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February 2018

January 2018

a mermaid tale

Lilipopo mermaid stitch fixed

I have been enjoying a quiet but busy January so far, lots of stitching and even more sketching and painting.  Yesterday I decided it was time to warm up the old computer so I could get on with finishing the mermaid pattern and this morning I have her in my Etsy shop 

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I have been having some fun playing around a little with stitches and so I came up with her tail stitch which fills the tail very prettily.  I have also been practicing consistency with my chain stitch (testing my patience a little) but I think I finally have a rhythm going, as long as no-one interrupts me. 

Generally speaking I like to use a hoop as I find I can keep the tension in my stitching more even.  But I found long lines of chain stitch a little easier without the hoop really or at least with a small hoop just covering the area I have to stitch.  An 8" hoop can be a little unwieldy for rhythmic stitching sometimes.  Do you prefer to hoop or not to hoop?

The fish tail stitch is very simple and began with rows of back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 1

I made sure that my stitches met at the top point of all the half stars.  My star stitches are roughly the same size as my back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 2

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 3

Once the half star stitches were in place I added french knots in between using 3 strands of thread instead of 2 and a contrasting colour.

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 4

This is such a simple stitch but I love the textural effect.

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I think the mermaid would make a nice cushion doll.  Just stitched on her own and then cut out with a seam allowance and backed and stuffed.  This might be my next bit of stitching...

Lilipopo mushroom reader

Another project that I have been busy with this month is creating this girl who has found a quiet spot to do a bit of reading.  I am thinking of creating prints of this and possibly notecards (I have an addiction to notecards!).

I hope you are enjoying a quiet cozy creative January

x


stems and outlines some tips

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Stem stitch is not a stitch I use a great deal for outlining my figures because it tends to create a thicker line than I like but it can make a good outline for clothing or a decorative line but also fabulous hair. 

For the longest time I have been stitching two different stitches under the mistaken impression that they were the same stitch just approached from a different direction.  I thought both stitches were stem stitch but it turns out that one was stem stitch while the other was outline stitch.  I had even seen it referred to as outline stitch but there are quite often different names for the same stitch so I didn't pay too much attention.  It was only when I came to do some research for this post that I realized that they are indeed two stitches.  One, outline stitch, has a smoother edge while the other, stem stitch has a more jaggedy edge

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The example above is outline stitch  (it is stitched onto a piece of Robert Kauffman Essex linen in dusty blue).

and I stitched the top straight row using 4 strands of thread.  The second straight row and the curved row were stitched using 2 strands.

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To begin make a straight stitch but before you pull the thread all the way through bring your needle up through the fabric about half way along the stitch making sure the loop from the first stitch is above your needle (or further away from you).  This is what makes it an outline stitch.

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Pull the whole thing through and you can see that my thread, in the picture above, is  coming from underneath the first stitch.  Now take your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch (your actual stitch length goes back to the middle of the previous stitch).  Again don't pull your stitch right through

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Now bring your needle up at the end of the previous stitch as shown above.  You will continue in this way until you get to the end of the line.

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You can also follow a curved line beautifully.  Making the stitches shorter or longer can also change the way the stitch looks.  I like to use this stitch with more threads to create a thick rope like line, it makes fabulous hair because it curves nicely.

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For stem stitch you create your first stitch but pull it through fully then bring your needle just above the middle of the stitch as shown above

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Next bring your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch as you did for outline stitch and pull through

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Bring your needle back up just above the middle of the last stitch and continue in the same way

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I'm sorry for the slight blur (fast fading light in winter!)  Hopefully you can see the stem stitched pink line has a more twisted edge than the lower green outlined line.  Both can be used well on curves you just need to decide whether you want a smoother edge or a more decorative edge for your stitching.

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A fun use for stem stitch are these little flowers.  I made a french knot using 4 strands of a paler pink (I double wrapped it).

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Next I made a small straight stitch along the edge of the knot (you can push it into place with your fingers so it doesn't cover the knot).

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Then, using the same stem stitch technique, I brought the needle up just above the centre of the first stitch and made another stitch moving around the french knot centre.  You just continue going round until the flower is as big as you would like it to be.  The stitches should be a little longer on each round.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you find some time for a little cosy stitching.

x


Happy New Year

Books

I can't believe it's already New Year, I haven't even had time to start on my Christmas reading! I have started the beautiful moomins diary though. 

I'm not very good at New Year planning, it seems as though I should be ready to go on the 1st January but actually it generally takes me half of January to make my plans for the year, both for Lilipopo and for myself.

This year I'm taking the beginning a little slower

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I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful Jessie Chorley friendship quilt kit as a gift at Christmas and so I'm taking my time, doing a little thinking, a little planning and a little stitching along the way

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This quilt kit is the perfect stitching for the long evenings of January, with little hand printed templates and some fabrics and threads to get you started but plenty of room for you to add your own creative touches.  I already have a little clock with a bow and lots of ideas and plans in my head and some in my notebook.  In the background I am also working on the mermaid embroidery pattern, redrawing and getting ready for the final stitching

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I have some blog posts planned and next week I will be sharing a little stem stitch tutorial (as I realized I don't have one).  

I have just downloaded 'Persuasion' by Jane Austen to listen to while I stitch the mermaid up so I'm looking forward to some quiet contemplative days filled with stitching and day dreaming before the proper New Year starts (which for some reason always feels like the 1st of February for me).

I hope you're finding January peaceful with plenty of time for stitching

x