Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Needle is still busy!

The last pattern of the year is up in the shop, little hare getting on with his winter business...

I've taken a rest from cross stitching and have been exploring other worlds, such as applique with soft tweeds in country checks and colours, and wool felts in pops of solid earth shades.  I discovered the phenomenon which is the 'penny rug' quite recently.  To my knowledge there isn't the equivalent in UK history, perhaps the closest is just a crazy quilt, if anyone knows, please feel free to enlighten me! I'd love to know.

So I enjoyed putting this 'rug' together, choosing colours that work for me 'just so' and of course, raided the embroidery floss stash for light and dark neutral shades to bring it all together.  Some pennies are quiet, some are loud, all fit together nicely :-)

Raiding American history - was something similar made in Scotland I wonder? or were we all too busy spinning and knitting?

And so, after the penny rug, I broke out the dusty crochet needle for some cotton and wool snowflakes.  This particular pattern and helpful video if you are rusty, can be found here.  I've ordered some proper crochet cotton to try these out at a smaller scale, possibly make a garland.  I'm drawn to the crochet thread made of linen in a natural shade... so many good things to make in this arena!

On to the 'country hearts'!

I made a template from freezer paper with circle stencils and ruler in the style of a Scandinavian heart, the long thin type.  These are a mixture of wool tweed on one side and quilting cotton on the other from my stash of civil war era fabrics.  I made a feature of the stuffing hole by patching it over, sometimes adding other little patches, occasionally going wild by adding a trinket, bells and jute twine to hang.  Some have been given away, some will hang up all year in the home.  They are a very 'homey' item, especially the red ones.

a little bit country, a little bit festive
It's been nice to stitch at a larger scale than cross stitch requires, the pennies were so relaxing to make as there was no paper pattern to refer to and I like a wonky stitch or two.

some of the recent needlework, I like to expore
Well, I end with another photo of hare, tricky to get any bright natural light up in the north here, in a couple of weeks the days will start to lengthen again, it always comes so soon!

Peaceful times!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Winter Hare in the Rosehips

A new finish in a flurry of snow .°.°.°.°.°

poised in a moment, has someone spotted me?

 I don't have the pattern ready for this finish yet as I did tend to go a bit 'off piste' when I was stitching the snowflakes and branches and what not.  It's a design with a lot of organic shapes, which means the odd stitch added, missed out, or in the 'wrong' place doesn't really change the overall finish, which is relaxing.  Added to that, the body of the hare, if you like to outline first, can be filled in without much regard to the paper pattern - another win for TV stitching! 

I've used my new go to thread for fluffy snow flakes again, the skinny spaghetti that is Coton a Broder by DMC size number 30, this time in shade B5200 (the blueish brightest white).  It works on this background which is Zweigart 32 count Belfast linen in colour Pearl Grey, which I'm loving.  The cool elegant tone of the linen contrast delicately with the warmer nutty browns of the hare.

A bit of embroidery has snuck in of course, the big snowflake is a mix of cross stitches and, well, I don't know the word exactly, 'counted thread work' would cover it I think.

I toyed with the idea of adding red beads for the berries, but decided to keep that thought for another design and just went with the rich tones of DMC 3777 dotted here and there.  I raided my stash for the eye bead, as it needed something with a bit more impact that my usual tiny (the tiny-est) seed bead... opting for something larger in a metallic old gold hue.  The eye is key I find, it just brings life.

ever alert, ready to run

Soon the pattern will appear in the shop, before the Long Night Moon on December 6th.

May goodstitching be upon you!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Healthy Winter Pursuits!

A new set of little designs, for ornamentation of your festive abodes' come this winter...

soon they will be hanging on the tree!

I've chosen a nice winter grey background with the fine evenweave linen that is Zweigart 32 count Belfast Linen in 'Smokey Pearl'.  There was an extremely elegant shade in a lighter grey called 'Pearl Grey', but I chose the former to keep the white thread nice n 'poppy'.  Pearl Grey has of course gone into the stash to be reconsidered for another time.

As I was stitching these up, I felt the single strand of DMC Blanc floss for snow wasn't quite giving me the look I was after, it appeared a bit, well, underwhelming.  After some experimentation, I discovered what I was looking for in a thread called 'Coton a Broder' or 'Broder Special' (Art 107), a thread more commonly used for whitework I believe.

It is described by DMC as being 'soft and gentle to the touch', 'does not kink, knot or fluff' and is made of 4 non-divisible strands.  All in all a lovely thread to use which creates nice plump stitches while maintaining the defined cross using one thread alone gives.  It comes in 6 different sizes, I experimented and found size No. 30 was ideal for use with 32 count linen in shade BLANC.  The other white shade size 30 comes in is B5200 which is a brighter, blue-er white, something to keep for another project down the line.

(A side note, when I search for 'Broder Special' on the DMC USA site, it does not appear to be listed, a bit strange as it is available, also here.  If you change your country to UK, the details are there if you are looking for more information.)

My second thread 'discovery' was Kreinik's Metallic Blending Filament.  A very light, thin and soft little wisp of a thing, which gave a lovely sparkle to these projects and was pleasant to use.  The Kreinik site has a whole page dedicated to it's uses and care, it seems to have multiple uses for crafting, I liked it a lot.

So, I discovered a few new things during the course of these stitches, it's always great to expand one's knowledge in the sewing world.  I've been thinking a lot about embroidery of late, y'know - those other stitches that aren't all crosses ;-) -  I might just have to give it a try...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

An Angelic Stitch

I thought I'd be posting progress pics, but I whipped through the design I've been working on extra rapidly so you might now regard it with your genteel attentions...

Angel Abode - 'just a little bit christmassy'
Prim Angel trims the tree, clad in his linen robes of light earthy hues.  A little backstitching has been employed, an algerian eye stitch or four have snuck in, I kept it simple with patterns echoing each other around the border and throughout the 'celestial bodies' stitched in light pewter light gray (DMC 169).

I used a 32 count Zweigart linen in colour 'Antique White' but it looks a little more tan in the photo above.  It does however provide a good visual preview as to how a linen would look if aged lightly with walnut ink crystals, coffee or Rit Tan liquid dye, if you want to prim it up before you stitch.

framed with 'stitching paraphernalia'

Above is more the 'real life' colour.  I shone my stitching lamp upon it which I'll remember for future photo shoots, it worked a treat and will be helpful come the dark winter months when sun goes to bed rather early round these parts :-/

I also revamped the design of the PDF document, I'm always looking to hone things and make them better, or clearer, or more interesting to look at, so I've added some hand drawn borders and what not into the instructions to make them a little more pleasing than just the bare words.  Yesterday was a day of tweaking, which I kind of enjoy :-).

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Up in the Rarefied Air

And so I take leave of earthly things for a while and look up to the heavens, baring witness to shooting stars while musical notes rise up from the boughs into a clear winter sky.

The latest release is a design based on the Latin phrase 'O, Sanctissima' with various translations around the theme of 'O joyful day'. I found this clip of Bing Crosby singing along in Latin, apparently transporting another gentleman to a visionary realm with his sublime crooning... perhaps you are familiar?

I don't know the story but feel like someone has lit a warm crackling fire somewhere nearby me when I see old movies like these.

As I researched further, I discovered the tune was known as the 'Sicilian Mariners' Hymn' arising during the seventeen hundreds.  In a nod to this, I added a border which echos the movement of the rolling waves, bringing those mariners' back safely to shore while they sing out loudly in joy of their work complete for another day.

Aside from stars and star trails, musical notes come from trumpets playing and the letter 'O' becomes a lute instrument hanging on an old tree, twisty with vines.

Loving those October colours helping the photoshoot along!
You can see my imperfect stitching up of the 'stuffing' gap... sometimes it's good, sometimes not so good...

And the shop photo:

Out comes the trusty crunkled seam binding I dyed with a few different colours a while back!

And so I'm off now to the next stitched piece, it shouldn't take too long as I'm tearing through those stitches (not literally) :-/ but I am enjoying the next one - a prim angel sorting out his abode for the winter season.  I'll grab a few shots of progress in the next few days.

Most Peaceful stitching to you


Monday, 6 October 2014

Show me the Bubbels !

I am occupied with a very non-halloweeny stitch at the mo, but took a detour to imagine a gruesome 'situation' because sometimes I have cauldrons on my mind...

reader warning:  this stitch is on fire!
I scanned some linen I had previously aged with walnut crystals to place my digital stitches upon, which provides a pretty good backdrop for imagining how the final piece will look.  In some ways you can see the stitches very clearly when presented this way, in others, it lacks the 'ambiance' of a finished ornament with stuffing and photos with random camera angles... 'Tis why I had to set it on fire! to get the smoke going for a bit of mood ;-D

Friday, 3 October 2014

A new Autumnal pattern release

October - He won't stop
(authors note: this can be rapped)

Jack will advance now
Secretly at night,
Tickling your pipes
With his wintry might.

Silent, surprising,
Unasked, he will come
To your sweet peas and veg plot,
Dismissing the sun.

Shocked now you look
At your withered pile of green,
It's all over now
Not a tattie or a bean

Is left for the soup pot
It's time to retire,
To the hearth, to the stitching,
The the comforting fire.


Okay, a stitch for the season!  I took leave of my senses and didn't include a single pumpkin or gourd, instead, shaggy ink cap mushrooms and spiders' webs appear in corners.  The central flowers are a more classic embroidery motif, the big 'O' for old was influenced by lettering on illustrated manuscripts which continue to inspire.  The British Library has several virtual tours of manuscripts through the ages, lots of lush pictures to admire which you can keep clicking on to get an amazing close up as if your nose was inches from the pages.  Here's a couple of examples:

Breviary of Renaud de Bar. France (Verdun), c.1303

Industrious bees, doves nesting in a perindens tree (medieval peacock) while a dragon waits below, and a snake and a dragon, England,13th century.
I like how the dragon lies diagonally on the page, extending out of his box.

Many of the images seem to have things attacking one another, it's a bit odd to me, but if I saw that image in the 13th Century I may have understood completely.  I can't imagine never reading a word my entire life, which is how the bulk of the population lived in those times.  These hand written scripts were the only written word available, and they were mainly written in Latin and tucked away in a monastery for the few to behold.

Onward to the stitching!

I had a bit of fun with the cobwebs...

Blackwork inspired 'florets' (I'm making that word up) appear beside the fading blooms...

A little spider appears at bottom right, he's not a biter, you'll be safe...

A fancy letter 'O'...

Available now for stitching, the shop is always open :-)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Patterns a' Brewing

I've been working on a couple of new patterns for release next month, one is in the sewing stage aka 'on the frame', of which I'll share a few pics, another is still in the design phase on the mac.  You will all know it's never a quick process!

I've been inspired of late by the intricate beauty of Blackwork.  It gained great popularity in 16th Centry England after the then Queen of England, Catherine of Aragon brought blackwork embroidered garments with her from Spain, the country of her birth. 

Traditionally sewn with black silk on linen or cotton, the stitch used is called 'reverse running stitch' or Holbein stitch after the court painter of the day, Hans Holbein (c.1497-1543).  He painted this 'Spanish Work' as it was often called, in immense detail, it is easy to imagine this cuff in real life:

And so, on to the sneek peek of my next design, 'Old Oktober'...

Partly inspired by illustrated old manuscripts, partly by old samplers, and partly by what I spy on my daily walks in nature.  I've used lush autumnal colours here, burnt orange, (or, as we say here in Scotland, 'Irn-bru' orange, hehe), espresso browns, charcoal greys and tarnished golds.  I'm working on my usual 32 count linen in Antique White by Zweigart and enjoying how it's all coming together.

Here's another pause in the work:

You can see above a tiny piece of blackwork has sneaked in, I'm just using it for variety here and there, it's fun to change it up a bit.

And finally, little sheep has become a pillow! Now hanging up and able to keep watch over the stitching area with ease.

Okay! Just left to say a big THANKYOU to all the lovely ladies who have faved and purchased from the shop, I'm inspired to go on creating and appreciate your custom and interest very much.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Hardy Highland Sheep all set to Roam

I've created a little prim sheep who has been eye-ing up the interwebs for a while now and is all set to go a-wandering.  She is presently munching on some nearby blooms, unruffled at her task of trotting into unknown cozy stitching corners in homes right across the globe and checking out what's in your fridge.  

innocent beady eyes...

Below is a link to this downloadable PDF freebie I've stored on Dropbox which includes two charts, one with the word 'spring' tangled up in her wool coat as shown in the model, and for an alternative, one with the word, 'prim'.  I think my sheep will become a hanging pillow ornie once I sew her up.

When you click the link below, a new tab will open with the 4 page PDF, you will see a button there to download this file to your computer hard drive if you'd like a wooly visitor from Scotland. 

 Enjoy and feel free to share with your friends  :-)

Click for Prim Sheep Freebie PDF Download

Your comments and feedback are welcome, any glitches let me know as I'm still checking out this blogger terrain!


 ~ Goodflora 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A beginning

The little spindly wheels of the blog uncertainly start to turn now and move forward.  Out of the dark shed, into the indian summer light, the rusty squeaks give way to a more machine like mometum, turning turning rolling, and off we go to explore this stitching shire with wind assisted gentle speed.

This blog will be a cool shady spot to update you with new cross stitch releases, what's currently 'on the frame' and of course, the 'f' word... freebies!  I daresay I will muse about tools, creativity, inspiration and the 'how to's' as I learn myself along the way.

The shop goodes are laid bare on the right there, for your discerning stitching eye.  Comments are welcome, errata discovered will be humbly tooted from here, maybe poetry.

We will see where we go!