Sunday, July 5, 2015

Found on Flickr: Mushroom Work in Progress

new cushion :D 

As I look forward to our Summer Bloggin' series, I have summery, outdoorsy stitching on my mind, so when I saw this beautiful work in progress by Rosa, I just had to share it. The diversity of stitches really makes this piece come alive, and the restrained but cheerful color palette makes the images pop. I can't wait to see how this piece progresses!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Bloggin' in July and August

Summer Bloggin

Good afternoon! Wow, July has started in style, it is supposed to be up to 35°C (95°F) here today. Ice lollies at the ready!

So it is fitting that I am here to tell you about what we have in store for you this month - this summer. If you have followed &Stitches for a while you may know that July and August are Summer Bloggin' months. This is our yearly tradition of giving the blog over to some of our readers who can blog anything stitching related they like.

Here's a little teaser of what we have coming up: tattoo inspired embroidery, couching, plastic canvas and appliqué. We can't wait to share the summer posts with you.

Over the next couple of months we will also have a weekly WIP theme. Each week one of the team will share what is currently in their hoops. I'm really looking forward to seeing that. I love the variety of styles we have as a team. :-)

P.S. Need something to cool you down? Here's an ice cream pattern to stitch. :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Found on Flickr: No Floss Allowed


Hope you have all enjoyed the No Floss Allowed month so far! I spotted two fabulous examples in our Flickr group, based on the free pattern. It looks like Jeanne used felt applique and yarns (but no floss!) in her version. Here's a close up.

Daisy used hand spun (and commercial) yarns for her No Floss Allowed project. I love that fluffy Turkey Stitch! Coincidentally we have tutorial coming up for the Turkey Stitch very soon so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in introducing some fluffiness into your stitching. :)

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No Floss Allowed: Cate's Hair


Our last No Floss Allowed post was on horse hair, and today we're bringing you a little sampler using human hair.

I have very long dark hair, so when the &Stitches crew mentioned a floss-free month, I jumped at the chance to use my own hair to stitch. I was inspired by Victorian hair art, which used to be quite popular. You can see some interesting examples of the variety of the ways they created using hair here.

I decided to go rather small and simple, and I'm glad I did. My sampler is in a tiny 3-inch hoop, but even so, it took some time to complete. Human hair is even thinner than horse hair, so the lines it creates are very faint and don't fill the space in the same way as embroidery floss. For the same reason, I also chose a fairly tight weave fabric, and probably would go with an even finer weave if I were to try it again.

If you're interested in trying your own hair stitching (and I suggest it — it's an interesting process stitching a piece of yourself!), here are a few tips.

To start my stitches, I created one small stitch and tied the working thread and tail into a square knot. While the hair tangles easily, it doesn't really knot very well, so I'd also recommend traveling your thread across the back rather than starting and stopping when you move to a new area. No chance of a pretty back here!

When it comes to stitches, the easiest to use were backstitch (the spirals), running stitch (the circle around the edge), lazy daisies (the flower), and cross stitches or straight stitches (the Xs).

Satin stitch didn't cover very well (see my attempt at a heart at the top?), though it might work better on a tighter weave of fabric. Stem stitch worked OK as long as the stitches were very tiny. You can see in the loop at the top of the H (for hair, of course!) that the larger stem stitches didn't go around the curve very gracefully, although it did create an interesting effect. French knots didn't work at all and just tangled my hair.

Overall, I really do like the effect of stitching with human hair. And sometimes it's just nice to really mix up your media to experiment with your art.

Have you tried any fun stitching experiments? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

No Floss Allowed: Horse Hair


My friend Teresa mentioned a while ago that she was working on a project using horse hair, so I asked her to share a little bit about it for the No Floss Allowed series. Teresa was a guest blogger last summer with an awesome tutorial on stem stitching. Teresa's work can be found at Daisies for Violet but these days she's much more active on Tumblr or Instagram. Here's what she had to say about embroidering with horse hair.

A good friend of mine has a horse that is sick. She asked if if there was anything I could make with some of her horse, Apollo's, hair. Always up for a challenge, of course I was up for it. And challenge has been the operative word.

To begin with, it's hair. There is a thin, lighter end and a thicker, coarser, and darker end. It's more coarse than I realized it would be and it breaks often. You know that tug you do when stitching? to tighten your thread? That doesn't work here, it snaps right off. After an hour or so, it sunk in that this isn't thread and can't be treated as thread, which made things easier.

Because the hair is so thin, about as thin as one DMC strand, I need to stitch the same stitch repeatedly to create a dark line. The stitch I'm using is really the stem stitch, but over and over itself and in varying lengths.

I think that when the piece is done, it will have an interesting sketchy feel to it. I only hope that my friend will feel I've done Apollo justice.

Thank you for sharing this experience with us, Teresa!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!