Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Embroidery and Me

I am going to teach embroidery at Pimp Your Wardrobe so I thought I'd write a little bit about my experience of it. I have grown up surrounded by embroidery. When I was a child my mother sent off for an embroidery kit of massive proportions from Good House Keeping magazine. It was a bedspread with squares arranged in a grid resembling a vegetable garden. Each square containing rows of different veg. Caulies in one, spuds in another. I don't remember her ever embroidering anything before. Or sadly since. My father inspected her first attempts at a tomato and promptly took control. The result was spectacular. Snails crawled from behind crisp lettuces, butterflies alighted on courgette flowers and goldfish darted around the ornamental pond, a fountain playing prettily in it's centre.
That was it. He was off. This was the 70's. The next thing we knew we journeyed  to London and were taken to one of the big department stores. We queued to have our photo taken by a machine that printed out the results using the symbols of the typewriter keyboard to represent the different tones of our faces. My father then painstakingly translated this into embroidery charts and lovingly embroidered a portrait of each of us. I have the one of my mother and here it is.

This happened decades before the amazing software we have today which allows you to scan in any photo or picture you like and at the press of a button an embroidery chart slides out of your printer. Ever since then he has continued to embroider and spends hours, days and weeks embroidering pictures using minute stitches with hands that have spent decades on building sites laying concrete and tiling roofs.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ebay Love

Sometimes I love Ebay. Today I love it. We have been frantically bidding on tablecloths for our first gathering. I'll be glad when we've got enough, my nerves are shot to pieces. I never knew that tablecloth buyers could be so sneaky, devious and sharp. I imagine loads of grannies placing their bids in the last ten seconds, cackling at my lack of expertise and dragging on their cigarettes while I sob over my keyboard. Damn them. I have found that they often nap in the afternoons and I am left in peace to make a purchase or two. Today it all paid off. Three packages arrived. I was so surprised and delighted when I opened them. It was as if the sellers had known the pain I had gone through to get these cloths. My bedroom was filled with the scent of lavender and other people's washing powder. Rather intimate. The care that these people had put into wrapping my prizes was touching. Tissue, satin ribbons and lavender. Thank you ladies.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Corsages and Bows

I have been rummaging through the latest magazines to find interesting bits and pieces to put on clothes, bags or in you hair. I'm going to stick them all on a board for inspiration at Pimp Your Wardrobe. I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Diana who is going to be our sewing teacher at 'the do'. We experimented making felt bows and flowers which we'll turn into brooches and hair bands. Pity I can't make sunglasses.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Just Sew You Know

It was Emma.  Who sewed, well, embroidered, the tiny coffee pot for our shiny good-girl-at-Make-Believe badges.  We plan to leave them lying around town.

The beginning.

The middle.

More middle.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Grandma's Cardies

I am very lucky to have some of my grandma's old cardigans. However she lived with lots of moths and they also liked her cardies. To cover up their handy work I decided to do a little handy work of my own. Here are the results:

You could do any type of embroidery to cover up a hole. On a plain woollen garment it's very hard to hide even the neatest stitching, so making a feature of it can be a good way around it. I was looking for good links to illustrate decorative darning. I didn't find many but I came across this post on 'my favourite colour is shiny' by Ginny Branch Stelling. It's got a little bit  about darning, but I really liked the book she'd bought, and it's a lovely site to browse.

How to knit

I just thought I'd share this little film that I found on You Tube. It's a very good film that teaches you to knit, from casting on to doing stocking stitch, to purling and casting off. You might find the  music unexpected, a bit too exciting for a video about knitting may be. Unless you're in a night club. However it's very clear and they do lot's of other craft films too. With equally exciting music. They are called Cyberseams.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Tapestry Patches

The latest Cath Kidston magazine arrived in the post today and I found these diagrams for sweet little patches that they have sewn on to a bag, but you could sew any where. You can get your own copy here: