Monday, 28 May 2012

My 'New Studio' AKA our Garden

I took various photos of the growing veg plots and flowers, fruit and veg in the greenhouses a week or so ago and didn't get around to posting them. So a quick catchup session is in order.

 These nasturtiums look a little 'leggy' - they need to be planted out I think. I have included them in the 'edible' section since we love the leaves on salad - have not been brave enough to try the flowers yet. However, the chives - seen in full flower, do make a lovely and pretty addition to salads. We should have some borage somewhere too!

And then to the baskets and pots - now outside ( a week after the photos were taken). It will be no surprise to people who know my embroidery to hear that I love daisies ( and all flowers that look 'like daisies') - so they feature fairly prominently. Will do a 'daisy feature' soon - when all are in flower.


Inspired by, stitched in, and photographed in, the garden - now listed at Folksy:

Friday, 25 May 2012

Work-in-Progress - Light house needle case

I began this needle case over a week ago. In the meantime I have been re-structuring my website. Almost 400 images have been loaded into four gallery pages. One for sold items, and others for Lynwoodcrafts' at Etsy, Lynwoodcrafts at Folksy and Lynwoodcrafts at WowThankYou. One or two images of sold items are still hiding in the wrong folder in my system - hopefully I'll come across them and add them in. Otherwise, everything can be viewed in one place. I have had great satisfaction from re-viewing old friends in the sold section. I hope their images might be useful in structuring ideas for commissions. I am always happy to make something special to order. Purchases are still made through each shop - these can easily be accessed from links on the website.

Back to the needle case! A piece of kunin felt was cut to the correct height but slightly wider than required for the finished piece.

Lengths of yarn, in green, yellows, 'sea blues' and 'sky blues' were felted to the kunin felt by using an embellisher machine. Since all the yarns, and felting were in one direction, the background felt has a tendency to 'shrink' this way - really caused by very slightly gathering it into the yarns - hence the extra width!

Having worked all the fibres very thoroughly to ensure that they are attached (check by looking for 'colouration' of the reverse of the felt background), the ends are trimmed - and safely stored to feed the embellisher on future projects. The felted piece was cut to the correct width - it hadn't shrunk much and the off cut was the right size for a brooch in the same theme. In order to ensure that all the fibres remain attached (not usually a problem with wool and mohair - but I had selected by colour and included some yarns with a higher content of other fibres), random machine stitching (using a 'shallow' zig zag stitch) is criss-crossed over the piece.

The lighthouse and sail boat are added in hand embroidery using tapestry wools. The suggestion of marram grass, yellow coastal poppies and sea pinks are stitched in vibrant shades of crochet cotton.

The edge of the cover is finished in blanket stitch using crochet cotton and changing the colour to correspond to each area of the design. The cover is lined with a checked fabric up-cycled from a shirt, and reinforced with a layer of heavy interfacing - to give structure and offer some resistance to needle points! Two pieces of felt, in bright blue, and golden yellow, are stitched at the centre to form four 'pages' for needles and pins. Crochet cords, worked from one of the yarns used in the design, are stitched in place - tied in a bow they provide a pretty, coordinating closure.

I hope you like the result!

Now listed at Lynwoodcrafts Etsy shop. A bookmark in the lighthouse design is also available at Etsy. A lovely storage container - an entirely new product, featuring both lighthouse and sailboat, is available at Folksy as is a brooch featuring the lighthouse. A notebook cover is in progress at present. Future plans include a specs case, gadget cosy, purse, and card wallet. Further bookmarks and brooches will be worked featuring the sailboat.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

I've been meaning to stitch ....

... for at least a couple of years.

Well, maybe not exactly one like this, but I have had the concept in mind for ages. Almost entirely from re-cycled (or scrap) materials - adding skill and labour to the mix to produce something new feels good to me!

The embroidered 'sleeve' has been made by felting (using an embellisher machine) left over scraps of yarn onto a kunin felt (manufactured from re-cycled plastic bottles) background, embroidered with more wool and cotton, stabilised by machine stitching and bound round the lower part of a recycled plastic bottle. The lining fabric was an off-cut from a previous project. The container closes by tightening the toggle clasp over a length of ribbon drawn through the top of the lining. This first one is listed at Folksy with free UK postage.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Am I a Designer?

An issue which various recent on-line discussions have prompted me to consider.

My initial reaction is 'No I am not!'
Is this correct? and if not a designer, what am I?

I have just been in search of my dictionary and thesaurus. Not finding it on the correct bureau shelf I checked a homework pile lurking in the corner of the sitting room - turned out to belong to my son - not likely to find a dictionary there then! Checked his sister's bedroom - not there but did borrow her pocket version. Not in my computer area! Back to the sitting room - definitely not on any of the book shelves. Daughter has her drum kit wedged into a corner behind the dining table and next to a display cabinet. The base of the cabinet provides a flat surface. There isn't enough space for a music stand but a cook-book holder on this cabinet is just about in the right position - except that ITS TOO LOW DOWN AND NEEDS RAISING by about the thickness of an Oxford Dictionary - FOUND IT!

Back to the original task. Having consulted four different dictionaries here and one on-line I find, as is often the case, that its not straight forward. Four of these sources go along with (paraphrasing) 'a designer is one who produces a design' ..... ' a design is a plan produced to show the details of an object before it is made'. One source used the term 'manufactured' in place of 'made'. However, another source suggested that 'to design' is to ' plan and make something artistically or skillfully'. The last definition is getting closer to what I do, but does not seem to be the most commonly accepted definition. The other four versions are more or less what I thought I understood by the term 'designer' before I started this research. Certainly, the inclusion of 'manufacture' in place of 'made' is moving away from what I consider that I do since to me, and all the dictionaries, 'manufacture' suggests production by machine and on a large scale.

So, if I am not happy with the label of 'designer' then what am I? I considered the term 'artisan' - apparently 'a skilled worker, particularly one who produces things by hand'. I think this is getting closer but I now seem to have lost any suggestion of an inclusion of artistic skills, although, apparently the ancient derivation of 'artisan'  is 'one who instructs in the arts' - so maybe this is correct. The term 'craftsman (woman)' is variously defined as 'artisan' (- so probably artisan is OK) or 'someone who practices a craft' or 'an artist skilled in an art or craft' or 'someone who displays a high degree of manual dexterity or artistic skill'.

In conclusion, since the term 'design' to me suggests the production of 'instructions' from which an item can be made, not necessarily by the person who drew up the plans and usually not as a 'One of a kind', but  rather one of a number, sometimes produced by manufacture - suggesting a larger scale of production - I don't think I would feel happy with this title, and its not how I think of myself. I would be happy to be called an artisan. The label which I would choose for myself, and which I would be most flattered to have applied to me is 'craftswoman'.


Recently listed on Etsy:

and a smaller butterfly listed on Folksy

Monday, 14 May 2012

Embroidered Meadow Accessories

Lynwoodcrafts Etsy shop now has a range of embroidered meadow accessories:

The latest item, an embroidered and felted gadget cosy was added to the collection today:

A spectacles case will follow in the next few days.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Midnight Oil.....

..... was burned, school shirts weren't ironed, tea was nothing special, there are wisps of fibre and fluff everywhere, but I think the result is worth it:

I was enjoying creating the textures and colours required for woodland scenes and I have several pieces based on bluebell designs which need finishing. I wanted to create something larger and, hopefully, more eye-catching. I will, eventually, work out how to scale up the woodland details - for the moment chunkier trunks and branches are proving a challenge. I was more comfortable with enlarging the meadow design. A larger area has been decorated by stitching 'more meadow' - taking in a wider view, and also by slightly enlarging the scale - easily done in this case by using all six strands of embroidery thread rather then just three etc. I think it has worked very well and I love this bag - a simple structure but intricately decorated. I was still stitching at 12.30 am and was back at work at 8.45 am. This was something I needed to 'finish in one go' rather than put to one side and get out time and again - or I might never have got to the end.

Seen in the round:

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I  love the calming colour of bluebells. I struggle a little with their heavily sweet perfume and almost always end up with hay fever but they are beautiful.

I have started a series of bluebell inspired items. I am greatly enjoying creating the textured layers of the woodlands. The embroidered bluebells are added last.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Meadow Flowers..

... the second item in this series of work has just been listed at Etsy. I am now looking at all snippets of yarns and threads with renewed interest. Strange when the off-cuts or by-products of a process take on more significance than the original supplies. Less hoovering to do at any rate. I find it really satisfying when something new is produced from waste/recycled materials. The felt backing is 'kunin' felt -produced from recycled plastic bottles, the lining is recycled from a shirt and the lovely sky blue fiber was very kindly passed on to me by a fellow craft worker who had decided that felting was not for her. Even the yarn which ties the needle book closed is, as far as I can tell, more than 50 years old, having come to me as part of a handed-down family stash!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Waste not ......

I had only just finished posting some more photos to Lynwoodcrafts' Facebook page, when my inbox pinged to say someone had left a lovely comment about one of my featured embroidered cuffs, and then pinged again to say that  it had been sold. I love to stitch cuffs - the size is just about right for incorporating more detail than is possible in brooches.

So, having created even more chaos by seeking out these ( really should have put yesterday's cotton threads etc away first!!):

hand-dyed tops from the lovely wool shop at Much Wenlock, silk (and other) fibres from Trefiw Woolen Mill and most importantly a pile of scraps and snippets carefully saved from all other projects - armed with  my embellisher machine I have produced this:

The key to this project really is the horde of snippets. I have many (many, many...) balls of yarn and could snip lengths from them, but I would have to seek them out and (possibly!)- put them away afterwards. This snippet bucket is my inspiration. Slightly teased out at the ends and felted onto the cuff in short lengths - these form the basis of a richly varied flower meadow. Yarns which I might not consider from the ball, present all sorts of possibilities - particularly those which blend from one colour to another. I have started to 'stabilise' the felt with background stitching:

If time permits, the finished item will be listed at Etsy later today. Watch my facebook page for updates!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

My rainbow cuff is finished

... and I thought I'd show you:

It's now listed at Etsy for you to view.

Today had been set aside for updating my website. I'm very late starting the task so will attempt a longer post tomorrow!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A very wet day!

And, its very cold - I know this because the squeezy honey doesn't. The trouble about miserable weather is that I don't always make the best use of my time, allowing myself to get distracted by 'cheer-me-up' measures - such as honey on toast as a reward for traipsing into the local student finance office on my son's behalf! My honey treat might be acceptable if it was my only reward. Unfortunately, between the council offices and my usual car park may be found our in-door market - with the wool shop at which I have been stocking up since I was a child (and I still have some of those stocks!!). I was good on the way there and walked round. It was raining so much on the way back that it would have been foolish not to take the opportunity of an in-door short cut. Another felted bag to follow I think!! (In addition to the extra mohair yarn for my felting projects - the other 30+ colours may not have been sufficient!! and it was in the sale!)

I've just made the great discovery that toast spread with honey really doesn't need a 'fat spread first' - much yummier this way. Now my keyboard is all sticky!!

I'd best go and pack ready for Brownies - its a while since I forgot the hut keys - but its that sort of day!

I leave you with a few more photos of Much Wenlock - for some reason the 'architecture of chimneys' struck us as a prominent feature: (took me a little longer than expected to process the pics - I had forgotten that the camera had been reclaimed by its rightful owner - I've had to edit myself out of the shots - hate photos of me!)

Not sure if you can read this (its still making me chuckle - the wording not the request!)