Friday, January 23, 2009

On the Rocks

I have a dozen or so blogs in the Embroidery section of my Blog Reader. Most of them I just use as eye-candy; admiring the work, but realising that I can never reach their level of expertise. When I see work by Hideko, Judy, and others of their ilk, I am full of admiration, but I am not really inspired. On the other hand, when I make my almost daily visit to The Beauty of Life, a blog that started off in the Embroidery folder, but now promoted to the Must Read "A" list, I always come away inspired by Paula's handiwork, or entertained by her writing. On Tuesday, she showed some embroidered paperweights she was making for a PIF, and referred to others that she had made in the past. In her usual generous way, she shared how she made them, and from where her inspiration came. I couldn't wait to try. My first thoughts were of lichen on rocks; the pink marble outcrops in my garden have their patches of bright yellow and silver grey, but a search of Google Images found the photo above, showing much more varied colours, although on an equally pinkish rock.

I didn't have any pinky grey felt, but I did have a felted pinky grey vest in the depths of my duster bag. My camera has its own weird take on colour. I have had to play with the following photos to get the thread colours to look anything like the real colour, but take my word for it, the pebble is covered in a bit of Gran's pink vest...

I have only used French Knots. The tapestry wool is DMC Colbert, given to me by a friend who had a few odd part skeins left over from a project. It is thicker than ordinary Anchor or DMC tapestry wool, and so ended up in a bit bag of thread I used for making needlepoint spectacle cases, rather than in the boot box that holds regular gauge needlepoint threads. I rummaged around in my stranded threads for matching colours and added a few more knots, but it all looked rather flat, so around the grey knots, I tried using a variagated lavender coloured floss, and I felt much happier with the result.

Five or six years ago, I brought some Dylon Cold Water dye back from the UK, and had great fun dying cheap white embroidery floss. Most of it has now been used, but I have some odds and ends left. Suddenly, lichen went out of the window, and I had rock garden in mind! When it became clear I would need more greens, I decided variagated was the easy way to go, but I didn't have any, so needs must when...etc.

I have some Cromotex fabric painting felt tip pens. They are cheap as chips, but they do what they say on the packet; colour fibre. I used a shallow plastic tray, scribbled patches of all my colours onto the tray, sprayed them with water and pressed odds and ends of green floss onto the resulting wetness, spraying as I went until the thread was damp enough to absorb the colour and blend it. A quick blast from my heat gun dried it and set the colour, and a swift swipe with the iron smoothed out the kinks and restored the shine. I think I need to find a source of Dylon again...I feel this may only be the first of a series of Rock Gardens...


  1. Im glad you liked them(thanks for all the kind words, too). they are quite addictive, and being small easy to finish. I also made one in green wool with French knots and drizzle stitch to look like moss. and another with variegated greens in Turkey stitch to look like grass.
    I like your idea of dying your own threads. i have some fabric markers i think i will try that.

  2. Hi Totty:

    You are such a crafty person, my friend - and in to so many crafts,I have something for you on my blog.

  3. ...well Totty, you are way ahead of me on this one.
    I thought you might be serving drinks "on the rocks" (lol).


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