van Gogh inspiration – neutrals


The prompt for this exercise was to use cretan stitch in neutral shades.  I felt a bit of a cheat as I used some of my lovely variegated thread from Winifred Cottage (sadly no longer available), and it worked really well instantly.  I added a bit of light brown wool over the top to show willing, but the beauty of the soft shades did all the work itself.

As happens so often with massed cretan stitch, it looked a lot like grasses.  I decided to play this up and to use some thick linen knitting yarn to make pebbles by using colonial knots.  I prefer colonial knots to french knots now as they are easier and less likely to go wrong.  I know that misshaped french knots can be useful for creating texture but I am a full convert to the colonial, as taught to me in the middle of the Festival of Quilts by Sandy Lush.  I added in some neutral looking beads and was pretty pleased with the result:


IMG_0983IMG_0984I hope that this has some of the texture of some of the drawings that van Gogh made:

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That’s the end of the workshop pictures.  The pieces were all made on a piece of linen mix furnishing fabric with a fairly loose weave, and all done in a hoop.

van Gogh inspiration purple and yellow part deux



This yellow and purple piece was based on experimenting with buttonhole stitch and detached chain or laisy daisy stitch.  I really liked the delicacy of stitching into the buttonhole stitch with another row in a different thread.  That got a bit overwhelmed by the layers of couching and buttonhole stitch:


I rather enjoyed making these donuts with buttonhole over the knotted yarns.


The main problem with finishing this off, or ‘resolving’ the design as some might put it, was that I had the original spiralling off blanket stitch ‘legs’ and the piece made no sense until I turned it round so that it looked like a buttercup type flower.  Then I decided that the purple legs could be an insect like in a Dutch genre still life:




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van Gogh Green and Red Inspiration


I chose this slightly less well-know study of sunflowers for my red and green piece:


We used straight stitches and then whipped them with contrasting colours.  I thought my finished piece looked like an aerial view of a garden.

This was the first piece we did and I wasn’t quite sure about working with van Gogh’s brushstrokes, but the layering of the fine wool worked reasonably well.  And no beads were added for once!


The couched sewing ribbon made a lovely crunchy texture:



From a distance the whipped stitches look like bullion knots but they are much easier to do.



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van Gogh in purple and yellow


This is the second sample from the Vincent van Gogh workshop, this time working with purple and yellow, which co-incidentally were the colours of my school uniform.  The-Sower-Vincent-Van-Gogh

I love this combination, although it took me years ever to wear purple again after the school experience.  I am not quite sure about the finished piece, where the technique was Roumanian couching, where you use the same thread as the thread you are couching and the holding thread.  I did a little bit of that, and we practised sewing curved couching threads to simulate van Gogh’s swirling skies:


I much preferred the technique we learned for working with thick threads which was to knot them and couch them down.  I really took to this and, although I ended up with a blob which looks a bit like a fried egg, I enjoyed using knotted yarns of different thicknesses to get a domed effect.



As ever, it was improved by a bit of bling, in this case some bronze beads:


I loved the way that they sank into the couching, as if they had been inlaid.