Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Stitches

After taking Tilly to dog training this morning and spending a couple of hours in the garden, my plan was to finish the diagrams for the Apple Thief crewel project, but I really, really, really felt like doing a bit of stitching, so picked up one of my 'Out & About' pieces instead.

I started this one on the drive to Arkaroola about a month ago (let's blame the blurry photo on the gravel road...)
I call them my 'Out & About' because they start life as my 'doodle' stitching when I am away. Usually, I pile a small bit of fabric, small hoop and whatever threads catches my eye in a bag.. usually about 5 min before I head out the door, so there is not a lot of thought going into it LOL.

I hadn't really done much on this little piece (approx 10cm (4") square) since we got back but last week I found this lovely thread. It is a stranded silk from Colour Streams, appropriately called 'Uluru' the indigenous and proper name for Ayers Rock. 

One of the ideas behind these 'Out & About' pieces is only to use threads from my stash (believe me, there is plenty to choose from!) but I simply could not resist this one, the colouring is just perfect and inspired me to pick the little piece back up.

I added just a single little hill, not sure I will use any more for this one... time will tell. I am quite excited now to get back to work on it.

'Out & About, Koh Samui' 
When the main colours are finished, I will be adding a drizzle of gold sparkle, similar to my last little piece (Started on my last trip to Thailand). It won't need much...

'Out & About, Koh Samui' Detail
... just enough to make the colours pop.


Don't forget the Handmade with Love Super Bundle goes ON SALE tomorrow for one week only!!!

Even if are not one bit interested in the Handmade with Love Super Bundle, you might still like to ENTER the GIVE AWAY to win one of 20 amazing prizes. It is as easy as:
1. Choose your category...
       2. Enter your name and email address...
                3. Sit back and wait to see if you win.

But don't leave it - Entries close tonight.

I look forward to (finally) be able to tell you about the MORE than 50 amazing patterns, tutorial and other goodies.

I hope you too are enjoying a lovely, stitchy Sunday afternoon.

Best Stitches,
Anna x

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Detached Chain filling - How to

Do you remember this one....?

I am putting the final touches to 'Apple Thief' and if all goes to plan the kits will be in the SHOP in the next two weeks - Yes, in time for Christmas!
I still haven't made this little piece into anything, but with the festive season fast approaching I am thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, I made make it into something just a little bit Christmassy - I don't know???

While working on the notes it occurred to me that I haven't seen Detached chain stitch used as a filling the way I used it for the goat's fleece anywhere else. I did share a few Work In Progress photos when I was working on the project, but they are not all that clear so I have put together some better step-by-step pics if you would like to try it:

Detached Chain Filling

Before you start, you will need to rule parallel lines across the shape you want to fill - this makes it easier to get the stitches even.
The spacing will depend a bit on the type of thread you use. I have spaced them approximately 3mm ( 1/8") apart for crewel yarn on the goat and for the perle 5 cotton use here.

1. Stitch detached chains (lazy daisy) side by side between the lower two lines.
NOTE - the stitches are spaced slightly more than the thread width.
For each stitch, bring the thread to the front on the upper line and take the needle to the back through the same hole.
2. Emerge on the lower line, inside the thread loop.
3. Secure the chain with a short anchoring stitch.
NOTE - I have make these a little longer, but if you wanted a smooth lower edge, go to the back just over the loop.

4. Continue to the other side, keeping the stitches (relatively) evenly spaced.
5. Bring the next colour to the front on the line above and midway between two stitches on the first row.
6. Bring the needle to the front on the line below, midway between the previous stitches.

7. Secure the chain with a long anchoring stitch, taking the needle to the back on the bottom line.
8. Continue to place a stitch between each of the previous in this way.
9. When you get to the other side, rest the thread. Bring the first colour to the front on the next line above.
NOTE - to 'rest' your thread, simply bring it to the right side a short distance from where you are working and unthread the needle. That way you can easily pick the re-thread it later and continue stitching.

10. Stitching back across the shape, place a detached chain between each of the previous the same way you did before.
11. Continue to fill the shape this way until reaching the top.
12. To neaten the upper edge, place a straight stitch between each of the detached chains. for each stitch, bring the thread to the front on the outline and take it to the back between the stitches - that way a avoid accidentally splitting the detached chains.

Of course you can use as many colours as you like. I used the same stitch for this hill and changed the shade for every row. By placing the detached chains with the anchoring stitches facing upwards, I had instant grass along the top of the hill.

Happy Stitching,
Anna X

PS - if you have not already done so, (of if you missed my Last Post) don't forget to add your name HERE to go into the draw to win 1 of 20 amazing needlecraft goodies.
 How fab would that be just in time for Christmas???

By signing up, you will also be sure not to miss out when the Handmade with Love Super Bundle with 200+ needlecraft patterns and tutorials goes on sale on 27 November. I am super excited to be part of it and I am sure you will find more than one pattern you will want to stitch/quilt/applique/crochet... More details with a complete list of patterns will be released on 27 November so it is definitely worth having a look at..

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I am all Bundled up

I know, I don't normally share this sort of stuff but please bear with me...

... a few months ago I received an email out of the blue, asking if Brother Rabbit and I would be interested in being part of an 'Ultimate Bundle'.
It is always a little exciting when my pieces are 'discovered' to be part of something, but to be honest, most times even though it is flattering, I decline. Not because I don't like participating or sharing, but in most cases it a bit of an 'All for Nothing' scenario... I am sure you get what I mean. Anyway...

(...If you have already lost interest or (unlike me) know how these Bundles work, please feel free to stop reading.. the end of the story is I am really excited to be part of the 2017 Handmade with Love Super Bundle).

... perhaps I have been living under a rock but I had never heard of Ultimate Bundles and the invitation suggested a little more than 'next to nothing' so I was curious enough to have a closer look at what it was all about.
This is what I found out from a Q & A session with Mr Google:
Q: 'what is Ultimate Bundles'
A: Ultimate Bundles are basically a collection of e-books, courses and digital resources packaged together and sold at a discounted price for a short time. There are different types of Bundles, each with its specific theme usually priced between $30 - $100.

OK overall it doesn't sound all that different to other 'invites' I have received. Still sceptical - 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is', right? so next question:

Q: 'are Ultimate Bundles any good'
A: I found quite a few answers to my questions HERE and have condensed it a bit:
1. Legit or Scam? 
NO the Ultimate Bundle is NOT a Scam.
(Me: 'Nice to know - Feeling better')
2. Amazing deal or Marketing ploy? 
The contents of the Bundles is heavily discounted (up to 95% off). It may or may not be a good deal depending on what you are looking for. If you only need/want one or two items in a bundle you may be better off buying them individually but if more of the contents is useful to you, Yes it is a good deal.
(Me: OK so my pattern will sit with other sorts of related patterns and projects and people who don't know my work and kits will see it - that is a good thing)
4. How can it be so cheap? 
The Bundles are sold at such high discounts because most of the products are digital, which means they are not costing anything (or very, very little) to produce.
Each Bundle is only available for a short time and everyone who is part of the Bundle help share the news and sell the Bundle so it is not costing anything to market or promote.
(Me: all I need to do is supply contents and tell people about it - I am actually being part of it instead of having no control over what happens to my pattern after I send it off. I like that idea)
4. How does it work?
Participants supply ready to go digital material and help sell the Bundle in return for a decent 70% of the sales they generate (back to the top most companies offer much, much less or nothing for designers/bloggers).
(Me: Hmmm, so it is kind of 'Collective selling' - a bit like a collective shop where everyone takes turn in manning the counter and get a share in the takings. My work will be exposed to people who would not otherwise have seen it). 

If you have come this far down the page, I thank you for your interest and patience!!!
At the end it seemed like a great opportunity to introduce my work to more and perhaps new stitchers and you may not be surprised to read I accepted the invitation. My Brother Rabbit pattern is now a proud part of the Handmade with Love Super Bundle, available 27 November - 12 December.

I have been lucky enough to get a complete set of the Bundle to preview... Oh boy, where to start???? ... There is Applique, Crochet, Cross stitch, Embroidery, Fibre Arts, Knitting, Quilting and Sewing!
I will tell you more about what is in this Super Bundle next week, when it goes on sale (the patterns and tutorials are pretty amazing and I am so proud to have Brother Rabbit in such good company).


Before releasing the Bundle, the good 'Bundle People' are running a fabulous GIVEAWAY giving everyone the chance to WIN 1 of 20 Amazing Prizes (total value $4000).

It will be up to you to see if this bundle is any good for you and the crafts you enjoy, but there is no harm in winning a few extra goodies while you are waiting to see what is included, is there??

Good Luck
Anna x

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bits & Pieces

If there is one thing I really, really, really don't like it is doing paperwork! I keep putting it off until 'tomorrow' or 'the next day' or 'next week' until the pile is massive and it takes me ages to plough through it all - each time promising myself never ever to let it happen again.. Sigh, but I did it again!
I have spend almost all day steadily working my way through it and now it is done... happy dance!

After that, I just have to do something nice and enjoyable, like having a chat...

I have been doing bits & pieces since my last post, including an teeny, weeny bit of stitching and just wanted to show you some of what I have been up to...

I have been writing the instructions and drawing diagrams for my latest goldwork project. It is almost ready to go to the printers so I can begin to put the kits together. I am thinking of calling it 'Twilight Sonnet'.. what do you think? I would love to hear your suggestions, as you know I am absolutely hopeless at naming anything...

... well not everything. This one is 'Rose Hips' I started this new crewel project and am really enjoying stitching something a little bigger and easier after the gold bird.

I stitched all last night, which was just wonderful.

Only the top flower and the tendril that forms the ground are left to do. I should be able to finish it this week...

... and I have been going around in circles. Literally!
I am having so much fun with trying to stitch each circle differently. I must admit it is not as easy as I thought it might be.
So far I have used: Blanket stitch (surprise, surprise) in various ways, Chain stitch, Detached chain, French knots, Feather stitch, Stem stitch, Satin stitch and Twisted chain stitch... not sure what to try next?

Last week I showed you how some of the other Stitch Trees are coming along. This is how mine is looking. I have no idea what I will do with it when it is finished - for now, I am simply enjoying stitching it.

Best Stitches,
Anna X

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stitch Tree - workshop pics

We are part way through the Stitch Tree workshop and I am so excited about the variety of trees growing around the room last night, I thought I would share some of them with you. It is incredible just how different the simple brief of 'stitch a tree' can be interpreted in stitch...

... there is an elegant weeping willow.
The fabric is a rich purple silk backed with cotton to help support the stitching. What you see stitched here is only padding, so stay tuned to see what happens when is is covered with crisp white and fine metallic threads...

... a delightful country scene inspired by early American crewel work designs.
This project is really a stitch sampler in disguise - a delightful way to play with colours and learn more stitches. I wonder how many different stitches we can fit into this piece...?

... a beautiful autumn birch forest.
We had a good discussion about copyright before Jan was confident to start working as she was worried about copying. I don't believe interpreting an existing image in stitch for your own enjoyment alone is a breach of copyright but certainly would have concerns if it was done for commercial or show purposes.
Isn't the piece of Japanese cotton print just perfect for this project?

... memories of a recent trip to Japan is recreated in stitches.
Joy brought a gorgeous fabric pack and a couple of post cards from a recent trip to Japan to the first lesson - it was more about colour and emotion rather than stitches. The trick with this project is going to be not to overdo it - the gentle art of 'less is more' so far it is coming along oh so beautifully. 

... traditionally crewel work is stitched on ivory or taupe background, but look what happens when it is replaced by black! Striking, isn't it?
The shading in the trunk and roots is fabulous, achieved almost entirely in stem stitch. Like the first pic, the idea for this project is to use it as a stitch sampler and thee is certainly plenty of scope for play. 

Is anyone else stitching trees at the moment? I haven't done a great deal more on my tree, but I hope to be able to show you some progress soon.

Best stitches
Anna X

Monday, November 6, 2017

Stitch Tree - WIP

It has been a while...
                                      ..... again.

The STITCH TREE workshop is now in its third week and it has been an amazing start! The trees that are growing are even more imaginative, fabulous and exciting than I had hoped for. In fact I have been so absorbed by everyone's ideas that I completely have forgotten to take any photos! .... ups! Promise I will try and get some snaps of what everyone are stitching this coming Wednesday.

I have come home from class each week, itching to join the fun and stitch a tree. I am using the line drawing above for the 'skeleton' of my tree. I have (surprisingly) such a big stash of fabrics and threads, so even though I really, really, really wanted to stitch on navy blue linen (something I equally surprisingly didn't have) I chose this ivory linen/cotton blend that I know will hold stitches well. 

I have stitched the lines forming the trunk and branches in stem stitch in linen threads. I have a small stash of Swedish linen threads (Klippans Lingarn, I am sorry I didn't have much luck in finding links other than in Swedish where to buy them) that I have had for a long time, and I have been wanting to do something with them for some time. 
What I love about these threads, is that they are quite firm so your stitches sit very proud on the surface of the fabric - but more importantly, the linen has a beautiful light lustre that I just adore. The downside is they are a little bit tricky to work with, mostly because they are so stiff and coarse.

Like perle cotton, linen threads come in different thicknesses that cannot be divided. I used a heavier weight (16/2) in dark olive green and a silver grey for the trunk and and main branches before using a finer weight (40/2) in chocolate brown for accents along the main lines and onto some of the curly branches.
If you can't find linen (or don't like stitching with it), you will get a very similar look using perle cotton no. 5 for the heavy lines and 12 for the finer.


I have finished the main tree and now the fun of adding foliage can begin...

Instead of stitching leaves, I have decided to use this pieces as a 'circle sampler' - I like circles and I am looking forward to having a bit of fun, seeing just how many different ways I can find to embroider them.
I hope you too, are enjoying what you are stitching.

Best stitches,
Anna X