 3 bears!!)

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So more pulling out! And the introduction of a third colour, again randomly, not one, two, three repeatedly.

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This is the opposite end, with a different random pattern of the three colours.

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And is the stage it’s at now, it should be easy to pick up and work on again in front of the telly!

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I’ve finished the side panels of the cushion. They are deliberately not symmetrical, something that I have struggled with in canvas work in the past. I just want it to look balanced overall. The first photo shows a section round the edge that needs completing. Then it’s just the narrow strips on each side to do. And, the dreaded ends – always the last bit to drag my heels about!

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Close-up of centre of one side panel.

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Close-up of the centre of the other side panel.

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The side panels completed.

 

I’ve found some brown denim type fabric in my stash, that will look good for the back and round the edges of the canvas work. It must be cut out soon while the dining table is still clear (needed for eating at on Easter Sunday, too many of us for the kitchen table). It is a superb space for cutting out on and working on big quilts, but I tend to fill it with many and varied smaller projects when we’re not feeding the masses.

The first photo I took in artificial light so the colours are not true, but it shows the progress I’m making.

I realised that it won’t work in the same way as the centre panel and that I’ve ended up with a triangle leading inwards in the middle. I tried carrying on varying the colours and stitch widths and meeting at a centre point. But I’m not sure that it looks right (right hand side). The other side has ended up meeting with the same colour which I think looks better. I’m going to try doing both sides the same and seeing how that looks before I do any more on the right hand side section. It might need pulling out again!!

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The colours are not good on this photo,but it’s making progress.

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Filling in the last triangle on each side.

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Not sure I like the meeting of the ways.

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This side ended up meeting with the same colour, but different width stitches.

 

 

 

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Starting one of the outer sections.

I’ve been quietly working away at this in between other things. I’d not realised how much more I’d done since I last posted about it until I looked back at my blog. It’s gone to several classes since you last saw it and picked up and worked on while talking on Skype, and in front of the telly. Still have to unpick bits when I can’t count up to four. One tutor has suggested working on the diagonal makes it more difficult (but I suspect she’s just being kind!). The colours are being admired and the basket of yarns are covetable (see earlier post). It’s usually me wanting everybody else’s threads. I’m like the kid in the sweetshop with threads and want them all. I just love colour and it fascinates me the variations we pick as individuals. I tend to choose autumnal tones; reds, oranges, rusts, yellows, golds, greens and browns, both to wear and to work with, but challenge myself every now and again to use colours out of my comfort zone. It frees up my thinking somehow, and challenges me to push my own boundaries.

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Second corner on the outer section

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Third corner on the other outer section, I got carried away here and forgot to take photos.

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Considering the overall balance. I’ve left the last bit of border to do when I’m talking – it needs less concentration.

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Again worked away without taking photos. The stripes are over differing number of holes, giving variation in the width of the stripes. The threads are all different weights and textures and need a varying number of strands to cover the canvas.

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Trying out colours and a different stitch for the bands in between the diagonal sections. I’m not sure if I like it, so leaving for the moment, probably until I’ve finished the outside sections.

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The outer sections have more colours than the middle section, slightly more subdued, it’s not so noticeable in reality as it appears in the photo. I’ll have another good run at it on Friday at one of the groups I go to.

 

This piece of canvas work must be my oldest unfinished project. It was started to cover one of a set of eight old carved wooden dining chairs, before we moved here nearly 24 years ago. The colours were chosen to go with our then dining room. When we moved here there was a very good carpet (Axminster?) predominantly in reds and blues which wasn’t our choice but has proved really good over the years, the walls eventually ended up red and the chairs upholstered to match, so this was never going to be used for the chairs (nor will I live long enough to do  eight at at the current pace!!).

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So I’ve decided to make it in to a big floor cushion which will go in the lounge, the colours are perfect for in there, I just hadn’t realised until I came across it recently. A few problems though. I could only find three of the four colours for the unfinished centre section. Fortunately, the brighter one on the left is the same, so I’ve been unpicking that as I’ve needed to.

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The centre section is nearly finished. It’s taken a while to get back into the pattern / design (my own), and I’m assessing the balance as I go. So far I’ve spent nearly as much time unpicking as doing, as I keep making counting errors at the beginning of each row, so much so that I started a little way in after a while and worked in both directions.

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It had been taken off the frame years ago, and the one I re-stretched it on to is one that winds at each end so you only see the area you’re working on, not the whole thing. It is  very bulky for this type of frame, so I’ve found a bigger one (charity shop bargain), which will mean that the whole area is on view as I work. It’s easier doing the middle section on the smaller one, but it will be better on the bigger one for the edges.