Saturday, September 15, 2018

A few stitches here and there

It has been a busy week as I expected. I have been working  a fair bit lately but I did manage to finish the instruction booklets for the Superb Lyrebird. I just have a few little alterations to make before I can hit the send button and get it to the printer.

I can't believe it is more than a year since I finished stitching this piece in preparation for my class at Beating Around the Bush in a few weeks, but I had never dreamt it would take me so long to get everything ready for the kits. I am making extra kits, so it will go in the SHOP in early October. If you want to make sure you don't miss out, send me an email I can reserve one for you.

After having been away for nearly a month, I am busy restocking many of the kits. My friend Heidi comes over once a week at the moment to give me a hand (I don't quite know how I would manage without her) and it goes so much easier while when you can chat away while counting, sorting, counting, packing...
Below are the second lot of Mountain Oak kits ready to be bagged up. I have chosen to kit this one with full skeins of Appletons yarn. Not because the design uses a full skein of each colour, but with 33 shades it would take us foorrreeeeevvvver to count out the lengths needed. Besides this way, there is plenty in there if anyone doing the kit wants to have a go at my blanket stitch edge and corner tassels.

... but I have managed to squeeze in a few stitches here and there. I started a new piece of doodle stitching while I way.
I didn't like the way the filling around the second row of circles was turning out. It was too busy, so had put it aside, feeling kind of stuck...

 I had placed pistil stitches into a line of blanket stitch, and although I liked the texture of the knots, it just looked messy. The idea had been to then change colour below the knots... which just made it look even more messy. SIGH!!!
.. so I just started filling in the next area, glancing at my messy, knotty, not-so-fabulous bit and hoping the solutions would come to me.

In the end, I just ripped out (well, carefully unpicked) the pale green stitches below the row of knots and replaced them with the same colour corn-yellow I had used for the pistil stitches.
I think this is better - the circles are clear and I still have that bit of texture from the knots.

Feeling much better about the way it was looking, I filled in the rest of the space with a mixture of straight and pistil stitches. I think it works. In fact, I rather like it and will most likely use this combination of stitches for future projects.

The next bit is going to be rows and rows of stem stitch, so that is pretty straight forward. This piece is inspired by the view from my brothers back yard when I visited them in Denmark not so long ago. Normally it is all very green but with the unusually dry summer they have had (along with so many other parts of Europe) it was all looking rather parched. Anyway - my brother has a special birthday coming up soon, and I want to finish this piece for him and I am back to enjoying stitching this little doodle piece.

I hope you too are having a nice time with needle and thread.
Happy weekend,
Anna XX

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Embroidered Edges, continued..

If you thought my post yesterday finished a bit abruptly you are absolutely right - it wasn't finished!
While I was writing, I suddenly thought of an idea for the corners and in my excitement to try it out right away, I accidentally hit the post button without realising it instead of saving it to finish later. Ups.

So this is what I did about those now very, shiny white corners. I made tassels.
I still had loads of yarn left and I thought that instead of making pompoms or separate tassels perhaps I could somehow make them straight onto the pillow.

First I tried to just add a few lengths of yarn at a time to large bodkin needle but it was too difficult to push it through the fabric in the corners.
I then used my awl to make a hole just inside the corner. Now getting the yarn through was easy as, so with a few different shades in the needle, I just kept tacking it through the hole as many times as I could.
Once I had packed as much yarn through the hole as I possibly could, I tied the bundle securely. Once the yarns were trimmed, the result was a tassel head that neatly covers that (nasty) bright white cover.

I think it is (finally) finished.

The kits for Mountain Oak are in the shop HERE. This one comes with 33 full skeins of Crewel yarn, so there is plenty for making embroidered edges and tassels.
I have recommended that this project is worked on a slate frame but I know they can be tricky to find and international postage can be frightfully expensive.
When I was in France, a few people had brought roller frames. They kind of worked, but just didn't hold the linen twill taut as I would have liked and had to be readjusted regularly. Although they are not ideal, it is doable if you make sure you tighten the fabric all the time. 

There are some new types of frames out there that tightens with various screwing mechanisms (like the Millnium frames) and they should be perfectly fine as they can withstand the strain of the fabric much better than the roller frames can. Mary Corbet had a really good (as always) tutorial and review on Needle 'n' Thread.

I did find this link on How to Make your own slate frame - just in case you or someone you know (I might have to have a serious chat to farmer John).

It has been a busy week and next week is looking to be just a crazy, so I am going to spend the rest of today and some of tomorrow getting a bit of dirt on my hands in the garden.

Best Stitches,
Anna xx

Friday, September 7, 2018

Embroidered edges

As I mentioned last week, I have been managing to sneak in a wee bit of stitching. I had made the Mountain Oak into a pillow before I went overseas last month, but the more I looked at it, the more unfinished it looked...

I had finished the edges with just a narrow flange, but it just looked too bland. I have used this edging on other pillows, adding a bit of stitching over the top of just a hint of colour like I did on Scarlet Glory but I felt this one needed more than just a hint of colour.

So I set about filling the entire edge with close blanket stitch using up some of all the left-over yarn.

It was fun and relaxing just picking up colour after colour and slowing working my way around the edge. If you have ever done a class with me, you will know how much I love blanket stitch... It is such a versatile stitch for embroidery, but I guess using it as an edging stitch is what it was originally used for.

I am so much happier with the way the pillow looks now it has a colourful edge. Next question...
should I do something about those corners? They look awfully white now. I think will need to add something - not embroidery, but.. I have an idea, I want to try out.

The other thing I did this week was pack Mountain Oak Kits

Saturday, September 1, 2018

I am back...

... back from Thailand, back from Europe and back stitching (a bit)!!

My annual trip to Thailand was back in June, but (other than a few bits and bobs of facebook) I have not posted anything, not a tiny, teeny bit since May...(yikes)!

This was my 5th trip and such a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and students who have attended in the past. It is like coming home to my Thai family. As always, it was super busy. 8 days of teaching, four very, very different classes two of which were new design that had to be written, prepared and kitted up before I left. All four projects are now in the Etsy shop.

Rosehips (Introduction to Crewel embroidery), Persian Bounty (Stumpwork),
Sonnet (goldwork) and Over the Pond (silk shading)
Coming back I had a little over month before heading off to Europe.
1 week of spending time in Denmark with my family, while getting gently over my jet-lag. Living on opposite sides of the planet we don't get to spend an awful lot of time together, but when we do - we make sure to bake the most of it. Lots of talking, laughing, walking along the water, in the forest and meandering through the old streets of Copenhagen.

The highlight would have to be a trip to Tivoli Gardens. It used to be an annual event when I was a child but I have not been for over 20 years, so it was amazing to spend a day there there and having some good old fun, not least with my darling niece and nephew.

From there it was on to the French Alps, to The Alpine Experience...What an experience that was!!!
Driving up from Geneva Airport it is only about an hours drive (almost) at the top of a mountain... Spectacular views, fabulous hosts, a stunning workroom/studio with large windows to take in those before mentioned spectacular views, the most delicious food (diet starts next week)...If you need to add something to your bucket-list I cannot recommend this retreat highly enough. As we all know, what really makes a place perfect is the people! The hosts, Nadine and Mark along with their team were outstanding. As for the women joining me for the week...
What a group! I could not have wished for a better group of like-minded stitch nuts to spend a week with! We (they) stitched their hearts out, talked, stitched, laughed, stitched, walked, stitched and laughed some more. Thanks so much to everyone for making this Experience so fabulously amazing.


Mountain Oak kits will be in the shop next week.
One thing I get really about is when stitchers make my designs their own by changing and adding their own twist to my designs. By the end of the week, everyone had made such an amazing progress, with one project (Persian Bounty) almost finished! One thing I get really excited about is when stitchers make a project their own by making changes. Two of the goats changed colour with one of them changed completely and turned into to native Chamois goat.


Thank you so much everyone for the most fabulous time.

Class over, next stop Bath Textile Summer School and three days in company of Stumpwork Brother Rabbit and a new group of eager embroiderers. We had three lovely days in the Gardeners Lodge at the Holburn Museum
There is a lot to do in this project - wires, slips, beads, padding, more wires, needle lace....   so even though we had three intensive days of stitches, it was super busy to get through everything. With hard work, concentration and dedication, everyone was well underway at the end of the course and I was so impressed at how much you all got done. 


 Before heading back, I had a day to just enjoy being in Bath. It is such a beautiful town and I can easily spend hours just walking around, taking it all in. This time I spent half a day in the Fashion Museum.. wow, if you are ever in the neighbourhood, make sure you make time for a visit. It is jaw-dropping! Hard to photograph but below are a few (the best I could manage) of a few of my favourites.

Exhausted, happy and heading home...

I have 'hit the ground running'. With Beating Around the Bush only a few weeks away, I am going to be busy (again) getting ready for more classes, but I do really, really want to find (make) time for stitching, something I haven't done a lot of lately.
I do have something to show you...
... but it will have to wait. 1 because this post is getting extremely long and 2... I am off to work.

Until next time
Best Stitches,