As I have mentioned before I am a restless soul and I often have to find something to occupy me when I am watching television in the evenings. At the start of the year started to learn crewel work but this is new to me and I have been getting stressed with it not looking as amazing as the picture. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a bag of cotton I bought from a local flea market and crochet a cushion cover.
It was completely liberating as I had no pattern, no instructions, I just made it up as I went a long. Flicking through some magazines I spotted the idea of doing a flap to close the cover and rummaging in my button box I found some suitable buttons. Doing the buttonholes was easy and to finish off the edges I did a couple of rows of double crochet. It isn’t perfect as some of the tidying up of loose ends show if you really look hard but I am very pleased with it and as I don’t have any picture or pattern to compare it to there is nothing to say I didn’t do just great!
I wonder if this is why I struggle with patterns as there is, for me, a pressure to replicate the picture and standard. I think there will be more of this freestyle creativity in the future as it is just so liberating.
It’s good to know that someone appreciates my crocheting even if it is only Miss Maisie!
In 2013 I taught myself to crochet, admittedly I am not extremely skilled but I have mastered the basics and can just about navigate myself around a pattern. Whilst I have enjoyed learning to crochet I have churned out countless scarves, snowflakes, small animals and even a blanket. I need a new challenge, something to occupy my hands in the evening whilst I watch television.
I used to embroider when I was younger so when I stumbled upon Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘n’ Thread blog an old love was rekindled. I used to sew pre-printed kits and am a master of cross stitch, satin stitch, french knots etc but I still wanted to learn something new. Mary’s blog shows very elaborate and detailed embroidery with skills such as gold work. This coupled with discovering stump work on Pinterest led me to the website of the Royal Society of Needlework and a discovery of a whole range of other types of embroidery such as black work and white work. Looking through the techniques I decided to start with learning Jacobean Crewelwork. I love the way the shapes are shaded and being passionate about early English history this style of embroidery really appeals to me.
I ordered my first kit from the Royal School of Needlework – a Pomegranate. However, I was in for a surprise when the kit arrived as unlike the kits I had done as a teenager the fabric was not printed with the design! However it turns out that this is how proper embroidery is done and as I want to be able to do my own designs in the future transferring a design to fabric is definitely a skill I need to learn.
It turns out that to do this you need to prick and pounce the design. A bit of research led me to order a prick and pounce kit.
Today, being the start of a new year, I set to with the kit. First up I had to prick holes along the lines of the design (top photo) with the pin provided. Then I pinned the design to the fabric and pounced charcoal through the holes with the pad provided (second photo). This was rather worrying as I wasnt sure it was working. Lifting off the design I was left with the design marked on the fabric. The final step was to use some grey/black watercolour paint to sketch in the design and then blow off the remaining charcoal (see below).
So the first stage has been completed and a new skill learnt and I am very pleased with myself.
Next up is to start the embroidery by using trellis stitch to fill the central part of the pomegranate flower. I haven’t done trellis stitch before so this kit is proving to be a real learning curve.