Friday, September 2, 2022

The Blog has retired

Yes, it's official

I have retired this blog.

It has been fun and  I will miss this space

but I need to make it simple, so

From now on

I will be posting updates of what I am up to 


the Newsletter

You can subscribe here...

Thanks for being there!

Anna  😘

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Picking up

Dear Friends,

First of all; a Big, No HUGE Thank You from the bottom of my heart for all the sweet and heartfelt messages you sent me following my last update. I am sorry that I have not responded to you all individually, but I can assure you that I am filled with gratitude and feel incredibly privileged that I am being carried and supported by this amazing community. 

And to the sweet soul who had the most glorious white orchid delivered to my post office for me; Thank you. I feel terrible that I have not been able to contact you, but there were no personal details on the card - perhaps deliberate? The orchid is still flowering profusely, and I thank you each and every time I look at it.  

My neighborhood and one of my favorite places to walk.

Last week, I started to think that perhaps it was time that I picked up where I left off…

A lot of my materials and equipment is already packed away, but I had deliberately kept a couple of things in the cupboard, thinking that I would need something to work on while ‘between houses’.

'Four Seasons in a Row' - Work in Progress

It then occurred to me, that it seemed appropriate to try and finish a piece I in my mind I refer to as: ‘Four Seasons in a row’ - a line of grapevines, through the seasons.

Looking back, it turns out it is almost a year since I last worked on it and picking it back up was more difficult than I had expected. For the first time ever, I looked at one of my own pieces and had really no idea where I was at, or more importantly what the plan was…
My written notes that were ‘floating about’ in the basket with the threads were very, very space to say the least, but surely I would have started writing the instructions in more detail…?

Checking the computer… No, not really.

'Four Seasons in a Row' - detail

So I just looked at it for a few days, wondering how I would get back to it. In the end, I decided the best thing to do was to sit down and just stitch. So I did. Strangely, once I had needle and thread in hand, the plans for the design slowly came back to me as I placed one stitch after the other. Before I knew it, I had finished the Summer vine.

'Four Seasons in a Row' - detail, summer vine

It has often occurred to me, that sometimes memories and knowledge is our hands as much as in our heads when it comes to creating.

'Four Seasons in a Row' - work in progress

This week, I would like to finish the branches and leaves of the autumn vine. The glorious colours of the autumn leaves are so wonderful and since all the leaves in the design are embroidered in exactly the same way using only fly stitch (I have deliberately not counted how many there are) it will be a real treat to stitch them in fabulous shades of yellow and burnt orange.

.. and I am picking up my Classes and Courses.

The Alpine Experience, Les Carroz, France

I have only recently confirmed my first course in what feels like ages. 

I am so excited to be heading back to teach a five day course at The Alpine Experience in France, 2nd – 9th, August 2023. It couldn't be off to a better start. This is such an amazing venue! Beautiful location, fabulous accommodation and the kindest and most organized hosts.

Teaching at the Alpine Experience 2018

I have not yet decided on a class project, but it is likely to be something with a bit of sparkle. 

Of course as always, with the luxury of five full days of embroidering together, you are welcome to choose from any of my designs. Bookings have just opened so if you would like to secure a spot, you can do so here: August 2023 embroidery course.

Before I leave you and get back to my stitching - Just a last little Housekeeping note;

I know some of you may have received this and my last update twice. That would be because you subscribe both the blog and the Newsletter Mailing list. Please don’t unsubscribe the Newsletter!

I have sent this and the previous update out in both places so that nobody would miss out, but I will be retiring (or moving) the blog. The reason is longwinded, so I won’t bore you with that. For now, to make things a little more simple for myself, I will only be using the Newsletter Mailing list. If you are already signed up, nothing will change, but if you are only following along on the blog, you might like to change to the email news, so you can continue to get my (irregular) news and updates.

I hope you you have a lovely weekend. Look after yourself and those around you.

Best Stitches,

Anna XX

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Dear Everyone

I am still here...

I know it has been a very long time. That was certainly not the plan all!! I haven't touched a needle in almost 6 months. My embroidery has been quiet  - my needles have been idle. No new kits or projects. No news or emails. No teaching or classes and for a few weeks the online shops were temporarily closed. 

It has long been my intension to write, to let you know what was happening. Why I was not sharing any embroidery news. If you have followed along for a little while, you would know that I don't often share much about what happens in my world outside my embroidery. That is not because I don't want to, I guess it is just how this blog has evolved and the embroidery is what is important in this space. Many of you have supported my stitching adventures for a very long time, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that support. 

My winter garden putting on a show.

Life happens. And with that also loss. A few weeks ago I lost my Love, my husband, Adrian. He had beaten cancer almost five years ago and was so close to being in the clear. He was fit and healthy and there was absolutely no signs or reasons for us to worry... then came January 2022. It reared it's ugly head, suddenly, out of the blue and with a vengeance.  It took only 5 months - possibly the longest and hardest, and at the same time quickest 5 months of my life - and then he was gone. It was a shock to all of us just how quickly it consumed him.

Our Beautiful home that Adrian built for us.

As well as all the practical stuff that comes with loosing a loved one, I have to sell our property. That is another big thing. We have lived here for close to 20 years, built the vineyard up from almost nothing - Adrian built the house. We thought, and hoped, he had more time, and set to work on getting the property ready for sale together, but we just didn't quite get there. So I am busy packing, sorting and cleaning.

Our amazing view - one I will most certainly miss.

Family and friends, and in particular our sons, Esben and Lucas, have been, and still are an amazing help and support through all of this. There are so many jobs to be done around the property, most of which were completely Adrian's domain. I helped, but he was the driver and I have no idea how a lot of things work and am having to learn quite a few new 'farm-girl' duties. Every time we solve a new puzzle, like pumping water around (we are not on mains water and collect it in big tanks) or getting the slasher hooked up to the tractor and working, it is a little win. 

I am afraid Tilly knows how to ride the mowers, bikes and tractors - I don't.

And then ~ In the middle of all the sadness and chaos ~ I became a grandma. Baby Oliver arrived just over a week after his Pa died. I like to think their souls hung out for a bit somewhere. He is the sweetest wee thing. You forget just how tiny they are at first. Like a little fragile baby bird.

I am slowly finding my balance, finding my new feet, some kind of new normal. There is a million things, I have to do, decisions I have to make and things I have to deal with - I have lists everywhere. It is not all things I want to be doing or have to think about, but in some strange way it works - it means I have to get up each morning and get things done each day. It keeps my mind distracted from the gaping hole of what was....

I am not entirely sure what will happen next. I am slowly getting back to my embroidery. For now though, it is mostly just restocking kits and getting back to teaching my regular class. It feels nice to be doing something familiar. I am not sure how much actual stitching I will be able to do until I am settled somewhere. I am lucky to have a place I can stay while I am finding a new house to call home. It is small and most of my embroidery stuff is packed away, so being super creative might be tricky - but then again, one never knows...

I will keep you posted. 

Hugs Anna X 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Tulips & Forget-me-nots

Tulips & Forget-me-nots
Tulips & Forget-me-nots

It is finished!

Tulips & Forget-me-nots, detail

When I embroidered the first tulip, I was briefly worried that I may have misjudged just how bright the coral reds for the flowers were... were they going to be too 'in your face'? 
The darker outline toned it down a little bit, so I decided to push on and stitched a couple more.

Tulips & Forget-me-nots, detail

I am glad I did. Cheerful red tulips.
They are embroidered in long & short stitch with four shades coral red, two of them being from the new colours released by Appltons yarn (681 and 982), rich watermelon red tones which I have been really looking forward to finding a use for. To define the petals, I outlined them in stem stitch with a slightly darker red.

I did learn the hard way that I should have left the bright red tulips to the very last. Although I was super careful, I got tiny red fibers stuck in other colours and because they are so bright, they stood out like a sore toe and I had to carefully pick them out with fine tweezers.

The forget-me-nots are stitched in a very pale lilac. They were lovely and quick to do which made a nice change after all the more time consuming flowers and leaves. 

With the flowers all completed the only thing left was the border below the flowers. I tried a couple of options for the line of dots and ended up with these. Blanket stitch around the edge and a circular Rhodes stitch in the center. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Rhodes Stitch

The Rhodes stitch is mostly (to my knowledge) used in counted work. When stitched in a circle, it is a fabulous stitch for small, raised dots, especially when using wool, and is much quicker to do than padded satin stitch. 

1) Place a straight stitch across the circle from A to B for the first stitch.
Bring the thread to the front to the left of A and take the needle to the back to the left of B.

2) Pull the thread through. The stitch will cross the first stitch at the center of the dot.
Bring the thread to the front to the left of the previous stitch and take the needle to the back on the other side of the dot, to the left of the previous stitch.

3) Continue to stitch around the circle in a counter clockwise direction so all the stitches cross in the center. Keep the stitches close together on the outline.

4) Continue until the circle is filled. The last stitch will fall next to the first stitch.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

From this...

Tulips & Forget-me-nots embroidery design this.

Tulips & Forget-me-nots
Tulips & Forget-me-nots

It is happy and cheerful, structured but slightly wild and I couldn't be happier with the result. 
It reminds me of my mum. She used to let her forget-me-nots self-seed everywhere and what I didn't realise before I started this embroidery was that this is exactly how my mum's tulip beds looked in spring. Isn't if funny how memories like that creep into the things we create?

I took the embroidery off the frame this morning. It was so tightly stretched but will still need to be blocked before I make it into something. I would like to make some kind of case to hold my (very messy) pile of knitting needles, but looking at it now, I think it might be too big for that so now I am not sure what to make of it. Any suggestions?

...and Yes, it will be a kit, but..

I need you to please be patient. It will be a little while. This design is going to be part of a bigger project I am working on - I will tell you more about that later. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend and perhaps even find time to pick up your needle or something else you enjoy.
Best Stitches,
Anna X

Friday, November 12, 2021

May's Tulips

Where do you get your inspiration? 

This is a question, I often get asked. There is no single or easy answer. I find inspiration in lots of places and I think that, more often than not, INSPIRATION is a combination of ideas and impressions.  Sometimes it is instant and sometimes I am not even aware the inspiration is there, it is just vague, intangible ideas that simmer, bubble and brew away in the back of my mind until one day...

Embroidery panel designed my May Morris, 1890s. 
Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

I have had this picture of embroidered tulips in my stash of inspiration photos for ages. From the moment I first saw it I fell in love with the colours and the beautiful flow of the overall pattern; the way the tulips and other foliage intertwine. Tulips are so often depicted in a very orderly, upright way - almost like toy soldiers on parade, but here they meander gracefully and slightly wild to fill a surface. Looking at it, I knew it was 'Morris' but other than that, I had no details until only recently, I came across this little snippet: 

"Embroidery panel (probably intended to be a fire screen) designed by May Morris, 1890s. As head of the Embroidery section at Morris & Co, May worked with a team of embroiderers. One of its most skilled embroiderers, she designed pieces like this, and designed and embroidered large, elaborate special commissions | Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum"

A few weeks ago, when I was flicking through one of my favorite books: May Morris Arts & Crafts Designer I spotted a small(ish) picture of yet another tulip embroidery. 

This time it wasn't the colours that caught my eye, but the slightly unruly row of  tulips on a background of flowing acanthus leaves. 

TULIP – (also ‘Tulip and Acanthus) Embroidered sideboard Runner (166cm x 32cm wide). Design by May Morris (1890) V&A 

It remembered the more vibrant coral reds, greens and blues in my 'old favorite' and started sketching right away. Sometimes the drawing can take some time but this new design 'Tulips & Forget-me-nots' quickly fell into place. Now I just have to finish stitching it, to see if it works out how I imagine.

I was on such a 'roll' that after embroidering the tulip leaves, I started the forget-me-nots right away and completely forgot to take a photo of the tulip leaves on their own.
All the forget-me-not leaves are stitched in the same way - blanket stitch using 5 slightly different shades of misty blues. 

'Tulips & Forget-me-nots' work in progress

I do like blanket stitch leaves, but I do confess that I after finishing all 52 of them, I am looking forward to something else. The forget-me-nots should be pretty quick to do and then - pretty, coral red tulips. I am really looking forward to embroidering them next week.

This is not the first time I have been inspired by May's Tulips. 

Some years ago, I created this piece MAY for a silk shading class. Although the design is a lot more structured than the crewel embroidery piece I am working on now, I think you can still see the similarities. 

I only have One Kit left for MAY. The fabric this was stitched on (a mid-weight linen/cotton blend) is no longer available and I haven't found a good substitute. But I do have the pattern available as an instant download both via the STUDIO Shop and the ETSY Store. The original design was embroidered using Au ver Soie stranded silk but I have included a conversion to DMC stranded cotton in the pattern since stranded cotton is much easier (and cheaper) to come by. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I am working (not embroidery related) most of it, but fingers crossed, I will be back stitching my tulips early next week.

Best Stitches,
Anna X

MAY silk embroidery by Anna Scott
Silk shading pattern

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hello Again

How have you all been? It is such an unusual world we are all still navigating and I do hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well.

When I decided to take a break from the blog 6 months ago, I wasn’t sure if I would return to this little space. My thinking at the time was that I would probably just share quick little updates on other social media, but - it is not the same is it? And to be honest, I am no good at it and don’t really like it. It turns out I miss the somewhat slower pace of taking notes of what I am working on and ponder in writing what is happening in my stitching world.

Apart from not being able to travel anywhere, things in my little world are largely unchanged. I am well and have been keeping quietly somewhat busy. I am not going to bore you with a recount of what I have been doing but just dive in...

~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~

So what am I up to? I am stitching tulips. 

I love tulips. I think they are my favorite flowers -  my favorite spring flowers anyway. So although they have now finished their spring show in my garden, I am prolonging the season on my embroidery frame.

'Tulips & Forget-me-nots" 
Colour sketch for crewel embroidery

The actual embroidery design is larger than the coloured drawing in the picture. You can just see the the line drawing poking out behind colour drawing at the top. 

The colours for this piece are in three classic colour groups: (coral) Reds for the tulips, Green for the tulip leaves and Blues for the forget-me-nots and background foliage. 

I don't often make a colour drawing before I start stitching, but this time I felt like sketching up a rough indication of how the colours would be used to make sure it worked and it is so much quicker to colour in a small drawing than a big. 

In the past I have often used a lot of different stitches for my crewel embroidery but for this design the selection of stitches will be rather limited in comparison. All the tulip stems and leaves will be embroidered entirely in stem stitch. I started by outlining all the leaves in the same colour, then filling them in with slightly different shades of green. 

The plan was to complete all the tulip leaves before moving on, but as you can see, I couldn't quite wait to see how the blues would look behind the green.  

I love how closely worked rows of stem stitch end up looking almost woven on top of the fabric. Because the stitching is so dense and firm, it also makes it very durable for items that are destined to be used. You can see in the picture just how close the rows of stem stitch are.

I was a little uncertain when I started how many shades of green I would need to fill the tulip leaves. The movement and stitch direction in each leaf creates movement within the pattern and I was concerned that too many shades of green could possibly make the design look too 'busy'.

After a few more leaves using just two different greens, I decided it needed one more colour to add a bit more variation. I used one of my favorite yellow-greens; Appltons 251 - it almost looks a bit acidic when it is on the rack in the shop, but ones it is in amongst other greens, it is prefect for adding a little 'pop'.

Besides; the beauty of embroidery is that if it doesn't work, it is easy to unpick it and try something different. 

This green may not be a go-to colour for healthy looking leaves, but I am glad I decided to include it. I think it gives the grassy greens a nice little lift. 

As much as I enjoy stem stitch, I am happy the leaves are now almost all done. It will be nice to do something different LOL.  
Next up is the background foliage of forget-me-nots. I will show you the progress shortly. 

Best Stitches,
Anna X

PS - while I have been away, Blogger did make some changes that meant posts were no longer delivered to emails. I have found a different way to deliver your email using Follow-it. It shouldn't make any difference at your end but please Email Me if you have any trouble. 

'Flowers for Ellaine'
Crewel embroidery kit

'Meadow Bloom'
Crewel embroidery kit

Monday, May 10, 2021

Time for a Break

I am taking a little break from the blog. 

Hello Friends,

Today is just a quick little note to let you all know, I am taking a break from the blog. 

I have been sharing my embroidery and little bits of what I get up to when I don't stitch here for quite a while now - and it has been fabulous. I truly enjoy sharing my stitching journey and pass on things I have learned or discovered with you all and appreciate your support and friendship. 

So why am I taking a break? 

There are some technical stuff that I won't bore you with. 
More importantly, I am having less and less time to embroider, be creative and do other things. I have a list 'as long as my arm' in my head of designs bursting to be created, but my needles are for the most part sitting idle.  
Putting a blog post together takes time. I am hoping that I can free up a bit of precious time and get back to what it is really all about for me: Creating & Stitching. 

But this is not a goodbye 

The blog and all the posts will still be here and I will still be here - just more quietly. The links to all the How-To & Tutorials I have posted over the years will still be here. 
I am sure there will be more I want to share with you in the future and I will post them here as well - after all, they have a perfectly good home here, so I have set up a New Page with all the links so they are easier to find. 

So what happens now? 

I will still be sharing 'snippets' of what I doing on Instagram and Facebook and I hope to see you there. 
I will also be using the Newsletter more to keep in touch and let you know what I am up to in more detail. I know many of you already receive the Newsletters, but if you don't and you would like to stay in touch, you can Join Here and continue to receive regular-ish updates in your inbox.

I hope, you will continue to join me and my stitching meanderings (until I come back). 

Best Stitches Always,

Anna XXX

The Blog has retired

Yes,  it's official I have retired this blog. It has been fun  and   I will miss this space but I need to make it simple, so From now on...