Saturday, 24 May 2014

Lace and Luck! Books and Blessings!

I've had a bit of a fabulous Birthday this year.

Usually my Birthdays pass fairly quietly but this year was a bit special. Not because it was a specially milestone year but just because some wonderful people made it amazing for me.

On my actual birthday Sam Packer and I met Maggie and Clive Grey at the studio of  Michael Wicks to see the new D4Daisy book being photographed. Even more of a thrill, it was OUR BOOK!

Cut, Shape,Stitch.

We ran around with samples, and sketch books and did step by steps and stitches for the photos. We discussed and arranged and tweaked all day!

It was wonderful to see how Maggie and Michael work together to produce the book. They have amazing vision in how to make things inspirational!

The book is all about innovative ways of using cutting tools for textiles and mixed media. In it we have experimented with tools from scissors to rotary cutters and punches to die cutters. We have also got a section on electronic machines including the new Brother Scan and Cut which we have put through its paces and which we LOVE!

We will have a stand at the Festival of Quilts for 4 days in August to demonstrate all our techniques and to launch the book. 

We'd love to see you there!

Then... the day after all this excitement I had the most wonderful present from some of my Stitchy friends.

They must know me so well because they got me the perfect present.

I was given a ticket to a behind the scenes tour of the textile archives at Waddesdon Manor to see the LACE collections and be given an insight into the work of preserving the collection by the archivist Rachel.

The day started with tea in the restaurant followed by being taken to the textile stores on the second floor of the Manor in the rooms which used to be the servants quarters many years ago.

Rachel had laid out the most exquisite lace and explained the history of the collection.We were able to look at the lace really close up. We could look at it through magnifying lenses to see the detail of the miniscule linen threads that were used to make the most elaborate and intricate laces.

Most of the collection of textile pieces and related items were collected by Baroness Edmond De Rothschild who was a girl after my  own heart.

She collected things that she loved just because they made her happy; snippets of fabrics, gorgeous buttons, exquisite pieces of embroidered textiles and fabulous lace.

Of course her huge collections differed from ours in the level of their rarity and splendour, she didn't have any old doilies ;) 
But she loved to dress up and put together some of her finds to wear in quite unusual ways just because she  loved them. It kind of reminds me of how I stroke my fabrics and buttons to make me happy ha ha.

After the tour was over I had a couple of hours to wander around the house and look at all the other collections. Blissful! and then to make my day even more lovely my wonderful friends Emily and her dad William picked me up and took me home for tea and home made biscuits before Camilla took me home. 

I feel so blessed to have such thoughtful friends. Sam who thought up the whole plan and Claire, Gwen, Kay,Sarah, and Camilla and Emily for being in cahoots for making me a perfect day. 
Thank you sooo much xx

I though you may like to see a few more photos of the textiles. Below is a roll of metal lace made from real silver and silver gilt thread. Such a beautiful texture.

This beaded bird is a small detail of a series of long panels in the house. It is covered with a fine layer of net to protect the beading.
The beads sparkle even in the low lighting  of the house which protects the collections from light damage.

This is a magnified detail of a tiny piece of a lace panel. Every millimetre of lace was astonishing in its intricacy.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Rejoicing in the little things

I love tiny things!

Sometimes the best things aren't big and showy, they are little and have to be searched for. I love looking for the littlest prettiest shell on the beach, spotting a tiny wild violet in the grass or finding the cutest button in a tray of bric a brac.

So when I found an old torn piece of doily that I had space dyed I thought it would be the perfect thing for making a page for my stitched Nature Blanket Book.

I found some gorgeous vintage velvet ribbon and placed it across the middle of both pages. I attached it with cross stitches on one side and feather stitches on the other side and then stitched on velvet flowers and little pink beads.

It is backed with a piece of old blue blanket. Such a lovely surface to stitch on!

On the left page I couched on a piece of wool roving with silk thread and added dyed felt leaves and weensy glass flowers. The bird was cut from felt with a Sizzix die and sewn on with detached buttonhole stitches. Her beak is needle felted on.

The right page is stitched with buttonhole stitches and straight stitches in variegated silk threads and the words done in back stitch.

I think the whole book will be a celebration of tiny beautiful things. Things to make us rejoice about the tiny pieces of nature all around us!