Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jacobean Leaves

It is finally ready...

... the crewel embroidery kit I promised to make available as kit almost 12 months ago is finally ready and in the shop.

The instructions turned out to be rather substantial once I got all the diagrams and pictures in place, so I decided to spiral bind them into a little booklet so that they are little more user friendly.
As usual I have marked the design on the linen so it is all ready to go.

The design is as always also available as a digital download pattern, which is great if you already have a stack of wool. This one uses primarily Appleton crewel yarn and three shades of slightly variegated yarns. The colour combo is rather simple too so if one of the three colour families is not to your liking, you simply replace that run of colours with your own choice.

Anyway, must fly - just wanted to let you know it was up, since it is over two weeks since I promised it.

Hope you have had a lovely stitchery weekend,


Thursday, July 18, 2013

It must be winter

Today has been the most horrible, terribly wet and windy winters day...

...but I saved the orchids before the rain, the wind (or the ants) got to them.

I will just bunk down  in front of the fire with some needle work (in two words, cause I am not actually stitching, but it is needle related so that kind of counts).

Hope the outside is more pleasant where you are.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Embroidery Hour

After a good chat with my friend Ellaine, I think, I worked out what to do for the embroidery workshop next weekend...

... quick, simple and easy. Well I hope so anyway. I think the trickiest part about this little workshop was to come up with something that looked nice as well as being achievable in an hour - after all how much (or little) embroidery can be achieved in an hour?

Quite a bit it seems...
This piece will hopefully give someone a taste for learning more. It uses only five stitches: Blanket stitch, back stitch, detached chain stitch, French knots and  a few straight stitches, but what I particularly like, especially for this kind of workshop is that there is no need for a pattern!

If you would like to give it a go this is how 
(if you are like me and prefer a printed version you can find a printable pdf HERE)

All you will need is
15cm (6") square of fabric (firmly woven cotton is preferable)
10cm (4") embroidery hoop - you can stitch in the hoop or without it
Stranded cotton (2 greens, pink and ivory)
no. 8 crewel needle (any smallish needle will do, but the crewel is easy to thread and fine enough to do the knots.)


(Blanket stitch & Back stitch)
1. Rule a line of a piece of fabric. Place it approximately 1/3 above the lower edge of your fabric 
so that it fits inside the hoop. 

2. Work a row of blanket stitch along the line with two strands of the darker shade of green. 
Try keep the stitches relatively even in length and spacing but remember this is grass so not two blades would ever be the same!

3. Stitch a second row of blanket stitch just below the first with the two strands of the lighter shade of green. Place each stitch midway between those in the first row.
4. Use two strands of the darker green to work a row of back stitch 
just below  the lighter row of blanket stitch.


(Straight stitch - Back stitch)
5. Stems. Use two strands of the dark green and place long straight stitches for the stems. These can be different lengths and angles.
6. Stitch the taller stems with two strands of the lighter green. Work short back stitches 
from the grass to however tall you want the flower. Bring the thread to the front at 
the top of the stem and whip into the stitches on the way back down.


(French knot - Detached chain)

7. Flowers. Using two strands of ivory, stitch three French knots at the top of each dark stem. 
Wrap the thread around the needle twice for each knot.
8. Change to three strands of pink. Stitch a pair of detached chains (Lazy daisies) 
at the top of a tall stem, placing each at a slight angle. 
Work a second detached chain around each of the first. 
and BINGO you are DONE...

It is easy to forget just how tricky managing needle and thread can be once you have had a little practise, but I hope that this is easy enough for anyone with just the slightest bit of curiosity towards embroidery to achieve. 

If you are in Adelaide next weekend, - please do stop by the Sewing, Stitching and Hand craft Show to say 'Hello' at the Country Bumpkin stand. 

Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend,
Anna X

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jacobean Leaves

I can't believe that it has been nearly a year since I wrote my first blog post. Amongst other things, I talked about turning some of the projects that I have been teaching over the years into kits and patterns, boldly showing a larger crewel piece, Jacobean Leaves as one such design.

This brings me to why I haven't been stitching (or blogging) very much for the past couple of weeks. I have been working on getting this very pattern ready. I originally thought it was going to be a quick and easy job to do - after all, I just had to tweak my teaching notes, right?

Wrong. I taught this project ten years ago and the way I like to present my work has - shall we say 'evolved' quite a bit over the years. Hopefully for the better. So getting this pattern to a point where I am happy with it has required a lot more work than I had anticipated.

The biggest part was developing new diagrams and there is quite a few of them! I don't usually photograph as I stitch, and if I do, I find the images don't often show what I am trying to convey clearly enough. Besides, wool is fluffy and hairy that really close-up pictures look terrible. I used to draw the diagrams by hand, but really - I am not very good at drawing so I have turned to the computer. It has taken a little bit of practise, but I am beginning to get the hang of it. My issue with digital diagrams is that the colours are flat and boring - well, I am sure clever graphic designers can do some really beautiful stuff, but I am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination. I could leave the diagrams as just line drawing I guess, but I do find that colour is so helpful to relate the diagram to what you are actually stitching, don't you think?  So I print my line drawings out, colour them in by hand, then scan them and pop them into the text. It is a lot of work but I like it that way and hopefully if you ever work from one of my patterns, you will too.

I am just doing the final check this week and then they should be ready - fingers crossed.

Of course, working on this pattern has given my ideas for new designs... oh if only there were more hours in the day. For now - it has stopped raining, so I might venture out for a bit of fresh air, then I have a week ahead full of other work part of which s preparing a 1 hour beginner class. What would you suggest you were to introduce embroidery to someone and only had an hour to do so?

Hope you are enjoying a lovely Sunday.
Happy stitching,
Anna X