on my work table

tips on filling spaces with backstitch

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

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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. 

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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

 


sometimes things just don't go according to plan

Lilipopo embroidery feeling witchy 2

This year I thought I was organized!  I thought I would have the hallowe'en panels ready in plenty of time for any hallowe'en stitching and the little caravan, putting up the tree and new lavender girl kits all ready with no mad late nights working and rushing.  But then fate stepped in.  I love the linen sampler for feeling witchy but I have had to stitch her with my magnifying lamp and a little imagination as her lines were just too fine for the linen.  The writing was too bold on the 'my little caravan' panel when the sample arrived.  The 'putting up the tree' panel was a little too small.  And finally I had forgotten to put the stripes on the lavender girl's top!

I was so disappointed after telling customers that 'yes' I would have a hallowe'en sampler in September, 'yes' I will have a Christmas sampler very soon...  After a cup of tea I reminded myself that the point of samples is to iron out the little problems, I want the panels to be as good as they possibly can be. 

So I reordered the hallowe'en sampler on cotton instead of linen,  I reordered the little caravan with lighter writing,  I reordered a bigger Christmas tree and I put the stripes on the lavender girls and reordered them too.

I'm really hoping I have learned the lesson of patience but I'm not too sure, we'll see the next time.

  Lilipopo embroidery kitties

And there are some positive results from all this waiting time...  I have had time to begin rough ideas for new work and a new kit.  I have been improving my Adobe illustrator skills so that I can create a kitty kit with colour printed onto the fabric!  Something I find quite exciting.  I have no doubt I may need a few samples before this one is perfect but I will have to continue developing my patience.

Lilipopo embroidery winter inspiration

And there has been time to be inspired by beautiful children's books, colours of threads, autumnal coastal walks to Mousehole and fairy tales read aloud.

I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of whichever season you are entering into and feeling calm and patient.

x


Christmas preparations

Lilipopo christmas tree embroidery

I am a staunch no Christmas until the 1st of December by nature but in my business I really have to get my head around Christmas so very much earlier!  I have spent August thinking and planning for it and now I am sorting out kits and printed fabric panels.  By the time Christmas comes I think I'll be ready for summer!

Lilipopo christmas embroidery

But I think there is also something quite nice about starting to think about Christmas as autumn begins because we can plan our crafty gift giving.  I think anyone who loves to make things is used to thinking ahead about Christmas.  It's not the stressy panicking kind of thinking but a slow enjoyable thinking. 

I love to spend my autumn evenings knitting or stitching gifts for family and friends.  I love choosing the design and colours to suit the person I am making the gift for but I also love the opportunity to slow down and spend some time thinking about the person while I stitch or knit.  Maybe that's why so many of us love crafting, because we are doing something useful while still being able to relax and unwind.

Lilipopo christmas tree detail embroidery

I've especially enjoyed revisiting my Christmas tree sampler over the last couple of weeks.  This is the first printing of a fabric panel that I've been testing.  It's a linen cotton mix and a bit thicker and softer than the cotton that my samples have been printed on up until now.  It's really lovely to stitch!  I have a few tweaks to make before the final printing but I really like the fabric.  I haven't gone for traditional Christmas colours because I just felt like blues and pinks.  And that's another thing I love about embroidery, I can stitch it any colours I like!  

So now it's probably time to look at the crafting that I want to do for this Christmas so I can spend a pleasurable autumn stitching and knitting with tea and fruit cake.  Can you tell that today is a bit of a rainy autumnal day?!   In fact I think I may well go make a fruit cake now I've thought about it.

What are your crafting plans for the autumn?

x


caravans and colour

Finished first caravan

I have been working on a new caravan pattern, one that fits into a hoop to be framed but could still work as a cushion centre or in a square picture frame.  Last weekend I would have loved to have had this little caravan as we danced in the mud and rain at WOMAD.  Our little tents kept us dry but I think this caravan might have been a little more luxurious!  

WOMAD was absolutely fabulous despite the rain, it's hard to complain about a bit of rain when there are musicians from Syria along with the Survivors of the Khmer Rouge making the most beautiful music.  It really is such a positive festival that reminds you that we are all just people striving to be as happy as we can be, no matter where we are from.  Music always seems to me to be the best art form for crossing boundaries and bringing people together.

Since getting back my youngest has turned 17!  I can't quite believe that next year all my children will be adults.  

Colour and pattern

And so now I can get back to a little bit of stitching.  I've been choosing the colours for the final version of the caravan.  I had to change a few small details, the cups and saucers were just too tiny to see properly once stitched so we are drinking tea out of mugs.  And my original handwritten 'happiness' was a little messy so that has been adapted along with a few other details.

I am leaning towards a palette with a lot of pinks, reds and peaches although I think the main outline colour will still be blue and I might add a little purple if I can find the right one.  Choosing the colours is always my favourite part, although I do sometimes change or add to them as I go along if something isn't working or something else is needed.  I have been known to unpick a lot of stitching because a colour that looks beautiful on the bobbin simply doesn't work in the embroidery.

Details

I'm also having a bit of fun with stitches in this pattern, trying to fit a few more in.  I love couching and am really happy with the way the knots turned out at the end, there's also a bit of satin stitch using quite long stitches.  Satin stitch is not a stitch I use very much so I'm challenging myself to include it more as it's a great filler for certain kinds of areas.  I will be adding some stitch tutorials to the blog as I go along over the next month or two.

I also have a winter sampler plan in my head but at the moment it is only in my head!  I'm feeling quite excited about the idea of working with more stitches and I love old samplers so hopefully more of that to come.

Finally I have a couple of fab resources for you.  

Marna Lunt is an English embroiderer and tutor (as well as a snow globe collector)  I love her style of stitching and she has the most fabulous free introduction to stitching course.  It is packed with videos of lots of stitches and she is just lovely.  You just need to sign up to her newsletter to have access to the course.  She also has more advanced courses that you can pay for and she does workshops.

The other thing I have been having some fun with is Creative Bug I think you can try it for free for a couple of weeks then it costs about £3.50 (it's in dollars so it changes) a month and there are just so many art and craft videos.  There is a lovely embroidery sampler tutorial by Rebecca Ringquist that is lots of fun to do.  I particularly love all the 31 day drawing challenges as I am not particularly good at making sure I draw every day but there are all sorts of classes on there.

Now I'm going to plan a party to celebrate my and my friends big birthday.  We are having a Hawaii theme due to the particular age that we have reached...  I will leave you to work it out!

Have a fabulous weekend

x


in the garden - in the pink

Full warmer

I really don't know what happened to last week's post!  One minute it was Monday and then the next minute it seemed to be a week later with no blog post!  I think the sun coming out must have addled my brain a little.  But I'm here now (having got used to seeing sun again!)

Recently a customer pointed out that I didn't have an image of the actual sampler of 'in the garden' stitched up.  I realized she was right!  The samples in my images were stitched up on linen so I decided it was a good excuse to stitch up another one in pinks!

So this 'in the garden' is the actual sampler stitched up all in pinks with a touch of purple and red.  Anyone who buys the sampler or pattern will receive the pinks colour guide along with the original guides but for anyone who has bought the pattern before I thought I would pop the list of colours that I used here on my blog.

Hair stitching warmer

 

DMC 779 dark brown

DMC 451 mid brown

DMC 326 red

DMC 961 bright pink

DMC 761 paler pink

DMC 754 peach

DMC 3042 purple

The garland is pale pink and the hearts are peach

Dress stitching

The sleeves of the dress and the underskirt are outlined in peach.  The sleeves are striped with peach and pale pink.  The fern stitch and the petals on the underskirt are pale pink.  The back stitch stripes are peach.  The outline of the overdress is bright pink.

Lower dress and plants

The boots are red and the plants are purple and pink with peach butterflies

I think this is my favourite colour version of my 'in the garden' pattern so far!  I think the Spring is making me a little pink happy

Ballet dancer

This week I also got my dancer pattern into my Etsy shop.  I have stitched quite a few versions of this dancing girl and finally decided on one girl with a longer dress and ribbon shoes

Short dress dancers cover

and a second girl with the same hair but with a shorter dress, stripy stockings and plain pumps.  I've given instructions for her to have an embroidered dress or an appliqued dress.  You could easily applique the longer dress too if you wished.

I've really enjoyed stitching lots of versions of her and I think I will be stitching some to sell in the shop as well.

I hope you are enjoying all your stitching and (at least in the UK) enjoying the spring sunshine 

x

 

 


on my work table

Spring bunnies small

Earlier this week it was actually sunny!  And to top that I saw my first mini eggs in the shop.  So I have been practicing my photography with eastery goodness and pretty flowers.  What a perfect excuse to buy lovely local spring flowers and to eat all of the mini eggs (after the photographs of course).

Pink and blue lavender girl kits

I have been packing kits so I took advantage of the sunshine to photograph the girls with the mini eggs (I think everything goes with mini eggs really!)  I do have some kits over in the shop now 

Red girl

and then the mini eggs were gone but the flowers remained (and still remain looking beautiful in jam jars around the house)

Ballet shoes blog

I do get quite a lot of requests for a dancer embroidery pattern.  I have stitched dancers for people in the past but somehow a pattern has never materialized.  But now that is being rectified.  This week I have been doing the first stitchings based on my dancer sketch.  One dancer has a longer dress with ballet shoes.  I've been stitching her in two beautiful soft colours DMC 950 which is a blush colour and DMC 224 which is a dusky pink.

Red ballet pumps blog

The second dancer is (as you can see) much brighter!  And has a shorter dress and  back stitched pumps

Dancer head blog

I normally stitch hair using backstitch but I thought stem stitch might give a nice twisted effect and I'm really pleased with the results.  Just rows of stem stitch following the line of her hair and placed very close together.  Then, of course, all of the french knots!

I'm going to be working on this pattern all next week so I'm hoping to have it finished for the beginning of April.  I want to add a few optional flowers around her I think and maybe try one of them with an appliqued dress.

And now for a lovely weekend off with hopes of sunshine tomorrow!

Happy UK mother's day to all of the mothers out there  I hope you have a beautiful day

x


spring stitching on grey days

New cover

Earlier this week I decided to spruce up my spring bunny girl pattern and restitch her.  I've changed the pattern ever so slightly and added extra photos and more instructions.  She really is very simple to stitch, almost completely back stitch with just one thread.

Outlined in grey

in fact I rather liked her at this stage just outlined in grey.  I think you could quite happily just stitch her like this or go in the opposite direction and add an appliqued dress.

So, with Easter on the way and beautiful pink tulips in my workspace (and an awful lot of grey outside!) I decided to do a little spring stitching

Spring stitching

I dived right into pinterest and looked for cute tutorials for my stitchy project.  Needless to say this whiled away quite a bit of time.  I looked at book covers and drawstring bags (all added to my cute tutorials board) and decided on this lovely simple drawstring bag tutorial by S.O.T.A.K handmade  (She also has some beautiful patterns in her shop).

The tutorial was beautifully simple to follow, I made a couple of small changes simply because I wanted a smaller bag.  So my  measurements for the main fabric and the lining pieces were 6" x 7" and my measurements for the casing were 6" x 4".

I used a 1 cm seam allowance (just under half an inch) because it's clearly marked on my sewing machine and I like to make things easy for myself.  I didn't make the tag and just used my embroidered piece (centred and cut down to 6" x 7") as the front of the bag.

Spring stitching bag

and I now have a lovely little drawstring bag to pop mini Easter eggs into or perhaps a cute little sewing bag for my summery outdoor stitching?  

Bunny main pic

after all I could always make another little bag with these little bunnies on for the Easter eggs...

I hope you're enjoying some spring weather and spring stitching

x


on my work table

Smaller

flowers for a unicorn on my table at the moment.  I love the medieval tapestries and paintings of unicorns lying in fields of flowers

Me045

medieval unicorns always look so peaceful and calm, although I don't think my unicorn is going to be fenced in!

I want the flowers to be more modern and fun, I have absolutely fallen in love with the bright green blue of DMC 3849

Smaller 2

especially with cream and pale pink.  Not so keen on the reds so I might be dropping those from my palette.

As for the unicorn himself there is no sneak peak yet as I am torn between a restful unicorn and a prancing unicorn!

This stitching is happening in between some tedious (to me) learning about photographing, lighting and photoshop!  I wish I loved photography but I have to admit it is the part I like the least but February is down in my bullet journal as 'photography month'  (you see I don't even have a picture of that!)  And so I have committed myself to improving my photography and hopefully, in March you will be seeing perfect photographs with no blurry bits and stand out detail!  Hopefully...

I hope you're having a lovely February and have a more fun project than photography skills for the month (thank goodness for the stitching in between)

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