Monday, October 19, 2020

Mistletoe & Holly

I wish, I had thought of this earlier...

A few weeks ago I saw this beautiful Liberty Christmas print. The pattern of Mistletoe & Holly is just so pretty and the colours are so 'my favorite' - I couldn't help but buy a piece. 

It was not part of my plan to stitch any Christmas projects this year, and I really, really want to finish my Crewel embroidery, but Christmas is 'in a minute, so here I go...

I am going to make a pair of ornaments in raised embroidery. One will have a Mistletoe and the other a sprig of Holly. They are only small so (in theory) they shouldn't take too long to stitch and make. 
Above are the detached leaves for the Mistletoe. For these wee leaves, I have wired the edges because I didn't want a defined centre vein.
I am using shades of soft blue-grey Au ver a Soie stranded silk and a tiny touches of fine silver metallic. 

The Holly leaves are slightly larger. For these, I have wired the center vein - it would be way too difficult (read: near impossible) to get points on the edges of the leaves if I had to shape a wire along it. 
I had taken step-by-step photos on my phone (the camera died and I haven't bought a new one yet) with the plan of showing you how I did them. Sadly the photos are not all that good so I don't want to use them here. I did put them on Facebook and Instagram with a brief description, so you can see them there. 

I finished the main embroidery for the mistletoe today. As I said, it is only small - 6.5cm (2 1/2") in diameter. 

It is stitched on a very pale blue-grey silk, but for a bit of extra sparkle I have sprinkled tiny silver cross stitches over the back ground.

Here are the detached leaves next to the main piece. Now I need to decide how to make the berries.. pearl or silk-wrapped beads....?

On our morning walks, Tilly and I often meet a little koala - I have named him Karl. Most days, he will be sleeping in a tree but today we met him 'between trees'. They really are funny things, koalas. He wasn't too fussed at all by Tilly, as long as she wasn't too bouncy (which is really, really, really hard for a Kelpie). She even sat still for along enough for me to snap a quick pic. He even let her come close enough for a little sniff. She would never hurt him, but she did want to play and if you have ever seen the claws on a  koala, you will know that they can be an almighty weapon if they need to be. In the end, Karl was not one bit interested in playing chase and went up his tree. 

I hope you are all keeping safe and well wherever you are. 
Best Stitches,
Anna X

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Sometimes things happens in Threes

 I left you last time with a promise of some exciting news - There are three bits of news really.

First bit of News

(exciting for me) is that I have a sparkly NEW WEBSITE

It wasn't my intention to re-do the website. It was kind of like when you decide to paint the bedrooms and end up renovating the entire house! My new home doesn't look so very different, more like a 'tidy-up', except one thing: I now have a my own STUDIO SHOP

I have been wanting to add my shop to my website for some time, but I kept putting it in the 'too hard basket'. When I finally made the decision to 'bite the bullet', my idea was just to open a shop on my exciting site. After chatting to my WebNerd - it made sense to start again (something I really, really, really didn't want to do because I knew it would be a big job) and I found myself redoing the whole kit and caboodle. Boy, am I glad to now hang my 'webmaster' hat on the hook for awhile.

I have had plenty of moments over the past few month, asking myself, WHY? Why did I embark on this massive task?

  1. I have always wanted my shop to be on my website. When I started making my embroidery kits available, it all seemed a little scary, so I opened my shop on Etsy where all the tech stuff is taken care off. It worked and I didn't have to worry about it, but...
  2. My little shop on Etsy is great BUT (sadly) since I first opened my 'doors' Etsy has made changes and bit by bit increased what they charge for their services (services shop owners have no control over). Don't get me wrong, I do like Etsy and I do browse and shop there, but it has become a very expensive way to run a shop. 

So, here I am, at the other side of a big 'make over' - I know full well, I could not have done any of it without all of you! Without the amazing support from all of you, I would not be doing what I do! I feel so privileged and grateful, so..


Since I can't Thank You with a grand opening serving champagne and canapes, I want to WELCOME you to my new space with a special Thank You of 10% off when you order from the New Studio Shop. All you need to do, is use the Coupon Code: WELCOME at the check out (it doesn't expire).

Second (and third) bit of News

You may have wondered what Mother Hen at the start of the post has got to do with the Studio Shop! 

The kits are (finally) available - Hurray!!!

Both the kit for Mother Hen & Periwinkle and the smaller Mother Hen Needle Book have been SO long in the making and I appreciate the patience of those of you who have been asking for them.

Today is the first day (apart from my break) in a very long time, where I have the satisfying feeling of having finished something. It's a nice feeling. The nice feeling of having finished and the even nicer feeling to knowing I can now get on with some of the embroidery projects that have been on the 'back burner'. 

For know, I am going to enjoy the weekend. I hope you do too. 

Best Stitches,

Anna X


Monday, October 5, 2020

Some Crewel progress

 I have made a bit of progress on my (still to be names...) Morris inspired crewel piece. 

In fact looking back at the last post I shared with you, I have made more progress than I thought. First I stitched the mirrored set of daisies and those 'knotty' fruit (I think, I will decide they are persimmons) to complete all the elements across the middle of the design.

I am itching the embroidery the large artichoke shape at the top, but decided to finish the lower half of the design first. Next up was the lower leaves and flower buds.

I stitched the leaves in chain stitch, grading the rows through the grey shades. I am still surprised how 'colour full' grey can be. I wanted these leaves not to be too heavy looking, so rather than filling them with solid stitching, I added some simple veins and little detached chain leaves. 
I was being good this time, stitching both leaves before moving on to the next.

I find that when embroidering mirror image designs, I always get a better result when I stitch both sides roughly at the same time... if I (as I would like) move on to something else and then come back to it days or weeks later - I am less likely to get the pair looking the same. 
Even so, the veins on my two leaves are slightly denser on one leaf than the other.. I will wait and see if I re-stitch it or not.
I haven't yet finished the lower pair of flower buds. I has hoped to finish them over the weekend, but you know what it is like... 
The centre stamen is satin stitch and I will be putting more stitching over the top. The petals are embroidered in burden stitch. I know many stitchers don't like this stitch much and, I guess, it does take a little bit of practice. I rather like the texture and shading you can create with this stitch.

The stitch starts with straight foundation stitch across the shape you want to cover..

Then you place straight stitches across one foundation stitch, keeping them closely against the foundation stitches on either side and spacing them slightly apart. 

When you do the next and following rows, the stitches slot into the gaps of the previous. 
Burden stitch forms a brick-like texture that I rather like. You can vary the look and texture of the stitch, depending on the spacing of the foundation stitches and how closely you pack the stitches over the top. 
I like leaving it a little bit open so that the foundation stitches underneath shows through...

To finish off the petals, I have neatened the edges with stem stitch. Next up is finishing the centre stamen... hopefully tomorrow.

I really, really hope to have more show next week along with some exciting news - something that has been taking up a lot of my (stitching) time the past few months.

Until then, take care of your self and your loved ones.
Stay safe & Keep stitching,

Anna X