embroidery

IMG_6637

I've been busy over the last few weeks with a lot of admin type work and testing out printed panels but in between all of that I have been doing a little bit of sketching and this little pattern came out of it all.  Butterfly girls is two embroidery patterns that would sit together nicely in either a 5" or a 6" frame (I've shown both in the picture).  I've kept the stitching deliberately simple so the most difficult stitch is a french knot, most of the rest is back stitch, satin stitch or couching and a little bit of fern stitch.

IMG_6633

I tried out a few colourways for this pattern but in the end I liked these muted soft colours the most so both patterns share most of the colours.  This one is a little more rose pink

IMG_6634

and this one has more of a blue green feel to it.  I loved keeping the girl simple so I could get carried away with all the flowers and butterflies.  I just love embellishing.  I did stop myself though so it's not too busy (I hope!).

The butterfly girl pattern is available in my Etsy shop over here

Now I'm thinking about winter patterns, which seems so strange when summer feels as though it's only just beginning.  I find it easier to work in the late evenings so I can forget the season I am in for a while as it's still quite cool here in the evenings.  It's difficult for me to think of anything but flowers at the moment!  Perhaps I will try knitting something, that always feels a bit wintry.

I'm looking forward to this weekend as it is our  Golowan festival which is always full of lots of inspiring costumes and creatures in the processions through the town along with lots of lovely stalls and music and it looks like sunshine too!

But my very favourite part is the Serpent dance late tonight after the fire works with the slightly scary 'oss.

So I will be dancing tonight and enjoying the sunshine tomorrow (hopefully).  I hope you have some lovely weekend plans too whether you are in Summer or Winter.

x


 


how long should my stitches be?

Lilipopo blog stitch length copyA question I get asked quite a lot is how long my stitches are.  The first time I was asked I took a ruler and measured, a fairly consistent 3mm.  But this morning I was a little distracted while I was stitching this first draft of a princess and listening to podcasts and when I looked down I noticed something strange.  I had naturally stitched much smaller stitches on the inside curve of the dress.  I expected my stitches to be the same size throughout as I do such a lot of back stitch but my subconscious had decided that the waist of the dress would be better with smaller stitches.  The funny thing is I think it does look better, it adds to the sense of the dress pulling in tightly around the waist then billowing out into the full skirt.

Door and borderI do know that the backstitch on my little caravan door is bigger than 3mm probably because it's a longer straighter line.  I've realized that I often don't think too much about the stitch size.  It seems to happen naturally.  There are occasions when I might deliberately use a tiny stitch or a much longer stitch for a particular effect but usually I just start stitching.

In the past I haven't included a suggested stitch length in the pattern but now I'm thinking it might be helpful for beginner stitchers to have a sense of how big the stitches should be.  After all I have no idea if other people's back stitch is the same length as mine or not.

Lilipopo chain stitch hairMy stitch length and tension are something I have been paying more attention to recently because I have been playing around with chain stitch.  Chain stitch changes so completely according to the stitch length and tension so you can create really different effects.  A tight tension and smaller stitch makes beautiful hair (this would work on the ballet dancers hair too) whereas a looser chain with bigger stitches looks completely different.

I will share more of my chain stitching explorations soon.

Today is a beautiful sunny day but I am stuck indoors waiting for a parcel for my son hoping the sunshine will last for the weekend.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend no matter what the weather

x

 

 

 


A beautiful book by Yumiko Higuchi

IMG_6180When I first began Lilipopo it was zakka sewing that interested and encouraged me.  I love the way very simple designs can be beautiful with a little care.  So over the Easter weekend I had a little time to do some personal stitching and pulled out my zakka embroidery book by Yumiko Higuchi.  I have had this book  for quite a while now.  I did stitch one design when I first received it, loved it and then put the book in my bookcase and left it.  This week my train pass wallet fell to pieces in my hands so I decided that, rather than get another ugly plastic one from Great Western Rail, I would stitch my own pretty one and I remembered this book

IMG_6181 (1)There is a card wallet pattern in the book but I wanted a different design on it so I used the wallet pattern but spent some time working out where to put elements of the botanical design onto the wallet pattern.  I think most of the designs can be put onto most of the projects.  I love this design!  Flowers and insects are fabulous for stitching.  

IMG_6182

this little bee is stitched with stem or outline stitch in the book.  I got ahead of myself and misread the pattern and stitched it using backstitch.  But he still looks great.  I had to use double my normal number of strands but I love the way it stands out from the fabric but it still has the details.

IMG_6184I really wanted to stitch this flower!  I was a little wary of all the chain stitch and at first I did have to do some undoing until I had a chain that seemed a good size but, once I got stitching, it was a dream to stitch.  I love love love the effect of the chain stalk and the running stitch petals.  I'm not too sure why I put the bird where I did other than that I wanted to stitch the bird!  I think he could be elsewhere but I still love the simple design.  The final wallet is perfect for my train pass and library card.

IMG_6185

and I am so addicted to these designs that I have started another tile pattern.  This is a little lavender or pin cushion, I haven't decided yet... I just wanted to stitch it.  Lots more chain stitch practice.  I think chain could be my new addiction, which surprises me because it's not a stitch I would normally use very much.

I absolutely recommend this book, it's perfect for making small projects that you can carry around anywhere with you.  The focus is on one or two colours so you don't even need lots of threads to take about with you.  The projects would make beautiful gifts too. 

I would love to hear about your favourite embroidery books, after all you can never have too many!

Now I'll hide this stitching away for the weekend and get on with my work!

x

 


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


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 

IMG_5692

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.

IMG_5705

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

IMG_5621

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

IMG_5619

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.

IMG_5613

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.

IMG_5615

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

IMG_5616

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.

IMG_5619

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.

IMG_5630

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

IMG_5631

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

IMG_5633

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

IMG_5634

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.

IMG_5644

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).

IMG_5635

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).

IMG_5637

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


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and pattern (part two)

Today I have the instructions for sewing the needle book together.  If you are looking for the pattern and the embroidery tutorial it is over here

To sew the needle book together

IMG_5536

Place the lining fabric and the embroidered/quilted piece right sides together and stitch around the edge with a 1" or 2" gap for turning (see picture above).  Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the edges and clip the corners.  My edges are about 0.5cm from the stitching line

IMG_5538

Then squish the whole thing through the gap and turn the right way around.

IMG_5540

press it open making sure you have good sharp corners.  Whip stitch the gap closed by hand. 

Now you will need your piece of felt

IMG_5543

Place your felt inside the needlebook with about a half centimetre around the edge as above.  Find the centre by folding the whole thing in half (you can draw a chalk line on the felt if your fold isn't clear) then stitch down the centre line using running stitch and anchor 874.

IMG_5544

To attach the fastening threads measure half way up the side of the needlebook where the lining meets the front cover.

thread your needle with 3 strands of Anchor 874 about 20cm long.  Put your needle in at the half way point and pull the thread through as though you are making a tiny stitch (as above) but only pull the thread half way through then take the needle off.  You are left with two tails about 10cm long.

IMG_5546

Now tie a knot close to the edge of the needlebook to fasten your threads there.

Do exactly the same on the opposite side of the needlebook

Now you can tie the threads together to close the needlebook as shown below

IMG_5547

I hope you enjoy stitching your little butterfly and (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) it reminds you that spring is on its way, especially when we get to February that longest shortest month!

Happy New Year and I will see you again in 2018

x

 

 

 

 


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and free pattern (part one)

IMG_5551

I hope you have all enjoyed the winter celebrations and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.  As a little thank you for all the lovely support you have given me over this past year I have created a little butterfly pattern that you can download here

I used it for the cover of a little needlebook but you could pop it anywhere.  I think it would look sweet on a little notebook cover.  You could add flowers or stitch lots of butterflies.

These are the threads I used for the butterfly

IMG_5413 (2)

DMC 598 blue

DMC 3854 orange

DMC 352 coral

DMC ecru

Anchor 874 gold (the equivalent DMC is DMC 834)

DMC 451 brown

 

a piece of cotton or linen (I used cotton calico) 17cm x 11cm

a piece of quilt batting 17cm x 11cm

a piece of co-ordinating lining fabric 17cm x 11cm (I used Liberty tana lawn Claire Aude D)

a piece of co-ordinating felt 14cm x 8cm

a number 7 crewel needle

IMG_5419

If you are making the needle book you need to fold your calico in half and trace the pattern onto the left side (what will be the front of the needlebook) using a removable pen (transferring patterns). 

Now, using 3 strands of DMC 598 and stem stitch outline the top wings of the butterfly.  Next, using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and stem stitch outline the lower wings.

IMG_5421

Now work on the upper wings stitching both in the same way.

Take 3 strands of DMC 352 and, using rows of back stitch fill the edging of the top wings on both sides as above.

IMG_5425

Now fill the tall triangles on the top wings using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and back stitch.

IMG_5432

Fill the circles with Anchor 874 and satin stitch, again using 3 strands.

Next fill the wings with ecru thread and back stitch.  I used a slightly longer stitch than usual for this part (about 3 - 4mm)  Just stitch lines of back stitch and then add more lines next to those until you have filled the whole area

IMG_5435

Next take 3 strands of DMC 451 and use back stitch to outline the body and stitch the antennae but not the tail

then fill the body with the same thread and stitch

IMG_5443

For the tail stitch alternate single stitches using first DMC ecru then DMC 451 until the tail is filled

IMG_5452

I stitched the very tip of the tail using DMC 451 and vertical stitches.

Next, using Anchor 874 and stem stitch embroider the lines on the lower wings.

IMG_5458

Pop coral french knots in between the gold lines as above using 3 strands DMC 352.

Next add more french knots to the top wings where indicated using 3 strands of DMC 352.

Add a coral french knot to the top of each antennae using the same.

IMG_5461

Once you have finished the butterfly stitching you need to place the embroidered calico onto the quilt batting ready to add the french knots and running stitch

IMG_5532

Leave a 1cm border all the way around as a seam allowance as shown.  Then stitch through the cotton and batting making lots of french knots (you could use seed stitch if you prefer) on the front cover.  

IMG_5533

For the back I drew straight lines 0.5cm apart and then stitched through the cotton and batting using running stitch

Tomorrow I will share how to stitch the needlebook together

x

 

part two of the tutorial


tips on filling spaces with backstitch

IMG_5070

This week has been full of packing kits and posting but I found time in between for a little stitching of Kitty.

IMG_5083

for the first stitching I decided to use quite muted wintry colours for her hat and scarf with my favourite gold (Anchor 874) for her hair.  

I outlined her hair in stem stitch and then filled it with back stitch.  I follow the lines of the outlines and create rows of back stitch.  There will be a few gaps using this method so once I've finished I go back in and pop single stitches in to fill the gaps. 

IMG_5092 (1)

the dress is also outlined in stem stitch.  I've used a darker colour to give definition to the edge of the dress, in particular her sleeve which crosses the dress.

I use bigger stitches if I'm covering a larger area and again follow the lines of the outline.  If you look at the sleeve all the stitch lines move across the dress in the direction of the arm whereas the main dress stitching goes down the dress.

I did trace the decoration on the dress as I hadn't made my mind up before I started tracing.  You don't need to trace the decoration as you will need to add it after you have stitched the dress using the pattern image for reference.

Lilipopo embroidery Kitty dress

Again I filled any gaps afterwards with single stitches.  Once I finished stitching I added the embellishments, v stitches and snowflakes

Lilipopo embroidery Kitty full

I used two strands of thread when I was filling the hair as the area was small but for bigger areas such as the cat and the dress I used three strands.

For the cat I stitched the facial features first and then I filled in with ecru thread.  It is fiddlier to do it this way but it means you can use the traced lines for the face if you are not confident about copying it from the pattern image afterwards.

As always my main tip for stitching is to take it slowly and go back and undo mistakes straight away.  A magnifying lamp certainly helps if your eyes (like mine) are not as good as they could be for close work.

Please feel free to share any tips you have for filling in larger areas with stitching in the comments below.

I will be away for a week so Kitty won't be in my shop until the end of October.

Have a lovely week

x


cute kittens in amongst the flowers

Lilipopo kitten embroidery pattern

Over the last few weeks I have been having fun sketching kittens and cats and girls with cats. 

This little kitten pattern is a simple pretty pattern.  I've stitched her up in my favourite pinks and reds (although of course you could use your own favourite happy colours).  I even added a little lilac.

Full hoop close up

She is very simple to stitch. You can frame her in a hoop with her flower garden around her and butterflies floating nearby.

Kitten cushion full

or she can be stitched up as a little hanging cushion lightly filled with toy stuffing and lavender.  A lovely gift to pop on a child's pillow to help her sleep.

Stitching up picture 1

there is even a pretty little backing to stitch for the cushion with flowers and ferns.

The pattern for this little kitten is in my Etsy shop  and as always comes with a simple stitch guide and pattern transfer instructions.

There are instructions for making the little cushion included in the pattern.

I hope you have a lovely weekend with a little bit of stitchy time

x