It’s been a Busy Year, so far

I best give my faithful followers a catch up.

Cabinet of Curiosities has me in it’s grip, and after receiving my first kit of supplies, I have been working away at the little projects. So far I have completed the Gauntlet scissor keep, the butterfly pin cushion, the little pillow and some little lacet gloves (of which I need to photo – sorry).

(pic of little pillow is included below)

Then I had to quickly get my A into G and make a new Diary & so I did.

Penguin DiaryNext it was off to Wanaka to the Annual Wanaka School of Embroidery, there I took a class on Ribbon Work, which was lovely.Ribbon work

I mostly took it to extend my understanding of Long & Short stitch, and was pleased with the results. The following week I took a class on Deruta drawn work (if you follow my instagram I posted a pic there).

then this weekend gone, I managed to get all the machine-sewing/finishing done! so here are two cushions in candlewicking from a kit I picked up last year, my Little Pillow from CoC & the finished (except for handles) bag!

Finished Cushions & bag

Then, more Cabinet of Curiosity inspired, I have plans to cover a box for my daughter, and she loves Harry Potter. I found a couple of cheap wooden boxes at a second hand shop and she chose one. I measured and have been working on the lid.

HP lidDaughter and I are both quite pleased. Next step for me is to work on the centre H & I have just decided to do it separately & add it as an applique motif. Then the silk wrapped purls may have arrived for me to work on the animals, otherwise it shall be put on pause while I work on the many other projects.

 

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Inspiration & Reading

Here are just a few of the sites I visit, semi-regularly where I continue to get inspired and sometimes I even put needle into action.

http://www.needlenthread.com/

Mary Corbett’s website for many stitchers is like our holy bible of all things embroidery. If you want to know how to do something, chances are she has an article or a video on how to. Not everything is here, but it’s a great starting point for most things and she updates her site regularly  with interesting tips and tricks, book reviews, project progress and so much more. She has a massive following and it is easy to see why.

http://www.janiehubble.com.au/

The Little Chair design of Janie’s was one of the most fun kits I ever did. It was wonderful to have something a little different and the putting together definitely challenged me – in a good way. Janie doesn’t update very often, but her designs are unique and interesting – keep an eye on it.

http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/embroid.htm

If you have time to peruse, you may get lost for days here – so much inspiration and information available!

http://bluedogwooddesigns.com/index.php

This website looks a bit different to the others, but part of the gold here are the stitch guides. In 2015 I followed the Crystalize one, using threads available here and gems from my stash. I really liked the Sahiko Sampler – amazing and so pretty, but not right now for me.

http://www.hazelblomkamp.co/

Hazel is an incredible artist. Her Crewel books are well received all over & while I am yet to try my hand at much Crewel work, her site and books are like eye candy. She has a fresh and honest approach to embroidery, which I appreciate. You may not agree with everything she says, but I believe her frank approach is refreshing and worth a read. I couldn’t resist her Needle Waving and Needle Lace books.

In particular her information on Copy Write is easy to understand and helpful.

http://fils-aiguilles-passion.blogspot.fr/

for eye candy of the Whitework kind.

http://www.garyclarkedesigns.com/

Gary designs Candlewicking, Whitework, Beading, Organza and Soft Cotton. Beautiful work – there are many ideas I would like to try my hand at, in particular the Organza designs. He tutors around the world, and I have always admired the pieces my mum completed from his course.

http://lovestitchbristol.blogspot.co.nz/

This is another fantastic blog. Written by Kelley Aldridge – RSN graduate, who obviously shares my love of Goldwork. She used to post regularly, but reading through older posts is worthwhile (IMO).

http://thistle-threads.blogspot.co.nz/

OMG wow! If I had a lot more money than I do, I would spend it all here. So much deliciousness of embroidery I find it hard to breathe.

The caskets are beautiful and I am particularly in love with the course “Eve and the Garden of Eden”  not so much the biblical picture, but everything else!

 

There is of course so many more out there, and one day I hope I can inspire people to embroidery the way these sites inspire me.

 

Smocking: Not my Craft

When my daughter was tiny, my mother made (or now I suspect, organised to have made) a beautiful smocked dress. Like many many little girls, she looked adorable in it.

Many years later, and a few years ago (possibly 3) Mum gave me a kit to make 3 smocked Christmas decorations.

Over the last 2 months, I finally decided the polystyrene bell shapes were taking up too much real estate & it was time to complete them.

The Material to smock on, came prefolded  – all I had to do was the stitching part – sounded simple.

I read the instructions, re read them, tried to break them down into parts – probably should have re-typed them to break them up easier, and started.

These instructions were not aimed at the beginner, there was no labeling of what the stitches were and I was well confused trying to stitch a straight line on smocked fabric.

How far into the fold was my stitch to go? what stitch to use? 3 threads of this horrendous gold stuff? So, the first line of stitching I tried double running stitch, with the 3 threads as recommended – horrendous.

Second line I tried 2 threads – definitely better, but still tight. I persevered worked out on another row it was meant to be backstitch, added beads & got to the end.

Then I tried to put it on the polystyrene form. ugh! So annoyed, I threw the first trial away.

After Christmas I started on the second, had a look at a smocking book, which gave me a little more information, and away I went again. By this time I was low on gold thread, so I got some from my own stash and used thread heaven. still using only 2 threads. Winning!

Put it together – this too went well, it actually fit! Then the ribbon threading through the stitches – ok, took a bit of time to keep it flat, but that was ok. Finally the ribbon on top. Did the folding, popped it on & that is me. It is also meant to have little pins in each loop & glue, but I’ve had enough. I hate those pins and normally throw them out when they come my way, I NOT going to pay money for them to finish this properly, when I only need 8!

And so it is:

hardanger-bell

I will not be completing the third bell – but, if you would like to have a go please comment and let me know what crafts are “not for you”. I’ll draw a random person and post the last of the kit, including polystyrene forms x 2, ribbons, beads and gold thread as well as the cotton prefolded material x 1 & instructions. You will then have everything you need to make either a green or gold version (or a mix of the two).

In happier news I purchased these Frostings threads off a kind lady in the USA who saw my plea, and realised she would just never use them. These are my major purchase of 2017, although who knows, the year is young and I keep seeing things I want. In the meantime look at all the pretty and for more of a review check out what Mary Corbett had to say!

2-boxes-of-threads

I will confess, this was a major purchase, but fortunately last year I had the good sense to create a “Craft” savings fund, and every pay I pop some money in there. It is now empty, so time to rebuild it again.

This year as part of my 100 day goal, I am improving my online presence and I have updated my Etsy listings. I still need to work on most of the photos, but I am a lot happier with my descriptions. Please let me know if you think of anything I could add to further improve.

 

Happy Stitching!

Books, books and books

Birthday book:

November was my birthday & I got several craft related items including a massive cutting mat and a rotary cutter – I am just waiting on the ruler to accompany it, so I don’t chop my fingers off – no doubt I will go mad with cutting things at that time, although I’m not sure what yet.

I also got this marvelous gem of a book:stumpwork

It is quite incredible and takes a lot of reading. While my birthday is mid November, I didnt finish reading it until my Christmas holiday. The pictures are sumptuous and the content incredible, yet clear. Indeed I would say it is a master book, for a Masterclass. This book complements my online course I am doing as well – Casket of Curiosities, although focuses more of the stumpwork of course.

Prior this getting this, I invested in another Alison Cole book:little-tipsAgain with Alison’s usual clear style of explaining things, this is full of tips and tricks, a lot of which I knew already and several that I didn’t. The layout is cohesive and includes a section for Goldwork, as well as other techniques.

Here are a couple of inspirational books I got last year:

I love Terry Prachett’s books, and am struggling to do any colouring as I have fear of ruining the book. however, colouring books of any kind can be great inspiration and the Zendoodle book is interesting. I can see some designs come out of this book in gold work, surface embroidery or Blackwork techniques.

So far this year, I have started a 100 day goal activity, where I have a big goal and write out 100 activities to get me there. This should increase my productivity and keep me focused on the things I want to focus on, rather than the other bits that slow me down. so far so good 🙂 I have completed the second Miniature Pulled Thread Sampler by Alison Snepp. While I am not permitted to share pictures of her design, I am going to share the corner, where I popped in a penguin and chose my own fillings. also the edging is something a bit different – definitely different from Alison’s instructions, I saw a video on how to do this, I haven’t quite got it right, it obviously takes a lot more practice. (and the pin is to give an indication of size)whitework

 

 

Pre-Christmas Update

Oh my, it has been so long. Firstly I should apologize, I have just realized the photo of the white-work was the reverse. Since it is now in the hands of the owner, I am unlikely to get another photo.

The Victorian market was quite good, I didn’t sell a lot, but enough to recoup costs. Despite it being a long day, it was a good day, where I had the opportunity to talk about my passion. I am booked into another market on Saturday the 17th of December.

Here is a pic of my table – I think the table was a bit small, and I shared it with a friend, so all the items on the left were hers and mine were to the right.

market

There are cards in the far right basket, I took some pictures of my designs and a good friend printed them into cards – then I found some envelopes to fit. My mum crocheted the dish cloths – they were a good seller.

I have enrolled in the Thistle Threads Casket of Curiosities course – it felt like a giant leap of financial commitment at the time, but paying it monthly is making it a lot easier, and I learn as I pay. Every tomb of information I have received so far has felt worth the investment, and in a few months I will also get threads!

In the meantime I have made some progress on the Home Sweet Home project, although I have popped it away again for a little while.

hsh-orange-tree

This is the Orange tree, and it is missing a couple of charms, I am yet to decide if I want to buy the charms, stitch the motif or leave it as it is.

In progress is a bit of playing with a Tambour needle on a black pashmina scarf – possibly not the ideal project to start testing out a tambour needle, but oh well – I’ll learn more and quicker. I’ve been keeping that scarf aside for when I eventually got around to embroidering it anyway.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully next year there will be a few more posts. Happy stitching!

A collection of embroidery related stuff

Here is a picture of the set up I did for my daughter’s room with store fittings I got from a large retail shop which closed down. My girl got half the wall & I got this half:

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I love to have my things organised, although another large selection of embroidery supplies are in another bedroom.

From the last post here is an update on the Home Sweet Home project:

The rose tree side is complete & the roof is stitched (there are two sides to the roof, but the look identical – lucky!) I have started the orange tree side, and completed the tree itself, so a bit more work on that, then there is still the base and one smaller side of the house. Then assembly. Maybe by Christmas??

I have also been involved with local community theatre and directed a play! As a thank you  to other members I made some little monogram stitchings to pop on top of tins of candy:

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I was inspired by Mary Corbet’s website & her articles on voided monograms. I also got to play with some of my newly acquired silk threads.

And then there has been a little beading, Trish Hewitt popped down to Oamaru again & taught a small group of us to make a little humbug, which fits nicely on my scissors. Then because I’m just too speedy, we also got to make a couple of Christmas decorations.

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Sorry about the foggy photo – sometimes my phone camera is a bit special (or perhaps that is the operator?!)

Somewhere in between I also finished this little beauty, and gave it back to it’s owner, who started it, but didn’t quite finish it. I think she may have got disgruntled at the precision of counted work – which while beautiful, is one of those very unforgiving techniques, one mistake at the start can turn hours of work being redone.

I also hemmed it and am pleased – while it is not perfect, it is still the best hemming I have ever done.

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Messy Mind

The renovation has been done – just waiting on official paperwork, but we love our new master bedroom and en-suite. Now that we are moved in, we have moved our girls around and have most things re-organised. There are still plenty of boxes in the garage, but they just may be the things we don’t really need.

My after school class is done and the display is in the shop window:

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My next step with this, will be to gather the kits up again, sort out their bags & for those who haven’t finished, make sure they have good instructions and enough materials to complete.

Since this big job is mostly done, it was time for my stuff again. I completed another side of the Home Sweet Home.

20160719_081748_001_resizedI’m really struggling with motivation to get this project done, but I rewarded myself with some fun with mustaches & silver thread.

20160713_162136_resizedI turned these into brooches and I will make another two. Then I will have them to sell at our Victorian Fete stall in November. I’m thinking of possibly doing some top hats as well, although it’s not coming together in my head as nicely as I would like. While I ponder that, I am getting on with another side of the house:

20160719_081707_resizedI’m also working on the roof at the same time, and once I have done this side, my next will be the base. I’m having some thread issues with this side however, so I will do what I can with the threads I have and then sort out the others. Maybe I’ll even do a bit of stitching on the rest of the sides, and then I can get put some threads away.

 

Teaching

Most of the kits I have created are for people who have done very little, if any stitching. Over the last 8 weeks I have been teaching primary school children for an hour after school. Most of these kids have never used a needle. They have been learning different stitches to create a Knight sewing kit.

I had to adapt my old Knight, to accomodate the scissors which were sourced by my mum, which was actually a lucky thing as I changed the kit so used #5 perle thread, which is definitely easier than stranded for first time stitchers. So I recreated to this:


So I got funding, budgeted for 20 kids, was told there might be 30 and ended up with 27 on the first day! Chaos ensued, but stitching has been done.

The classes are very relaxed and most of the children are working a bit at a time with it, which is great!


Along the way, I substituted the French knots for beads. 

Each week, I sort through all the kits, work out where the kids are at and most importantly what their next step is. Next week will be the last week, there are a handful which will finish completely, but they have all done great work, and I’ll be able to put a display together.

April Update

thank you for continuing to read my posts and if there is anything you would like me to touch on, please comment.

Our build is coming along, taking a bit longer than expected, however that is the nature of building according to Kevin McCloud & he knows! This weekend we have our ANZAC day (Monday – remembrance day), which will mean dawn parades for our 3 girls, and us. Although it would be lovely to spend this time stitching, I believe jibbing ceilings & walls in the lounge will happen, not to mention the jib stopping, painting and everything else we can do to get this project finished. I am looking forward to all that being done, so we can then get carpet down, and move in.

I have recently been inspired by

1. A colouring-in book – I’ve always thought of embroidery as colouring in with thread.

2. The national Bernina Colour Postbag challenge, this year is “Go for Green”. in my brain I have been playing with the idea of our national birds & using negative spaces. I’m not sure how much I can put on here about that though. I am using one of Hazel Blomkamp’s books for a lot of the stitching.

3. The Goldwork Guild are having a challenge this year too, with template. I like this very much and have already sketched out ideas, placement. Checked on my supplies & have now just got my hands on a few more supplies:

Gold threads

the twists were a bit larger than I hoped, however when I stretched them they look more along what I was after. At some point I can see I am going to have a lot of fun with these babies! (each pot has 1m of twist – 2 x 50cm pieces)

Gold twists

I am VERY excited about this project, but still have to actually become a member of the Guild, although I did also join their Facebook page.

Since Wanaka I have also made two books, using the two techniques taught there, and I finished off a tiny beaded box – photo will come.

My other great news, which will add to my busyness very soon, is I got the funding to teach 20 primary aged children at an after-school group. I will be teaching them the Knight Hussif. I have to do a little re-designing as my kind mother sourced some affordable scissors, however they are a lot bigger than the knight was designed for.

Wanaka and renovating

We are renovating, adding on a new master bedroom and ensuite, so our three (2 teenagers & 1 approaching) will have their own bathroom and will no longer have to squish themselves and their personalities into one tiny room. Yah!

In the meantime, my craft room/sunroom/howcananyoneactuallycallthisa’room’ has gone. My supplies are scattered throughout the house and the garage. Most are in the garage, but there are other supplies in the top of wardrobes, under beds, and in the current bedroom. I tried to keep what I would need in our bedroom, and have had mostly success.

and so, due to not being able to start anything new, I finishes projects! Hurrah! The Poppy which I can not show you is done! My Golden Sun is done, and now available in kits.


And I went off to the Wanaka Embroidery school and made books. With success. Then I came home, made another one, and made half of an over sized book, which will become a book for my designs… Soonish.

Of course I did some shopping in Wanaka…. Stash pic:


I’m going to try to continue my tradition of purchasing one new wooden tool per year, this year was a stiletto punch, last year I got a thimble, and the year before was a cord winder.

There were a few purchases of “ohhh that it pretty/cool, I’m sure I’ll find a use for it”