Creating Canvas – Crochet, Beads and Stitching

I have been experimenting for sometime with combining crochet and embroidery to create canvases to hang on the wall. Over the coming weeks I will share a series of images I have created in the last 6 months or so and talk about the inspiration for them.

As a starting point I thought it might be helpful to show how I take a finished piece of crochet and attach it to a canvas, ready to be displayed. This heart is a gift for my daughter to hang in her bedroom.

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Before creating the filling for the heart, I loosely attach a piece of fabric to a canvas and tack down the outer frame or cordonet. I then create a series of Irish crochet and freeform shapes to fill the shape, using crochet cotton and 1 and 1.5mm hooks. Once complete I fill in the gaps between the shapes and connect them together using a combination of irish and freeform lace filling stitches. I then worked a row of dc over the cordonet I laid down for the frame. The filling was then stitched to the frame and I worked a scalloped edging around the frame to complete. This left me with the piece above. The next stage was to sew in all ends and steam block the heart to shape, ready for mounting.

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There was a slight flaw in the canvas and I wanted a black background so I used a piece of surplus black lining fabric to cover it. I started by cutting a rectangle of the lining material that covered both the front of the canvas and the frame at the rear

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I pinned the lining material to the canvas at the back and stapled it down, one side at a time, ensuring I kept the fabric taut. I also made sure the I tucked a small hem under to keep things looking neat.

imageThe next step was to pin the heart to the front of the covered canvas. I would normally iron the backing fabric but my daughter preferred the texture of the unironed material. I also played around with using beads to add a bit of sparkle to the finished heart. I then whip stitched the heart into place, working very carefully and keeping it taut to achieve a good finish. I used an earring that had lost its friend form the large gem and bent the post and used some invisible thread to keep it in place. For the other beads I rifled through my collection of random beads and old bits of jewellery that a lady at church kindly gave me. I think they finish the piece nicely.

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Handmade Monday 172 – Combining Crafts

Hello and welcome to this week’s Handmade Monday. Why not pop over to Handmade Harbour and join in the fun?

Before I get into the craft, my grandson was Christened last Sunday:

Christening cuddles

I’ve recently started to experiment with combining crafting skills, mainly knitting and  / or crochet with embroidery to produce art. Every crafter gets to a point where they think “Where do I put my next creation!”…. why not hang it on the wall?

My first Canvas was a bit of a happy accident if I’m honest. I’d crocheted a big blue butterfly and had no idea what to do with it. So I pinned it onto a canvas and then decided that it would look less like a biological specimen if I added some foliage. So I used running stitch to embroider on roses and leaves, to lift the design, then securely stitched the butterfly down afterwards.

My more recent canvases are more “deliberately designed” so I thought I’d take you through how I get inspired and go on to make them.

Hope Is….

The initial inspiration for this was a sermon at church. I often end up “doodling” ideas when listening or making word maps as it helps me take in key points. This phrase really spoke to me and made me realise that hope doesn’t need to be a sort of wishy washy wish type word…. it can actually mean if you trust in God or trust in a dream you have and put in the time and effort, your dream / hope will happen….it becomes a certainty or a promise.

So I took a doodle, played around with it on paper and then drew straight onto the canvas……..and promptly made a spelling mistake! This is where I found the drawback to working on canvas – you can’t rub anything out without making a mess – so that canvas is now covered in fabric and has been transformed into a wedding gift!

I tried again and was really careful to slow down the writing! Next step was to add something to make the canvas look attractive…..I love medieval manuscripts and one feature of many of them is to have a vine with flowers trailing around a page or as a background. I’ve been experimenting with sketching these designs with the idea of developing some crochet or knitted art, so this was a good opportunity to see what I could do. I then crocheted some tiny flowers using 3 strands of embroidery cotton and 0.75mm hook.

Once the flowers were ready I started on the embroidery, using holbein or double running stitch – you’ll see a theme developing with me, embroidery and running stitch as its the one I’m relatively good at! I then added a few buttons, seed beads and sequins to create the flower centre and little buds on the vine and it was finished. This canvas took me around 3 hours to make from start to finish and I really enjoyed creating it.

Song in Your Heart

I have a Pinterest board, full of uplifting quotes, that I discover on my travels around the internet. I collect them simply because they are helpful to focus on when things aren’t going so well. When I made this canvas I was having and still to some extent am having a big crisis within the family and I wanted to create something that helped me feel better and might just help someone else too! I listen to positive music when I’m in the “pit” as it helps lift my mood and that’s why “Keep a Song in Your Heart” became my inspiration…..

When I think of singing I think of birdsong, so this was the starting point for the design…. I played around with a selection of crochet cottons and a pattern I’d seen on Pinterest, which was originally 3D. I adapted it to create a motif. I also liked the idea of crocheting a heart to add to the writing and adding a musical note. So once I’d finished the elements, I laid them out and stitched them in place, then worked on the lettering and the musical note. I then embellished the design with beads and sequins.

Where Next?

I am aiming to develop the canvases and produce at least  two per month for an exhibition in December that I’ve signed up to…. scary stuff!! I also want to see if I can use the canvases to make prints or greeting cards. And also look at buying canvas or perhaps using Aida fabric that is not mounted on a frame to make mixed media book covers and bible covers. The theme of all the work will be HOPE……..because I feel we live in a world today where we all need a bit of Hope to get us through the day….

My next 2 pieces however are commissions for teacher gifts……so I’ll see what I can come up with. Have sent my friend off to do her “homework” and find out what the teachers are particularly interested in, so I can design a canvas that has meaning.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on my plans, if you’d care to share them 🙂