A little blackwork bookmark: Free pattern

Firstly, a rather belated Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2015 brings you everything you are wishing for and of course, I also wish everyone a very productive crafting year. I have really enjoyed looking at some of your blogs, especially those which have a review of all your makes throughout 2014. I haven’t had time to do this myself, but I am determined this year to try and keep a better record of my makes in 2015 – I do tend to forget about this as the year goes on!

I don’t know about you, but I find that almost all my craft creations get given away to other people as presents. I am quite happy about this, as I love giving hand-made gifts to those who really appreciate them; it’s always nice to give something a bit special, isn’t it? But occasionally I do make something which I decide to keep for myself.And recently I did just that.

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A Blackwork Christmas Ornament

I’ve been on a bit of a blackwork fest recently. I have always loved blackwork – I once started stitching the Six Wives of Henry VIII in blackwork and I even managed to complete three! I still have the frames to frame the others so maybe I will actually get round to stitching them one day! I’ve made a few blackwork biscornu lately so I thought I would have a go at making a blackwork Christmas Ornament instead. I always try to make at least one new ornament each year – last year I made some tatted snowflakes, but this year I had a bit of a yearning to do some more blackwork.

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Another Blackwork Knot Garden Biscornu

In my Etsy shop (also called Stitches ‘N’ Dreams), I sell charts of the biscornu that I design. I have always loved crafting, and ever since I took up stitching about 25 years ago, I’ve never been without at least one project one the go. So I thought I would have a go at selling my designs on Etsy. I’ve had a few sales, which is lovely, but even if I didn’t sell anything, I would still be stitching, and especially stitching biscornu!

However, I have been keeping an eye on which designs people seem to like the best, and there’s no doubt that my Knot Garden Biscornu is definitely the favourite. Regular readers will know that I love blackwork and beads, so I really didn’t need any more incentive to get designing another biscornu, also based on the formal outlines of a Tudor knot garden

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Another biscornu

At last my latest biscornu is ready to be shared! It’s another of my ‘Visual meditation’ series that I wrote about in my post ‘A Visual meditation on the theme of Stillness‘, so if you want to know my thinking behind this series, do take a look.

The theme of this biscornu is ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’, inspired by Psalm 139 verses 14 – 15: ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’. It’s a reminder that each one of us is unique and special to God, and that God knew us from the moment we were conceived. It celebrates the wonder of the human body and the design is based on the DNA strand. Of course, you may find it reminds you of something completely different. The symbolism is not necessarily Christian; it could relate to any aspect of spirituality, or you may just like the design. It does look a little Celtic, rather like Celtic knotwork.

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A blog hop and a SAL

Yay! Yesterday I had an email from my friend Angela at Pretty Little Things in a Box, asking me to join in with a Happy Spring Blog Hop she is organising. I have never taken part in a blog hop, as my internet access is limited when I’m in The Gambia, and I’m reliant on solar power to keep my laptop charged, both of which sometimes make it heard to get online whenever I want. But I decided this time I would take part, as it sounds really interesting.

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A visual meditation on the theme of ‘Stillness’.

At last I’ve managed to finish the project I have been working on over the last couple of weeks, and I can now explain all about it.

In summer 2013 I visited a flower festival at my local Parish church, and whilst wandering around the beautiful historic church, I entered a small chapel where there were many candles burning. There was a small notice explaining that although lighting a candle in itself was not necessarily significant, it acted as a ‘visual prayer’ – a reminder of prayer.

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A new WIP

I have shared lots recently about my tatting journey, and I am still really enjoying tatting, but I have been missing my stitching a bit, so I have decided to make a start on a project that has been brewing in my mind for some time. I was first inspired with this idea last summer, and it’s been bubbling away on my creative back burner ever since then. I have been collecting and recording ideas for several months, and this week I finally got going.

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Handmade cards (mostly stitched)

Cross stitched card 01

Over the years I’ve given my friend and family a lots of hand-made gifts, and especially cards. I’ve given a lot of cross-stitched cards. Some of them were ‘freebies’ from cross stitch magazines that I used to get – I can’t afford them now as they are so expensive, but I always enjoyed making them.  My mum has kept everything I have ever given her, and since I haven’t got anything new to show you just now, I thought I would show you some of my old cards instead. Some of them are over fifteen years old, which you can probably tell if you look closely! The card above was a lovely little project, and I loved the free printed card that came with it.

 

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This cross stitched card of autumn leaves was given to my dad for his birthday.

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This jolly seaside card reminded me of the summer holidays by the sae when I was a child.

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This card was stitched on evenweave – almost the first time I had ever worked on evenweave.

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Another birthday card for my dad.

Needlepoint card

This lovely card used some different needlepoint stitches

Hardanger card

My very first attempt at hardanger, and I am still hooked!

Beadwork card

A beadwork card – I am still hooked on beadwork too.

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This Christmas card was made with folded fabric – rather like a tulip pattern.

Stamped mandala Christmas card

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I made over 70 of these mandala Christmas cards! I had to stamp three images for each card, then colour them, and cut sections of the design out rather like decoupage. I used sticky pads to lift the layers up, and added a little jewel in the centre. I started in October, and I loved doing them, but it did take a long time!

I’m sure there are a few more of my cards and gifts around, so I’ll see how many other I can find to show you. It would be great to see cards or gifts you’ve made.

Ndebele inspired biscornu

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This week has been a very busy week. I have had to spend a lot of time on the day job (freelance writing), and I’ve spent most of the rest of the time watching Wimbledon tennis through my fingers! So I haven’t managed to upload any new posts. However, this evening I finished a project I’ve been working on for quite a while, and I am delighted with it.

The Ndebele tribe in southern Africa are renowned for their amazing geometric artwork, which they use to decorate their houses, artefacts and sometimes even cars! If you want to know more, and see some examples, take a look here and here.

I have always found it inspirational, and for some time I’ve wanted to have a go at designing a biscornu with an Ndebele-inspired pattern. And this is the result. It took me quite a long time to chart the design, and even longer to stitch, as it’s actually quite detailed, which is why it’s taken me a while to get it finished. Usually I stitch two identical designs for the top and bottom of a biscornu, but I knew it would take a long time, so I decided to stitch a border square instead. If you take a close look, you can see where I cheated a bit…

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I’ve uploaded the pattern to my Etsy shop, so if you are interested, you can find it here.

I’m thinking about designing some more biscornu based on art from different cultures, so watch this space. 🙂

I hope you are all enjoying your projects.

Knot Garden Blackwork Biscornu

Knot Garden Blackwork Biscornu

This little biscornu was inspired by the design of Tudor knot gardens. I have always loved blackwork; I really enjoy trying out different filling patterns to experiment with the effect.

I stitched this biscornu very traditionally using black thread on a white background. I used antique gold beads, and an ‘aged’ gold button to add to the historical effect.

Blackwork is believed to have been introduced to the UK by Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and was very popular on clothing at the time – some of Holbein’s portraits show clothes stitched with blackwork.

If you’d like to have a go at stitching this, the pattern is available here in my Etsy shop ‘Stitches ‘N’ Dreams’.

I would love to hear about your projects, especially if you enjoy blackwork.