Bodleian/ ABC news

•November 20, 2017 • 18 Comments

I heard from the Bodleian last week. My Abc scroll has been chosen for display as part of the “Designing English” exhibition, which is at the Weston Library in Oxford from 1st December.

I haven’t won a prize though. But you can all feel free to go and see it and mail back to tell me mine was the best anyway;)

If you’d like to cheer me up and/or contribute towards the fee I’m going to have to pay to wordpress very soon because the blog is currently at 97% capacity. I have some jolly spiffy seasonal greetings cards with our favourite Christmas wyrm on them.

They have festive red envelopes, and are five pounds for three, or ten pounds for seven. post being one pound uk, two in Europe and four pounds elsewhere (sorry, post is getting shockingly expensive to the states).

speak up if you’d like a paypal invoice (I think once I pay for bloggage I can insert buttons again)


Stitchalong – oops I missed a bit

•November 19, 2017 • 4 Comments

I did the snowflakes last week and was so distracted by prep for the re-enactor’s market I forgot to delinieate the split stitch outline.

There isn’t very much because most of the outline will be done by shiny stuff.

Use some red to outline the small box and the candy cane…

When using split stitch for outlining a filled area always make sure you go up and down right through the edge of the filled area – if you leave a gap you will see it, so make it tight up against the completed area. This goes for the counted work as well as the laid and couched.

Then use brown and yellow to outline the dragonbear, dolly, and red present.

You can see that the lines delineating things like the edge of the box are just wowrked straight over the top, and you just have to eyeball them. Add a few white contour lines  as highlight.


Next Friday we’re going to look at the Dragon’s face.


•November 11, 2017 • 12 Comments

We are away for the weekend, and I found a tiny hole in my favourite cardi, so whilst Gareth was in the shower I repaired it with the wools from my handbag embroidery project

Is embellished knitwear on trend again this season?

stitchalong snowflakes

•November 9, 2017 • 6 Comments

off to the TORM early in the morning, so posting this now.

We’re going to move on to split stitch for the next few installments, starting with snowflakes.

Quick split stitch how too. I’ve taken a set of pics using chunky knitting wool because trying to photograph the stuff I actaully stitch with is a nightmare, so the stitches are a bit bigger.

bring the needle out from the back

Then take it back down again. When using finer wool you want the stitch to be about 4mm long

then go back up halfway through, splitting the stitch in two

Take the next stitch along so that half of it covers the existing stitch and the other half extends along the line.

make sure not to stretch the sttiches out. Ideally the back should look like a row of backstitch

And now for the snowflakes.

Please don’t stress out about making the snowflakes perfect, remember that no two snowflakes are ever alike, and that they can be a bit “organic” looking.

You want the first line to be about an inch long/ten pence piece sized/about the length of the top knuckle on your thumb (it’s not an exact science). Then cross it with two other lines

If you make each line about six stitches long that should be about right.

THe rest is done just with a basic stitch.

Make a diamond between each line with two stitches. don’t make these to big

And finally add some feathery bits to the ends of the lines. make sure to bring your stab stitches out from the split stitch so they blend.

Then scatter whole or partial snowflakes around the present as you see fit

I just took delivery of some rather spiffy cards with the christmas dragon on – does anyone want to buy any?


One for the spinning nerds

•November 1, 2017 • 2 Comments

I don’t really use my great wheel in a serious fashion, it’s mainly a demonstration piece for me. Partly this is because in a house with two cats the wheel is viewed as a very big cat toy, so it’s just not practical in the home.

But when I spin drop spindle I use the wool, whereas so far the wool from the wheel has been discarded. This is not down to the quality of the thread produced, I never have a problem drafting on it, but inevitably I end up winding it onto the spindle badly so that a loop falls off the end and tangles, rendering the whole spool unuseable – it doesn’t help that when doing demos I’m also talking and not wearing specs, so I’m distracted and can’t actually see what I’m doing.

However, I was storytelling at the AShmolean this weekend, and because it was c17th I took the wheel to give myself something to potter with between stories, and I concentrated on the winding. I do find it quite hard to get the wool to wind towards the back of the spindle so it doesn’t fall off the end, but I concentrated, and by the end of Sunday I had a good hefty spool (about 100g) of nice medium weight that’s actually worth winding off and using…

I’m quite pleased with that. Now I just have to actually, you know, get round to winding it off.

stitchalong next bit

•October 27, 2017 • 2 Comments

German Brick stitch.

Ok, so I’m going to admit here that counted work isn’t really my thing, I find it boring to do, and often a little dull to look at. Some of the copes done in this technique are amazing though, where various patterns are used as fillers for clothed figures, and that’s what I’ve taken as inspiration here.

The technique itself is very simple, it’s basically tent stitch/needlepoint, but done along the straight grain of the cloth instead of on the slant.

So, Bring your needle up, count four threads along the grain, and go back down again. Four along the straight, that’s it – that’s also the hard bit, I find it quite difficult sometimes to stay straight and not wobble off into the next row.

Where tent stitch staggers diagonally, brick stitch, as the name would imply, staggers vertically, so that when laid sideways it looks like a basic brick pattern.

So, skip along to the next row of threads, and down two so that the needle comes up halfway along the stitch you just did, then go up another four. The only time you vary from the pattern of four is when you’re filling in the edges.

Your row of stich goes diagonally, at quite a steep angle.

Ease yourself into it by starting with the candy cane, which is just rows of alternate colours.

Please note that I haven’t included exact layouts of each pattern piece, but rather overviews of the pattern repeat. This is because how you’ve laid down the other colours will affect the dimensions of the brick stitch, so it’s best just to fit into the available space.

THe ribbon on the red present is also very simple.

With the other present you have a choice – you can either do two different patterns to delinieate the sides of the box, as I’ve done, or you can do the whole box in one pattern and then delineate by using split stitch for the edge on the next phase. Either is valid.

Aim to get to here by the next step

we will look at the split stich outlines next

Putting the scroll together

•October 17, 2017 • 8 Comments

Before I’d done a stitch on this project, I did the finials for the scroll. They are ABC in silver with amethysts, plus a rock crystal twiddly bit I had lying around that sort of reminded me of a cross between a unicorn horn and one of those pointy things medeival types used for reading.

It’s not as extravagant as it seems because all three pieces of silver came from my scrap drawer(hence they’re three different thicknesses of metal) and the amethysts are part of a bulk lot, nearly a kilo, of native cut stones I bought for ten quid nearly twenty years ago and which I’ve barely made a dent in despite plastering amethysts over any bit of silver that sat still long enough.

When I do the saint and sinners Luttrell fantasy I want to make silver finials for the hanging pole, so these were a good practice run.

I’m quite pleased with the finials, but mostly I’m pleased because I sawed the wood to make the rods all by myself. I don’t do woodwork, I have a cringing level of horror for the texture of unpolished wood that verges on the autistic, (my stepbrothers used to torture my by rubbing teatowels on damp wooden spoons whislt I ran away screaming. I’m sure they fully realised how cruel they were being, but they were teenage boys so they didn’t care) so I really impressed myself.

I interlined the scroll with a layer of white linen to prevent the backing showing through. The backing itself is a sort of crazy patchwork of assorted leftover bits of medeival brocade, which again reflects my fascination with re-use of medeival textiles, whilst also satifying my extreme miserliness with cloth, and I think it gives a nicely decadent feel. I was especially satisfied by being about to use those two big triangular panels on the right hand side.

Excuse the small kitten shaped lump underneath it, once he’s asleep he deosn’t move for anything.

I measured it very carefully, then I made it approximately an inch too short to wrap around the rod and had to faff about sewing an extra bit on. Obviously I was doing all of this on the day of the submission deadline with hours to spare…

It’s edged with a red silk cord and I’ll dig out Gareth’s good photos he did for me with he shiny new digital SLR for the next post