Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Doodle Stitching - Padded Satin Stitch dots

I have finally finished the satin stitch dots on my little square piece doodle stitching. You might notice there is still a dot to be stitched here and there among the finished ones, but I have plans for those… any guesses?

BEFORE DAWN - work in progress
I am filling the spaces between the dots with French knots - close together around each dot and  spilling over the background stitching. It is my hope that the texture of the knots will make the smooth dots look like colourful bubbles floating across the background. Time will tell if it works, but so far I am happy with how it is looking.

I have tried to make my dots as raised as I could, firstly because I just love the smooth domed shape of satin stitch dots but also so that the dome of the dots is higher than the the French knots.

I very, very rarely use multiple strands for satin stitch but instead stitch layer upon layer with a single strand so it is not a quick job, but I find it results in a more smooth and firm domed shape than if I stitched just a single layer of padding with a much thicker thread.
If you are not familiar with padded satin stitch dots, this is how I do it:

Outline the circle with split stitch (or split back stitch). This will help you get a nice, firm and smooth outline on your shape.
Straight stitch padding
1. Start the padding with a few straight stitch in the middle of the circle. You can work these back and forth instead of having long stitches on the back.
2. Place the next layer of straight stitches in the opposite direction to the first. These stitches are only slightly bigger than before.

3. Continue to add layers, each at a right angle and slightly bigger than the previous.
It is not super important that these stitches are perfect since they will be covered.
4. The final layer of padding is placed just inside the split stitch outline. The needle should skim the outline as it passes through the fabric - this will help stabilize the edges of the shape.
TIP: The final layer of padding should always be at a right angle to finishing layer of satin stitch. If you know what direction your satin stitch should be, you will need to keep that in mind when placing your padding.

Satin stitch
To get a nice shine on your final layer, always start a new thread for your satin stitch. You would normally use the same thread for the padding and top layer, I just changed colour so it is easier to see what is going on.
5. Place the first stitch across the middle (or widest point) of your shape. It is so much easier to get the right stitch direction across a wide section than it is at the very end of a shape.
6. Stitching to one side, cover one half of the circle with satin stitch. It is important to work systematically across the shape - if you try and go back to fill tiny gaps, you are likely to get a lumpy and uneven looking result.
TIP: I use the tip of my needle to feel for where it needs to go - it should touch both the outline and previous stitch.

7. Return to the middle and cover the second half of the dot the same way.
TIP: You kind of need to be 'a stitch short' at the end to avoid your circle turning into an egg.
If you look closely at the last picture, you can just see the outline stitches underneath. If I went to cover it up with one more stitch - it would turn oval.

As much as enjoy doing dots, I am pleased they are done. I am almost halfway through the background stitching now and just want to finish that, so I can finish the French knots, so I can finish the piece and move on to something else. I really do get rather impatient once I am well into a project - patience may be a virtue, but it is not really one of mine LOL.
I am hoping to get a bit more work done on the doodle stitching background over the next few days and hope to show you a bit of progress next week.

Talking about being patient - do you remember this one??

STRAWBERRY FEAST, Raised embroidery kit
I cannot believe it is months since I finished it and I have only now managed to get the kits for my Strawberry Feast in the SHOP this week. A few of you had contacted me for the kit, and I truly appreciate your patience.

Best Stitches,
Anna x

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Out & About

I had another little trip away last week - this time to Queensland.

SONNET Goldwork Embroidery Kit
 I started with two days teaching Goldwork in Rockhampton. I was welcomed by the most spectacular sunset and a group of utterly enthusiast stitchers. For many, SONNET was their first go at goldwork and (I think) a few people were a wee bit aprehansive. This is a super difficult project, but there is A Lot going on. You can see a bit more detail from back when I stitched it HERE. Everyone got really stuck into it and after the two days everyone were doing a great job and were well underway.

From Rockhampton, I made my way back to Brisbane to teach a two day crewelwork class at All Threads Embroidery
SCARLET GLORY Crewel Embroidery Kit

We were stitching SCARLET GLORY which is quite a substantial project to get through in just two days – but WOW, everybody worked so hard and got so much done! 
One of the participants had asked if she could change the colour scheme. How exciting!! I love it when stitchers make my designs their own and it is brilliant to see how different a design looks, simply by changing a colour palette.
I prepare all my patterns and kits in a way so that colours are very, very easy to change or substitute so away we went and changed all the burned reds and oranges to a brilliant scale of peacock blue and purple.  I can’t wait to see how this beautiful combination takes shape.

I had not been to either of these places before and had a fabulous time. Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome and at home.  

I didn’t take any stitching with me on that trip because I knew I would have very little stitching time, so I have only done a little bit more on my doodle stitch piece.

I have almost finished the satin stitch dots and have done a bit more work on the background areas: Happy with the shaded pink on the edge – not sure yet if this will be the upper, lower, left or right… the green is coming along very, very, very slowly. Row after row of stem stitch. I want the finish to be really, really flat and love the finished look of this, but boy oh boy is it slow going.

The area between is also now on track now, after a bit of reverse stitching. I am using burden stitch and in the first go (above), I had placed the foundation stitches vertically and used stranded cotton. It just didn’t look quite right, so out it came...

...Second go (above), I placed the foundation stitches horizontally using a metallic gold. I am much, much happier with this. Still not sure I will use the dark mauve/purple for the whole area or grade it. Time will tell….

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend,

Friday, July 26, 2019

Before dawn

It was cool, but dry and somewhat sunny last weekend, so I spent a couple of hours in vineyard finishing the last bit of pruning.



I like pruning. Not that I spend as much time out there as I used to, but there is something very satisfying about sorting out the messy vines, getting them ready for the next season. As usual, I had my trusty 'helper' at my feet the whole time.

Most of the week was otherwise spent getting ready for my teaching trip to Rockhampton and Brisbane next weekend and other 'embroidery work stuff'. I also put two of my new patterns in the shop. The PDF pattern for the Cherry Blossom and the PDF pattern for the Cutwork Sachet are both now available and so is the few leftover Cutwork Sachet Kits.

I did manage a few more dots between all of that.

I am planning to fill the spaces between the dots with French knots, but before I can do that, I will need to embroider the background around those areas.

I have finished the first area with straight stitches. The space is too wide for satin stitch + I wanted it to sit quite flat against the fabric. The straight stitches are worked with two strands of cotton back and forth across the area, picking up just a single fabric thread at regular intervals.. so in a way it is more a variation of a running stitch, I guess.

I have started filling one of the larger areas with close rows of stem stitch. I love the finished look of stem stitch when it is used as a filling stitch, but boy is is a slow process!! I am alternating an acidic looking yellow green with a light golden tan. (Sorry about the blurry photo).

There is still quite a bit to do in this area, so it will take a few hours still to complete. Once I get into it, it is actually quite meditative.

I have still not decided which way is up for this little square...
I am calling it (Ideas?) Before Dawn - The bubbles are like those brilliant ideas you have in those last moments between dreaming and being awake only the minute you open your eyes, they burst like bubbles.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Anna X

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back home

I got back from my annual trip to Thailand on Monday. I won't say I am back on track, but I am back and have unpacked (that is a start, right?) after two weeks away, soaking up some warm weather and Thai hospitality.
The majority of the trip was busy, tiring and a whole lot of fun with 5 workshops over 8 days.

Four of the class projects are new and I am planning to add them to the shop over the next few days. It is not my intention to kit the Cherry Blossom and the little Cutwork flower in the long run though, so once the few spare kits I have are sold, these two will only be available as pdf patterns for download.

I have been invited to teach at Pak-Ka-Pao House Studio in Bangkok for a number of years now and it is lovely to go back each year and meet up with students who have now done several classes with me.

(APOLOGY for the blurry phone photo!!)
Choong brought her 'Persian Bounty' from last years class to Show & Tell. I love how she added an extra dragonfly. 

I am so ditsy though ... I was in class mode the whole time and did not take a single photo - how very silly of me...!!

Jewels of Summer Stitched by Pa-Aom 
She finished before the last day of classes and I just love how she added the bee!!


After a busy week, I had decided to treat myself to a few days of doing as little as possible. 

My sweet friend (and interpreter) Gib, runs a small boutique B&B, Gajib near Amphawa a few hours south of Bangkok. She had told me so much about it and I felt I needed to see it for myself - I am so glad I did!!!
After the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, this place is so quiet and peaceful - just what the doctor ordered. Tucked away in the most lush gardens there is not much to but, relax, watch dragonflies and butterflies around the ponds and listen to the chorus of frogs and geckos....

 ... so that is exactly what I did - as little as possible. A few little half day outings, but other than that I cannot remember the last time I slept and ate my way through several days in a row.

I was so relaxed, I even picked up my needle again!
Before I left, I had tossed a few skeins of cotton and bits of fabric in by bag 'just in case...' I got the urge. And I did!

I had plans for this colour bundle, but ended up doing something completely different...

...more about that later.

Enjoy the rest of your week.
Best Stitches,

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I see light...

It was the most glorious winter day today, and I spend most of it in the garden - something I haven't done in a very, very long time.

It wasn't the plan for today. We just had to bring a couple of trailer loads of firewood down from the back paddock..
It was such a beautiful sunshine, I thought... "I might pull just a few weeds while I am out here"...
The climbing rose really needed a good 'hair cut' and while I was at it, I might just prune the bush roses also..
There were more weeds in the front garden, and the sun was still shining and it was just so nice outside. Way too nice to go inside.
I will sleep well tonight!!!

But a lovely sunny day, is not what I was referring to.
I start to See Light at the end of my 'To Do' list. 

My To Do list has been oh So very long, for oh such a very long time, and (almost) all of it, must be ready before I head back to Bangkok in a few short weeks.

It feels like I have had weeks and weeks without yielding a needle. The scary thing is that I was so busy doing 'non-stitchy' stitch-business, that I didn't even feel like stitching.
But then... mid-week, when I first spotted that light at the end of my very long list.. and realized that what is left on it, is very much achievable before I board the plane.. the inspiration and need to 'make something' rolled in. What a relief.

So I got off the computer (great) right in the middle of drawing diagram number-goodness-knows-what, dusted off my sewing machine (needed) and made a pillow (fabulous).

Remember 'Stars of Winter'? It was way back in March that I stitches this little panel and it has been sitting around, waiting to be made into something. Well, it finally happened. I tapped into my Scandinavian roots, rummaged through my fabric stash and made a pretty pillow. It was raining that day, just to explain the candle-light mood, LOL.

Those little red blanket stitch flowers with dark navy dots are my still my very favorite part on this design - I am very sure, they will reappear on other pieces in the future.

With the pillow made, photos taken (boy it is hard to get decent photos of this one...!), instruction booklets done.... I have spent tonight getting the KIT for Stars of Winter ready for the shop.
The panel is not as complicated as it may look. Just like 'Jewels of Summer', this panel 'Stars of Winter' is designed particularly with beginners in mind.
It it worked using a few of the most common stitches: Blanket stitch, Chain stitch, Detached chain (lazy daisy), Fly stitch, French knot, Pistil stitch, Satin stitch and Stem stitch.

I am in the process of putting together Stitch Libraries for my patterns, so that all the stitches will be in one easy place for you to print off. It is something I have been wanting to do for a long time and it is still a work in progress but you will find the FREE download for the first two patterns HERE.

The week ahead will again be busy sorting this and that, and packing kits, so time will tell if I manage to fit anymore stitching in...
Fingers crossed.

For now, I feel tired after a sun filled day of fresh air and content knowing I am getting there.
Best Stitches,
Anna xx

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Still here, working on new projects

Gosh, where did the last few weeks go???

I am still here and other than a short week away for our 'end of harvest and summer' R& R, I have been beavering away at new projects for upcoming classes and of course extra kits for the shop. Lots of stitching, writing, drawing, ordering and putting instructions together... and nothing to show - Yet.

I should know better than having four UFO's on the go! What happened to finish one thing at a time???

Still lots to do, but getting there, so please, please, please bear with me...

Thanks you XX

Friday, April 19, 2019

Slowly, slowly.....

... and then all of a sudden.

There was a snail, eyeing off the fat, juicy strawberries. He will get there, slowly, slowly.

Above, drawn in by the sweet scent of strawberry flowers, is a busy bee. She is the same I have done before (HERE) except I made stitch the wings much simpler - just two little silk ribbon loops.

The, before hard to see, flowers have been cut out and stitched in place with fluffy, tufted Ghiordes knot (Turkey knot) centers.

Last, but not least, the four wired leaves. Also cut carefully cut out and stitched in place.

And so, slowly, slowly, I got there. My 'Strawberry Feast' is finished.

Thank you so much for all lovely comments. I wish you all a Happy Easter and a lovely, relaxing, peaceful long weekend.
Best Stitches,
Anna x