on my work table

A weekend holiday

Teague

This weekend was my middle 6ft3 'child's' 21st birthday.  I only have one left under 18 and not for very much longer!  We hired a car (we don't have a car, we love walking, trains and bikes usually) and took local trips that we can't always do.  Saturday was spent at Sennen beach with a surfboard, body boards and an evening picnic with friends watching the sun go down over the sea.  A beautiful way to spend the evening before his birthday.

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Sunday afternoon (the poor boy had to work in the morning, saving for college) was spent at the most beautiful place in the whole of Cornwall (well we think so), Nanjizal cove.  It even has a beautiful name! Lovely family time and lemon drizzle birthday cake.

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There are flowers everywhere here in Cornwall at the moment.  I love this time of year,  the hedgerows are overflowing with flowers, everything looks beautiful and it's so easy to forget that it was ever winter.  We are well into pink and purple flower season now as you can tell.

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I did also manage to get some stitching done last week.  I am working on a new pattern, that comprises of two designs that sit well together, inspired by flowers and butterflies.  I've kept the girl very simple and then embellished with lots of flowers and butterflies.

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I was enticed by quite muted colours for these two hoops (I am in love with DMC 3726 and DMC 316 at the moment) but I think they would look nice in bright colours or pastels too.

There was a bit of a gap between posts over May, it turned into a very busy month with a lot of exam stress as my youngest is doing her final A level exams but I should be back to more regular blogging now.

I hope you are all enjoying the seasons (whichever you may be in) and having a little time for stitching

x

 

 

 


remembering my threads

Lilipopo thread folder fullI have a terrible habit of absolutely loving a particular colour, coming to the end of it and then completely forgetting what it was.  I probably should have been keeping a record of my colours before now but there we go!

So this week I gradually started wrapping some of my favourite colours around card and labeling them.  

Lilipopo thread folderThey are not in any particular order, although it might have been nicer to have them all graded.  But I have a card for each colour group (or I will have when they are finished)  and then I keep all the cards in a folder in my Midori notebook.

At first I just snipped a small piece and taping it down but you don't get such a clear idea of the colour so I started again and wrapped each colour around the card 5 times which is much better.

Lilipopo liberty fabrics

and it's not just thread colours that I forget!  Liberty have a habit of discontinuing their fabrics sometimes.  When this happens I have to go on a trawl around the internet to see if I can find another stockist who still has some left.  The only trouble is I can never remember the name of the fabric so I have to look through all the liberty fabrics (such a chore ;)) to find the one I want.  Not any more!  Now I am keeping swatches with names in my Midori.  Again I would recommend keeping quite large snips of the fabric as some of the prints can be very similar, especially if you are looking at photos online, so it's good to be able to see as much of the pattern as possible.

I'm actually enjoying wrapping the threads, it's quite meditative and allows me a little time to think about colour.

On another note I will have my princess pattern available on Friday 

  Lilipopo princess embroidery pattern I have loved working on this little princess, surrounding myself in pink for a while.  

The pattern also has a version with an embroidered dress and one to fit an oval hoop.  I will share more pictures on Friday

I would love to hear if you have methods for remembering your favourite threads and fabrics.

Have a lovely week

x

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

 

 

 


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.

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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.

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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