Wednesday 2 March 2016

Stumpwork painted bunting

I have recently finished this little embroidery of a painted bunting. I have been feeling a bit lacking in inspiration recently so I decided to revisit an old favourite subject and stitch up a stumpwork bird.

I knew I wanted it to be colourful so I put a call out on Instagram for ideas and now have a whole list of pretty birdies to stitch up. They don't come much more colourful than this little guy though!


I have already started the next bird- a cheeky blue budgie. It's going to be a fun one :)

Thursday 30 April 2015

Scrimshaw skull

Look I finished a thing!!!

At the start of the year I decided to do a sketch a day for a year. It didn't last very long as I quickly accepted that most some days I don't have the time or the inclination to do it, BUT I did end up with a nice little pile of 'to-be-stitched' sketches and this is based on one of those.
This idea has been blowing around my headspace for a while and I actually have few sketches on this theme. This wee guy is a child's skull with traditional-ish scrimshaw design on it. It's fairly small, about 4 inches high and stitched with 1 strand of floss.

I initially didn't have the clouds but am so glad I added them- they made it work. The seagulls make me laugh because my art teacher at school absolutely hated birds drawn as 'm' shapes! I had to sneak a whale in there too hiding in the water.

I sort of love the back of it too- I always have messy backs and they remind me of sketchy drawings.

So now it's back to the sketchbook to pick something else to stitch...

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Robin and whale

A big hello to anyone reading this- it's been ages since I last posted. I have moved down to Cornwall, started a new job and there has been a lot going on lately, which is why I haven't been posting regularly lately but I thought I'd pop by and share some recent stitches.

 I stitched this little guy over Christmas whilst I was feeling festive!  It has reminded me how much I love stitching birds.
The colours aren't perfect because I just used what I had to hand but I quite like the orange flecks through his red breast.

I've also been sketching whales a lot lately- I've fallen in love with them! I made this tiny felt embroidery based on a sketch. 
(Scuse my bony fingers- they are there for scale ;) )

I might make him into a brooch- I think he is cute.
 I have the feeling whales are going to feature in my stitching a lot this year. It's about time whales were 'in'; we have had an owl trend,a fox trend, birds on everything, everywhere so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a whale trend!!

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Mitch O'Connell Lil'Death

It's been a while, I know. I have lots of things on the go and not much getting finished right now, plus I am moving house so some half finished things have been packed away. Despite this... drumroll.... I have finally managed to finish something.
This little guy was started over a year ago but I hadn't done much other than the outline- I am really glad I decided to finish him- and in time for Halloween! The pattern was a freebie from here . I originally had the idea of stitching all 4 and making them into a quilt but to be honest this has taken me so long to finish I'm not sure it will ever happen. This one was very fun to stitch though- I am still working on my boxing hares on and off as well as a handstitched quilt so it is nice to have a break from them to do something cute and silly! 

Tuesday 29 July 2014

&Stitches in the park

On the 5th of July I got to meet up with the rest of the &Stitches gang for a stitchy picnic. It was the first time I had met any of them in person so I was a bit nervous but I'm pleased to report they are all lovely.

We met in Kensington Gardens- I was ridiculously late due to getting lost (which was quite an achievement because once I found the right entrance to the park I spotted a glamourous group of stitching girls straight away- if only I hadn't gone in the wrong entrance and spent an hour wandering round completely the wrong part of the park!!)

We were joined by teasemade and Mrs Lacer and a pigeon called Steve! It felt great to be sitting and stitching with people who are interested in embroidery- we chatted about different techniques and styles. I loved the range of projects people were working on including ribbon embroidery, paper piecing and blackwork. It was fun having a nosy at what other people were working on.

I was too busy stitching to take photos but you can see us all here on &Stitches.

If you think this sounds like fun then the gang are meeting again very soon on August 2nd details here. Don't be shy -everyone is really nice and I promise they will make you feel welcome. Unfortunately I can't be there next time as I'm on holiday but I hope you can make it for a fun afternoon of sun and stitching!!

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Blog hop

 There is a blog hop that is doing the rounds of creative blogs right now. the idea is that you answer the questions and then tag up to 3 blogs you follow and admire. They then do the same -ta dah!- and it goes on and on. I was tagged by Keeley of Stitch & Color who blogs about a range of creative topics including her cool embroideries.

 crewel skull

1. What am I working on?
I like to chop and change so tend to keep a few projects on the go; I am still working on my boxing hares piece, it's giving me problems- I forsee a lot of unpicking in my future as the legs have gone all wonky. I had a mammoth stitching session and forgot to 'stand back' from it, it wasn't until I saw it from a distance that I realised it has gone a bit weird.
 I also have a crewelwork day of the dead skull which I turn to when I want something easy to work on and I also have just sketched up a little anthropomorphic tap dancing mouse that I plan to stitch up for a friend. The crewel work is an iron on from this book. I don't often stitch from patterns but find it very therapeutic when I do. It is so relaxing to focus on each stitch rather than having to make all those decisions about shading, weight of line etc.
boxing hares WIP- the legs have gone all wrong and need some unpicking

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I stitch for me so don't need to worry about uniqueness - as long as I like what I do it doesn't matter if it is derivative or predictable. Having said that i am fairly resistant to 'trends' i am only now coming round to the geometric and pastel trends that have been all over craft blogs forever!
Embroidery is still a pretty niche craft so I think that just by working in stitch I am making something different from the norm and I love to see all the innovative ways the online stitchy community use their embroidery to create art. I like to use techniques like goldwork and stumpwork which are less 'common' forms of embroidery. This isn't me trying to stand out, I am just a total embroidery geek. Having said that my stumpwork pieces tend to be the ones that get the most attention - I think people see stumpwork as being a bit 'magical'. Let me share a secret about stumpwork with you... yes it is fiddly... yes it might take a bit longer... but difficult?...nah, not so much. It is so much easier than it looks- I would love to see more people using stumpwork.

detail of crewel skull
3. Why do I create what I do?
I trained in Fine Art so making stuff is important to me, I then went on to do a second degree in Occupational Therapy which is what I now do for a living. As an OT I believe that the things we do are what give our lives meaning. Engaging in embroidery fulfills so many purposes for me: through embroidery I connect with others, feel achievement as I learn new things and master skills, it relaxes me and I can be totally absorbed in what I am doing. I can focus on the moment and forget everything else- so important in my busy life. Having some form of creative outlet makes me happy and being an introvert I need to express my personality somehow- stitching fits the bill for me. So I really do see my embroidery as a meaningful occupation, I have had a few breaks from stitching over the years where I have lost my stitchy mojo (it happens to us all I think)  but I always miss it eventually and come back to it. Recently I have recognised how much I value it and if I lose that urge to create embroidery I join a swap/ stitchalong and that always gets me inspired to stitch again. Embroidery is good for you- In fact I could write a whole post just about this!

How does your creating process work?
Sometimes I just have a random idea that develops into a piece. I like to sketch stuff out first. I will use photos for source material- often I use google image searches to find photos to use.
Then I will often transfer a basic outline to fabric and get stuck in, I sort out the details as I go along. I rarely pick out a colour palette before I start or plan what stitches to use. Making it up as I go along feels natural to me and encourages me to try new things which is good for creativity.
The little beetle embroidery above is something I made last week- it is called 'pudding' because my son had a 'pet' beetle he found and christened Pudding. So we could distinguish Pudding from other beetles we marked him with gold glittery nail polish- he looked FABULOUS. Sadly the nail polish might have been what led to poor Pudding's demise- we found him dead that night and had to get rid of the ex-Pudding whilst my son was asleep and make up a story about him going to live in the garden. I wanted to remember Pudding in all his glittery glory, so have added some goldwork bright check purl to my stitching to make him sparkle.

Ok... after the fabulousness that is Pudding are you ready for some ultra-fab blogs?

First up is Lisa of A Cuppa Tea with Me she is a kindred spirit, a tea-fuelled stitcher so we were destined to find each other over the internet! Lisa is a really talented embroiderer and is doing some gorgeous things with felt.

Next we have Crystal whose blog is Fiberartsy, I can't quite remember how I found Crystal- maybe through blogging or maybe via Craftster but I have been following her blog for years. Her stitching is immaculate and I love the conversational way she writes about her embroidery.

Finally can I introduce you to Flaming Nora (which should win some sort of best name for a blog award). She makes beautiful arty embroidery and has a job making costumes which she shares titbits about and which I am incredibly jealous of.

Please give them all a visit (and don't forget Keeley up there at the top of the post) they were all kind enough to be tagged in this chain letter style game and I am looking forward to hearing their answers to the questions above. You can also trace the 'chain' back through peoples posts to hear different peoples thoughts about their creative process (I did this for ages last week- it was a good read!!)

Sunday 15 June 2014

Toms Diner

My last post featured the piece I made for the &Stitches swap and this is the piece I received in return. It was made by the fabulously talented Broidrage who in her own words is a New York pop culture junkie so it was fitting that she stitched me a NY icon; Toms Diner- y'know the one from the Suzanne Vega song and from Seinfeld.

It was a perfect choice for the 'Places' theme and I love it!