#52 handmade tags-14

A memory, a pocket and a treasure! The brief for this tag was to think of somewhere or something we had missed during lockdown, make a tag with a pocket and add a treasure to go in the pocket.

One thing I really wanted to do last Summer and didn’t because our house move was delayed in lockdown one, and then we were occupied with just settling in with limited open shops for things like curtain rails, was strawberry picking. There is a particularly good strawberry farm in Swindon that I really wanted to go to and just didn’t. This year I will. I also missed going round beautiful gardens , mostly due to needing to book slots. So my tag was going to reflect both of these dreams.

Assembling the bits and bobs

I had no idea what to do about a treasure to do with picking strawberries, but a rummage through my jewellery boxes yielded up the smiley badge. No idea where it came from, but a smiley badge seemed to reflect what the strawberry picking and garden visiting made me feel.

Starting to stitch

The green bias binding at the top was leftover from the Stitchbook. Took care of fraying edges.

Strawberry beads and rambling roses
Smiley face going in the pocket

Loved stitching this tag. I can just taste those strawberries warm from the plant.

#52 Handmade tags, 12&13

Tag 12 is about exploring buttonhole stitch, which happens to be one of my favourite stitches. I wanted to make this one in celebration of my friendship with J whom I have known since I was 6 years old. It was her birthday this month. She loves, Scotland, dancing and geology. I couldn’t think of anything to stitch which fitted her first two passions, so I opted for geology.

rock layers maybe or rock pools?

Tag 13- was called Golden Layers. Time for some fun.

Turns out I am not big on gold or even yellow fabrics, but I did have this piece of orange fabric. I had used it for the sun in a piece of applique on a quilt, and it seemed to lend itself to the basis of my golden layers. Find a piece of contrasting fabric to go under it, add some lace.

Throw in a piece of Tyvek fabric and button hole the circle.
Add some more layers- covers the join quite nicely I think.
Add some bling

I really enjoyed making both these tags, and I am quite pleased with them both.

The Floral Page

I had joyfully volunteered to make a page for Wild Daffoil’s floral book, to raise money for charity. I was sent a page on which a floral picture had been applied to side one- I was to do side two. Oh it was so very very pretty- all in pink with real twigs down the side- I was going to have to up my game.

Time for some thinking- time for my big girl’s pants. I thought of foxgloves and delphiniums and lupins and daffodils and none seemed right to me. I slept on it. Now I don’t think it is a coincidence but at the time I was reading Birdsong about WW1. When I woke in the morning it was obvious that I had to do a poppy field in a heart- this whole project had begun a few years ago with Sawdust Hearts, a project by Helen Birmingham, in which both Sandra (aka Wild Daffodil) and I had both made hearts, as had many others who went onto make a stitchbook and join Sandra in the extra pages books.

So off I went

First steps

Blue fabric from a piece I had bought from wherever, and some green which I had made well at sometime in the dim and distant. Anchor with bondaweb and some random stitches.

French knots galore

Satin stitches for bigger poppies in the foreground and for the trees on the skyline, some beads for a bit of glitz and a bird- hope it look s a bit dove like to symbolise peace.

I added a tag, using leftover fabric from the sawdust heart I had made and a postcard which I had made a few years back which seemed to fit in perfectly.

And I added these lines to the tag, which had inspired my sawdust heart.

For once I am actually pleased with how it all turned out, and I was delighted that Sandra liked it too. Have to wear the big girls pants more often I guess!

#52 handmade tags

I’ve already forgotten which number I am on, but here are my latest two tags.

The brief was for Suffolk puffs- I love making these.

I did a lot of playing around with getting my placement how I liked it- lace at the bottom

or lace at the top? It needed something more- but there wasn’t enough space for a third Suffolk puff.

When in doubt add a button!

I’ve been and looked that was tag 10, so the next must be 11. So this time it was all about rings and circles- and basically make half a Dorset button- i.e. button hole stitch around a circle. I had just one curtain ring at home and try as I might couldn’t find any more in the shops that are allowed to open at the moment so I had to make do and I wasn’t really happy with the outcome.

Anne suggested that we used fabric with circles or dots for the background. That I could do.

Green fabric from a toy giraffe I made and red and white fabric from a dress I made Little Miss F, and a bit of lace for some frough frough. However you spell that.

I used white thread round the curtain ring and managed to get the blue ring off a bottle and that other is a key ring.

Neither really looks good, not terribly happy.

I expect in six months time it won’t look as disappointing as it does at the moment.

I wonder what comes next?

#52 handmade tags- 9

The brief for tag 9 was to back the tag with a letter/ handwriting, then add fabric and something that had been gifted to you.

Bits and pieces assembled in my tin ready for work.

I love the thinking and planning stage so much. This tag really began with the fragment of a letter from a friend. The letter was on very pretty paper with a floral design down the right hand side. The segment I choose was where she was writing about her dog Trufffle and all the walks she took him every day- this put me in mind of a button which I think I had been gifted, or I may have bought it myself from the Knitting and Stitching show, as I am push over for any purveyor of buttons.

The fabric includes a couple of pieces I was certainly given by a lady I once worked with, and some leftover from the stitchbook and some off cuts of the mountain block I sent to Kate for her Teal it to the Mountains quilt.

So even if the button doesn’t count as gifted the fabric does for sure.

Stitched and looking ok.
Lace ( from a charity shop) and button added.
Little dog in place.

I dedicated this tag to all the dogs that I meet on my walks, and all the owners who let me stroke them and have a chat- they have made Lockdown so much better.

Coastal Stitchbook

The wonderful Wild Daffodil who blogs here https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com

has organised some of us who created stitchbooks to use our spare pages ( 13 were supplied but only 12 required) to create more stitchbooks which can be used to raise money for the charity Mind. Hopefully there will be three books on three different themes- floral, coastal and woodland. I volunteered for all books if there were enough pages going and started with two sides ( my own spare) for the coastal one.

The first side was very easy as I had one of my geli printed pieces which fitted the theme perfectly- it very nearly made my own book as I loved it so much, so I am really delighted to have the chance to put it to good use. All I needed to do was add two stitches for seagulls.

Side two required more thought- I was very struck on the idea of deckchairs but felt that the page was rather small for what I had in mind. And then having slept on the issue for a couple of nights , the whole thing was obvious. What does Sandra crochet- well amongst other things sea horses, what’s one of her favourite colours, turqouise and what does she often do with her grandchildren- she cleans beaches .

I had the fabric- all dyed by myself many moons ago. Pieces all pinned together.

Commence stitching.

Liking the look of this.

Sandra suggested to the group that those of us in the grips of tag mania might like to add a tag. Now Sandra had earlier gifted me one of her dried tea bags. I was slightly wary of colouring it- so I used watercolour crayons and stitching into it- fear of it ripping it- actually much stronger than one might think- I decided it really would make the perfect tag for this page.

So there we have it- coastal page with seahorse and tag- now safely with Sandra.

My floral page is on its way here as I type- only one page to do this time- rather excited to see what is on side one for me to follow.

#52 Handmade Tags 5-8

I am really, really enjoying making my tags. Friday lunchtime is a time of great excitement when the latest tag from Anne Brooke is added- https://www.youtube.com/c/AnneBrookeTextileArtist

After watching the latest instalment I have a think about how I would like to make my tag. Saturday is the time for searching through my stash of fabric, threads, and assorted goodies.

I loved this tag (6) so much I cooldn’t stop looking at my plate of goodies.

Sunday afternoon is stitching time.

Tag five was called crosses.

Make one large cross from fabric and adorn with lots of little kisses. On the back you can dedicate your tag or use as a journal card. This tag I dedicated to the people who have worked so hard on the vaccine and to the inspirational Captain Tom, who died during the week of this tag.

Tag 6

Tag 6 and a chance to use a favourite button that is too nice to use. I love this sewing machine button- brief to adorn with more buttons.

I love the lace with this colour ribbon- I still have lots of the lace and a fragment of the ribbon left.

Tag 7

These adorable hexies are made from circles of fabric, and yes more buttons needed- I am using all the special buttons which were living in a jam jar, which is no life for a button.

Tag 8- french knots and bullion stitch, and time to get carried away.

Anne’s videos show her nice neat working space on a table- here’s me, sprawled all over the sofa!
Tag 8- really loved this one- this one is for my grandson who was 10 this year. When all this is over and we are allowed we are going to climb a great big hill and celebrate with a big shout.
All four together.
And then there 8.

52 Handmade Tags- January

Sometimes something comes along, and it just keeps coming back again and again, until you think Yes this is for me. It first cropped up on Facebook and Untangled Threads- Helen mentioned it, others who had participated said they were joining in, pictures appeared… then I read https://chasingstories.wordpress.com/2021/01/28/3-things-plus-a-few-more/ Julianne’s post. And I thought that might just be the project I was looking for.

I followed her link to Anne’s You Tubehttps://www.youtube.com/c/AnneBrookeTextileArtist

and I was hooked. A small project running through 2021, not too big a time commitment, using all those scraps I’ve been saving for a rainy day, and one that would enable me to explore colour- something that had arisen from my reading of Julia Cameron’s book- The Artist’s Way- the retirement version.

I ordered my tabs, I waited very impatiently for the delivery man. I don’t think I have waited for a delivery so much for quite a while.

It came, oh joy. I set to work.

pins, buttons, bits of fabric and stuff
My white tag- symbolising new beginings and a brand New Year.

Each week there will be a new You Tube video, and a new tab to make- to adapt to do with as we like to make our own.

Week two – was hearts- I did something different to the video.

Keeping it simple.

As it happens my brother’s birthday fell during the second week of January. He would have been 65 this year, but sadly passed away in 2019 from a brain tumour. He was my baby brother, larger than life, and has left a great big gaping hole in the family. This heart was for him and those of us who miss him terribly.

Week three- faux chenille- a chance to use the scraps of fabric dyed whilst completing the stitchbook.

One of the techniques we used in the Stitchbook, so this one was dedicated to the group.
Dedicated to the Stitchbookers.

The embroideries are attached with stitches to create a border on the back for writing- what you write is up to the individual.

Week Four- fern stitch- each month there wil be a new stitch to try.

I love fern stitch- one of my favourite, couldn’t resist adding french knots.
This is such fun.
All four together

Now to stitch the next ones, can’t wait. It’s the perfect project for 2021. I wondered if anyone else had found their perfect project for this year yet?

The Stitchbook

The Scrapbook collective was orgainised by Helen Birmingham , from Untangled Threads.

It was a big project, started in 2019, finally completed by me in 2021. Along the way there has been the pandemic which put paid to the exhibiton these books were to appear in November 2020 at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. They may or may not have their chance to shine in 2021. From my point of view it has been a massive undertaking, probably bigger than I anticpated, and not helped by a house move and two failed house moves- but that’s life, it happens. I’m writing this post to try to order my thoughts and think about what next.

I had always wondered what the term mixed media means, and I certainly have a clearer idea with several of the packs introducing me to completely new things.

I also wanted to find out what inspired me, and yes I have a much clearer idea of that too.

There was the chance to undertake a second year of these projects, but after careful reflection I prefer now to try to find my own voice. Time alone will tell.

The project began with a starter kit , to get us used to slow stitching, and to give a flavour of the packs to come. Each pack contained full instructions and the materials needed to complete the work. Online videos were provided to supplement the instructions- password protected.

Slow stitching- right hand page.

Each technique has two parts- one where you are learning, and the second where you compose a piece using the technique, and building on the ones that have gone before. So the double page spreads- are left side, original work, right side practice piece. They are mounted onto a page which holds a pocket- either for other sample pieces, but in my case I shall keep the teaching materials that came with the relevant pack.

Left hand page- slow stitching, right hand texture

I enjoyed the starter pack enormously, especially making a collage using the materials provided- the sea is one of my favourite subjects for stitch.

The first proper pack for the book was called Texture, and we learned how to create texture using different stitches and threads. I really enjoyed this page.

Left- Texture collage. Right- Pleats

I loved stitching the collages – my pack neatly divided into two colours- the top one was my reaction to the heather which blooms during August on the North Yorkshire Moors, the bottom one, sunsets. Heather and Sunsets never fail to inspire me. At the time I was really pleased with the two collages, now less so.. not sure why.

Next up was Pleats- I loathed this box. I don’t do well with careful measuring and folding, but I managed it, and consequently feel quite pleased with the results.

Left. making a framed picture Right rust dyed collage

The second part of the pleats box was to create a framed picture- I went with a woodland scene and the sides looked so like a stage setting I added a pleated curtain- I’m still quite pleased with this page.

The next box had us dyeing fabric- this was my rust dyed piece. The rust marks reminded me of a Big Pit in South Wales, formerly a coal pit, now a living museum- I went with a death and decay look- still love this page.

Left dyed fabric collage- Right Joomchi

I like the simplicity of the turquoise fabric- one of my very favourite colours. As a technique it was one of the scarier ones, involving chemicals and dire warnings, but resulting in a kitchen full of drying pretties.

The next box used mulberry paper to create a multi layered “fabric”. This box was not very popular with the group as a whole. However I have a big stash of mulberry paper and had a right good time splashing water and making holes. I may well try this again.

Left Joomchi collage- Right geli plate fabric collage

For all the fun I had with joomchi I’m less keen on this piece- too much is too much.

Next up was geli plate- universally popular with us learners. Take one ready made geli plate- loosely paint a back ground , wipe off a bit, press down fabric, brilliant back ground fabric- I kept going till I ran out of fabric- I’d do this again like a shot.

Left- geli print collage- Right image transfer

Love my geli print- it was hard to choose just two.

Next box was image transfer- very disappointing all round, including for Helen Birmigham- a lot of us didn’t possess the right computer printer to transfer photos to fabric, we had to rely on photocopies etc

Lets’s just say I did it.

Left image transfer butterfly, Right Visible darning

I just don’t like the plastic butterfly. The background is ok.

I was really looking forward to visible darning, all that lovely running stitch. I hated this box almost as much as the pleating. Not only didn’t I like the colours, I was moving house, and so it sat around for months.

Left – what can I say, Right- tyvek

I loathed the colours of the sari silk in the darning box, and the wretched stuff frayed so much it drove me up the pole- but I got a grip and did it.

Tyvek- the white stuff the forensic bods wear to do their stuff on a crime scene. Well this was seriously weird, paint and melt. But I quite liked the results and the challenge of creating a collage. My paints are getting pretty old these days, lockdown etc, I just went with what I had, and actually I quite like the resulting collages.

Left Collage with Tyvek, Right kunim felt

In fact this tyvek collage is one of my favourites- I just love the bling.

Next up Kunim felt- a special felt to melt into flowers- very quick, and rather nice to do. I was at first appalled at the garish colours, but once done I quite like them. Sadly you can only buy this felt in the States and for some reason I forget now it’s not obtainable. Shame.

Left Kunim felt collage- right couching

The background fabrics were included in the box- they just said garden to me- it’s ok.

Couching- I like couching- but here we were to use couching to produce writing. The hours I spent agonising on what words to produce- background fabrics were provided, but I was by now very hung up on the words needing to go with felt collage on the opposite page. Well I got there, but the result is somewhat clunky.

Left Bayeaux stitch- right faux chenille

Part two of the couching box was to produce a tree using bayeaux stitch within a frame. Whilst some students got hung up on drawing a tree it was designing a frame that had me stuck– thank goodness for TV when a programme had a mirror hung on a wall to inspire me. Not sure I did the stitch right but I like what I did.

Next up is faux chenille- basically scraps of fabric ripped to shreds. What’s not to like- easy to do and very satisfying.

Left – faux chenille- right weaving.

I even quite like the white faux chenille although I did sneak some colours in.

Finally weaving- again everyone loved this, even me- my favourite colours, and very very satisfying- good to go out on a high.

Left weaving- Right inside of back cover.

I even liked weaving over a hole- I might do it again.

The covers were all our own work, so for the inside I used up as many similiar colours to the weaving and as many stitches as I could think of that we had tried. I added the word stitch- but not with couching!

Back and Front Covers

I wanted the covers to reflect the whole experience- rust dyed backgrounds- think I got a bit carried away as the rusty objects are now very clean and rust free!

Constructing the whole thing was very challenging- my two least favourite things- measuring and cutting fabric, but tis done.

I’m jolly glad I took part, and I mostly enjoyed myself -well out of my comfort zone! I ‘m not very happy with simple abstract pieces, I like things to mean something to me. Landscape and colours attract me, so what next I wonder?

Stitchbook Covers

This has been a long project and I finally got to making the covers and putting the whole book together. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole enterprise , and includes quite a few things that one should not do..

Both sides of the back cover

First I made the pieces which were to form the back cover, then it was quite straightforward to stitch these together and turn to the right side. The words were chosen to reflect that in stitch I had created, shared with others also making a stitchbook and had learnt a lot along the way.

Close up of the back cover.

Next it was onto the front and a few lessons on what not to do.

Do not draw the line that clearly states pin or tack the tab line.

The reason being it will show on the front- solution, make sure this became the inside of the cover.

Do not cut your tabs at 4.5cm length when the instructions clearly say they are 9cm until folded to be 4cm.

What can I say but nincompoop.

The pictures clearly show the tabs with the fold on the outer edge of the fabric, not as I did here.

AS I said nincompoop!

Finally she has got it- tabs according to the Paddington Bear ruler are now correctly 3 cms long.

HURRAH, she got it.

Tadhah- all done.

I’m going to do a review of the whole stitchbook, and reflect on the whole book in my next post. For now I’m just relieved it’s finished!