embroidery

catching up

Photo (1)

February is usually not my favourite month, full of grey days and so long for such a short month.  But, this year seems different.  Every dog walk this month seems to have brought different weather and there has been grey and plenty of wet and wind but all punctuated with beautiful sunny days that make me feel as though spring is already here.  Our regular walk takes us to a nature reserve at Marazion; the ponds there seem full of bird life, herons, snipe, Canada geese, grebe, egrets and even the everyday mallard.  There are more gulls along the way, herring gulls, black backed gulls and black headed gulls.  We even have a friendly black redstart who lives in the rocks at the start of the path.  Sadly my camera is not quite up to photographing birds at a distance.  I'm really enjoying the repetition of our walk, noticing the subtle changes and learning to recognize some of the smaller birds we see along the way.

Photo (2)

On the sunniest day I took the afternoon off and sauntered around the marshes with the boy watching the birds and enjoying the sun while it lasted with no stitching and no computer in sight.  What a perfect way to spend time, I feel so lucky to be able to do it.

Photo

Last week, after soaking black beans for a chilli, I remembered that I had read somewhere that I could dye with the soaking water so I grabbed two jars put black bean water in one and tea in the other then popped a piece of linen and a piece of bandage into each jar.  I put them on the windowsill and forgot about them.  these are the colours that came out.  I should add that I haven't mordanted them so while the tea fabric will probably be okay I suspect the black bean might fade in too much light.  

I am going to start a little slow stitching project with them using the beautiful Linblomman linen threads that I bought in Falmouth.  A  perfect project now the weather has decided to go back to bitter wintery cold again!  I'm looking forward to getting back in from a cold Sunday dog walk and sitting with a cup of tea and my stitching.

Bunnies no frost

I am feeling rather pleased with myself for being a little ahead of the game for a change with my Easter spring pattern all ready and in my shop this week!!  

The pattern is a very simple one that I love framed in the hoop but I think would look lovely on a little Easter bag too.  

I have also been spending a little (possibly too much) time on pinterest this week gathering beautiful pictures of stitchy goodness and some stitch tutorials  Are you a pinterest addict too?  I think I could lose myself for quite a long time in pinterest land!

This coming week I'm going to be focusing on some flower stitching and a little bit of unicorn stitching along with quite a bit of drawing for a project that I am quite excited about.  

I hope you are enjoying your February and finding some cosy  (or cool depending on where you are) stitching time

x

 


a stitchy flowery thank you

Final flower globe wm

This week has been a little bit here, there and everywhere so in between those mixed up moments I got on with a little flowery stitching and created a little free pattern for all of you as a small thank you for making last year such a fabulous year for lilipopo.

I am a huge fan of snow globes, I utterly love the magic and sparkle of them.  They take me straight back to my childhood and also to the moment when my three year old daughter picked one up and cracked it in the shop at the  top of the Eiffel tower!  A moment she has never forgotten but she still (at 16) can't help 'looking' with her hands!

This week though I wanted something flowery rather than sparkly, looking forward to spring so the pattern is for a flowery globe rather than a snow globe.

Butterfly flower detail wm

There's even a spring/summer butterfly in there.  Right now I am sitting typing in a very cold space wondering whether to put my cosy fingerless mittens on so this spring scene is something I'm really looking forward to!

Flower globe pattern transfer

If you are a new stitcher I have beginner notes here 

there are some stitch tutorials here

and there are lots of tutorials on my pinterest board 

here 

Right hand detail wm

The link to the pattern

I hope you enjoy stitching the pattern up as much as I enjoyed making it

Now to tidy my mixed up messy work space and try to create some order for 2017!

x

 


on my work table

Bandit 1 wm

It's January and I really should be brightening everyone's day up with colour but I'm a little bit addicted to blacks and greys at the moment (although there is some red thread in the picture, I'm not sure what I planned to do with that!).  I thought I would share a little bit of my stitching process.  This is only the first stitching of my drawing and already I am changing things in my head as I go along...

Bandit 2 wm

First I trace the drawing using this flatbed lightbox. Mine is actually A2 size but it takes up too much space on my table for how often I use it, especially given that my designs are really very small!  On top of that I have accidentally trapped and almost snapped the wire!  So I think I will be treating myself to a new A4 lightbox that can sit on my desk all the time and not be put at risk!  The fabric I have used here is in natural colour (light brownish) so it is harder to see the design  but once I'm tracing and pressing the fabric against the box it's clearer.  

Bandit 3 wm

Here is what I end up with.  I am a very lazy tracer and don't trace stripes etc.  I put them onto the pattern because I suspect not all stitchers are as lazy as me.  

Bandit 5 wm

and now I can hoop her up and pop her under my very exciting magnifying lamp.  For a very long time I didn't need a magnifying lamp but these days I find it helps immensely and I have become quite reliant on it.  In fact perhaps I did need one before I just didn't know it. This is the one I use.

Bandit 6 wm

And out comes that black thread, 2 strands and back stitch.  I love filling with back stitch, I tend to do it in sections 

Bandit 7 wm

I'm not sure if this is a proper technique but I find it helps me keep to the shape of the hat.

Bandit 8 wm

I'm not sure how clear it is but I'm using long short stitch for the sleeves.  I think I just felt like a change really but it works nicely in the long thin gap

Bandit 9 wm

and this is as far as I've got with her (well I'm a little further on but no light for photographs!).   Once I finish her I will redraw her making the changes that I have in my head and then restitch her to make sure she's quite right before turning her into a pattern.

If you are new to stitching I have guides for 

materials and transferring patterns

various stitches including back stitch and long short stitch

I'm hoping to have a little colourful free pattern on Monday for you.  As long as everything goes to plan!  Something to make us all feel a little spring like in winter (unless of course you are reading this towards the end of a glorious summer)

x


The fairies have arrived

Fairies galore

It has been such a busy two months I seem to be ordering supplies, packing kits and going to the post office for most of my working days.  So exciting to be sending my kits to so many different countries.  The all new post office staff in Penzance's sadly moved post office don't seem quite so excited by the number of parcels I'm taking them.  I love to think of all those girls being stitched all over the world!!

Today however my desk is swamped in fairies!  Not the kind that pack kits, order supplies or go to the post office sadly.  In fact they are the kind that sit there reminding me to get on with the stitching.  So, after what has turned out to be a very busy November, I have finally finished the 'fairy with attitude' pattern.

Full black

I love stitching this pattern.  It feels like playtime after all the work stuff.  I love choosing colours (mainly black white and red I've noticed!) and I love embellishing her hair, messing around with sock stripe patterns and wing possibilities ...  Best of all she is deceptively simple

Full red

She can be stitched with an embroidered dress or with an applique dress.  I recommend Liberty tana lawn for the applique as it is such a light strong fabric.  If you are in the UK you can buy small pieces from here at Duck egg threads.

Black silver wing

I think these fairies would make lovely stocking fillers.  I also think a bedroom 'keep out' sign might be fun (or a craft room or a chocolate cupboard...)

I will have some hand stitched versions of these for sale by next week I hope probably in the same cushion form as the lavender girls so they can be hung up as decorations.

I'm also working on that little boy fairy cushion and hope to have a pattern for him next week, still enough time to stitch a fairy cushion before Christmas I hope!

I know quite a few of you are long since started on your Christmas stitching and I hope you are all enjoying it.  I think I may need to start thinking about our family Christmas quite soon too!  A bit of knitting maybe...

x

 


Just a quick reminder

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A couple of years ago I did a short series of blog posts to stitch this little notebook cover for a Christmas lists notebook (being something of a notebook and list fanatic!)

I realised that I don't have a clear link to the posts anymore and Christmas is on the way so I have added a page above to link to any free stuff 

and here is the link to the beginning of the series for anyone who missed it the first time around

lilipopo Christmas stitch along


filling in the spaces with simple stitches

Slow stitching

I am still loving my slow stitching book and taking a little quiet time to stitch some patches.  I'm not quite sure what I intend to do with them at the end of all the stitching but...

It got me thinking that I really do love my stitching to be simple and relaxing.  I'm a huge fan of backstitch because it is so simple and does exactly what I need it to do.  

Wishes head

You can change the kind of line you create by changing the number of strands.  So for something delicate and sketchy like my catching wishes pattern I just used one strand of thread to give it an ethereal feel.

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whereas feeling witchy is much bolder and uses two threads.  I also love filling with back stitch.  This could be because satin stitch is definitely not my strong point but I like the sketchiness of back stitch filler.  And again it is different according to how many strands of threads you use.

So all this has got me thinking about filling the spaces.

Etsy red fairy cover

A lot of the dresses for my girls have fabric appliqued to fill the space but sometimes I like to stitch the space.

So here are a few ideas about how to fill the spaces

Stripes

There are always back stitch stripes, in the friends pattern I have used them for the hat and I often use them for tops and socks but they could also fill a dress nicely.   I have a habit of using three colours, a dark colour, a lighter version and an ecru always seem to work nicely.  You can either alternate them or you could have two rows of one and single rows of the others.   It's fun to mess around and see what effects you get.

Straight

I often just add straight stitches, I tend to prefer this to satin stitch as it's less heavy and seems to suit the girls more

I also used straight stitches in some of the trees below.  I find a pattern forms naturally as I stitch, but I will go back and undo if a stitch looks out of place.  I think a variegated thread would work nicely with these straight stitches.

Trees

for winter dream I used seed stitch for her dress.  I think this is my favourite way to fill dresses.  It's so relaxing, making tiny (1-2mm) stitches, each one running in a different direction to the last.  

I also sometimes like to create patterns in the spaces.  I especially love star stitches, just four single stitches crossing each other as in her scarf above.  Little crosses can suggest a knitted fairisle hat.  You could have rows of crosses and V stitches alternating in different colours.

Pattern

For the little reader I created a pattern for her dress rather than applique it.  I made a blue french knot and then just radiated lemon straight stitches out from it.  There are so many possibilities for filling those dresses and hats with very simple stitches and it's fun to mess around creating patterns with stitches.

I'd be interested to know whether you prefer simple stitching or to be challenged by more complex stitches and do you like creating your own patterns to fill the dresses or do you prefer to applique them?

There are tutorials for back stitch and french knots on my tutorials page

All the patterns area available in my Etsy shop

I will be back on Friday with a gorgeous book review by an embroiderer I love


lavender girl inspiration

Watermarked

Inbetween busyness with dull admin stuff and lots of supplies ordering for the Christmas season this is what I have been doing, having fun with lavender girls.

Dress collage

I love playing around with liberty tana lawn scraps.  I especially love  the turquoise Betsy at the moment.  The fabrics are (in a clockwise direction) grey Mitsi, yellow Kayoko, turquoise Betsy, red June's meadow.  All these are available from Alice Caroline on Etsy .

Head collage

The kits should be ready in a week or so

x


little red and kindred stitches

With flowers

The new issue of Kindred Stitches magazine is out now and it has my embroidery pattern for the sweet little red riding hood above

Kindred Stitches is a digital stitching magazine full of lots of beautiful projects.  You just can pop it on your tablet or computer

This issue is 'red and white' 

it has a beautiful hand embroidery pattern by Kelly Fletcher along with patchwork , fairy toadstools and a tote bag.

Little red angled 2

Little Red is a simple pattern with lots of long short stitch

so if you would like a little extra stitching go take a look at this lovely magazine

x

 

 


winter dream embroidery pattern

Water marked

It's finished.  I really loved the whole process of designing and stitching this one.  I think the soft colours and repetitive stitching were just what I needed this week while I was trying to decide on plans and stock for kits and fabric panels for the upcoming season!

It took quite a lot of drawing, stitching and redrawing to get this one just how I wanted it.  When the children were little I used a lot of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf methods in their education and I love the peaceful gentle art aesthetic associated with it all.  And I am a big lover of Robert Frost's poetry, one of my favourites being 'stopping by woods on a snowy evening'

Wm horse's head

and of course it was inspired by all the beautiful vintage dala horses out there.  Wouldn't it be lovely to ride off on one into snowy woods on a wintry evening

The pattern is in my shop now and I will be having fabric panels printed with this one later in the month.  I may also offer a kit for it in time for Christmas.

So all in all I'm feeling quite (unseasonably) Christmassy now!  In early October!!  Today I think I will have to go make squash soup and apple cake to get myself back into the autumn rhythm, or I could start my Christmas shopping early, for the first time ever, in my life!

I think soup and apple cake...

x


colour and threads

Colours

Today I have been deciding which colours to use for my new pattern and now I am writing this rather than getting on with the pattern tracing!  Choosing thread colours is probably my absolute favourite part of the whole design process.  In real life I am a wearer of neutrals, greys and blacks so I think lilipopo is where I can release my inner colourful self!

I tend to use either DMC or Anchor stranded cotton because they are usually readily available for most people.  And if you can only get one or the other (usually DMC is more available) there are conversion charts between the two, such as this one at Sew and So.

I do also love the sublime stitching colours but they are not as easy to get hold of so I don't tend to use them for my patterns, although I do use them for personal projects and commissioned work.

Anchor 19

I have my favourite basics, DMC black, DMC white and DMC ecru are always in my box.  Alongside those are DMC3799 a charcoal colour that is great for the girls faces and DMC451 a brown I sometimes use for faces or hair.  Then there is my all time favourite red - Anchor 19, I am always running out of it and nothing else ever seems quite the same.

I also have a tendency to buy the same colour over and over by accident, thinking I am buying a new colour.  I have four skeins of Anchor 168 sitting in my box!

Purples

Then there are the colours that I struggle with a little.  Purples!  These two are my favourite purples and really they are quite close to greys.  I don't use purple very much as I find it quite a difficult colour to work with.  Is it just me?  or do you have colours that you just never really pick up?

Blues greens

So back to choosing colours for my new pattern.  These soft blue green colours have been calling to me and there are some trees in the pattern that would suit.  

Soft

along with these lovely peachy soft colours.  I definitely have a hankering for quite soft colours at the moment which will probably mean that I work this pattern onto white fabric rather than my usual 'natural' essex linen as soft colours can disappear into the natural colour, especially when photographed.

Dala colours wmk

It's a wintry pattern that I hope will be a nice Christmas pattern.  I will have it ready for mid October so lots of time to stitch it before Christmas!  I think I might do a printed fabric panel for it too.

Do you enjoy the colour choosing process or do you prefer to have a list of colours so you can get down to the stitching?

And now back to the pattern tracing or maybe a little while in pinterest land first...

x