Wednesday 7 March 2018

Snow and slow stitching...

Well, our Cornish landscape took on a whole new look last week, when the promised snow arrived.

We live on a farm, and it was transformed into a winter wonderland for a couple of days - although we only had snow for a short while, it was proper snow which is pretty rare this far down!

White out at Trevethoe!

Rufus had lovely fun in the snow, but did end up covered in icicles!

The wintery view from the top of our farm out towards Godrevy Lighthouse

An unusual blizzard view of our holiday cottages!

Apart from the excitement of the arrival of snow (although after 2 days, I was glad to see it go!) I have still been chipping away at 'lap projects' - I am still being drawn by this running stitch in the evenings, using it to attach scraps to a background to create a totally new piece of textured fabric.  It's something that I can just pick up for an hour and do without too much thought, or without worrying about what I'm going to do with the samples afterwards.

Remember the leaf motif?  Well I appliqued, cut it out and stitched that onto a piece of felt and have continued that running stitch to outline it.

I had another lino print to play with, a fish this time, so I have found myself stitching around that this becoming an addiction!?

I have also dipped into my (substantial) bag of handmade felt offcuts and arranged some onto a scrap of old blanket and used that running stitch to embed them all together - the more stitches I add in different directions, the more robust this 'new' piece of fabric becomes.  The stitching style is a little erratic, probably because I did a lot of it whilst watching the winter olympic highlights so was a little distracted!  Wow, some of those Olympic events require nerves of steel just to WATCH, let alone take part in - amazing viewing!

Hand felted scraps, stitched onto a piece of blanket

Once all the scraps were stitched down, I decided to make a little more of it and add a blackbird - it would have been tricky to mark an outline on the felt so I used some water soluble fabric, upon which I drew a rough outline of a blackbird and pinned it down on to the felt background.  This was the first time using this dissolvable fabric, and it was a bit of a revelation!  I used black chiffon scraps and stitch to fill in my bird, and then gently washed the soluble piece away with warm water - it worked really well!

I know I haven't added any feet yet - I struggle with them for some reason!  I'm going to add some snowdrops to this using the soluble fabric too.

Continuing on the blackbird theme, I have a small bag of odd pieces of fabric that I painted/dyed with acrylic paints quite a while ago, and decided to use that running stitch again to attach them to a background and onto that I attached a blackbird that I had monoprinted onto a piece of cotton using my gelli plate.  The blackbird turned out really nicely, and he was carefully cut out, along with some fabric flowers, and attached to the stitched background securely with matt medium.

Choosing fabrics and layout

The finished piece

I was really pleased with how this turned out, and with added button embellishment and blanket stitch edging to finish it off, it ended up a little postcard-sized piece of joy.  I'm a little undecided what to do with it, but think it will probably be used to top a special card for my mum for Mother's Day - I know she appreciates all things handmade, and it's nice to give something from the heart.

I have started another similar background, but without a real plan for it - it wasn't really inspiring me in its original landscape orientation, but when I turned it ninety degrees I can suddenly see a few possibilities (maybe including another blackbird!).  I guess that's a good lesson - if you don't like something, try turning it to look at it in a new perspective!

Stitching in the evenings in front of the woodburner

Hmmm...not sure about this one!

That's better - turned it 90 degrees!

So, that's what I've been up to - and whilst there appears to be no end game in all this slow stitching, I do have a strong feeling that there IS an idea slowly formulating in the back of my mind - the bit that has had creative tumbleweed blowing across it recently - that there is something I can create that combines a few of my favourite things into a finished piece.

I can't quite grasp hold of it though, it's just out of sight, just out of reach - so I'm just going to breathe and keep on stitching until I can take hold of it with both hands, and hope that when I do it will have been worth the wait...

It's been nice to try a different approach to things with fabrics and stitch, but I am yearning to play with some fibres,  so when I next get a clear few hours I'm going to get some wool tops out and do some felting.  It might be nice to try a felted version of the postcard blackbird above...hmmm, there's an idea!

In other news, we are busy here on the farm getting our holiday cottages ready in time for our first visitors at Easter, which seems to be creeping around rather quickly!  So there is much decorating and sprucing going on.  There is also so much to be done outside, but we must wait for better weather for that!

So from my corner of Cornwall, I send you well wishes and hope that, wherever you are, you haven't suffered too much with the winter weather - did you get snow where you are?

I don't know when we'll see as much snow again down here, so here's a final little snowman (little being the operative word!)

xxx Tanya xxx