Thursday, July 30, 2015

WIP: Kernow

At the moment I'm making a little pennant flag in honour of my home county Cornwall (Kernow is the Cornish word for Cornwall).
I drew up an image in my sketchbook and traced it onto fabri-solvy. The image is very special to me; it's Chapel Rock on Perranporth beach which is the beach I went to as a child and we have recently moved back to the area. There is still a bit of filling in to do and the writing will hopefully look a bit prettier once I'm done. Also the flag on top of the rock needs to be recognisable as a St Piran's flag.
When the stitching is finished I will rinse out the solvy and trim the fabric into a triangle before hemming it and hopefully hanging it from a piece of driftwood to display- I'm still hunting for the perfect bit of driftwood though!

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Bloggin': Couched Beaded Thread with Aimee Davis

Summer Bloggin

We continue the Summer Bloggin' with a post from Aimee Davis of daisyeyes. Aimee shares how to do couched beaded thread. Such a wonderful technique. Check out Aimee's blog and her shop where she shares her handstitched goods.

Thank you, Aimee!

Beaded thread is one of the coolest things I’ve come across in the years that I’ve been playing with a needle and thread. But how to use it in an embroidery design was something I had to put some thought into; not to mention where to get it or how to make it myself.

I first saw beaded thread on etsy in an amazing shop called Nell’s Embroidery. Nell Burns fills her shop with amazing threads and yarns and her beaded threads are some of my favorite things to work with. But before I decided to use up some of my stash, I thought I would try to bead some thread of my own.

I gathered up some small seed beads I had, along with some tiny sequins. I found some coordinating floss and divided it into three strands. Having no idea what was the best way to do this, I decided to tie a knot in the end of the three strands and just go strand by strand adding beads and sequins with a needle. It was slow going and so tedious!

After I felt like I had enough beads and sequins on all three strands, I laid them out and started spreading out my beads into random spots. Then in random sections I knotted before and after some beads to keep them in place. Here’s how it turned out.

Honestly, it made me appreciate the talent Nell has and will keep me as a repeat customer. But whether you have beaded your own threads or bought some yourself - here’s what to do with it!

First up, gather your beaded thread and other materials. I’m using a pattern I designed last year that is made for a 5 inch embroidery hoop. You can download the pattern here. It comes with three different versions.

I transferred my pattern onto black linen using carbon transfer paper (Sublime Stitching’s transfer paper is the bomb) and then stitched up my text. For the outlined “BE”, I first stitched the outline with a backstitch and then filled in the letters with a satin stitch. For the “peace” I used a simple backstitch. Once your text is stitched it’s time to start couching.

Obviously beaded thread you can’t pass through fabric, so instead we are going to use small stitches called couching to attach it to our fabric. Couching threads (or wire or yarn or grass or whatever strikes your fancy) is one of the coolest embroidery stitches out there and honestly probably one of the easiest. The thing is it looks so fancy and it’s all in what you are couching. I like to use a floss that matches the beaded thread, but sometimes using a floss that is totally a different color adds a pretty incredible effect. It’s totally up to you!

First up, if you want to trace the outline circle around your text go for it. I’m a wing it kind of stitcher so I skipped that step. Then take your beaded thread and three strands of coordinating floss and lay it out on top of your embroidery. Bring your needle up on one side of the beaded thread and pass it through on the other side.

You have basically made a little loop for your beaded thread. Pull the loop pretty tight and move up the thread about an inch or so and repeat.

Bring your needle up on one side and then pass it down on the other side of the beaded thread. You have “couched” your thread!

Here’s a glimpse at the back of my hoop after I went around once.

Keep going until you are back where you started. I like to go around at least 3 times with my beaded threads in order to get a fuller “wreath” effect. Don’t cut your beaded thread until you have couched around the circle as many times as you want.

When you have gone around the circle three times, I like to stitch 3 couching stitches on top of each other where my last stitch is just to make sure that it’s super tight. Then tie a knot with your embroidery floss in the back. Return to the front and snip your beaded thread off about 3/8" away from your last couching stitches.

You made it!

Finish off you hoop and enjoy your new amazing hoop art!

Have you tried couching or beaded couching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Colour Inspiration


Colour Inspiration for &Stitches
Need a colour palette to play with? Here's a combination inspired by the fabulous EPP book All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. The colours on the cover just makes me happy, so I wanted to interpret it in floss form.

The colours are all DMC, but here is a handy converter to Anchor.
Dark orange: 606.
Pink: 956.
Light teal: 959.
Green: 704.
Yellow: 307.

P.S. Check out Diane's blog to download the free pattern for the EPP rosette on the cover. Nice. :-)

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

WIP: Embroidered Cranes

1000 Crane WIP
It's a strange feeling that I don't have any cross stitch projects in the works, I just haven't been very inspired lately to start something new, I've been in a bit of a creative slump. 

In May I started an extremely long term project, it has a completion goal of July 5, 2018, my 10 year anniversary. For my wedding I folded 1000 origami cranes and now I am embroidering 1000 cranes. While I've been uninspired to start anything new, I've been slowly working towards my goal. I've been using Sulky Fabri Solvy, I print an entire sheet of cranes and prep a big stack of fabric to keep in my bag. 

 So far I have 86 finished, only 914 to go... 

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

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Bloggin': What's inside Wendi Gratz's Handwork Bag

Summer Bloggin
We contiune the Summer Bloggin' series with a post from Wendi Gratz, who runs the site Shiny Happy World which is full of stitching goodness. Wendi's stitchy mantra is that anyone can learn to sew or embroider and her site is full of patterns and tutorials to dive into. Today Wendi is sharing the essentials in her handwork bag. We love a peek in other people's sewing bags. - Thank you for joining us, Wendi! :-)

One of the things I love about handwork is that I can bring it with my anywhere. In front of the TV is a good year-round spot for stitching, but in the summer I also stitch on the porch, at the pool, on vacation, and more! I'm such a fan of handwork that I usually have a few handwork bags packed up and ready to grab at a moment's notice. Here's what you'll find if you peek inside. . .

My project (free pattern for the coasters) .
My tool tin (I use an Altoids tin so I don't have to worry about anything sharp poking through.)
My thread.

I use Floss-A-Way ziplock bags to store my thread. When I start a new project I pull all the thread colors I'll need and collect them on a binder ring. Very handy! The bags are marked with the DMC # of the thread, and also the name of the felt color it matches. I do a lot of embroidery on felt, so this keeps me from having to worry about matching colors in poor light.

I don't use a hoop when I stitch on felt, but if I were stitching on cotton I'd also have a hoop in there. The bag I use can hold a hoop up to 7 inches (18cm).

Sometimes I might also include an additional ziplock bag with tiny cut parts for applique in it, but usually I glue all the bits in place before I pack my bag so I don't have to worry about wrangling tiny pieces in a place where I might lose them.

So what's inside that tool tin? Let's see. . .

A stick of fabric glue – in case any of my applique pieces comes lose before I stitch it down.
A seam ripper.
A few pins.
Embroidery needles in my favorite sizes.
My teeny tiny scissors – I searched long and hard for a high-quality pair that would fit in an Altoids tin. I sell the scissors in my shop.
Thread Heaven – essential for when I leave my work in a hot car and I'm using Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy with it.
Wonder Clips – perfect for holding felt.

Depending on the project I'll change the contents of the tin. If I'm working on EPP, for example, I'll replace the embroidery needles with quilter's betweens and the Thread Heaven with a thimble. But I find I can fit what I need for any project in that small tin.

And what about the bag? I made it using the Stitch & Stash Project Bag pattern from Betz White, adding a cute kitty applique from one of my quilt patterns. It's a terrific handwork bag, with no zippers, snaps or velcro to snag my work. I love it! You can see how I made it here.

Happy summer stitching!

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