Thursday, August 21, 2014

Time out

Knowing full well that I should keep concentrate on getting ready and quite certain that I will regret it later, I have been taking a little bit of time out between, packing, writing, printing, kitting and more packing...

I drew this design up a few weeks ago and have simply been itching to get it started. Yes, it is another crewel piece - this time a little larger than the previous few I have done.

The lower little leaf is done...

The first petals in splashes of red, coral and raspberry pink - yum

The main trunk is finished too. I tried a new way of filling it - overlapping and interlocking fan-shapes in different shades of green. I think it kind of works but I left the stitches quite open and am now contemplating if I should redo it with the stitches close together to the ground doesn't show through.

Happy Stitching
Anna x

Sunday, August 17, 2014

winter woollies

Every year, Adrian and our eldest son go away this same weekend in August, riding off-road motorbikes, camping, getting muddy and very, very tired - a real boys weekend ...

...and every year - it seems - the sheep start to lamb that very same weekend. And this year without fail, the same happened again. Today the first two was born. They look a bit odd, don't they? We didn't have our own ram this year so we borrowed Samson, our neighbour's black faced Suffolk ram...

While the sheep were busy 'doing their thing' (one of the others have just given birth as well), I spent a quite day doing 'woolly things' too.
Santa Fe by Carol Sunday on Ravely 
I found this gorgeous cardigan a few weeks ago on Ravely - and just couldn't get it out of my mind. It didn't help that we had this amazingly beautiful 'Woolly' merino yarn in the shop - beautiful shades right across from the counter, just begging to come home with me. 

It was just wonderful, quite and blissful knitting away with the sun streaming in through the windows. Ahh bliss...

Hope you too have had a nice weekend,
Anna x

Oh, I almost forgot to give you heads up. The SHOP will be closed from Sunday 24 Aug and while I am away. It will be back in business first week in October.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Count down

I am madly getting ready for my big trip.
What trip you may ask. Well in a few short weeks time I am heading off first to Thailand then on to Denmark and I am starting to get so, so excited.
So what is this trip all about? Am I going to be lazing about a pool at some fancy resort? No, better, I have been invited to teach at Pak-Ka-PaoHouse in Bangkok and Hobbyist Studio in Chiang mai. Four full days of classes all booked out and I am not sure who is more excited me or the 60+ students!

It has been so long in the planning and I was meant to go earlier in the year, but realised there was that 'minor' detail of my Danish passport having expired and my Australian citizenship not finalised. But it is finally happening.
The one day workshops are an introduction to Jacobean style embroidery - en essence surface embroidery stitches but used in that style of design. We were originally going to do this piece of crewel work, but came to the conclusion that wool in Thailand is possibly not the best idea. Not just because of the climate but it is impossible to get yarns to stitch with.
So I redesigned the crewel piece in to a different design using stranded cotton. The stitches are pretty much the same but the scale of everything had to be changed.
The idea of this piece is to learn some quite simple surface embroidery stitches  - 7 stitches and a few variations in 6 hours. Instead of doing a row sampler we are doing a pretty floral design - so much more enjoyable.
I have not made my sample piece into anything - yet, and I believe the students in the workshops will be making their pieces into box tops which will be really sweet.
The class notes are printed, the fabric is printed, the boxes of threads have arrived. All I need to do is pack it.

I would have loved to stay in Thailand for a few day to have a look around, but it won't be on this trip. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to go back and do some exploring.
After the last workshop I am back on the plane and on to Copenhagen. You see, I figured that since I was 1/3 of the way there and it has been 12 years since I was 'home' last, it was about time I made a visit.
The visit is double exciting because not only will I be spending time with family and friends (and meet my niece and nephew for the first time other than on Skype - yeah!) - I will also be teaching as well as visiting my old college to chat to the current students - awesome.
This beautiful little house from the early 18th century in the centre of Copenhagen, right next to the canal houses the Embroidery school.  We are doing crewel work there as well - these two favourites as a one and a two day class.

When I said yes to teach, I didn't think of the 'minor' detail of translating the class notes. Ups! It is rather absurd when the thought of teaching in your native tongue terrifies you and you need the help of Google translate to write your class notes in your original language - but so it goes. I know it will be fine once I am there. So you see, busy and exciting times coming up very, very soon.

Crimson Clover - Crewelwork design for Beating Around the Bush 2014
What makes the next few weeks even more hectic is that I arrive back just in time for Beating Around the Bush in Adelaide which means I need to have everything close to ready before I go - phew I am puffed just thinking about it. No, really it is almost all under control. One of the classes there too is crewel work but a new piece 'Crimson Clover'. This one which I now made it into another zipped pouch - can you ever have enough of those?

Hope you are having a good week,
Anna x

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blocking - How to

I mentioned the other day that I block my crewel embroidery pieces. I find that after weeks and weeks in and out of the hoop and my basket, no matter how well I press them, getting all those creases out of the linen without squashing the wool is near impossible.

Nothing beats blocking the linen. It comes up so beautiful and crisp. The best thing is it is so easy!
All you need is:
Cork board - a cheap cork pin-up board is perfect
Thumb tacks
Clear plastic

Start by ruling a lines onto the cork board parallel with the edges. This is just so that you have something to align the grain of the fabric with.
Then cover the board with a sheet of clear plastic.
 1. Place one straight edge along your ruled line and pin it in place with thumb tacks. Note that the embroidery design should be facing up - not down as you would if you pressed it.
Place the tacks really close together and make sure you pull the fabric taut and straight.
 2. Next pin the opposite edge. Again pull the linen taut and make sure that the grain of the fabric is straight.
Then pin the remaining two sides, one at a time.
 3. Wet the piece thoroughly. Is it scary? only the first time you do it - or if you are using yarns you haven't used before and are not sure if they are colour fast. To date I have had no problems with neither Appleton, Cascade House or Gumnut yarns.

Now all you do is wait... and the next day you have a crisp and beautiful piece of embroidery.

Happy blocking,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where have I been?

Nowhere - but I have no idea where the last few weeks went.
Well, perhaps I do - I have been working on 'stuff' that is not very shareable unless you find me 'clicketing - clacketing' away on the keyboard interesting.

Inspirations issue 82
I still do some work for Inspirations magazine (they have a beautiful new website by the way) which means that every three months I spend quite a bit of time in front of the screen, preparing all the embroidery designs and diagrams for the pattern sheets. So that is pretty much where the past two weeks have gone and it is nice to still be involved in some way.
By the way, that stunning violet on the cover of issue 82 is by Susan Porter - one very, very talented lady. You can find more of her amazing embroidery in her shop Embellish Embroidery.

So no stitching, you may ask - no stitching in two weeks? Are you kidding? Of course I have been stitching. I have made time to finish the green and red bird.

It is blocked and the ready to... well I don't know, but here he is all smooth, crisp and beautiful on the blocking board (read cork board covered in plastic).
Once I take it off it will be cropped in tight so that the pattern goes right to the edges - like this...

The only thing left to do is to give this piece a name. I am hopeless at that, so any suggestions are more than welcome.

Have a lovely week,