Saturday, December 27, 2008

... carried away ...

I rather got carried away with the stamping ... just happened to have handy a piece of my hand dyed linen, on which I stamped with acrylic paints, then stem stitched to fill in a compass star shape with hand dyed cotton floss.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coloured Papers

Shown to the right are papers stamped with cross motifs.

Shown here are the papers coloured with inks. As you can see, I finally started colouring out to the edges of the papers. Some of the inks used were Speedball, which unfortunately had no yellow in the range. I switched to Liquitex "ink!", which were easier to dispense (dropper in lid). I used both a sponge brush and a small make up sponge with which I dabbed on colour. I also coloured some paper with Derwent Inktense, which gave a different texture, as the "scribbles" show after brushing with water.

I also have an assortment of magazine pages, and some purchased coloured papers from the scrap-booking shop.

Monday, September 8, 2008


I cut four different designs into white erasers...
nail, or carpenter's cross, Toulous Cross (Roman Catholic Inquisition), rusted cross shape from span of rail bridge, and Compass Star. I used 1/4 of each shape, positioning the centre point on one corner of the eraser. Once the shape was drawn on the surface, I used a craft knife to cut away the excess, or non-design portions, taking care not to undercut the suface. On the back of each stamp, I drew a directional arrow, which will make it easier to orient the
stamp as I work. A stamp or stamp block blank the same size as each stamp enabled me to space or "gap" when the pattern required the spacing. I also found that each stamp had a "press point" in the corner where there was the largest uncut area. By pressing the cut block on that point, I was less likely to imprint the background of the block as I worked.
The papers to the left have been stamped with the compass star stamp onto tissue papers, using various spacings and rotations.

I found this to be a fascinating exercise.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Certificate, Module1, Chapter2, Colour Scheme

The choice for colour scheme was a little trickier than I had imagined. I wanted to use the colour of the rusty fabric and nails, but wasn't sure what the complementary colour would be. I found a website that was of great help.

There is a Colour Calculator tool, which allows you to adjust the saturation and lightness/darkness of the colour and to choose the harmony (in my case, complementary). Very useful indeed.

I made the necessary adjustments and the complement to "rust" (orange) is a bright primary blue.
Oddly enough, this is a favourite colour scheme, but I have not used it much in stitchery, so this should be interesting.

design board .... again


Apologies to everyone for such a long delay. I had moved my studio to my youngest's bedroom, as he had moved out. I was almost all sorted, when I acquired another set of shelves. These had to be affixed to the wall, so required moving everything out and away from the wall. Shelves were attached and up within two hours of clearing, but..... no one ever mentions how long it takes to put together a room the second time around! It means a total re-organization. I am now within sight of the end. I have table top space in view and in actual use.. not storage. Whew!
Now, back to work.

Here is my latest and last addition to my design board.
You will notice some rusty square headed nails. I used these to rust-dye, onto linen, the image of a cross.
The card shown in the background is a card of congratulations from a dear friend, on the occasion of my being awarded a $1000.00 bursary from the Canadian Embroiderers' Guild London. There was some very tough competition, and I am honoured and delighted to be the recipient. Thank you!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Certificate, Module 1, Chapter 1, Colour Wheel

I have used watercolour paints to paint my colour circle. I was a little apprehensive at first, as I am not used to using watercolours, but I am pleased with the results.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Certificate, Module 1

It is amazing to see how many variations of crosses and stars there are around us. Not all the crosses are religion based, not all the stars are the five pointed shape we first think of when hearing "star". They are all around us if we but look and see. A digital camera is a handy device to have ready to capture the images.
Websites are also a useful tool. was used to find the images of the compass, and has over 100 images of crosses, with their names. has many celtic crosses.
I also found gift-wrapping paper, jewellery, fabric,
There are many expressions in common use that employ the words "cross" and "star". Some of them are listed below.
Star: starfish, star anise, star fruit, star-crossed, starry eyed, starring..., seeing stars, Toronto Star (newspaper).
Cross: cross-eyed, crossed fingers, crosswalk, cross (angry), to cross someone, cross the street, cross purposes, "Cross and Blackwell", Red Cross, criss-cross, crossword, cross dressing, hot cross buns. cross over, crossword.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Woven paper and resolved pieces

I was surprised at how tricky (ie "difficult") it was to weave the torn papers. I realized that some of the rocks did not lend themselves to being woven over, but did manage to get some weaving between the two larger rocks.

I made two paper "L's", to form a rectangle or square shape to help me choose and area for further work. I outlined the area chosen for my first resolved piece in black fine marker.
For the second resolved piece, I placed clear plastic over the paper, and then the clean canvas, onto which I painted the pattern of the woven paint and oil pastel papers with Pebeo Setacolour . I then selected three triangular areas. I outlined these areas in white basting stitches to isolate them from what would become the background. I then used various stitched to complete the design.

I tried reproducing the colour using coloured watercolour pencils (Derwent), watercolours, and watercolours over black oil pastel resist.

I then stitched into canvas with DMC cotton floss using woven herringbone (different colours for the various stages of the stitch) and knotted stitch (blending the strands of floss to obtain new colours and variations). I also stitched with hand dyed threads. The results are all so different!

Texture Interpretation

Here you can see my interpretation of the black and white rubbing. I painted the canvas with a diluted solution of India ink and water. I felt that the stitches would not show well against a white background if I were to use white threads. I then made a cartoon from the rubbing, which I placed under the canvas as a guide for stitching. I see I still have a lot to learn about stitching on canvas. This sample is quite warped, as I did not rotate the canvas at the beginning of some the rows. Otherwise, I am quite pleased. Canvas work was well outside my comfort zone.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Here are the stitches I have learned for this module, from top to bottom: smyrna, brick, darning, Algerian eye and oblong with backstitch, cross, French, knotted, gobelin (up 2 over 2) gobelin droite, Van Dyke.

I gave up on the Algerian eye across the row, as I did not like the effect.

The threads used in this sample are, from left to right: knitting tape (Como Italian Style by Wendy), tapestry wool (Anchor), Zwicky silk (Flora), 1/8th" double faced satin ribbon (Offray), nylon drapery cord, DMC cotton floss, mohair content yarn, pearl cotton #5 (Anchor), rayon floss (DMC), metallic cord, eyelash yarn, pearl cotton #8 (DMC).

Some rows were not completed in the selected threads for one of two reasons: either there was not enough thread, or I did not like the effect.

Here is the other rubbing. It was one on blue tissue paper with yellow oil pastel. Apparently, black tissue paper is unavailable at our local dollar store except at Halloween! One wonders what the Goth population does for gift wrapping>

City and Guilds, Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery, Foundation Module

The Foundation Module package arrived over Xmas, while I was out of town, and I was very excited to hear it had arrived. When I got home, I made a cup of tea and sat down to read. It was like the Dr Who Tardis... quite a small package, but so much more inside than one would expect.
Choosing my wall had been a slow process, as the weather had been either bitter cold or wet. Also, I wanted a wall that had history, colour, and texture. I finally decided on the old courthouse, which overlooks the Thames River. ( Yes, we have a Thames River running though our London too!) I noticed a section of the wall which had a cobalt blue and rust colours in the stones. What rich colours! The rubbings were tricky to do in the wind, and I suspect I may have shifted the paper as I worked, but the following days were even wetter, so I will stick with what I have done.
The day I chose to photograph and take a rubbing of my chosen wall was after a huge amount of rain, but that day was cloudy and windy. It was so windy in fact that I managed to acquire a bloodshot eye. Marilyn Manson might have wanted it for one of his videos! The doctor told me that usually this sort of problem happens after a night of alcohol binging and purging. At my age, I do not think so, but he does have a sense of humour. Thank goodness it disappeared after only two weeks!
Wednesday January 16 was the first day of CEG London Winter Weekend, and I had with me my photos, rubbings, canvas, threads, and other items I thought necessary to start the project.