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February 2018
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March 2018

Easter and bunnies

Lilipopo little bunnies coasters

Spring keeps showing it's head for a moment here and then disappearing back into cold grey rain.  I think it's probably always like this at this time of year but I do love the sunny days!  So I wanted a happy project to fill a little time this week.

Lilipopo little bunnies idea

With Easter rapidly on it's way... this weekend!  I decided a quick bunny stitch was in order.  I took the little bunnies embroidery pattern  and played around with it a little to make two little coasters.  This pattern is so quick to stitch up and would fit nicely onto little drawstring bags for mini eggs too.  

Lilipopo little bunnies backing and lace

I cut a 4.75" square from some white linen (Robert Kauffman Essex linen) and the same of pink phoebe liberty fabric for the back. Then I cut a 5" square of quilt batting (warm and natural) for the wadding.  I traced the elements of the bunny pattern that I wanted onto the linen square.

Next I centred the linen onto the wadding and hooped up and embroidered through both.

Lilipopo little bunnies stitched

I like the padded effect of stitching through the batting too.  I used just four colours for this - DMC 451 (brown) DMC 603 (pink) DMC 761 (pale pink) and DMC 564 green

Lilipopo little bunnies applique tummy

I gave this little bunny an appliqued liberty pink tummy using bondaweb to stick the fabric down and little pale pink stitches to keep it in place.

After embroidering the pattern I added french knots in the pale pink all around the bunny, leaving a space all around the edge for the seam allowance (0.25")

Lilipopo little bunnies embroidered

and then, because I realized I would have to get my machine out I stitched another bunny on natural linen and added a lace trim and a liberty print border.  I also appliqued a little heart onto the linen backing fabric.

Lilipopo little bunnies machine stitching

These little coasters are very easy to finish just place your padded embroidery right side up and then place your backing fabric right side down on top of it.  Now stitch around the edge leaving a 1.5" - 2" gap for turning (I used a 0.25" seam allowance)

Lilipopo little bunnies finished 2

Once you turn them out poke the corners gently out, hand stitch the gap closed and give them a gentle press.  These were such fun to stitch, especially as they embroider up very quickly and you could add all sorts of trims to them or, if you're a quilter, bind the edges.

I hope you all have a very happy Easter and we get to enjoy some sunny spring weather, unless you are in the Southern hemisphere in which case cosy Autumn stitching is probably in order.

Happy Easter 

x


embroidery essentials - tools

Lilipopo tools of the trade

Today's #marchmeetthemaker prompt was tools that I use so I thought I would write a blog post about the tools that I use and where I buy them (in the UK).

The thing I really love about embroidery is that you need very few tools and materials, a needle, thread and fabric with a pair of scissors and you can start stitching.  But there are a few other things that can make life easier...

Lilipopo simple tools

These are my most basic tools.  I use wooden hoops because I prefer them, they are reasonably priced  and they look prettier if you decide to frame your embroidery in the hoop (you can even paint them).  They come in lots of sizes and I do have lots of sizes but my go to hoop is a 5".  I like to use a small hoop and move it around my embroidery as I find bigger hoops harder to manipulate when I get to the centre of my stitching.

My pen for transferring the pattern is (as I have probably mentioned many times before!) a pilot frixion heat (or friction) removable pen.  I have just read somewhere that you can use a hairdryer to remove the pen, which would save hovering over my embroidery with a hot iron, but I haven't tried it yet so I will let you know (or if you have tried it you could let me know).

I have a mini sun light pad for transferring but you can use a window.

I have a pretty vintage pair of embroidery scissors to snip the threads but any small scissors will do.

My usual needle is a crewel number 7.  I occasionally use an 8 for single threads but to be honest I usually just use the 7.  I put a crewel 7 needle in the kits.

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I mainly use two fabrics, the first is an organic calico which is a soft (after washing) medium weight cotton that has a natural creamy look to it and is never completely smooth or flat.  The second fabric I use is Robert Kauffman essex linen in natural.  I have also used the ivory, white and linen.  These are lighter and I now use a backing cloth so that any stray threads don't show through.  I usually use the same fabric as a backing cloth and stitch through both layers.

Sometimes if I want a more padded effect I use a quilt wadding as a backing (warm and natural).  My needle cushion was backed with quilt wadding, it made the cushion a little firmer.

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and these are the little extras.  I find it absolutely necessary to have at  least ten different pin cushions to hold my needles!  Partly because I love making them and partly because I am always leaving them around the house.  I also use a metal thimble because this is the one I have had most success with.  If you don't like the metal ones there are lots of others out there ranging from leather to rubber.  I only use a thimble when I have a lot of stitching to do (I think my fingers are hardened to the needle now!) so it's not a necessary item.

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I love all threads and one of the beauties of embroidery is that you can stitch with any thread and get different effects.  But, because I design patterns for other people to use I stick to DMC threads.  I used to use Anchor thread too (some of my older patterns will still have some anchor threads in them) but I found customers were finding Anchor harder to get hold of so I do stick with DMC.  I also only use six stranded thread rather than perle because you can choose the number of threads for the thickness of line that you want.  It also means you don't have to buy lots of different threads for a single pattern.  DMC thread is beautiful quality and there are lots and lots of gorgeous colours.

Once I start the threads I wrap them on a card holder with the number written on it and they get stored in a box.

Lilipopo notebook

One thing I can't do without is my notebook and pen!  (I write this as though I only have one, no-one ever has only one notebook do they?) I take notes on all the threads and stitches that I use and draw little diagrams for any tricky stitchy bits.

The things I didn't photograph - my tea, always by my side while stitching and my phone playing podcasts, audio books (I have a penchant for crime thrillers but at the moment it's 'Middlemarch') or radio 6 music.

Where I buy my things

needles and hoops - siesta frames 

threads, needles, card thread holders and more - sew and so

organic calico - raystitch

essex linen (where ever has it in stock) - emma's fabric studio  or celtic fusion fabrics  

warm and natural quilt wadding - the cottonpatch  

My pens I buy locally at Ryman's I think they are quite easy to find now.  My mini sun A4 light pad was bought from Amazon.

I do also have a magnifying craft lamp (mainly because our house is very wind proof but also quite dark in the winter!).  I don't think it's available any more but it's by the daylight company and has worked well for me.  It's also great for colour work using long short stitch.

I think I've covered everything that I use regularly.  If you are a beginner stitcher and would like to know more about transferring the patterns and starting stitching I have posts here

beginning stitching

I hope you found this post useful and please pop a comment in with the tools and materials that you like to use.  I always love to find new ones 

x



 


March meet the maker

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I don't normally like to begin my blog post with a huge picture of me but this month I have been taking part in instagram's #meetthemaker (my instagram account is @lilipoposketches) and so I decided to come out from the shadows and share a little about myself.

My name is Kate and I do all of the things at LiliPopo.  The name came from my daughter (many years ago when she was only nine) mixing my middle name and surname up together and we both thought it suited the first design that I sold.

Still stitching

she wasn't the first girl that I stitched but she was the first pattern that I sold and she is still there in my shop.  She also got featured in Mollie Makes magazine so she is still very important to me.

As some of you will know I was home educating for more years than I care to remember and while I was doing that I was drawing and stitching.  These things go back to my childhood as we always had paper and pencils, especially on rainy days.  I still think they are the best boredom busters on rainy days.  I started sharing pictures of my stitching on flickr and opened a folksy shop selling little purses with simple embroideries on them.  Other stitchers began to ask if I sold patterns so I looked into how to go about it, took a little advice from my partner and eldest son on how to use Adobe illustrator and set up my Etsy shop.  

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At the moment this is my workspace, although the stitching tends to happen wherever there is a comfy seat and someone to listen to chatting away (usually my daughter, teenage life is so much better than a soap opera).  This is about as tidy as my space has ever been as I am usually quite a messy worker (I always thought I would be a tidy worker).

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The next prompt is all about routine so I may share that next week, a sort of day in the life of...

If you pop over to instagram and have a look at the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker there are lots of lovely makers sharing their workspaces, routines and stories, a nice way to while away a little spare time.

x

 


March but not spring!


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March has arrived and spring really should have sprung here in Cornwall.  It was definitely on its way towards the end of February 

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This is the magnolia in our local park (Morrab Gardens) in full and beautiful bloom against a blue blue sky.  For me this always means that spring has arrived but this year is a very strange one because two days ago this happened

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We almost NEVER get snow in Penzance, it has been years since we last saw proper snow.  So even though the weather warnings were out there we still didn't expect it.  Two days of proper thick sledging, snowman building snow.  I'm so glad that we made the most of it because this morning we woke up to grey wet and not a sign that it had ever snowed.  Although it's still pretty chilly!  A very exciting blip in our year!

Hopefully the grey will lift and we will be left with my idea of March, full of spring flowers and sunshine.

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I've loved using chain stitch for the lettering on this personal piece this week.  I have had quite a few commissioned pieces to stitch with names on them and I'm finding chain stitch a great way to stitch letters, especially joined up writing.  It's a very satisfying stitch once you get into a rhythm.  It has taken me a long time to find my rhythm with chain stitch but sometimes that's just how it is and now it feels worth the struggle.

I have lots of plans for March, probably more than can actually be done in March but we'll see.  I have begun two new patterns that I'm working on at the same time one with birds and birdhouses and also flowers in my hair which I sketched and began last year but it got put away for a while.  I will share pictures of my progress here as I go.  There will be kits and samplers back in stock later this month too.  And there's some painting and drawing going on too.

Do you have your March plans ready (the nice crafty stitchy ones) I would love to hear about your projects and your weather as I know you don't all live in the UK!

Have a lovely stitchy weekend

x