Crawling Back to Creativity

Though I haven’t posted for a while, I’m pleased to report that I have recently managed to get back into stitching.  Last week I gave a talk to Huddersfield Embroiderer’s Guild.  I was asked to talk about computers and embroidery.  I agreed to do it not only because it was a great opportunity, but also because I knew it meant I would have to finish some pieces, create a few new ones, and make them presentable i.e. I would have to frame them too.

Firstly, I finally finished the poppies.  Originally the stems were too thin.  I added thicker stems (by stitching down thicker yarns) and they just looked false.  I removed them and added more stitching, particularly pink down the side of the stems.  Here’s the finished picture:

poppies blogThe following piece was inspired by Warm Tides by Sharon Cummings.  I loved the colours and the apparent movement in the original.  As part of my distance learning machine embroidery course I was required to use bonding techniques.  I used dyed and painted strips as the basis of the work, then attempted to use the machine stitching to give the impression of movement:

warm tides stitchedI also stitched a few more leaves (one of my favourite subjects).  The first one was inspired by a leaf I dried long ago.  I drew the outline, then a border, and added the word leaf.  The stitching was freemotion ‘go with the flow’:

Leaf 1 blogThe second leaf was based on a photograph I took some time ago:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I used photoshop to find the oultines and made a print.  The print was painted with transfer dyes, and the image transferred onto polyester fabric.  Lots of machine embroidery followed:

leaf 2 blogFor the next piece, Michaelmas Daisies, I used lutradur and a die cutter.  The lutradur was coloured with Lyra Aquarelle, then stitched:

Lutradur and die cut michaelmas daisies blogI liked the translucent nature of the lutradur when it was held up to the light. I’ve already bought a small, second hand  lampshade so that I can take it to pieces and then hopefully create something special.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take quite so long.

Blossom Theme Post 10

It’s been a beautiful day here in Yorkshire, and I’ve had plenty of time to get outdoors to enjoy the Easter sunshine.  I’ve had a couple of good walks with my friend Sandra and her lovely dog Bonny.

This morning I spotted some salmon coloured quince blossom:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a great feeling when I realised I’ve actually learnt something over this past week.  My pal Sandra has started calling me Charlie Dimmock!

We saw more beautiful blossom on the way home (I haven’t had time to identify it yet):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis afternoon we went for a walk in the park.  On the way I spotted this poppy seed pod skeleton in a garden.  We had passed it many times without noticing it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wonder how something so delicate can survive through all the wind, rain, sleet and snow of winter.

The butterflies were out in force in the park.  I even managed to photograph a small white:


When I arrived home after my second walk I decided it was time for a mammoth Photoshop session.  One of the tasks I set myself for this two week challenge was to learn more about photoshop.  I wanted to be able to cut out an image (or remove unwanted pixels) and then to add a background.  I also wanted to add some text and maybe a border.  I knew I needed to learn how layers work.  I’ve made several attempts in the past but never managed to get the background to show through.  Now I know why.  It’s because the photograph starts as the background.  It has to be converted into a layer, and another layer can be used as the background to it.  I’ve sat with a book about photoshop many times, and given up.  It’s like trying to read hieroglyphics!  This time I used the book as a resource to dip into.  It took me all evening, but I finally managed to do what I wanted.  This is the image I started with:


This is the image after the photoshop session:


I still have lots to learn, but I’m feeling as though I’ve made great progress today. I’m looking forward to practicing on other photos.