FFoF Bestiary Craft Swap Part 1, books and kitties

The latest Fifth Friday Festival of Fabulousness swap was moved from Flickr to Mr X Stitch's new stitchy social network, Weave. The theme this time was "Bestiary".

I made this griffin for Sew Jenaissance (check out her blog for the amazing Doctor Who-inspired piece she made for her partner). He is made out of purple, pink and brown appliqued felt, with different stitching for his birdy front half to his tigery back half, with a fluffy thread tail. (You can also see the hideous wall texturing on one half of our kitchen. Bizarrely, the other half is smooth. The textured stuff is also cracking and falling off in places, especially where I tried to get rid of the incredibly "countrified" tiles. I try not to spend too much time in there.)

I was reading the second Stormdancer book when I was designing this piece, which is how I ended up deciding on the griffin rather than woodland creatures. I would never have normally read this sort of book (Japanese-themed dystopian steampunk/fantasy) but I'm reading along with the book club of the International Geek Girls Pen Pals Club which is introducing me to some fantastic books. Unfortunately, one of April's reads is the first Game Of Thrones book, which will probably take me the next decade to finish.

In kitty news, Miskit has taken full control of the rocking chair in my craft room (she was very confused when she found me sitting in it earlier today) and has started attacking everything that moves, therefore signalling that it is definitely Spring. Noddy has got skinny in his old age (we need to take him back to the vet for another weigh-in in a couple of months to check he's not losing more weight) so we are on a mission to fatten him up. Today's attempt - chicken livers (bleurgh). The internet is being very unhelpful over whether to cook them or not.

Finally, I have started using my Instagram account again. If you are on there, come and say hello!


This year, Crafty Creatives changed their subscription boxes to concentrate on a single craft each month. I decided to stop my subscription because I knew I would end up getting duplicates of things I already have (as my craft supply collection is way out of control) but I did get January's box, which was marbling. It was a lot of fun trying out different techniques, I mostly used the "randomly swizzle a needle around in the ink" one...

Here are some of the best results on paper:

The kit included some fabric (I think it was a thin cotton - on the right below) and I also tried some thicker calico (on the left below). The thinner cotton took up the colour way better than the calico, both ended up quite stiff so not suitable at this point for the embroidery I had planned. I haven't tried washing or rinsing them yet though.

There was also a ceramic heart pendant in the kit, which came out really nicely. I'm going to try varnishing it with glittery ModPodge.

The monsters are getting restless...

Portraits of Phylisss, Maximilian, Castiel and Clarissa are currently available in my shop.

 They would add monster magic to the walls of any home or office!

RSN Crewelwork Animals and Insects

Wow, it's been a while since I've updated this. I went on holiday to Berlin (photos in later post) and picked up a lurgy, since then I have just felt like hiding in bed reading...

Before that, I went to a Jacobean Crewelwork day course at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, concentrating on animals and insects and led by Becky Hogg. It all started off quite chaotically as we were left in the waiting room for half an hour due to an admin mix up. Once we had found the classroom, we were given a huge amount of animal, insect and tree images to choose from to build up our piece, as Becky gave a detailed history of the technique. Once we had arranged our chosen images, we decided on the stitches to use.

We then traced the image onto our fabric using a lightbox (not simple as it was hard to see the lines, so my fox and deer ended up less delicate than I intended!) and chose our wool colours - most of us chose three colours then several shades of each colour so there were no gaps in each colour range.

Becky then taught us the stitches we would need. This was really interesting as it turned out I had been doing many stitches in a completely different way than the RSN recommend! I had no idea you are only supposed to do one loop for french knots fpor example, so if you would normally do 4 loops, you use 4 strands in the needle and do one loop instead - it definitely makes the stitch much neater. There were so many stitches to practice that I stitched hardly any of my actual design and shamefully haven't done any of it since I got home. I can add it to the goldwork squirrel that I haven't finished from the last day school I went to! I hope I can still remember the stitches when I go back to it.

I really wish the RSN was nearer, I would love to do their Certificate or Diploma course. Sadly I am not a fan of 6am starts or dealing with Clapham Junction train station :(

Here is the Palace in the cold early morning: