Tuesday 27 January 2015

Facets of the Heart

Greetings for the New Year stitchers!

 I'm please to say the first release of 2015 is up in the shop...

just a little sweetness

I was inspired of course by St. Valentine's Day, but also I reference the symbols of crochet patterns in the 'chains' which add a little frill to a simple paper-cut heart.  I also enjoyed using the DMC shade 'Antique Mauve' for the rose petals which complemented the olive green vines and perked up the rest of the quite neutral pallete. 

The model here is stitched on 32 count Zweigart linen colour 'Flax'.  I tend to use this brand a lot in my stitching, it's easily available here in the UK and I like how the threads are firm to stitch through and don't move when I pull the thread to its end.

Here's the initial concept sketch, it didn't start with so many birds!

... and things got moved around quite a bit when it went to the computer stage...
 I contemplated making this into an embroidery for cloth with running stitch and the like, as I wanted to keep those fluid lines which can get ironed out during the translation to cross-stitch, but, I'll save that thought for another time.  It will be a new adventure when it happens, there are always new creative avenues to explore :-)

A big thankyou to all the lovely people who have purchased from Goodflora Stitchwort, I recently passed the 100 sales mark! It's a nice encouragement to go on creating - so THANKYOU ladies!!!

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