An Elbow Patch of Love !

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There is something so lovely and satisfying about darning and repairing garments. I try to have a very Make do and Mend approach to life if i can , we are such a consumerism society today, we buy too much and we throw to much away .

This particular pile of repairs was filled with even more love and affection, as this pile of holey shirts belong to my Mr Day who is now my Fiancee!

I am always so keen when he asks me to repair something, as its when i can see that he does appreciate my skills. Most of the time when i am sewing he is so annoying,  why are there threads all over the floor ? AH there is a pin on the sofa! Why do you have so many boxes and tins ? Can you please tidy up your mess! Constant niggles. What infuriates me the most is that he says what are you knitting when i am sewing and what are you sewing when i am knitting ,and he calls thread and wool fabric.

But It is a whole over tune when the buttons have fallen off his shirt or if he has split his trousers again !! He is so lovely , and asks me so nicely to repair them. Which i do , and then he scores me out of ten when i give it back to him. Which makes me so peeved i chase him around our flat with Pins and threaten to stick them in his bottom. He is the cheekiest chappy i know.

Now he has holes in all his shirts, strangely all on the left arm at the elbow. He explained to me that is from being at the office all day and leaning on the desk while he types, and on phone-calls etc .  Well i work in the office all day , on the computer and phone for the majority of the day and i have no holes in any of my dresses or cardigans . Goodness knows how he sits, i think some posture lessons are necessary .

Here is my first shirt renewed with Snazzy stylish Elbow Patches .

 

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My New Adventure ……….. Knitting !

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My darling Mother is an absolutely superb Knitter, and has been all her life. She has made many attempts during my youth to teach me and get me into knitting. But unfortunately for me I was far more interested in other things and did not have the time or the concentration. The most success I had was completing a multi coloured Alpaca Waist Coat. That was literally the simplest garment ever; it was made up of three rectangles. Needless to say I finished it, wore it once and then tucked it in a deep box.

Like I said it is very unfortunate for me that I did not take all of that time, all those weekends and evenings at home with my mum to grasp the opportunity to learn. I could now be a whizz with the needles and whipping up jumpers in a matter of days , knitting with my eyes closed , knitting whilst singing along to the radio but no sadly that is not the case.

I have only just realized how amazing knitting is , now I am starting my adventure. Living in the in the big smoke away from home does have its serious drawbacks. It means that my mum is teaching me other the phone, or when she comes to visit me. Even if it is just a trip to an exhibition or to go to a lovely garden, I will always bring my knitting , we will stop in the most peculiar places and have a stolen moment of knitting tutorials, we knit on underground tube bench’s, in the V& A Cloakroom , Train platforms, Cafes, every opportunity I can steal. I would love to go on a knitting holiday with my mum.

I am learning fairly quickly, however it is definitely a learning curve not every project has been successful. So far I have knitted a pair of mittens that due to my tight tense knitting turned out to be so small they can only really fit a little girl. My next challenge was a tank top that my Darling Mr Day had picked for himself. This I have completed quite successfully, but it really was a close call for a while if that too was going to be too small.

I love knitting but I still find that it takes so so much concentration. When it comes to a section that needs counting, I can feel my brain working so hard and the concentration is hilariously visible on my face. Also I have a very comedic man who thinks it is the funniest thing to shout out numbers whilst I am counting. I will be desperately trying to count to check I have the right amount of stitches and he will say ‘28’. I’ll give him a withering death ray stare and then start my counting again and he will do it again ‘33’. Oh he makes me so mad I have to end up chasing him out of the room which he finds highly amusing.

There is a lot of drama in my knitting, when I realise that I have gone wrong, the doom and gloom sensation falls and I have a mini tantrum. I was doing so well and now I will not see my mum for another fortnight so my knitting is on hold till then. Sometimes when this happens no matter what time of day I just want to get on a train to her, so that I can get my knitting back on track and understand properly where I went wrong.

Quite often I will telephone my mum when I do not understand the lingo of these darn patterns (by the way knitting lingo is definitely a made up language it’s almost like code) My dad finds it very funny, if he answers the phone, he calls for my mum ‘Debby , Tech support , Tech Support , we have a knitting emergency , Liberty needs Tech Support again’.

But my confidence is growing and I love love the feeling of such smug accomplishment when you have made a 3D thing, a garment from a ball of wool! It’s truly amazing !

I have just completed my latest knitting project, Matching Bobble hats for me and Mr Day. Well at first it was just supposed to be a Bobble hat for him, but the first one I made was too tight on his head.

I love Knitting in the round, so much more enjoyable than loose needles, easier to carry around in your bag. No chance of disaster stitch loss. Mr Day came with me to the wool shop to pick the colour he wanted, and it was really funny seeing his reaction to the price of one ball and also he couldn’t get other the fact that the lady only opened two days a week and on Saturdays. What can i tell you the knitting buisness is booming !

These hats were so lovely to knit and so quick. I have had them both finished for about a fortnight now. I had bought a Pom Pom Maker online for pennies, but apparently if you buy things cheap from china, you will have to wait a whole month to receive it. Yesterday the Pom Pom maker arrived at work, ooooh the excitement, I could barely concentrate for the rest of the day. As soon as I got home I started working on the Pom Poms, I have seen this Pom Pom maker a few times and wasn’t sure about it. But I do dread making Pom Poms , cutting up your cereal box, being told off for destroying the cereal box. Trying to cut a perfect circle, going in out of that polo hole, all the fiddlyness at the end, way too much fuss! So I took the dive and bought a fancy plastic Pom Pom maker, it is probably the most amazing thing I have bought all year, super quick and easy, such luxurious poufy pom poms produced. (I will definitely be making oodles of Pom Pom decorations for Christmas) ( ooooh how many times have I said POM POM!)

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I even roped my darling into Pom Pom making for added speed. Then there was the dilemma of Matching Bobble or Odd Bobble, I spent at least 30 minutes contemplating. In the end I decided to do odd Bobbles to make them look more unique. Also in a cute mushy way means we have a piece of each over’s hat.

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Few snaps of Lovely Pom Poms and of course I immediately made him wear his hat so I could corner him into some goofy matching hat photos.

A very concentrating selfie , trying to show the Pom POM

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My next Project i am going to try and make myself a stripy Jumper , looking forward to picking the wool at the weekend.

First Commission

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My first Commission, my first truly independent lovely commission as an embroideress. A very lovely lady who is a regular in the delicatessen that I have worked in for the last three years as a way of making ends meet for university approached me. She had seen some of my work from my end of university collection in particular my black collar. So quite out of the blue she approached me to create a bespoke sentimental piece for a wedding that she would be attending. The wedding was for her best friends daughter so it was intended as a very personalised memorable gift.
It was an absolutely incredible commission to work on I was given a very loose brief. Simply that it was for a wedding and that she desired it to be bespoke, personal, not to twee and a very gorgeous small but beautiful piece. My client basically said to me I loved your work just design what you like and we will take it from there.
So I put my thinking cap on and started designing. At the moment I have a real love for the technique Renaissance cutwork especially combined with translucent silk organza. I wanted the piece to be very small the edge being intricately worked with the cutwork and then the couples initials monogrammed in the centre. I came up with several different designs all featuring a floral theme for the border. One of my designs also featured a similar floral design to my black collar from my graduating collection. I just love it so much I had to throw it, in there. I didn’t want the piece to be typically wedding for example creamy ivory colours, as in my opinion I think wedding couples must get so much wedding tat that they really don’t want, and will be in the charity shop bag or the attic the month after. I wanted to create something sentimental of the occasion but dramatically beautiful, a timeless piece that could be displayed around the house forever and be treasured.
I met up with my client for tea and a spot of tapas, a lovely relaxed environment to show and discuss my designs. It was so wonderful to have someone not in connection with me oohing and ahhing over my designs. She loved all the designs; in the end she picked one and only had a few minor alterations to make to the design. Luckily for me it was my favourite too, which makes it so much more enjoyable.

I had roughly about three weeks to make the piece; the first stage was framing up the silk organza and transferring the design onto the fabric. This technique does give an absolutely beautiful dramatic finish but I can confess it is the most tedious repetitive boring technique ever. It is very easy; if you know how to do the stitches it just takes the patience of a saint quite literally. Which to be honest I don’t have radio 4 stories and harry potter tapes and the occasional film got me through the boredom. Although I think with out my family telling me to get back to work every time I skulked onto the computer did help an awful lot. Also I haven’t got my own set of trestles yet which are the embroiders most desired vital tool. So I had to make do with kitchen chairs.

In simple terms these are the steps of this technique.
1. Firstly you outline the whole design with running stitch, inside line and outside line.

2. Then the bars. Starting from the left you make four long loose stitches across the gap marked, then you buttonhole over these loose threads creating bars which are attached to either side of the fabric about to be cut away.
3. Then you have to buttonhole around the whole design sewing over the ends of the bars. Buttonhole stitch is truly the most gorgeous stitch ever; I currently have a stitch crush on it. It is a truly wonderful stitch as this whole process enables you to cut fabric away right next to it and it will not fray. It is fantastic if you wanted to create a scalloped edge to something.

This photo shows the buttonhole stitch gradually covering the whole design.

4. Finally I used stem stitch to do the extra details on the leaves and flowers and to sew the monograms, and sweet petite French knots to finish off the flowers. The monograms were designed with a growing rose vine intertwining the two letters making that magical romantic bond for Katie and David.

5. Then the completely terrifying stage that involves no sewing. This is the stage where you have to cut it out, and one little wrong slip could make the whole piece ruined. Such a scary part of the work. This time it was made even scarier and nerve racking by my teenage brother Noah who is at the stage where he finds it delightful to make loud noises and jump out on people and I think his favourite hobby at the moment to annoy me. So the whole time I was even more on edge, but had warned him if he disturbed me I would literally murder him build a time machine and zoom back to prehistoric times and feed him to the dinosaurs. Which seemed to work thankfully.

Now with the embroidery completed I handed the piece over to my lovely client. We then went to the picture framers to have a consultation. It was quite hard to convey what I wanted and meant as I think the sales lady was thinking I meant a tapestry or cross-stitch. She started talking about gluing or stretching it eeeeek definitely not. So in the end I said that I would mount the piece as it was just becoming too complicated and I definitely didn’t want it to be ruined by someone who wanted to glue it. So I mounted it on a big piece of foam board so that the framers could cut it down to the size my client wanted. My client and I decided on a Black simple box frame, with a white background. Very simple elegant combination of black and white. It took about a week to be framed, the finished results is stunning I am so pleased with my work, framing the piece makes it look so professional, almost makes me find it hard to believe that I created this beauty. And it is so lovely to think that my artwork is somewhere in the country lovingly appreciated in a complete strangers household makes me feel like a professional.

Final Collection

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For those of you that do not know me i have just completed three years at the Royal School of Needlework which is situated in the gorgeous environment of Hampton Court Palace. I am due to graduate in July, i am so excited get to wear the silly little (ahem expensive) gown and look oh so academic. The thing i am going to miss most about university is my beautiful palace, i have grown so used to our romance Hampton Court will always be my palace and I its princess. I am going to miss just wandering around its stunning rooms and corridors. And the shabby chic grace and favour apartments that have been my classrooms for the last three years that had the most breath taking views over the gardens. So anyway for my final collection i have created a range of pieces to adorn the neck, in the form of collars and a cloak. To create my pieces i used a range of historical embroidery techniques as well as different methods of fabric manipulation.
My pieces are designed to be worn as removable collars or necklaces so that they can be worn with an item of clothing sitting on the neckline or without standing on their own as a necklace.

My first piece of the collection is to show an idea, a sample of what it could be. This piece was inspired by a sense of regaliness and fine luxurious sparkly things. I worked this piece on deep red silk velvet. The embellishment is made up of a mixture of diamante stones of varying sizes, beads and rhinestone gems. I also combined a lattice affect created using silver thread couching it down and then plunging the ends beneath to secure them at the back. This piece was the start of this idea of making removable collars.


My second piece is possibly my favourite, I was simply inspired one day by a vintage embroidery transfer that I had in one of the old magazines I had been given. This embroidery transfer was meant to be worked as a table runner. I cut it in half and I could see that it gave such a fantastic frame to the neck. I decided to do this piece using the technique renaissance cutwork. I wanted the piece to look like an exquisite lace. After experimenting I decided to use silk organza, which is translucent, and to sew completely in black embroidery thread. It was quite challenging to keep doing this piece as it soon got quite boring and repetitive as you have to go other the whole design three times. First, sewing running stitch along the whole design. Secondly making the tiny buttonhole bars that criss cross along the design, thirdly working buttonhole stitch along the whole design. Then the last thing to do is to cut it out this is the scariest bit after you’ve spent days and days working on something so intricate and one unfortunate slip of the scissors could ruin it all, but luckily that didn’t happen. The bars in the second stage are worked so that you can cut out specific areas of the design; the bars hold everything together creating a new fabric in a way. These layers and the final buttonhole stitch allow’s you to cut right up to the embroidery and the work will not fray! From a distance the piece just looks like black thread in this pattern, the organza is almost invisible. It is truly marvellous well worth the boredom.

My third piece is an unfinished idea of creating collars that layer up on each over and can be worn in a combination of ways. Each collar adding another aspect to the look. I used a lot of white work embroidery techniques on these collars, in particular eyelets, buttonhole scalloping, and monograms. I also used beading and lazy daisies stitches. The thing I love most on this piece is the buttonhole scalloping it gives such a beautiful edge. Before I applied the buttonhole stitch I padded the scalloped area with running stitch, which is then covered by the buttonhole, this gives it a raised look. Most of the collars have contrasting linings and are tied with sweet ribbons. The idea of these collars is that they can be worn with any garment and that they can be worn in different combinations, all piled up or maybe just two. But I want to work on this more some of them didn’t turn out quite as I wished, and were quite rushed to get to deadline. So this project will continue.


My fourth and final piece for my collection is an extension of this idea of adorning the neck. I had created dozens of these flowers using silks and chiffons. The idea was that I wanted them cascading from the neck in a delicious fountain of colour and frivolity. The cloak I made out of gorgeous cream cashmere with an icy blue silk lining. The hood is gorgeous I can hide in it completely; my inspiration for those that know this programme was Morganas cloaks in ‘Merlin’, what I would give to have one of hers!

This is my final collection for university. Feels so good to have it all done and out of the way next step graduation so excited, that i may have bought my outfit four months ago. Looking forward to being able to just create and stitch without a reason behind it just because i feel like it, it is going to be sensational.
Thank-you for reading and i hope you like my work
Embroideress
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