Sunday, 14 January 2018

Beautiful Days

It's a beautiful day, if rather chilly. These clear, crisp days are ones I enjoy the most during the winter time as the light is often so wonderful- especially for taking photos in. I am only really popping in today to let you know that I will be away for a week from tomorrow in Iceland! I'm so looking forwards to it, and am currently trying to squeeze in all thermals, camera components and stitchscape projects into my hand luggage. It seems like such a good idea to not take any hold luggage and avoid the faff of checking it in and then hoping it travels on the same plane as you, then waiting at the other end for it to appear on the conveyor belt; hand luggage only is a lot quicker. You do have to be the worlds best packer to get everything in though! Roll all clothes is the best tip I can offer, and if you are packing shoes- stuff in all of your socks and small items to avoid wasting space! I think even with these tips I am still going to have to sit on my case to close it.
It's a relatively early flight out from Gatwick, but we are hoping to cram in as much as we can, and have booked to see (fingers crossed) the Northern Lights and the Golden Circle which looks beautiful from Google images. Apparently it is light from about 11am to 3pm at this time of year so I will have to take as many photos as I can during the daylight hours- except the lights, if we see any.

I should also mention that my Etsy shop will be closed this week as I will not be able to pop down to the Studio to prepare any orders. But it will reopen with the 15% discount next weekend!
I will leave you with some images of the beautiful flowers gracing the dining table at the moment, aren't they gorgeous?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Hooping Along

I've managed to embroider two more hoops this week which I consider very successful as my sewing time has been cut down due to being back at work five days a week again. I quite enjoyed only going in for three days two weeks in a row! I've been taking my little hoops on the bus with me, which does earn some odd looks but it whiles away the hours and takes me off into my own little world which is lovely- so long as I don't miss my stop!

This little hoop uses some of the brighter of my recently acquired Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Bold spots and swirling florals teamed with some bright plains and a leafy batik print. It's a bit more of a fantasy than an actual stitchscape scene. My favourite part is the satin stitch flower off to the side. I've tried to match the print colours as exactly as I can, and followed it almost like a 'colour-by-numbers' pattern. The stems and buds around it have been just as closely followed with a mix of whip stitch, back stitch and a sort of messy satin stitch that is really a collection of straight stitches bundled together. It has a slightly scrappy look which I like.

Much neater is the satin stitch at the bottom, again exactly following the colours and shapes underneath. I think when I use this fabric again, I might try mixing up the direction of the satin stitch so that it doesn't all point vertically, and also maybe just outline a few of the splodges rather than fill them all in. Just something else to think about and experiment with, but I do like the smooth feeling of this fabric layer.

I enjoy adding these little kiss crosses to my pieces. These little #inthehoop ones don't have a clean white mount for me to sign and I don't really want to autograph the back of the hoop on the covering felt layer because pen on felt always looks messy, so these are almost like a signature in themselves.

I have also finished my little rolling sheep hoop! This print makes me laugh so much, it's a little more twee than I would usually go, but the way they have all been printed in different directions makes it look like the sheep are all rolling down the hills. Perhaps they are racing? One of my friends has her own flock of sheep in Yorkshire and this hoop really reminds me of her.

I love the different greens that have been crammed in here. The lovely batik print at the bottom has several greens blending into each other which I've tried to copy with the use of a multi-coloured DMC embroidery floss for the back stitch and french knots. The satin stitch reflects the colours of the splodges underneath, and I've tried blending these colours together with the two coloured whip stitch outlining the 'tide marks' of the wash print.

Oh those sheep! I've gone over their coats with two twist or single twist french knots to help with the woolly appearance which has worked perfectly. I might not work the running (kantha) stitch again if I were to use this fabric on another of these, there's a lot of stitching going on here and I might try just the woolly coats instead.

The darker top half is rather lovely also. I absolutely love doing the perpendicular whip stitch- I wonder if it has a different stitch name or not, does anyone know? I just kind of played around a few stitchscapes ago and came up with working lines of horizontal running stitch and then wrapping a vertical whip stitch around some of the stitches. It creates a beautiful texture as the vertical threads are raised up and sitting on top of the threads underneath, which also casts shadows adding to the depth of the piece.
The fancy ribbon I've used on the uppermost green layer was a bit of an afterthought. I was trying to find the right colour thread to make tiny seed stitches in some of the dots so this layer was done last. I had intended on working a row of bullion knots across the top of it but it didn't feel right and my eye came to rest upon my fancy ribbon drawer. Bingo! Looks very hedge-like doesn't it? Or perhaps a row of trees marking off field boundaries?

Sunday, 7 January 2018


These are fast turning into my favourite things! They are relatively quick to embroider but you can make them as complicated or as layered as you like. The size means there is no pressure, and framing them in their own hoops is quick and simple. I am just waiting for a delivery of cream coloured felt to do the backing circle and then some of these lovelies will be appearing in my Etsy shop so keep an eye out! There is also a sale currently taking place over in the Dotty Textiles Etsy shop with 15% off all items until Valentines Day (14th February 2018), just enter the code DTLOV3 at the checkout. Go wild!

Anyway, back to this most recently completed little hoop. I love the turquoise colours in this one- it was a very quick hoop as it's all about the flowers and the gold print at the front there. Every printed flower has been gone over with detached chain stitch flowers, and each leaf has a little single stripe added to it. I really like going over the edges of these types of fabric with the flowers, and not just stopping them at the edge as with other patterns. The flowers continue into other layers and blur the lines somewhat.

The top three layers are a more dusky, grey turquoise that all work really well together. The stitch treatment is similar in all three of them with back stitch following the lines, but using different weights of thread makes the texture chunkier or more delicate so it doesn't appear too samey.

It's like a magical flower field that comes alive at dusk!

So that's the first five #inthehoop stitchscapes done! They are so cute together, and I love how different they are- even the two autumnal ones are different although the theme and composition is similar. I'm getting to use little snippets of all of my new fabrics and try out tiny ideas on them which I am thoroughly enjoying.
I am planning to make a kit of these cuties (with a new design) and am in the 'gathering of the materials' stage. As soon as it's ready to go I will let you know!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Autumn Stripes

Our Christmas decorations have all been taken down today, leaving the house looking bare and empty (amazing really when it is still crammed full of everyone's hobby items!). For me it is the worst time of year as, before Christmas, the lights are up, twinkling like beacons in the endless darkness and there is family time and present giving to concentrate on. After Christmas, for the next two months the winter chill will have really set in and the world is dark with no happy lights shining out of windows. Things get better in two months time as the sunrise returns and my Vitamin D levels creep back up to a sensible level, but it feels like a long road to get there.
For now, it is back to the same old routine, and lots of relaxing stitching. This little autumnal hoop is the fourth in the #inthehoop series, and touches again on autumn as a theme as I enjoyed the last one so much. The colours are slightly darker in this piece and perhaps a bit more of a mish-mash. I have used some of the same fabrics , the top piece here was the bottom in another, and the chevron pattern has been previously used for the tree trunks themselves.
I have continued my messy satin stitches as mentioned in my previous post, in this case they are in shades of gold, orange, dark brown and chestnut which brings a lovely range of colour to the section behind the trees. The bottom flower layer is another from my Japanese stand and has gold print running through it, highlighted with my use of DMC metallic threads for both detached chain stitch flowers and also some flower stems right in the foreground with my traditional bullion knot flowers.
The stripes on the trees have been followed with different thicknesses of whip stitch. For some of the colours I have only used a single strand of thread for both the initial running stitch and again in the whip stitch worked around it, and in others it is one running stitch and two whip, or two running and two whip- if you see what I mean. It helps to keep the texture interesting and add depth to the 'trunks'.
Another one all ready to go!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Ocean Blue

I have completed my ocean themed #inthehoop stitchscape. I hope that you like my title for this group of 'scapes, it seems to fit with them. This embroidery is quite simple, no major bells and whistles, but lots of french knots! Just how I like it.

I have a lovely new sandy beach fabric print with smashing little pebbles to bring out with satin stitch, and I've teamed this with a sandy grass print and minute spotty fabric to complete the beach. Satin stitch, kantha (running) stitch, back stitch, bullion knots, seed stitch and french knots complete just this one little section.

The sky is another specific print which I really love, fluffy clouds and faint blue wavy lines which I have treated with back stitch (two strands for the white thread and a single strand for the blue), and satin stitch which covers a slightly thicker print on the white fabric. It keeps the slightly light and fluffy look I think.

Aren't those pebbles gorgeous?

I am trying to lighten up on my stitching and not be quite so tight (mad I know), and have been experimenting with big overlapping, not-so-neat satin stitches. In this case the idea was to follow the space dye print and create some movement with the choppy stitches. Little white french knots are the frothy bubbles that appear when waves turn over and tumble.

As mentioned before the back of each of the #inthehoop 'scapes is pulled up with running thread, securely knotted at one end and then tugged until all of the fabric is drawn up. I go around a second time and also put a running stitch through the different layers which normally stick out. This essentially makes things much easier for when I go back over and stitch a circle of felt to finish it off and hide the rough edges. Neat huh?