Category Archives: how to

Scrap Happy Stitchbook

This month’s Goody Pack from The Stitchbook Collective, is all about dyeing and staining.

beach finds

It probably comes as no surprise that I have a Rust Collection. These are all pieces I have gathered over the last 5 or 6 years whilst beachcombing.

I have been waiting to use them for dyeing fabric, but every time I looked online for instructions, I came across confusing information, so didn’t have a go …. until now!

Helen Birmingham’s written instructions are clear and run alongside a helpful video tutorial. This gave me the perfect kickstart. You can still buy the kit in her online shop.

I relished getting each rusty piece out and arranging them.

flat lay

enjoying the texture and colours.rusty nails

Then the happy task of wrapping them in white-vinegar-soaked fabric.

fabric dyeing with rust

Leaving them overnight was a challenge – I’m SO impatient

Some were stacked on a trivet above my cooling wood-burning stove to speed up the process

rust dyeing stack

I also stained a few bits of paper for collage at the same time.

oven rust

The larger pieces were put on top of vinegar-soaked fabric and put it in the oven.dyeing with rust

I put the oven on the lowest temperature for just five minutes and left for a while, repeating this several times, sprinkling with white vinegar to keep it moist.

rust stain

The grid effect came from a disposable barbeque mesh, that had been left on the beach.

rust dyeing

Fun!nails in calico and curtain lining

Nails wrapped in strips of an old calico curtain and the lining were my favourite little experiments

IMG_6857

My intention was to dye strips of fabric and embroidery thread to use in textile artIMG_6874

– but I loved the look of the wrapped nails so much I have kept some of them wrapped

wrapped and rusted

and will use them as they are.

To preserve them, I have painted them with some old acrylic varnish found in the garage, left by the previous owner – it must be at least 15 years old, but it did the trick.

varnish

So exciting.

This is a little stitched sampler that will go in my Stitchbook.

textile art for The Stitchbook Collective

I am enjoying this so much!

Joining Kate for her monthly Scrap Happy get together.

There are lots more Happy Scrappers to check out as well.

Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
MoiraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Have you been creative with things destined for the scrap heap? If so, leave a link in the comments of Kate’s post and join in the fun.

Free Seahorse Pattern

I have been trying to make the pattern for this little Seahorse easier to understand. This little chap has led me a merry dance! Here goes.

There is a simpler printable pattern – with just one photo of the finished seahorse, for sale in my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

The pattern is written in US terms. I am left-handed, if you are right-handed the seahorse will face the other way.

Use a 3mm up to a 4.5mm hook and any double knitting yarn.

I have used Stylecraft Special DK

or the pattern can be made in cotton with the appropriate sized hook.

(Use the bigger hook if you like the motif a little bigger and looser)

Abbreviations

ch      chain               sc      single crochet                dc     double crochet

hd     half double     sl      slip stitch                        tog     together

 

BODY

Ch 35

Dc into 4th ch from the hook, 1dc, 3 dc2togdouble crochet two together

2 dc, 2 tr, work 2 tr into each of the next 3 chs.

1tr, 2dc, 2 dc into each of the next 2sts, 2 hd, 3sc2tog,

single crochet 2 together

2 sl (leaving the remaining chs unworked)crochet tutorial 1

1ch

TURN

Miss one st, sl 8, 2sc, 1hd, 2hd in next st, 1dc, 2dc in next st,

2dc, 2dc into next st, 1dc, 2hd,

3sc, 2sl, miss 1st, 2sl, (to the neck)

Ch1

TURNseahorse tutorial

Miss 1, 6sl, 4sc, 2hd in next st 4 times, 2hd, 2sc, 3sl

Ch1

TURN

Miss 1, 3sl, 16sc, sc2tog, 3sl (you are now at the lower point of the neck)

HEAD

ch 8, sl into 5th ch from the hook to form a loop, (the loop will form the eye)seahorse tutorial3 sl into the chains (working back towards the neck).

TURN

6dc into loop,

TURN

miss 1st, 2 sl,

SNOUT

ch5, sl into 2nd ch from hook (forming a picot that will be the top tip at the end of the snout), dc, sc, dc.crochet seahorse tutorial

Flip the snout over, so that the picot is facing upwards.

tutorial for crochet seahorse motif

Sl into the top of the last of the dcs into the loop to attach the snout to the head.

tutorial

2dc into loop, 2hd into loop, ch3, sl into the top of the hd

1hd and 2dc into loop

sl into the first ch of the HEAD (at the neck).

crochet motif tutorial

2sl to the top of the neck,

TURN

1dc into each of 3 sts, on the top of the headcrochet

ch2,

TURN

sl into the top of dc directly below the chs

sl, ch3, sl into 3rd st from the hook, sl into dc directly below the picot just made,

(sc,* ch4, sl into 4th ch from hook, sl) twice, sl

The picture below is at this first sc*, which is made into the loop at the base of the foundation chain.

crochet motif tutorial

crochet motif seahorse

ch3, sl into 3rd ch from hook, 2sl

(ch4 miss a st, sl) 3 times, sl

FIN

ch4, 2 tr into next st. twice, ch1,

TURN

(sl, ch3) 5 times.

Fasten off.seahorse fin

Sew in the end.

When sewing in the end of the tail pull slightly to get the tail to curl.crochet seahorse motif

This new improved pattern with many more photos is untested. If you have a go, I would love to know how you get on.

It would also be fun to see how you use the motifs.

I put them on a Hoodie.

Rainbow Junkie made a wonderful wall hanging for her bathroom.

Happy Hooking!

Stitchbook Collective: Texture

The Stitchbook Collective is off and running! Our first pack arrived a day early – wow! I was jumping up and down with excitement. Little packages of delight.

The Stitchbook Collective, texture pack

A present I have given myself, each month for a whole year – it feels so good.

Then the joy of opening them all up and seeing what is inside …. all there waiting to be played with….

Helen Birmingham's Tecture pack

The Texture and Starter Packs are available to buy individually, with unlimited access to the video tutorials.

As a child, I used to go and stay with my step-grandmother, I called her Dabbity, and she would have little embroidery projects ready for me to make – it reminds me of that – Helen and Dabbity have merged together in my mind, it is warmly comforting to have those memories revived.

Once again (like in the Starter Pack) there are 9 tiny samples to create – this is the first one I did

calico squares, texture sample

It inspired me to think about making a larger one, with just the large cross-stitches to hold the fabric pieces to the back ground – so I’m off to get some more calico.

The next was a loopy one – I love these loops

calico loops, embroidery sample, Stitchbook Collective

and then a spider’s web inspired piece, weaving the textured thread through the spokes

surface embroidery, woven web

I am having fun with these.

One of the best things about this ongoing project is the Facebook Group that nearly all of the 150 in the Stitchbook Collective are members off. We share pictures of our work and aspects of the processes we go through. It amazes me to see the rich variety created from much the same materials and what gems are created on tiny areas of calico.

Do you have any embroidery on the go at the moment?

Leave a link in the comments, I’d love to see what you are up to.

Calla

Another beautiful pattern by Zoya Matyushenko available on Ravelry

crochet mandala, pattern by Zoya Matyushenko

I wanted it to look a little more open so I made this small variation:

Part of Row

28:

FPDC in FPDC, BPDC in BPDC, – (ch3, skip one BPDC, BPDC in next BPDC) 4 times

29:

FPDC in FPDC, BPDC in BPDC, (ch1, sc in ch3space, ch1, BPDC) 4 times

30:

FPDC in FPDC, (3FPDC around the BPDC, sc in ch1 space, FPDC around sc, sc in Ch1 space) 4 times

~

This one is sewn onto a 50cm coated metal hoop from Glitterwitch.

First I attach the mandala to the hoop with stitch markers at each picot point, then I sew each point onto the ring going over the ring 3 times. I thread the yarn through the edge of the work along the back, to the next point.

Made with Scheepjes Sweet Treat 2ply cotton in Snow White and a 2.5mm hook

That is Crochet Mandala/Dreamcatcher number 10 made, 3 as presents for my grandchildren, 7 for me. The obsession continues!

 

Stitchbook Collective

Last year I joined with  Cathy in entering a Heart in the Sawdust Heart collective exhibition. Helen Birmingham, of Untangled Threads, who organised that amazingly moving event, is now hosting another collective venture and I am delighted to be taking part.

The Stitchbook Collective of 150 people are each making a 12 page textile book that will culminate in an exhibition in November next year.

There is a Starter Pack.

Everything arrives beautifully packaged and presentedstitchbook collective

Presents arriving in the post!

Helen has made some very easy-to-follow videos which are suitable for complete beginners and experienced embroiderers alike. Anyone can buy the kits and make a textile book following her excellent tutorials – I can highly recommend them.

The whole experience is a complete and utter treat!

The Starter Pack includes instructions for some stitching samplers and a collage pack.IMG_4651

The first task is to divide a piece of calico into 9 and work the suggested stitches with different thicknesses of stranded cotton. Helen’s videos give very clear instructions, but she is also happy for us to make our samples unique to us – the main emphasis is on relaxation and enjoyment.

Whilst stitching I kept thinking of my travel doodles and how they might look in stitch

travel sketchbook doodles

It has got me wondering how I might combine the two together

Included in the Starter Pack are materials to make a collage to be sewn on one of the pages.collage kit

fabric collage

Helen even provides a drawstring bag in which to keep the work.

starter pack materials

Although the 150 places in the Collective have been filled, the packs are available to all, with access to the teaching videos. I can highly recommend them.

 

 

I’m really looking forward to the September Pack pinging its way through my letterbox.

Painting a Cow

Miss E and I were watching a TV programme called ‘Home is where the Art is‘, which had 3 artists pitching to a potential buyer for a commissioned work of art. I asked her, “If you were to commission a piece of art, what would it be?” To my surprise she said, “a painitng of a cow”. Not what I was expecting from an 11 year old.

She had a birthday coming up so ………. off I went trawling the web to see if I could find some inspiration. Hey presto! Kath Dunne on Instagram was the answer. Her work is full of life and colour.

I saved this image to my computer

Kath Dunne

Isn’t it fabulous!!! Do go and have a look at Kath’s other work. She is an Australian artist and you can see her work on her website: kathdunneartworks.com

I wondered if I could paint a similar picture for Miss E’s birthday present.

I tried it out in an altered book to see if I thought I could capture something acceptable

altered book

Hmm, yes, I thought I could, so I started to paint with acrylics on canvas, sketching out the basic shape with thin white paint that I could rub off with a damp cloth til I got the shapes I wanted.first sketch for cow painting

With hindsight, it would have been better to block in the background of the shape of the cow first, in light and dark tones, before adding splashes of colour.

sketch

At this point I knew it was time to put the eye in – yikes – scary – the eye and the expression in the eye can make or break a painting. I needed to have a practice painting to work on alongside this one

practice painting

Gosh I did find it all a bit stressful!

Back to collage and sploshing paint around in an abstract way for a bit of relaxation, for a while – then onwards ……

cows

And here it is, below, the finished painting – I wish I could have captured the look on Miss E’s face when I gave it to her – she was absolutely surprised and thrilled. She said it looks like Clover, her current show calf – so that is the name of the painting: Clover.

cow painting

I contacted Kath Dunne to ask her permission to share my painting with a link to her website and she said ‘go for it’! Creativity and connection across continents – love it!

I’m looking into making a few prints of Clover, let me know if you are interested.

Scrap Happy

Joining Kate at Talesfromchiconia for her Scrap Happy gathering on the 15th of every month.

A friend’s birthday was approaching and I knew she would appreciate the recyle/reuse ethos behind this meme, so I went to my vast collection of bits of crochet I have made as experiments with either pattern or colour. crochet experiments

I have a similar collection of art experiments with acrylic paint on paper, so I chose one of these for the basis of the card

Folding the card into 3, I tried out a couple of ideas

DSC_0484

I decided to use the flower which is the centre of the Amanzi block, I lined up all the ends and marked the positions of the holes I wanted to make in the card

DSC_0486

sitting it atop a ball of yarn to pierce the needle through

DSC_0485

Then I sewed the threads through and tied them at the back

Ta dah!bday card

The present was some handmade soap I had bought in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, from the force of nature that is Julia Horton-Mansfield who owns the Really Wild Soap Company.DSC_0491

I first met Julia on one of her guided wild food foraging walks

The soaps and card were wrapped up in a page from an old magazine

present

Pop along over to Kate’s to find others who can inspire you to usefully use up bits and pieces of this and that.

Happy Scrapping