Monday, October 24, 2016

Blog Hop - Modern Folk Embroidery

I have never done a Blog hop before, there is a first time for everything, right? 
In fact when I was asked to be part of this hop to celebrate the release of the super talented Nancy Nicholson's first book MODERN FOLK EMBROIDERY I did not hesitate to say yes for even one minute.

First of all - I have been a big fan of Nancy's work since I first came across one of her pieces on pinterest. The colours, the shapes, the simplicity - that is somehow not simple at all, the clever and sometimes surprising use of stitches. Looking at her pieces always makes me feel happy!

Nancy has been making Embroidery Kits for some time now. Gorgeous, colourful kits which include pre-printed fabric of her lovely designs, ready to be embellished with stitches. The projects in MODERN FOLK EMBROIDERY are different in that many of them use felt for the block colour before being embellished with her signature stitchery. 
So, just what will you find in the pages of the gloriously pretty and gorgeously photographed book??

One of my favourite things about the book is the way it encourages you to explore variations of basic stitches and develop different patterns using simple stitch combinations. 

In her Interview with Sew & SoNancy explains how the designs are all " on simple stitches to make it look complicated". You can watch the interview HERE.
She has done this by grouping the stitches into families in the STITCH LIBRARY, making it super quick and easy to refer to and get an overview of just some of the many options there are to play with. To build on this, she has dotted beautiful pages of simple pattern suggestions to help you get on your way with your own design ideas throughout the book.

"The projects should prove satisfying in themselves but I hope they'll also give you the confidence to use these ideas and skills in other directions, following your own tastes and sources of inspiration..."

The book offers loads of pretty and quick little projects to choose and draw inspiration from - gorgeous little pincushions, a super simple thread catcher or lidded box, fun brooches and the most fabulous ornaments and garlands - perfect for the Festive Season that is fast approaching. 

Among the bigger projects are cushions of various shapes and sizes, a couple of super practical bags, the cutest pinafore dress (with the prettiest butterflies that can easily be used on any item or clothing) and a glorious table runner. I particularly like those golden 'wheaty' looking flowers.

Another real 'beauty' about MODERN FOLK EMBROIDERY is that the instructions are kept just as simple and clear as the projects. The embroidery is presented simply as 'suggestions' (did I mention I love the 'please feel free to do as you please' approach?) with super clear, close-up photographs and diagrams to follow. The same is the case for the MAKING UP  instructions. 

"My mother believed that embroidery could be enjoyed by all and was determined to spread the word."  - Nancy

If you have been following along here for a bit, you will know I often talk about 'playing with stitches'. Some may refer to it as 'stitch samplers' That sounds terribly serious and makes me think of of super tidy, strict band samplers of the past. Well not anymore! The two little samplers in MODERN FOLK EMBROIDERY are anything but... They are sweet and playful. I love the tree house. As it turns out it was inspired by a project Nancy's mum Joan Nicholson designed in the early 50s - making it even more special, don't you think?

I must confess I had one big problem when writing this... choosing pictures to share with you. They are all so beautiful! If you would like to see more, have a look at the little youtube teaser above of flick through more pages HERE
And if you haven't already done so, I encourage you to have a look at the the previous blog hops... It seems the books notion of 'adapt to your taste' has already been taken up by some...

Monday 17th October - SewandSo
Wednesday 19th October  – Wild Olive
Thursday 20th October Kate & Rose
Friday 21st October - Lilipopo 
TODAY here at Anna Scott Embroidery
Wednesday 26th – Carina Crafts

The book is officially released on 16th November, but both Amazon and Sew & So take pre-orders.

Best stitches,

Friday, October 21, 2016

Jewels of Summer

If you have been following the snippets of 'stuff' I post on facebook, you would have seen a little teasers of a new project I have been working on...

I love stitching these patterns of non-specific flowers. Because they are not real flowers, just flower forms, I can just play with what-ever colours and stitches that takes me fancy. It is nice and relaxing and fun not to have to worry about it looking 'right'.

This embroidery has been around the world with me. Much of the stitching was done on planes between Europe and Australia, and a lovely morning sitting in the shade on a vineyard in Penedes, Spain. It will soon travel again, because it is designed for my next Introduction to hand embroidery class in Bangkok in December and then back as a 5 week in Adelaide early in the new year. Who would have thought embroidery could take you around the world like that?

One of the things I find so fascinating about embroidery, is that you can create intricate and detailed patterns even with the most easily accessible materials and a limited palette of stitches. This new project was designed with beginners in mind and is worked in stranded cotton, using just 9 basic stitches.

It is not deliberate that I haven't shown the full design yet. I get so caught up in the part I am working on that I kind of forget the overall picture for a while. So here it is...

(As you may know, this naming of designs 'thing' is the hardest thing for me ever - I would be lost without my fabulous name-brain-storming-sessions with my dear friend and word smith, Heidi - Thank you!)

I realise that at first glance this may not look particularly beginner-rish, but trust me - one stitch at a time and you can do anything. I am certain it will be a great project to teach and for stitchers to learn, practise and become confident while creating something beautiful in the process.

There is still a bit to do - instructions to write, diagrams to draw, kits to pack, not to mention; what to make it into???. But I am excited and happy with how it has turned out.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Anna X

Saturday, October 15, 2016

WIP - Drifting on the Breeze

What a week it has been! Beating Around was (as always) amazing and so much fun. I mean, with 250+ stitchers gathered in one spot, catching up with old friends and make new ones, how can it not be?
After weeks of preparation and teaching, I am trying to clean up today. My workroom/studio looks like a bomb has hit it to put it mildly. It is impossibly for me to stitch in such a mess, but I am taking a break from sorting, unpacking and re-arranging 'stuff' for an update on 'the floating man' as he was quickly dubbed by those who came to see him in the class room last week.

My sister thinks thinks he looks like 'the Blue Violinist' by Marc Chagall which I bought poster off with my hard-earned pocket money at an age where my friends had pop stars on their walls. I do love that painting, but no, my floating man is not a violinist, though I can see the resemblance.

Last you saw him HERE, he was headless the poor chap and wearing just a single trouser leg....

He has a head now... The details of the face is still to come, but it is so much nicer to work with person who has a head LOL.
I am still contemplating his hair and most likely a hat of some kind.
I have managed a bit of time here and there, and have got the jacket sleeves made and stitched in place.

I would normally leave 'loose' bits of clothing, like a floating scarf, until last but decided it would be impossible to get it to sit nicely after the sleeves. Besides, I was itching to use this brightly coloured silk somewhere. Aren't the variegated colours in this silk just fabulous!

So there he is - just lazing about and taking it easy waiting for me to finish his clothes. And no, the poor chap has not lost a foot, it is simply resting in a cloud still to come (how to stitch a cloud???).

The last jacket pieces are finished and ready to be stitches on... but first, back to tidying up. As much as I don't like cleaning up, I dislike working in mess even more.

Have a lovely weekend,
Anna X