Thursday, August 27, 2015

WIP: Herb embroidery

Last summer I was inspired by the giant bronze fennel growing in my garden, and I started stitching what was intended to be a set of outdoor placemats.

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I used sturdy hessian, which gives such a fantastic contrast to delicate stitching (and it's really cheap!).

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My fennel had such bright orange leaves and golden yellow flowers, and I really enjoyed matching up floss and creating this herb embroidery. I even stitched a teensy weensy bee in the corner of the mat.

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And then autumn arrived, and the 'set' of placemats was put aside for a while...until last week, actually, when I was pruning my lavender after collecting the flowers to dry.

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I've returned to this WIP, stitching a lavender placemat using just straight and lazy daisy stitches. Before the summer ends I plan to enjoy an outdoor meal with at least one other person!

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Perhaps next I'll stitch the daisy-like feverfew, or the starry blossoms of borage. C'mon summer, bring back the sunshine, keep me inspired!


What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Bloggin': Tiny Embroidery with Amy Byrne

Summer Bloggin

Today we welcome back Amy Byrne, from Random Acts Of Amy, who is sharing her second Summer Bloggin' post with us. Last month she showed us how to incorporate watercolor into our embroidery; today she'll share tips for teeny-tiny stitching!


I’ve been hand embroidering since I was 11 /12 years old … so around 1980/1981, but I really started it up in earnest in 2009. Back then, I tended to use 8”, 9”, and 10” hoops. I’ve noticed that as I’ve expanded my skills, and also as I’m creating more items for sale, I’ve used smaller and smaller hoops for my work. Nowadays my standard size is in the 4” to 6” range. One of my favorite kinds of hoops to finish my work off in is Dandelyne mini hoops. For those of you who don’t know, Dandelyne’s founder, Sonia, has created tiny, wearable embroidery hoops that come in a variety of sizes, but, still, when thinking about an embroidery hoop, tiny is the operative word!

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

Today I’m going to give you step-by-step instructions to creating a mini hoop with a little Mason jar with a bouquet of flowers in it. After the embroidery is finished, I mounted it in a Dandelyne mini hoop that’s 34 mm x 62 mm (1.34” x 2.44”). One thing to note about the mini hoops is that you don’t use them to hold your fabric while embroidering; you use it to mount your work after it’s finished. While embroidering the piece, I used a 4” hoop.

An important point to think about is the thickness of the floss. When I’m embroidering on such a small scale, it would be a rare occasion that I’d use all six strands of floss. In fact, it’s rare that I’d use five, four, or even three strands of floss when I’m embroidering on this small of a scale. As you can see from the picture below, there’s a big difference in the thickness of the floss from six strands to one. When you’re working in this fine of detail, the fewer the strands of floss, the better.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

Another point to think about is the thickness of your needle. When creating work to go into a mini hoop, or any other small frame, a thinner needle with a smaller eye is your friend. All of the needles in the picture below are specifically for embroidery, but I use the needle to the far right. It’s thin with a smaller eye, so it doesn’t poke big holes in the fabric, and I feel like I have more control.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

The first thing I do is trace the inside of the mini hoop with my trusty Clover air erasable pen. The kind I have has an eraser on one end, and it’s one of my staples while creating embroidery. By tracing the inside of the mini hoop, I know how much room I have to work while embroidering.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

Next, I use the air erasable pen to draw on the shapes I want to embroider. I used 2 strands of floss for all elements. I start with the bottom part of the Mason jar (you’ll embroider the top part after you have the stems embroidered), and mark down the spokes for the woven wagon wheel rose. Tip: When embroidering a woven wagon wheel to create a rose, always start weaving your floss under the first spoke, then go over, then under, etc. until it’s filled. It makes a much more pleasing-looking rose.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

After embroidering the bottom part of the jar and roses, I make vague markings as to where I’ll put a couple of more bunches of flowers and spiral twig.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

After I embroidered those elements, I add markings to put in ferns. They add a nice splash of green, and fill out the bouquet.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

And here it is after all parts have been embroidered! As you can see by the placement of the quarter, it’s quite small. All elements are embroidered using 2 strands of floss except for the fern on the right, drooping down, which has one strand of floss. I did end up having to re-draw and re-stitch the Mason jar to move it down because I didn’t have enough room to embroider the top part of the Mason jar where the lid screws on.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

After I’m happy with the jar and flowers, I mount the embroidery into a mini hoop and add a necklace.

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

Summer Bloggin' with Random Acts of Amy

I hope that this has inspired you to try out embroidering on a small scale. It might be outside of your usual type of embroidery, but it is a fun style to try. In addition to mini hoops, you could embroider on a small scale on 3” hoops. Instead of sizing a pattern to fit in a 5” or 6” hoop, scale it down to 3” and try it out!


Amy is a hand embroidery artist who embroiders images and text that range from the whimsical, to the unexpected, to the evocative, on a range of playful and vintage-inspired fabrics. A library branch manager by day, she spends pretty much every other waking moment as the creative force behind Random Acts of Amy. You can find her online on her blog Random Acts Of Amy, Instagram, Facebook, and every Friday on the Feeling Stitchy blog for Friday Instagram Finds. She’d love for you to stop by and say hi!

Watercolor and Embroidery with Amy Byrne

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Found on Flickr: Honey Comb Rings

Honey Comb Rinds, edited 2015

Olisa Corcoran has an amazing embroidery style, she paints with vibrant watercolors on paper and them embroiders geometric designs. Her work is always so complex and the different layers add so much to the piece. 

Olisa shared this amazing piece in the &Stitches Flickr group, she originally started it in 2013 and went back and revisited it to finish it. I love all her color choices and those honeycomb shapes! You can read more about it here!


What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

WIP: Vintage Flowers / Missing Embroidery Mojo

I have to admit, guys, I haven't really been stitching anything lately! My embroidery mojo done gone and left me, almost a year ago now. I've tried to kickstart it here and there, but it's nowhere to be seen. I last saw it while starting this project:

WIP: Vintage Flowers / Missing Embroidery Mojo

When I last took up a needle and floss, about a year ago, I was playing with combining patchwork and embroidery, the two needlecrafts I loved most at that time. I didn't want to have to choose just one in a project! I bought the pattern for this design on eBay, a 1930s embroidery transfer, and traced it to a piece of very basic patchwork.

WIP: Vintage Flowers / Missing Embroidery Mojo

I was stitching a sort of repeated backstitch, in rows to make thicker lines without resorting to a bulky thread (the threads I was using here are a size 16 perle cotton). I love the effect so much, and it was very enjoyable to stitch. I don't know where my embroidery mojo has gone off to, but revisiting this project, even just to take photos, does remind me how much I was enjoying this!

WIP: Vintage Flowers / Missing Embroidery Mojo

Perhaps there's hope for my stitchy mojo yet!


What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Color Inspiration: Summer Candy!

PostHeader-ColourInspiration

Color Inspiration: Summer Candy!

As we hit the height of summer and enjoy a nice warm day here in the UK (a rarity, even in August!), I find myself thinking of sugary, candy-themed colors. Sherbert, cotton candy, taffy ... colors that are particular to summer and feel sunshiney just lookin' at 'em! Here we have a little summer palette of DMC colors 3843, 894, 3825, 955 and 727. Yummy!

What colors are you stitching with this summer? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!