Saturday, August 29, 2015

In print

Remember this one...??

It is quite some time since I worked on this design 
(longer than I thought when looking back!). 

Issue 87 of Inspirations is out now - glorious as always. If you love your embroidery and are not familiar with this magazine, I can strongly recommend it. 
And if you flick through the pages you will come to this... Meadow Bloom. I made it into a cushion and sent if off for publication almost 6 months ago. 
In the past, I worked on the magazine and was part of the whole publishing process, but this time it seeing the finished article for the first time came a lovely surprise. The project is so abeautifully presented - as everything always is with Inspirations. 

The article, as with all Inspirations articles, come with full and detailed instructions for the embroidery as well as how to make it up. 
I will have kits in the Shop in a couple of months, but for now you can get the full kit Here. Be mindful that Inspirations kits do not include instructions, so you don't already have one you will need a copy of this beautiful issue as well. Selected news agents do stock it or you can get a printed or digital subscription from Inspirations magazine.

Happy Stitching, 
Anna x

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Raised Embroidery - Partridge

I am really not good at stitching anything more than once, so the little partridge project is coming along much more slowly than I would like. Then again I have managed to make some progress.

The Stem is finished. To get it nicely round and raised, I chose to cover close rows of stem stitch with very close whipping. Satin stitch can work too, but it is more difficult to get the edges super neat and I find this method raises narrow shapes higher off the background - like a real twig.

The Leaf on the main embroidery is also finished. The shape is first outlined with tiny split stitches. Then each half is padded - for this one I have simply worked two layers of straight stitches. Instead of covering it with satin stitch, I have used blanket stitch (or buttonhole stitch). This is fast becoming one of my favourite stitches because it is so versatile and I love the neat, little raised edge that naturally forms along the outline.
A line of small, round chain stitches are used to finish the centre vein.

The Partridge is padded and ready to be covered. To get this one nice a plump, I start with two small bits of felt - one for the head and one for the shoulder. Then two more pieces go over the shoulder piece, each slightly bigger than the previous.

All of these are held in place with just enough little stitches to keep them from moving about.
The top layer of padding is the same shape as the marked shape. This one is first held in place in the same way as the previous pieces and then the edge is stitched down all the way around with tiny stitches placed closer together. It may sound tedious but this part is actually quite quick.

Now I probably should spend a bit of time on the the poor partridge this afternoon, so that the unattractive felt can be covered with a coat of embroidered plumes, but...

...the sun is shining and Nala has convinced me I need to go a toss a ball. (Talk about procrastinating!) 

Hope you are having a great Thursday,
Anna x

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Raised Embroidery - Partridge

Some time ago a raised embroidery piece 'Partridge in a Pear Tree' of mine was published in Inspirations magazine.

It was a great project to design and stitch and I later made a much smaller version as a gift. (Which of course I never thought to photograph... Anyway, what I am getting at is that I am about to recreate the small version of this project. Not a Partridge in a Pear Tree, but a Partridge in a Pear shaped ornament.

It will have pretty much the same elements as the large piece - just imagine the image above in the shape of a pear complete with hanging loop and a little tassel below.
First up was the 're-jig the large pattern (of course, I hadn't saved the one I used last time that would just make too much sense...).

If you are not familiar with raised embroidery (also stumpwork - I just don't like the term much) you might wonder why the design is spread all over the place like that. Only the stem, pear and one leaf will be embroidered onto the main fabric. The other three pieces; the partridge, the wing and the second leaf will be stitched separately before attached. 

Because this will be used for an ornament, I need the outline marked but only temporarily. To do this, I mark it onto the backing fabric. I have placed it to one side so that I will have room for the second half (the back) later.

I then place the backing over the silk and tack the layers together along the marked line - and bingo, the outline is on the front and no permanent marks...!
(Note, I have been a bit naughty and only pinked the edge of the silk instead of over-locking them properly. This is a little project so should be done quickly but I might still regret. - Read: always neaten the edges of silk)

To transfer the design I have used what I refer to as 'Trace and re-trace'. I have put the steps as s simple tutorial in the post below so that it easier to find if anyone want to refer to it later.

I will be teaching this little project in November in Adelaide, but  thought you might like to follow along and see it come together.
Now to the stitching...
Anna x

How To - Transferring using 'Trace and re-trace'

This is one of my favourite methods of transferring small, delicate designs. I find it particularly useful for raised embroidery (stumpwork) as it results in light, fine lines that are easy to cover.
The other fabulous thing about this method is that it doesn't require any fancy equipment. All you need is a piece of baking paper (it works better than tracing paper and is much cheaper), a very sharp pencil (I use a mechanical pencil) and a ball point pen (preferable an empty one). What can be simpler?

1. Trace your design (and outline if you need it) onto the baking paper with the pencil. 

2. Turn the paper over and re-trace all the lines on the other side, creating a mirror image. (You are kind of creating your own 'carbon' paper.) 
Do this step away from anything that needs to remain clean, as the pencil lines will rub off on the other side.

3. Make sure your design is correctly orientated and position the tracing over the fabric. Hold it firmly in place with pins or a bit of magic tape (the slightly opaque tape that doesn't stick really hard).
4. Use the (empty) ball point pen to retrace the lines. Use a firm even pressure when you do this, but avoid rubbing the pen back and forth.

5. To make sure that all the lines are transferred, carefully lift just a corner to check before you remove the tracing. You should have fine, beautiful lines to stitch to.

Happy stitching,
Anna x

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Embroidered Pictures; Lone Tree

What to do on a cold, wet, windy and miserable Sunday...?

Step 1 
Get the outside jobs done quickly...
Step 2 
Light the fire...

Step 3
Settle inside..

Pick up needle and summer sky blue silk...

The sky is growing...

One strand at a time - long, long split stitches... 

It is taking shape. 

Happy Sunday,
Anna X