Lavender filled pillow

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's been a while since I've done any embroidery, so I worked on this little project the last couple of days. It was actually quite quick to make. I recycled some linen fabric from an old pair of trousers for the pillow base!

For the embroidery motif I went with Forget-me-not flowers, one of my favourites. So I did a few sketches in pen and watercolour to study the shape and form of the flowers before coming up with the final motif.

I went over the design with black pen so it would be easier to see when tracing it. I used a water soluble pen to trace the design onto my piece of linen. I haven't tried any other methods of transferring a design yet.

I embroidered all the stems and leaves first in a sage green using a back stitch and stem stitch. I really like how the stem stitch looks.

Next I added all the yellow centres to the flowers using french knots, I made them pretty chunky because I wanted a bobbly look! : )

I used three shades of blues for the Forget-me-not flowers, mixing up the colours over the whole design so it didn't look too flat.

Once I had everything filled in, instead of wetting the entire piece I used a clean, wet paintbrush to go over the water-soluble pen lines to remove them.

I made a small bag from white cotton to contain the loose lavender, my machine sewing skills are actually pretty basic, it's something I need to work on! I left a small gap on one side so I could fill it up.

I used dried lavender that I gathered from the garden last year, it's amazing how strong the scent still is, especially when you rub some between your fingers.

For the pillow I used two squares of linen, pinned them facing each other and machine stitched them on three sides before inserting the lavender filled bag. I pinned the remaining side and stitched it closed on the machine. I probably could have done something more fancy for the closure but like I said I'm still learning!

I'll be keeping this near my pillow at night, lavender is great for helping you sleep, I usually use some blended lavender oil (just some rubbed on my belly!) if I'm having trouble sleeping and it always sends me off into a lovely deep sleep! : )

Wall Hanging

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I just finished another weaving, this one took a while to complete because I'd been working on other projects but it's nice to see it finally finished. As before I took a few progress shots along the way.

I made some adjustments to the loom by adding a second row of pins/nails to the top and bottom of the loom. I felt the gaps were too big between the pins and the extra pins would give me a neater finish. I also found some better cotton thread for the warps instead of the wool I was using which had too much give in it, this cotton was a lot more stable.

I did start off with a sketch of how I wanted it to look but I did make some alterations along the way. The hardest thing I found was keeping an even tension when weaving the triangles.

The cotton warp thread made such a difference to the end result, the edges were straighter and the finished wall hanging sat much flatter.

I used a nice chunky roving type wool for some contrast in texture. If you're interested in learning how to hand-weave using a lap loom I highly recommend the video tutorials over at Creative Bug, the class for beginners takes you through everything you need to know.

If you have lots of wool in your stash then this is the perfect craft for you and you don't need much to get started either. The Weaving Loom is another great resource and packed full of information and inspiration. I hope you have fun exploring this tactile craft! : )

A few more seed packets

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I'm just getting over a dose of the flu, I don't get sick that often but I guess it must have been the changeable weather we've been having, snow one minute sunny the next!

I shared some illustrated seed packets in a previous post for a secret seed swap, you can read all about it here. Well I was asked to make a few more because some people didn't receive their packets in the swap, which I was happy to do.

I used the same format as the previous ones I made so it didn't take too long, using watercolour and black pen. I gathered lots of pea seeds from my own garden last autumn so I had plenty to share. I left some on the bushes to dry out, I think the pheasant might have nibbled some but he couldn't reach the higher ones. I've sown some already this spring and they're ready in the cold frame to be planted out next weekend, weather permitting! I also included some Sweet Pea and Nicotiana seed packets because you can't have enough flowers in the garden, right?

I'm busy having a bit of a clear out of my studio at the moment, it's become a bit cluttered and it's time to get things in order!

Forest Painting

Monday, April 4, 2016

We had a great Easter but it's nice to be back to the tranquility of my craft room! I had some unexpected painting commission work last month, which made a nice change to my usual work.

I usually have my camera with me when out walking and snapped this forest scene a while ago, just because I liked the light. I usually work from photos although it's nice to work plein air, it's not very practical sometimes, especially with the Irish weather! I took a few progress shots of the painting as I went along.

It takes me a few weeks to complete a painting, mainly because of the concentration involved and eye strain that can occur. I can only work a few hours a day on a piece and I find the morning light is better to work in, I never paint using artificial light, it really affects the colours!

I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out, it's 16"x12" acrylic on stretched canvas. It's destined for a local hotel, after framing, along with two more paintings purchased.

It's back to my usual paper crafting work now! But I'm hoping to squeeze in some garden time later, lots of seeds to sow right now! Have a great week! : )