Saturday, June 28, 2014

Winter diasies

It took a little while this year - but winter has certainly found its way to Adelaide this week. Windy, wet and miserable, leaves only one option... stay inside and start a new wool embroidery project!
I have had this piece of beautiful blue wool blanketing stashed away for some time and I am pretty sure it is the perfect back drop for some pretty cream and yellow daisies. I also know exactly what to do with it when it is finished. Easy to guess, right?

You may have noticed I use stem stitch quite a bit no matter what type of embroidery I do. It is such great and versatile stitch - one of my favourites for both lines and filling spaces. There is a little trick to getting neat points though. Because the stitches finish and start at the same point, your last stitch will inevitably come undone. You can of course leave a tiny space or overlap the stitches at the corner - but there is another way. You may know this trick, but in case you don't I have have put a quick little step-by-step for neat Stem stitch corners HERE that you might find helpful.

Have a fabulous weekend - I will be spending mine in front of the fire.
Happy stitching,
Anna x

Stem stitch corner

Stem stitch is one of my very favourite stitches. There is not much you can't do with this stitch but there is a little trick to getting corners and points really neat.

1. The nature of the stitch means that the needle will go to the back at the corner point.
2. This is the same point you will begin the first stitch along the adjacent side - which means you would naturally un-stitch your last stitch.
3. If you skip a fabric thread or two, your corner will look open and your last stitch pull a bit funny.
So this is the trick...

1. After finishing the last stitch, turn your fabric over and slide your needle under the last stitch.
2. You can now re-emerge through the exact same point at the corner.
3. Stitch along the adjacent side and you have a neat closed corner.
Note how this corner point is looking a bit 'weak'? The width of the line kind of tapers at the corner point. This is great if you are stitching a sharp point such as the tip of a petal or leaf but there is a way to get the line of stitches the same width all the way into the corner.

1. Stitch to the corner. After the last full stitch, complete the line with at half stitch taking the needle to the back through the same hole at the corner point.
2. Turn the fabric over and secure the thread by sliding the needle under a stitch on the back.
3. Using the same hole in the fabric at the corner point, start the adjacent side with a half-length stitch, then emerge through the same hole one more time.
4. Now stitch the next side and your corner will look nice and solid.

Hope this was helpful,
Anna x

Monday, June 23, 2014

Winter Woollies

The weather has been terrible in Adelaide today - only good for one thing really: Curling up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea - right, in my dreams!

Remember this little sneak peak I showed you a few weeks ago??

Here is the whole reveal. It is a wool embroidered drawstring bag published in the latest issue of Tickle the Imagination. I love how it is presented (thank you, Tanya) - doesn't it look cosy?

The FREE online version of the magazine is out now and the printed copies should be in news agencies on the 3rd of July. The theme of this issue is Eclectic Folk and it is packed with colour and beautiful ideas like these retro Vintage Tea towel pillows by Helen Louise Wilkinson of Blossom & Cat and my favourite, the most fantastical Frida Kahlo inspired Children's clothing.

Vintage Tea Towel pillows by Blossom & Cat, Tickle the Imagination, issue 16
Channelling Frida, Tickle the Imagination issue 16
I am really super excited about having a project in this magazine, you could say I am tickled pink (sorry, bad joke but too obvious so I couldn't help it...). I have had embroidery projects published before and it is always amazing to have others appreciate your work enough to give it space in a publication. The reason I find this one so special is that Tickle is not a dedicated embroidery magazine - but a gorgeous and fabulously inspiring crafty lifestyle type of magazine which means people who would not usually think to stitch might, just might pick up a needle. Oh, one can only hope.

Stitched with lovely wool, this design is so simple - just four different stitches and so easy to make up, so it is great as a beginners project. The full step by step instructions and full size pattern are in the magazine which leads me to the next bit of EXCITING NEWS.....

If you have never tried to get a pattern onto wool, you would not know what a terrible fabric it is when it comes to marking patterns and you may not find this very exciting - But, by the end of next week, I will have this design available pre-printed (yes, you read right PRINTED!!!) onto the the softest cashmere velour. This is so amazing - I could have hugged the printer and cried when I picked up the first beautifully printed samples last week.

For now, although I do have a soft spot for paper pages, I will curl up in bed and slowly enjoy this issue of Tickle the Imagination.

Thank you tickle team for letting me be part of it.

Anna x

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In the Shop

It is that time of year when I swap dainty embroidery scissors for serious pruning snips (these monsters will easily take a finger off if you are not careful) - at least on days when it is not raining. Which, as we live in the driest state in on the driest continent, really is not that often even in winter, so I am not getting much embroidery done really - BUT...

... the kit for little Brother Rabbit is now finally  in the shop

I never realised just how many little bits and piece went into this project until I started putting the kits together. I didn't realise either just how many different techniques I had played with until I started putting the instructions together. It is such a good feeling to have it finished and all the little bits and piece neatly packed and ready to for someone else to enjoy.

When I started this piece, I didn't intended to make it into a kit or pattern. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all your encouragement and interest in this piece. Without you this would have ever happened.

Because you are so fabulous and because the kit ended up more expensive than I had predicted, there is a $10 discount on the kits for the first three weeks to those of you who have been waiting so patiently. All you need to do is enter this coupon code KR2BR when you get to the check out.
Of course the pattern is also listed as a pdf download if you prefer to use what you have in your stash.

While I was in 'kitting mode' I also put together a couple of Sweet Honeysuckle kits as well as the Miniature version of that design. So if you missed out last time there is a few kits of each back in the shop. These are much simpler and were designed especially as an introduction to raised embroidery.

Sadly there is no stitching for me today - it is not raining, so I better get outside and trim those vines.

Have a lovely Sunday,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Curly wild hair.

When I original sketched my rough idea for the girl dancing Over the Hills, I drew her with a mane of curly, wild hair - perhaps with a few flowers sprinkled through it. But how do you stitch that?

The ideas of how to do it have been simmering for a little while but I confess I was a little worried about if what I had in mind would work. After all, adding lots of stitches over and through the top of the head would easily turn into a real mess.

The first bit was pretty straight forward - create a foundation for the flowing locks. A rough base for shape and direction. To give the hair a bit of bulk, I added a bit of felt padding first, then added long stitches over the top. At this point she looked more like she is facing a bit of a storm, don't you think.

Years ago, I made little dolls with my grandma, and we used to make curly hair by casting yarn onto knitting needles and then pulling the stitches off. I figured the same method would work this time - fine threads and a fine knitting needle. To make sure the 'curls' would set, I steamed it just a a few minutes. 

It ended up sitting on the needle for a couple of weeks (you know what it is like) and when I finally pulled it off last night it most certainly had set! Once I unravelled the little spring, it was pretty clear that since I wasn't intending on giving her an afro, only the half of the thread that had been around the needle would do. So fare so good.

Gently easing the curly thread bit by bit and the hair started to take shape. It was working (happy face!) Mind you, it was very slow going as you can probably imagine the curly thread would twist and snag and if I accidentally pulled too tight, well the curls were pulled out.

Slowly but surely it got there. Flowing, curly wild hair. Looks ok I think and it wasn't at all as difficult as I had thought it might be.

Have a lovely rest of the week,
Anna x

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The trip went to...


...just a 'short skip and a hop' north of Adelaide, at the edge of the Southern Flinders Ranges. 
If you are ever in that neighbourhood I can thoroughly recommend it.

Spectacular views and lots and lots of walking, hiking and bike riding trails...

Rich on history...

As in all country towns, the locals are super friendly...

Nature is so utterly beautiful and amazing...


Gumtrees and tiny, dainty native orchids growing the most impossible places.

...completely refreshing!

Enjoy your weekend,
Anna x 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Heading out

As much as I (sometimes) miss my kids being little and cute (yes, those big boys were cute once upon a time), I love how we can now just do things without having to worry too much about them. So last night we decided to head out 'somewhere' for a couple of days. Simply jump in the car and get away...

Before we go, I just wanted to give you a tiny sneak peak to something I have been working on...

Yes, with the weather now cooling down, I have been picking up my lovely woollen yarns again. I can't show you too much only Tickle your Imagination...

Enjoy the rest of your week,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mid-week madness

I got a very large parcel yesterday...

... a big bolt of the beautiful Graziano linen I use for much of my crewel work. Looking all lovely and gorgeous, neatly tied with ribbon and little labels.

 I have never bought this amount of fabric in one go before and the thought of cutting into it was rather terrifying. A few deep breaths...

... and a couple of hours later, the table was covered with six stacks of squares and a sprinkling of fine white dust from all the cutting. Today they are off to the printer and then ready for packing - my first big order of patterns. 

I know that getting hold of this beautiful linen can be a little tricky and on top of that it is rather pricey if you have to buy it by the meter. So, unlike the full kits in My Shop, these patterns will just contain the instruction booklet (so excited about how beautiful they look now that they are printed professionally), needles and the linen pre-printed with the design - that's right, no tracing. How good is that? You can then also easily change the colours to the ones you love and have in your stash.

It has been a big job getting it to this point and I really am over the moon about getting my patterns into the shops - well shop at this point. At this point, these patterns will only be available through Create in Stitch in Adelaide. Anyway, I have stacks of squares to press and neaten and then off to the printer...

Happy Stitching,