Tag Archives: Finished embroidery

Five-sided box 12: the completed box – eventually!

Once I’d hit the snag of the box lid of my five-sided box not fitting, I decided to divert my attention for a while by finishing the sides of the main box while I thought about what to do.

I made short lengths of cording with two lengths of Gloriana silk the same shade as the tassel, and glued it in sections to the seams of the panels with PVA glue. When the glue had dried, I trimmed the cording flush with the base.

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My ‘aha’ moment about the lid was to make another fabric covered pentagon, half an inch bigger all round, and stick the first one to the second one. Looks like it was supposed to be like that all along, doesn’t it?!

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I had planned to make a fancy hinge made out of needleweaving, but I was getting bored with it now and wanted it finished, so I did a simple thread join instead, which is much less noticeable than a needlewoven one would have been.

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So, here’s my finished box, measuring about seven inches across at the widest point, and about five inches high:

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The fabric I used is cream linen from Chawla’s, a really good fabric shop based in London, but their website if wonderful too. The fabric cost £5.95 per metre in 2012, 54 inches wide , code LN550.01 . It’s really good for embroidering on! The lining fabric is a fat quarter from a bundle of yellow toned cottons on Ebay in 2013. The cardboard for the panels is from a Cheerios box! The most expensive component for this project was the threads, but they were all from my stash. The tassel and cording used about 3/4 of a skein of Gloriana silk, so that’s about £4, but other than that it was a cheap project to do.

This is the book where I got the motifs from:

5 box 1

It’s a beautiful book, and if you’ve got space for the blanket that the book shows you how to make, in wool, then make that. If not, use the motifs as I did, for something completely different!!

I got my wallhanging back…for a while!

In 2010, I wrote on this blog about a large wallhanging with a Zen Buddhist saying on it which I’d stitched for a Unitarian Chapel that I used to attend – the blog post is here . In that post, I explained in detail how it had taken almost a year to make.

The wallhanging measures about three feet by four, and is stitched on linen with Appleton's crewel wool for the floral areas, and Anchor stranded cotton for the lettering

The wallhanging measures about three feet by four, and is stitched on linen with Appleton’s crewel wool for the floral areas, and Anchor stranded cotton for the lettering

Even when I wrote the original blog post, I had already stopped being Unitarian, and my dilemma at that time was that the Chapel still had the wallhanging. Recently, though, I heard that the Chapel is probably due to close, as there is now no regular Minister and the congregation has dropped to just one person! And he’s 82 years old. So, I contacted ‘the congregation’ and asked him if it would be possible for me to have the wallhanging back. I really didn’t like the idea of the wallhanging languishing in a damp building for ages, not being seen at all. Surely, I’d be able to find somewhere better for it?

Each letter was outlined in back stitch, padded with stem stitch, then satin stitched across the stem stitch padding

Each letter was outlined in back stitch, padded with stem stitch, then satin stitched across the stem stitch padding

Hanging 2a

I got it back within days, fortunately. It did seem strange to have it back in my possession, when I’d never thought I would have it (or, possibly, not even see it again). So, then I had the issue of deciding what to do with it. I certainly didn’t want to just roll it up and store it in my loft, as that was as daft as leaving it in a building that no-one uses any more. I tried placing it against the wall of my living room, to see if it would work to hang it there, but it just looked completely out of place – it’s very big (about three feet by four), and was made for a public space – it just looked silly in a living room!

For the flowers, I used stitches such as French knots, coral stitch, buttonhole stitch, stem stitch, seeding, satin stitch and trellis couching

For the flowers, I used stitches such as French knots, coral stitch, buttonhole stitch, stem stitch, seeding, satin stitch and trellis couching

Then I remembered a couple of friends, who are Universal Sufi, the same as me and my husband. They have a large house in Germany, which they run as a khankah (a Sufi house where people come to study, and to dance). They have large ‘public rooms’ that I thought might be suitable. So, I emailed them and asked if they’d like it, but also made it clear that if they thought it wouldn’t be suitable, then I wouldn’t be offended – I didn’t want them to have to take it under sufferance! But they said,’Wow!’ when they saw the pictures I emailed them, and so, a few weeks ago, I delivered the wallhanging to them. It now has a new home in a place where it will be really appreciated, and the spiritual phrase on the wallhanging will hopefully inspire lots of people. It might even tempt someone to start embroidery – you never know!

Hanging - 5

Each letter took about an hour to stitch

Each letter took about an hour to stitch

Hanging - 7

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Celtic Autumn in alternative colours – 7

Over Christmas, my routine for stitching got a bit disrupted, not surprisingly.

LL - 24 Celtic Autumn beading

However, I pressed on with my Celtic Autumn when I could, and it’s now FINISHED!!!

In total, the cross stitching took me 72 hours, and the beading another 11 hours, so 83 hours altogether. I’d expected the beading to take a lot longer than it did, as people on various forums have complained about that part ‘taking years’, ‘putting them off finishing the design’, etc. But I got it all done in one concerted effort during a weekend where not much else got done!

LL - 25 Celtic Autumn beading round hem

Various threads had been suggested for attaching the beads, on the forums. I chose to use Anchor stranded cotton (one strand), in as close a shade as I could find, from the shades I’d already used for the cross stitch. I avoided the temptation to use ‘invisible thread’, as some had suggested on forums, as a wary stitcher had also posted that when you get to ironing your work when it’s all done, invisible thread might melt, as it did with her stitching, and all the beads will fall off! Incredibly disheartening, I should think, as there’s 1250 beads to stitch on in total.

I managed to find a lovely ‘walnut effect’ picture frame in a local shop, for only £8, so I got on with it and framed the piece quickly (see my previous post for how long I can sometimes take to get things framed).

LL - 26 Celtic Autumn framed

I’m really pleased with how this has come out. It was a big design to tackle, but after taking a short break to make a couple of  ‘sewing smalls’, I’m already eyeing up the other Celtic Lady designs, to see which one to make next.

How long does it take to frame a piece of cross stitching?

Answer: 21 years.

I’m not kidding, honestly.

When I first met my husband, in the early nineties, I was mainly doing cross stitch pictures from kits. Occasionally, I did surface embroidery from kits (you could still buy some really good ones, then). I remember sitting in our new house, and stitching these two pictures, and really enjoying doing them:

A surface embroidery picture from a kit, made over 20 years ago (can’t remember who it’s by, now!)

A cross stitch nursery sampler from Mary Hickmott, of New Stitches magazine. This design first appeared in the magazine, and then as a separate kit.

But, as anyone who knows me would tell you, patience isn’t my strong point. In fact, recently, I did one of those online ‘personality test’ things, and the area I got the lowest score for was ‘patience’. Once a piece of embroidery is finished (I mean the stitching part), then I have to really force myself to complete the assembly/framing/blocking, or whatever it is….I just want to get on to the next project. Even if I can make myself finish something completely, I have to be very careful not to rush it, and make a mess of what might have taken me dozens of hours to actually stitch – all because I want to save a few minutes right at the end of the process.

So, as you can see from the two images above, these two pictures are now framed. Eventually. And the reason they’ve finally been finished is because a friend of mine mentioned that she’d like to have an example of my stitching, and she said she’d always wanted a sampler-style one. That’s when I remembered the two pieces of fabric rolled up in the drawer under my bed – stitched, but not framed. Not displayed for over 20 years. Bit of  a waste, really, isn’t it? So, having the excuse that they were now wanted by someone, I dug them out, blocked them, ironed them, framed them, and gave them to her a couple of weeks ago. And now they’re up on her wall, being seen. Which was the reason I stitched them in the first place, really. Only it took a while to get round to doing the last bit  🙂