Sunday, 31 December 2017

Little Autumn Hoop

I've also now completed an Autumnal 6" (15cm) hoop for my new series of #inthehoop stitchscapes. I love the trees in this piece, and will definitely use this fabric again for an Autumn feel! Each colour block has been filled in with satin stitch in the closest thread match I could find. The use of blue is particularly nice against the oranges and browns, and the grey brings to mind the chilly skies that often accompany the final flourish of the year.

At the Knitting & Stitching show this year I bought a lot of Autumn inspired fabrics. The layer that has been filled with french knots (in both Stylecraft DK yarn) and a multicolour DMC embroidery thread, is actually a print of orange tipped trees so is perfect for this 'scape. I like the combination of woolly, chunky yarn in comparison with the smoother DMC thread as it creates some depth, the larger knots look like they are closer to you.

The next layer down is a Kaffe Fassett print of large flowers and petals. This I have covered in rough straight layers of stitch, some overlapping each other and following the direction of the print, fenced in with back stitch on the curved lines.

The bullion knot flowers (always a crowd pleaser) are looking a little sparse and the stems are nearly hidden away with the thin strands blending into the seed stitch background. It shouts 'end of season' and gives the nearly-dried-out look that you get at this time of the year although the flowers are still just about in full bloom.

All trees have to have twigs, and these trees have very special multi-coloured twigs as I have combined two shades of brown/gold, and a shade of grey to match the colours in the trunks. It also looks like the twigs have light shining on them, reflecting the tones of the sky.

I am in full swing with this little pieces, and have already started a sea themed piece using another Knitting & Stitching show fabric discovery- pebble print! Can't you just smell the salty air, feel the gentle breeze and warmth of the sunshine on your face as little fluffy clouds amble by, gazing down onto the endless sandy beach and frolicking waves?

Looking forwards to seeing where this one takes me!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Little Spring Hoop

For the new year I am starting a few little different things. Following on from my Christmas hoop decorations which were kept in their hoops, I thought I would try some mini stitchscape scenes along the same lines. This is my first attempt in a 6" (15cm) hoop and I love its fresh, springlike look, and the plain circular frame of the hoop. It's been kept quite simple, with the emphasis on the large flowers in the foreground, and with some metallic florals for a bit of extra sparkle.

I was given some suede flat cord for my birthday which I have couched down with a row of back stitches up the centre of each piece. To this I have added some lines of straight stitch, bullion knot and fly stitch flowers, and at the top of each large stem is a multi-bullion knot flower (reminds me of Sea Pinks!).

The yellow flower print was bought at the Olympia show during the summer and comes from the Japanese print stand- one that I particularly like because all of their prints have gold sparkles in them! I thought it best to continue the gold theme as I stitched over and emphasised the flowers, so where there were gold lines, I have back stitched over in gold thread. The centre of the little flowers have been done in satin stitch, and then pistil stitches in every petal (which are essentially french knots on a stem).

Towards the 'hills' there is a lovely lace fence dividing the fields, and I have worked a combination of french knots, detached chain stitches, seed stitches and back stitches quite loosely over the above fabric, topped off with a line of bullion knots.
The white fabric has tiny little white circles printed onto it, and each one is now filled with a french knot. The raw edge at the top has been outlined with whip stitch and I have popped some little kisses in a spare background space. (The world always needs a little more love.)

These are a perfect size to pop in your bag and go, and I really enjoyed being able to pick it up at a moments notice. I'm hoping to get many more of these stitched- perhaps I could do some seasonal sets? The back of the fabric has been drawn up with pulled running stitch and I will add a secure backing with a circle of felt to finish that side, and a loop of ribbon at the top to hang it up.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

It's been an amazing year for my stitchscapes. We've moved into our own studio space, opened up shop at TWA, exhibited at several craft fairs, met lots of new people and made lots of new friends. The Parent's have been fantastic at carting stitchscapes around the county, and The Mother especially for being such an excellent sales lady. Here's hoping for many more exciting things to come!

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We will be sharing the festive holiday with all of our friends and family, with lots of laughter, traditions, presents and wonderful food, and I hope that you will be too.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Elves On The Shelf: Days 19 - 24

Day Nineteen: I would like to introduce you to some new guests - snow people Inglis and Dora!

Day Twenty: Uh oh, the elves have come down with a bad case of tinsilitis! Their doctor recommends two sugar tablets, four times a day, and regular sips of hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream.

Day Twenty One: Oh dear, the elves have finally discovered 'the drinks' corner and are completed sozzled! They are going to have huge hangovers in the morning!

Day Twenty Two: Angus and Flora have decided to make a candy tree by covering the Christmas tree in peppermint canes. This could get rather sticky if the elves decide they want a snack!!

Day Twenty Three: This morning Angus and Flora are taking to the high seas. They've packed their sweet rations and a spare pair of pyjamas and are sailing forth across the living room floor. Who knows what perils they will encounter? Ziggy the Sea Cat, a shoal of present fish? It's a dangerous journey.

Day Twenty Four: It's their final day of being with the Power Household and the elves are gathering together their belongings- giant elf hat, button Christmas trees.... They are also composing their final reports for Santa and we are being extra nice to them today so we will be in their favour!!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Elves On The Shelf: Days 13 - 18

Day Thirteen: Polishing plates is an important part of any Christmas run up, as any self respecting elf will tell you. Red napkins are also a key element to really get the festive feeling going!

Day Fourteen: Ooooh elves, I'd be careful The Mother doesn't catch you swinging on her handmade Christmas wreath. She will be mightily unimpressed!!

Day Fifteen: And they're off! Bounding up the Christmas tree like their lives depend on it, each one determined to win the grand prize of the Christmas star. Flora's looking good and perhaps Angus ate too many chocolates for breakfast - who will win this exciting tree race??!

Day Sixteen: Recycled envelopes and bits of wrapping paper make for great snowflakes it turns out! And all the little clippings from the snowflakes are great to scrunch into snowballs and have impromptu snow fights. I hope the elves clean up after themselves.

Day Seventeen: The elves are getting their snow on! They have magical instant snow for the Santas to play in, and are wrapping themselves up in toy stuffing. It's a giant snow cloud!

Day Eighteen: The elves have got their glad rags on for a night of star gazing. Angus has brought his star hat and Flora's got a lovely new Christmas boa. I wonder which constellations they can see?

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Aries Glass Icicles

I have icicles! Shiny icicles. Handmade and beautiful glass icicles made by a very talented glass artist I know who trades under Aries Glass. Clive Campbell usually makes fabulous and very colourful, fused glass wall art, although also has an interest in stained glass and coloured lead light panels. He currently exhibits work at TWA alongside myself and many other artists, some of whom I have also shared on here, and there is a links page on his website where you can see where other works of art are displayed.

For a recent event held by TWA, and to raise money for their chosen charity, Hospice In The Weald, Clive made some sets of beautiful glass icicles from glass remnants in his workshop. These are fused glass and have little breaks and bubbles in them just like real icicles would! They also have blue tips and little metallic shavings on- which perhaps you wouldn't find on your average barn guttering but make these all the more special. I have seen another set he made which had wisps of white swirling around in the centre- very special!

These won't be living outside, and are already hung on my Christmas tree, but you can see how life-like they are! As well as his website, which I have linked to above, Clive also has a Facebook page which you can follow and see what he is up to (I personally really like the experimental squares- I think they'd make great coasters or framed sets of abstract pieces).

Excuse the plaster (I managed to very painfully rip my nail), but I wanted to show you the icicles approximate sizes. I don't know if he has any left, but I'm sure if you ask him nicely he could fuse a few up for you!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Greyscale Commission

I realised that I never showed you my other completed pre-Christmas commission! Well, here it is. The  brief for this one was; 'like the Moon Flower Town original stitchscape but smaller and with lots of pearl beads'. Nice and simple. It had to be greyscale, it had to include the houses, and it had to have sparkly, shiny bits in it with lots of beading, all squeezed into pretty much a squared off version of my Stitchscape minis- about 4 inches square.

I used quite a few of the same fabrics as previously used in Moon Flower Town, the french knot flower layer is the same but in a different colour, and the dark spotty fabric is almost the same except the seed stitches have been contained inside the individual dots this time. The polka dot at the bottom is also similar, but is in white and the dots have been turned into diagonal lines rather than horizontal stripes (it's amazing what you can turn a polka dot pattern into!).

The houses have been outlined in a single strand of backstitch, and the arched windows filled with satin stitches in black and white threads. Some of the windows and bricks have also had a quick little stitch added in them for texture. The flowers at the bottom use several sparkly, metallic threads for the stems, grounded with two tone grey french knots. The heads themselves of course are the show stopper of the embroidery as they almost seem to glow out!
This little piece has already been given to it's commissioner, and is apparently already hanging in pride of place on the wall! Job well done.

Heart Wreath Commission

I am rather chuffed (and a  little nervous) about this commission as it isn't my usual style but as I was asked so nicely by a family friend, I instantly agreed to give it a go. I have probably told you before, but this is destined to be a special Christmas gift for my client's Goddaughter who got married earlier this year. As a wedding present, a heart shaped wreath full of white and yellow roses, ivy leaves and Gypsophila was given to hang on the front door as the flowers matched those in the wedding bouquets, and for Christmas a version of this wreath is being given to stand the test of time and be a reminder of a special day. I'm hoping it is a close match to the real wreath as I've only seen a photo a couple of times so it's mostly from memory.

The backing cloth is a lovely linen fabric in a light stone colour which really brought out the green ivy leaves. The leaves themselves were all individually cut, and I used Bondaweb (double sided adhesive) to iron the leaves in place whilst I blanket stitched around the edges, and added whip stitch definition.

Over the top of the ivy, I stitched bullion knot roses, having previously experimented with which way round the colours should go- light to dark, dark to light, mixed tones.... I also had a go at some rose buds by stitching half circle bullions. These took ages to finish!

Next came the Gypsohila. I started by drawing swirly lines on the back of the embroidery and followed the lines with whip stitch. I find it easier when wanting to create a nice swirl to draw it on first as I can never seem to get the same quality of line when just stitching straight on. The little beads are a fun addition and I think they really make the piece stand out. At the end of each swirled line there is a cluster of five beads, and I've popped a few groupings of three along longer lines to give more of a cloud effect.

The hardest part was knowing where to stop stitching! There are still areas that I look at and think, 'oh I could put a Gysophila stem in here, or perhaps another rose in this section' but if I put too much in I think it will become too cluttered so I have left it as it is and hope that others will think the same. Whilst stretching it over the mountboard, I have also added a layer of batting underneath to help pad out of the chunky knots on the back as the fabric weave is more open than usual. It just helps with any lumps and bumps that may be hiding underneath the embroidery (top tip for ribbon work as well as it supports the ribbon knots).

So now it is all framed up and waiting to be collected and given away for Christmas!