Monday, 31 December 2012

bluetit stumpwork

So things have been quiet on the blog for a few weeks. This is because I had been working on Christmas gifts and didn't want to spoil the surprise for the recipients!
I made this blue tit for my mum and dad. It is always difficult to decide what to make for people but as my folks enjoy feeding the garden birds and my mum had admired previous bird stumpwork embroideries I decided to go for a bluetit. I think this is one of the best I have done- I painted the background with fabric paints and this time I was very pleased with how it looks. The branch is wool felt with lots of french knots in hand dyed silk thread to give the effect of moss. The bird is a padded slip worked in stem, satin and split stitch.
I couldn't afford to spend a lot of money getting it framed so bought a simple box frame which allows for the 3D nature of stumpwork. I know some people don't use glass when framing embroidery but I don't usually like frames without glass in them- it just looks wrong to my eye!

The good news is that they liked it!

I will do another post soon about another handmade present I made. Maybe 2013 will be the year I manage to blog more regularly!! Happy New Year to you all xxxxxxxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Here is Santa Jake with his new robot Father Christmas pillow (design from Urban Threads). This little boy couldn't be more excited about Christmas!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas xxx

Friday, 23 November 2012

stag beetle embroidery

I love entomology displays and have meant to do this for a while. The head and main part of the body were stitched separately and are wired for shape. the head part is leather padded out with a little felt. I plan to do more as I think I can improve on this one a little so will take some in-progress shots next time. I love how it looks in a box frame, at a glance it looks real. I'm considering painting the frame black, I think it would look better. I will definitely do a bigger frame soon too containing several 'samples'.


I actually had to unpick the legs once and start again as I managed to stitch the top legs coming out of its head. I was all finished and looked at it from a distance and thought 'that doesn't look quite right.... ' Lesson learned. Don't forget to step back from your work sometimes people!

I get so excited making things like this, I love to sit in the evenings with a glass of wine cup of tea, wearing comfy pyjamas, telly or music on, stitching away. It has become such a big part of my life that in the evenings if I'm not stitching my hands feel empty. Sometimes it seems like a strange hobby, particularly if I'm working on an unusual project and I often stitch things just for the hell of it without any thought of what I'll do with them once I'm done (in fact I have a load of completed embroideries stashed away in a cupboard). I quite like it though when I'm listening to a bit of Tom Waits or Nick Cave doing some stitching and I think to myself 'I wonder how many other people out there are doing this right now?' 
And what do I do with my free time when I'm not stitching? Well I read embroidery blogs, books and magazines of course! 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Urban Threads embroidery

I finished this piece I was making from an urban threads pattern. I don't often use patterns but actually really like some of the urban threads patterns. The subject matter and tattoo style of this appealed to me- I used to stitch a lot of tattoo flash. I think I might do some more tattoo style pieces soon. The strong outlines and solid fills work well for embroidery. I thought this would look good framed up in my bathroom!
Christmas seems to be creeping up on me- There is absolutely loads I want to make; some more decorations, stockings for the boys, a few gifts and christmassy pillowcases. I will be working hard over the next few weeks and am not sure I'll get everything done. How are your Christmas crafts coming on?

Friday, 16 November 2012

stitch and send

Here are my other stitch and send pieces. I kept it nice and simple. The flowery design is from the book The New Crewel and I made a pattern for the chevrons using graph paper.
Hope they make someone smile!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

doodle fox embroidery

Mollie at wild olive posted about the stitch and send project recently asking people to stitch up patches to decorate bags to be distributed as part of a charity project. I stitched up 3 designs. This is the first one I did I wanted it to be unisex so I doodled this little guy. I thought he suited a retro chain stitch embroidery style.
Did anyone else stitch and send? I have to admit I was a little late sending so I hope they receive them in time to put them on bags for the thanksgiving event- fingers crossed for speedy postage!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

leather brooches

A while ago I bought some leather offcuts for use in stumpwork. Some of the were just what I needed but some were too thick for using in my embroidery. I needed to think of a way to use them up and think I may have found the perfect way to use them- leather brooches. I have only made two so far but I have lots of ideas for other designs

the stitching is a bit rustic I know- it ain't easy stitching through such thick leather, I
 need to buy a thimble before I make any more. I actually think they look better in real life than in these photos. Any other ideas for using up my leather?

Monday, 29 October 2012

acorn brooch

I love this little guy, I embroidered him on cotton then stitched him onto some felt with a bit of toy stuffing between to make him nice and squishy. It's fairly small -just over an inch in length I think. I don't often do cute but I was very pleased with how this turned out.

Keeping on an autumnal theme here are my families pumpkins, carved by me but with very strict art direction from my three year old. Apparently the sad one has lost his mummy pumpkin :(

Thursday, 25 October 2012

giveaway winner

The winner of the giveaway is Gill! I have sent you an email - hope you enjoy your  eyeball!! I bet no one has ever said that to you before :)

Thank you so much to all those who left comments. It was nice to see lots of people I know entering and also some new names as well, so 'hi' if you are a new follower/ commenter. I was a bit nervous of doing my first giveaway but it has been a fun experience, I will definitely do another soon so watch this space...

I have been making some very cute felt christmas decorations this week. I'll try and get a tutorial together to share with you as they are super simple to make. In fact they are a perfect 'tv craft' which is what I'm off to do now - tv, wine, chocolate and FELT, could this be the perfect way to spend an evening?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Eyeball embroidery - Halloween giveaway CLOSED

yep, it's an eyeball, and it is 3-D and it glows in the dark... what else can I say?!

I'm really grateful to all you people who take the time to read my blog so I've got a little gift for one of you.
If you'd like this embroidery, these little skull beads and this set of iron-on embroidery transfers leave a comment on this post before 24th October they could be yours!
The winner will be picked at random on the 25th 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

stitcher's ornament and felt decorations

I've been making a start on some Christmas crafting. I made a little sewing themed wreath by twisting some thick jewelry wire into a hoop shape which I wrapped in fabric strips. Then I wrapped the whole thing in red wool. I then stitched on these cute sewing themed buttons I've had stashed away forever. I might make some more with some of the other buttons, bells and assorted doodads I've hoarded over the years!

I have the book Falalala felt and this year I've made several of the projects. One of the designers is Cathy Gaubert whose work I adore and I am making all her projects from the book. I'd really recommend this book- everything in it is cute and the projects are simple to do. There are patterns to photocopy in the back of the book so your results turn out just like the photos. Here is a little selection of my felt decorations (I've made loads!), they are mostly unfinished in this photo but you get the general idea

I think we might need a bigger tree this year!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Magpie finished (probably!)

 I say it's finished but I keep picking it up and adding a few stitches here a few stitches there. If I'm honest I wonder if it is a bit overworked but then I keep seeing little tweaks I could make. I was feeling quite disappointed with it but then I looked at it from across the room and thought it looked nice so I think maybe the really detailed wing is a bit distracting up close. I was enjoying all those blues whilst stitching and I got a bit carried away.
 The magpies body is a padded slip. My favourite thing is the tree stump- it is couched silk strings and wool and is very tactile!!
 I painted the background with fabric paints. This was an experiment and I will make it lighter next time I do this but I like the overall effect.
I have started something else, an urban threads pattern (I don't often use patterns but Urban Threads has some great ones I couldn't resist). It was nice to not have to plan for a change just choose a pattern... transfer.. go! As you can see I have stitched the outlines and I quite like how it looks left plain but I am going to start filling it in using some muted colours.

I should really be thinking about Christmas crafts but am still at the planning stage- have you started your Christmas crafting yet?

Friday, 28 September 2012

a silly embroidery post

I needed a break from the stumpwork magpie I am working on and I just love this book by Andy Riley so I decided to stitch up my favourite cartoon from the book.
It is a direct copy, and just a quick stitch because I fancied doing it but because I find it funny I thought I'd share :

Friday, 21 September 2012

snow white mini crown embroidery

This was done for an altered tin swap on Craftster. I wanted to do something other than embroidery for a change so signed up for the wicked children altered tin swap. Then I panicked because I don't know how to do altered tins so ended up using embroidery anyway!!! I think the paper bits on the tin look good but in the end it was the embroidery  I liked the best :)
The crown is couched gold threads with a wire frame to shape it. The apple on the crown was brussels stitch I think and the leaf is chips of checked purl stitched down like beads. There are beads added for extra glitz!
Inside the tin is a tiny stumpwork apple. The threads are woven around a small wooden bead and the leaf was florists wire stitched onto green fabric to form the leaf shape, I then cut it out and inserted the tails of the wire into the hole on the bead. It was very small and fiddly but would be really nice for making jewellry.
It is meant to represent the evil queen from snow white as a child in the woods at night- I was aiming for the disney image of snow white surrounded by friendly woodland creatures!

Monday, 17 September 2012

daisies hoop by Lisa

A while back I did a Phat Quarter swap and was lucky enough to receive something from the gorgeous Lisa
It has taken me forever to post about this- sorry Lisa. I just love the colours she used it is so fresh looking and her satin stitch is just beautiful. I love the tiny white flowers sprinkled among the larger daisies. The combination of that pattern and the blue fabric is perfect, I love it!

 It is now one of my favourite hoops on my ever expanding hoop wall. All the hoops I have recieved in swaps plus some I have made are displayed on our dining room wall and I love how they look grouped together. I must post a photo someday...

I haven't posted for a while as we have been away, I had planned to schedule some posts before we left but I was sick so it didn't happen. Here are me, Stu and Jake by the sea. I didn't have much time for stitching and the WIP I took was a bit uninspiring so I don't have too much to show you but I can share a different WIP that I had planned to talk about in the scheduled post that never happened! This is a stumpwork magpie and there is still a huge amount to do on it but he is taking shape. I will hopefully get him finished soon and explain more about the process then.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

satin stitch 3 ways- a tutorial

I do love a bit of satin stitch me- here is a little buggy satin stitch sampler with an explanation of how I do 3 different types of satin stitch

1) To start with you need a pattern, so get designing, or you can use my one! download the pdf for free.
We are starting with the bug on the left, he is just plain ol' simple satin stitch

 2)Bring your needle up at the bottom of your shape in the middle and form a stitch by taking your needle through at the top of the shape. Make another stitch in the same way next to it and work across the shape like this until you have filled one side, then go back to the middle and fill in the other side
If I am filling a larger shape I might outline it with split stitch first and take my satin stitches up through/down into the split stitch line this gives a smooth outline but isn't really necessary on such a small shape
 3) Fill in the top of the bugs body the same way

 4) Use your new-found satin stitching skills to fill in the bugs head in a different colour and use small straight  stitches to add detail.
 Make 2 long chain stitches to form each leg with a small straight stitch at the end to secure. You might find it easier to mark them on with a disappearing marker first.

 Work the top two legs first, then the middle two, then the bottom two, DON'T try and do all the legs on the left then all the legs on the right- it will be wonky!

Ta-dah- he's done! (You could add some french knot spots or seed bead eyes if you wanted to be fancy)
 5) Now for the middle bug- he is stitch-padded satin stitch. Start by satin stitching a small area in the middle of the bug
 6) Now stitch right over the top of those stitches, covering a slightly bigger area ...
 7) ... and again... and again- until your shape is filled. The body should stick up from your fabric quite a bit because of the padding you made with your stitches.
 Add a satin stitched head and work the legs using a couple of long chain stitches and 3 tiny chain stitches (see the first photo) and take one stitch across the body near the top in your contrasting colour to define the body.
8) The last little bug is felt padded satin stitch. Cut out a small piece of felt in a similar colour to the thread you are using and use little stitches to attach it to the middle of the bugs body
9)Now cut out a slightly bigger piece of felt and attach it over the top

 10) Work your satin stitches over the top of the felt- this little guy should have a really domed body because of the felt padding.

 An alternative way of doing this is to just use the larger piece of felt over some toy stuffing- you can make the shape really padded this way.

 This little guy has a satin stitched head and chunky legs worked in stem stitch and filled with yet more satin stitch. His body is defined with a line of back stitch. Use the first photo as a guide.

There we have it- three types of satin stitch- I hope someone out there finds this useful, please let me know if you do. If there is anything that doesn't make sense (and as this is my first tutorial this is very likely) just ask and I will try and explain.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

future manbroiderer

step aside Mr X Stitch, Jack B Nimble and Johnny Murder, there's a new kid in town

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

tiger moth

I stitched up a simple tiger moth- poised to flutter away. This was quite easy as it's mainly satin stitch but my initial drawing was a bit off. I only noticed after it was finished, the wings aren't the same shape. I must remember to look at my embroidery from a distance whilst I'm stitching, it is very easy to make mistakes when you are working on something close up! I might try and correct it with a row of black stitching on the top of the right wing. I love the markings on this moth and am thinking of doing one in stumpwork in a box frame to look like a collectors display box.

I have a couple of other projects on the go- the stumpwork magpie I started a while age is nearly finished and I am experimenting with incorporating stumpwork in another project- it's making my head hurt trying to figure out how to make it work.

Monday, 6 August 2012

70s baby!

There has been a summer swap over at Phat Quarter and I got partnered up with two very talented ladies. I had to stitch something for Cocoaeyes. Now I won't lie to you - stitching for someone whose work you admire is always a bit nerve-wracking. Luckily she is very sweet and she told me that she liked the boxing hares piece I did for the last PQ swap- phew!
So I started thinking of ideas- the theme was 70's. I was a bit stuck at first until I hit on the idea of doing something based on the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, which is famous for being huge and chaotic and is the subject of the film Message to Love. Whilst searching for images I happened across an image of a pregnant girl, standing among the tents. It was an image that jumped out at me and I knew straight away that was what I wanted to stitch. It's a beautiful photo and iconic too as there have been efforts to identify the girl but she has never come forward. I used a variety of stitches - the thread is a variegated hand-dyed silk, that I think gives a sort of tie-dye feel and the colours have that hazy, smoky quality that goes with the festival vibe.

I love how working to a theme means you create things you would never have thought of otherwise- the PQ swap galleries are always brilliant, I love seeing how everyone interprets the theme so differently.

 Stitching for me was the awesome SisterTwisty who made me a beautiful David bowie hoop

and his supercute feline double!!!

She used metallic thread for the flash- how great is that. They are so beautifully stitched- all that fill is so smooth. the shading on the face works so well- I love his eyes. Check out her blog post about it and don't forget to visit the swap gallery here