Saturday, 27 May 2017

Traditional Embroidery Sampler 1

I love traditional embroidery but I never tried it thinking that it was too difficult. I really like to challenge myself and I have decided to take a new challenge, I am going to do a sampler with different traditional embroidery stitches and if I like the result I will start doing small projects using that technique.

For learning, I found a very nice tutorial in YouTube. Videos are in spanish but it is very easy to follow simple by watching them. The lady who is doing the tutorials is really skilled in embroidery. If you want to have a look her name is Rosario Montoro.

Initially I thought in using Lugana Evenwave fabric with Coton Perle no 8 threads but after a try I found the fabric square very small and I decided to change to Aida marble effect 18 count fabric but keeping the same threads.

In this tutorial I did four different stitches which are the basis of the traditional embroidery, stem stitch, chain stitch, blanquet stitch with same and different lenght. I am using different colour for each stitch for identification. Among these four stitches, the one which I like less and had worst results is the chain stitch (in yellow). 

Stem stitch (red) and the two type of blanquet stitch (brown and grey) are not bad if we keep in mind that it is the first time I am doing them.

What do you think about my stitches? Shortly I will continue with the sampler.......

Friday, 19 May 2017

Pann Mill Visit

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The 14th May is in UK the National Mill Day and majority of mills in UK were open for free to people to visit them. A working mill is something very simple but interested to see, mainly because nowadays most of the mills you can visit are not working and few times we have the opportunity of see one.
One working mill is situated in High Wycombe, in one end of the big park The Rye. This park is a huge extension of grass with 1 mile perimeter where people can go to walk, run, cycle, play with children and do sports. It is a very nice place beside the river Wye where I have been multiple times and didn’t know that a mill was there.

Rye Park

Mill surroundings.
When I knew there was a working mill in the park and that it was open I quickly decide and have a look. I was greatly surprised. At one time there were 37 water mills on the River Wye and Pann Mill is one of the few remaining and the unique still in operation. The mill is located on the A40 London Road, at the Eastern end High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire). The first record of a mill in this site is on 1086. From that time ownership of the mill changed several time and the mill was rebuilt few times. Last mill was built in 1759. Commercial milling ended in 1967 and in 1971 the mill buildings and house were demolish as a part of a road widening scheme. The restoration of the mill has been carried out until our days and the mill is now operating and looking nice.

Front and side views of the mill.

The way the mill works is very simple.

Scheme representing how the mill works.
The mill is powered by a cast iron breast shot water wheel where the water feeds into the wheel at breast height, as opposed to an overshot wheel where the water falls from above onto the wheel. The water wheel is approximately 5 metres in diameter and has 48 buckets around its edges. It turns at about 5 revolutions per minute and it is believed that the wheel generates around 7 horse power.
Water wheel working.
The water wheel turns a large cast iron cog in the mill called the pit wheel. The pit wheel is fitted with 60 oak teeth. Although most of the machinery bin the mill is made from iron, the teeth are generally wood and these mesh with a smaller cog called the wallover. This is because the wood is more easily replaced than iron. A modern drive belt transfers power from the wallover shaft to the second shaft, the spur shaft. The spur shaft turns the grinding stone on the floor above.

Mill machinery
Mill stones are on the first floor. The stones work in pairs, one above the other. The lower stone is fixed while the upper stone rotates driven by the water wheel. The mill stones were not open to visit as they were continuously working but a miniature scale representation of them is outside the mill. The working wheels look the same but so much bigger than the one shown.

Miniature scale representation of the grindstones.
A very important part of the mill is the part which feed the grain into the grindstones. That part is called the Mill Furniture. In this part we can define different parts, one to store the grain ready for grinding, and other to send the grain into the centre of the stones and finally the support for all of these. This part is operated by the miller. The miller has to control three things, the speed of the water wheel, the gap between the grindstones and the amount of grain fed. The grain need to be moisture before going to the grindstones to avoid blockages on them. Each of these duties has an effect on the others and the miller need to coordinate all of them to produce the flour in the required quality.

Mill Furniture were the grain is fed and miller.
After being processed by the grindstones the produced flour come through the tun to the collection box, where is ready to be packed and used. The flour produced in this mill is wholemeal wheat flour. This flour seems to be fantastic, it has a nice touch and smell. I bought few kilos to taste and make my breads.

Collection of the produced flour.

Flour produced in the mill packed for selling
I would like to thank the Pann Mill Restoration Team, who kindly show me the mill and gave all the information necessary to write this article and the Pann Mill Society. Their unique source of income is public donation and flour sales. If you want information for visiting the mill or make a donation send a mal to

My Medium Size Cross Stitch Projects

In the second part of this series about My Finished Projects I want to show you my medium size projects. After all the time I am doing cross stitch so many projects are finished, but I am going to show few of them mainly to let you know the type of job I normally do.

So long back, in 2011, I finished this nice angel. The project consisted in few angel but after doing the first one I realized that I didn’t like enough to embroider all of them, so I stopped in the first.

Something you should know about me…… I love Lizzie Kate Designs. And when I saw these Four Seasons I couldn’t avoid buying the patterns and making them. It is one of the projects I have enjoyed more while doing.

I like very much to organize SALs and something I find impressive about them is the fact that with the same design each person presents a completely different job. In this case I was proposed to organize a SAL for one of the Spanish forum I use to participate in. I decided to prepare one to make small zodiac signs designs which could be finish in multiples ways, as small cushions, keyrings, all together in frame, and they could be a nice present. I decided to make as small cushions. In the front side I embroidered something related with the sign and in the back side I stitched the corresponding sign.

The next one is part of the Seasons Owls Collection. They are really cute all of them, but my favourite one is the Spring Owl. I love it with his crazy eyes as he was just woken up. I made them in rustic Aida fabric and I think that was a good choice looking at the final result.

Even if normally we all prepare a lot of Christmas decoration and do craft in that line, Easter is also a very good time to let our mind fly and look for amazing projects to decorate our home. This time I made an Easter Eggs Collection design in pale green 14 counts Aida. Honouring my nationality, the “Happy Eater” legend is written in Spanish, even if there we don’t celebrate Easter too much.

I want to finish this post with a French design, Pres de la Riviere, which was a freebie in a page which already doesn’t exit, I loved since I saw it but it took me a while to decide to do it. Finally I did and I was extremely happy was the finish result.

In the next post I will show you my large finished cross stitch projects, well, a selection of them.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you like more, what you like less or anything you want to tell me. All comments are welcome.

Urban Knitting

Urban Knitting or Yarn Bombing is a relatively new phenomenon which consists of the art of decorating public spaces with items made of thread or wool, as Leanne Prain defines it.

The origin of this art is quite confusing as some sources say that is coming from Europe, from Holland in 2004 while others mention its origin in US when Magda Sayeg decorated her shop door handle with a knitted cover to complaint about the ugliness of her city, Houston, in 2005. This origin can be from many other places, as there are few more other examples, but all dating from the beginning of 21st century.

Deadly Knitshade, a Londoner street artist, went a step ahead when she started to tell a story when decorating the city with her creations in 2009.

Nowadays, from Canada to Chile, from United Kingdom to Dubai, colour explosions appear everywhere, form very famous places with millions of tourist per year to remote non touristic places nearly forgotten by people.
Urban Knitting can be something as simple as a knitted square surrounding a tree or as complicated as a piece of knitted cover to use with a bicycle, car or even a bus. For example, in Murcia (Spain) a sculpture in the centric Flower’s Square was “dressed” with a hat and some flowers, something very simple whereas in the other extreme we can see the Craft and Folk Museum in Los Angeles covered with hundreds of grannies.

Sculpture in Murcia with simple hat and flowers and Granny Squares Project finally covered the Craft and Folk Museum (Los Angeles) with small colourful squares.

The name given to that art suggests that in addition of being an art it is also a way of social and political discomfort. It is remarkable that even when Urban Knitting is performed as social discomfort it is done in a very pacific way. It is really a very peaceful way to attract the attention about something that the society wants to change. An example of that was shown in Bilbao (Spain) when people against bull fighting “dressed” a bull sculpture with a colourful knitted cover.

Bull decorated in Bilbao (Spain) against bull fighting.

Art or social tool, this way of expression has become extremely popular to the point that you can find it in any corner of your city or town. In High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (UK) this art has been used to promote Wycombe Fringe Event, a festival taking place during May and June 2017. High Street bollards have been decorated with nice knitted designs as part of mentioned festival.

High Street bollards in High Wycombe.

Is the Urban Knitting an art or a social way of attracting politician’s attention? Let me know your opinion on this, all comments are welcome.

My Small Cross Stitch Projects

During all the years I have been doing cross stitch I finished a lot of projects, some quite big and another really tiny. In the next posts series I will show the most important project I have finished, divided in to Small Projects, Medium Size and Large Projects and Other Crafts Projects.

Today I want to write about my small projects. I have done really a lot of small projects, some for myself and other for sending in the swaps I have participated. I am going to show you only those ones which have a special significance for me (all my jobs have significance for me obviously; the ones I will show are special for some reason or another).
Even if I was doing cross stitch from very early stages of my life, I had never finished any of my projects before 2011 and that is the reason why I mark that date as my real embroidery starting point. The first job I finished was a small design called Petit Coeur de Amis. I did in green Aida 14 count with greenish threads and I did as a door handle hanger.

I was amazed with the small Petit Coeurs and I decide to continue working in that line. I have always like more the, let’s say, 3D embroideries than the flat ones, even I have also done plenty. I did a simple FOB with a very easy design but which served me to learn the “biscornu joining” technique, as I call it.

After making few FOBs and similar projects it was time to try my first biscornu. I choose a gourmand design and I joined it using the technique I was training with the FOBs. The result wasn’t so bad to be the first…..

When Christmas time came I decided to make a pinkeep ornament. The design was the obvious for that time of the year, a Christmas tree. I will prepare a tutorial about pinkeep making in the next future to share with you.

To finish with the small projects with a special significance for me, I will show this small cushion and sachet. They are part of a collection of 5 cushions and 5 sachets. The design and finishing were very simple but they are special for me because that was the first Stich A Long (SAL) project I organized for a huge quantity of people


That is all for the moment. In my next post I will talk about the medium size projects I have done from 2011. See you soon and have a good embroidery time. 

Comments are welcome.