Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple blossom

One of the things I really love about embroidery is that I am constantly discovering, developing and changing the way I do things. I rarely have a set plan of how I will achieve a certain look - just a vague feeling of what I wish to achieve - and sometimes you just need to think outside the square a little bit.

My first inclination for the cup of these blossom was to use satin stitch - but I wanted them to have some texture and really good definition of the edge of the shape, and I know satin stitch would just make them look soft and 'fluffy. Turning the design upside down, I realised the edge was formed by two 'V' shapes - the perfect shape for fly stitch.

I then continued to place fly stitches very closely side by side to cover one half of the shape. Then the other in the same way. Quite simple but effective, I think.

The blossom on the other hand, I did want to be soft and delicate. So apart from choosing a very pale colour yarn, satin stitch was the obvious choice here. To make the edges slightly raised and rounded, I first placed tiny split stitches along the outline. I don't always work split stitch under satin stitch - it does help get the outlines really neat though.
Dividing the shape into sections helps get the direction of the satin stitch correct across the entire shape.
Then just fill in the gabs. Filling a slightly tapered shape like this is so much easier in wool than if you are using silk or cotton. The wool is so much more forgiving - you simply space the stitches a little further apart along the wider edge. The wool will neatly fill the space.

To divide the petals, I wanted something a little more substantial than a straight stitch over the top. A straight stitch would easily partly disappear into the underlying satin stitch. The solution was a detached chain placed partway over the blossom and the anchoring stitch all way over the edge.
To finish off - a few trusty old pistil stitches for the stamens at the top...

...and there, a delicate little blossom using just a few simple stitches. Perhaps it gives you some ideas of how to use a few different stitches next time you embroider a flower.

Happy Stitching,
Anna x

PS - did you wonder about the dotted outlines? Dots are so much easier to disguise and cover with stitches than solid lines...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Between projects

I must admit I was completely blown away by all the lovely comments on my last post. I could say I was too overwhelmed to post for a week and a half, but that would not be completely true - I have just been busy.

Amongst the comments were a few request for classes... Will I teach it? One should never say never, but I don't think so. I feel a bit mean but this kind of work is just about the only embroidery I do now just for me. Most of my work is designed with classes and instructions in mind and it is a completely different way of working - taking notes and keeping track of quantities, keeping time frames in mind, writing and drawing up diagrams - in fact, the stitching is the easy part. So I am afraid that, at least for now, the answer is no, I am sorry but I won't be teaching it.

It has made me think a lot about teaching though. I absolutely love to teach. There is something really, really special about sharing something you love in that way. But it has made me think a lot about the way we often teach embroidery and I need to ponder on that a bit more before I share some of those thoughts...

For now I feel a little bit 'between projects', so while I decide what to start next (a large crewel project?, a goldwork pomegranate?, perhaps another raised embroidery floral design? or the next figure - a character lazily floating on clouds?) I have been reaching for my 'Between Projects' project.

Apart form the beak the bird itself is finished. The legs were fun - two parallel rows of coral knots, with the knots off-set to give them that 'knobbly' look and bullion knot toes. Yes, bullion knots! I don't use these knots very often at all. It would have to be my least favourite stitch of all stitches - we don't get on bullion knots and I. Anyway, they worked for this.

All around the bird is a repetition of leaves and blossom, all the same shape and similar in size. So that the overall look won't be busy and confusing to look at - they need to all be embroidered in the same way. The leaves were pretty straight forward - all worked in soft shading. The delicate blossom are worked in four simple stitches - fly stitch, satin stitch, detached chain (lazy daisy) and pistil stitch. I'll show you how tomorrow...

Happy Stitching,
Anna x

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Over the Hills

She is finished - I think...

A few flowers in her hair..

...bows on her shoes...

...and a scarf around her shoulders.

I was really not sure about that. 
The dress was flowing and did it really need more colour - more needle lace??

 Rows and rows of detached blanket stitch with a neat tiny picot edge...
Perhaps I was wasting my time?

Holding it in place with pins - then a few stitches. I will be easy to take out if I don't like it...

...luckily I do. 
Yes she is definitely finished.

Have a lovely Friday,
Anna x 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cosy and warm

Yesterday the weather was truly cold and miserable so I spent it inside and finished the the tea cosy. Rather an improvement on the hand towel I used to toss over my teapot, don't you think? 

I love it and it looks so pretty in my kitchen. You may think that my house if full of embroidery, but really there is very little evidence around the place of how much of my time is spent stitching - but this tea cosy one will definitely be used.

What I really, really love about wool embroidery is that it is so quick and easy to achieve big bold patterns on items you can actually use. Like knitting and crochet, you can curl up on the couch and just stitch, not needing any fancy embroidery tools just a needle and a pair of scissors.

What I also really, really love is that I have found a printer who can print the patterns onto the wool for me! Hasn't he done an amazing job? It was almost embarrassing how excited I got when I picked up the first samples from his workshop but if you have ever tried to get a pattern onto wool fabric I am sure you will understand why. It is not easy and this just makes the whole stitching experience so much more pleasant. No more tacking through tissue paper for this girl.

I have had fabric pieces printed for the drawstring bag and will have the full kits for that project in the Etsy shop as soon as I get the wools in. In the meantime if you just want the printed wool and the instructions you can get the packs from Create in Stitch which is the first shop to stock my patterns. Yeah!

I think I might write up the pattern for the tea cosy also - but for now it is off to bed with a nice hot cup of 'you know what'.

Best stitches,
Anna x

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Colour mix-up

I am enjoying my wool embroidered daises and they are coming along just fine... well almost.

The three shades of cream I am using as my main colours are so hard to tell apart once they are cut from the skeins and I discovered this morning that I had managed to use two different shades for the outer petals on the small daisy. Just as well I am really good at 'reverse stitching'.

I am usually pretty good at keeping my threads sorted while I stitch. My trick for keeping stranded threads under control and not getting shades mixes up is to only cut one strand at at time. You can then easily pull out just that one strand and the rest don't end up in a big bird's nest where you can't keep track of what is which. This is particularly handy when I use 6 or 7 stranded cotton and silks and only need one strand at a time. I hate to think the mess I would get in if I cut the whole length!

Enjoy your Friday,
Anna x