on my work table

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


shop update

Girls collage

At the moment I am busy stitching dancers, fairies and girls.  I love doing this because it's so much fun creating each little character.  Which dress?  Boots or dancing slippers? Crazy hair or tamed hair? Stripes and more stripes... And then the little french knot embellishments.  It's a lovely calm time in between checking stock, packing and trips to the post office.

Delicate silver grey

Red dancer

These two girls feel like dancers with their delicate shoes and dance poses.  

Red fairy

Grey fairy

fairies with attitude.  I will also have some framed fairies once I have worked out the best way to back the oval hoops.

Gold hat full

Red mitsi

and girls in boots to celebrate my own new winter boots!!!!

I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas stitching

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

 


On my work table

Hair

thanks to all my lovely customers my work table has been mostly full of kit supplies and packaging while I have been sending out such a lot of lavender girl kits!  How lovely to think of all the lavender girls that are being stitched this winter.

But I have had a moment or two to carry on working on this 'fairy with attitude' design.  I've used my absolute favourite Liberty fabric - red mitsy for this prototype.  Sadly I can't get hold of any more but I may have enough for a couple of dresses!  

I'm still tweaking the dress design and thinking of adding a stitched dress design as well as an applique pattern.  I have a tutu idea in my head but whether it will work in stitch as well as it works in my head...

Legs and boots

I love stitching with one strand of thread (using my super duper magnifying lamp!) because it looks so much more like my original drawing but I am also stitching her up using two strands to give a more solid line.  I think she'll work with both but the effect will be different.

I'm also looking at these oval flexi hoops 

Catching wishes

I used the round one for catching wishes and they are so easy to stitch and then frame in.  I also love the little Victorian look hanger at the top.  I think these may be easier for using in the kits too as they stay taut.

New designs

I love the lace and the Christmassy fabric.  I was thinking of making her into a sort of mini quilt hanging...

Little elf

I also have a little elf drawing on my work table that is soon to become a fairy cushion for boys.  My own two boys were always very happy to have messages and gifts from the fairies so it's probably about time I designed a boy version!

I'm also messing around with my blog template so that it works on mobile phones and ipads, because not everyone is as old fashioned as I am and still using a laptop for looking at blogs!  It will probably change again before I am happy with it...

Now for hot chocolate and a nice film on this grey cold evening

x

 


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


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

 

 


on my work table

Flowers blog

at the moment I am slowly slowly stitching a girl with flowers on her mind.  Reading 'mrs Dalloway', on her way to buy flowers, popped the idea into my mind.  I love the idea of her being stitched in greys with all the flowers around her.  But I'm also torn about whether to give her an applique dress so I may have to include both options.

Flowers so far blog

I'm also torn about the flowers.  I'm filling them in at the moment but I really like them outlined with just the french knot centres so I may do both versions of that too.  I think this pattern may take a little while to finish, I know I need to stitch another one and photograph the processes for all the different flowers.  I am very much making it up as I go along and thoroughly enjoying it.  That long short stitch has snuck in again for her hat.  I just love the knitted texture that it gives.

I do have another pattern on the go but no pictures yet.  It will have to stay secret for a few more days.

Printed fabric panel

I have also finally sorted out some wonky sheds printed onto fabric.  There are only a couple in my etsy shop at the moment but I will be ordering more next week if you miss out.

Now I think a little more sketching and stitching while I listen to the wonderful Melvyn Bragg telling me how great the North of England is but of course I already knew how great it is.

x


sulky fabri solvy and wonky sheds

Cat stitching

Sulky Fabri Solvy -  it has been sitting on my shelf ever since one of the lovely instagram ladies recommended it to me.  This week I decided to spruce up my wonky shed design ready for printing onto fabric in September and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try the sulky.

Sticky fabri solvy

so it's basically a sticky backed stabilizer that you can put through the printer and then stick to your fabric.  You stitch over it and when you're done simply rinse it away so the pattern disappears and you are left with your beautiful stitching.  It is quite expensive, mine cost £9.91 for twelve sheets.

It went through the printer perfectly and the lines are nice and bold.  I was worried that it would be difficult to stick down smoothly but it wasn't the case it was easy to stick to the fabric

Transferred

I stuck it to my usual Robert Kauffman Essex linen in ivory so there was no problem.  I do want to try it out on felt too though.

I pretty much always stitch using a hoop and was a bit nervous about how well it would sit in the hoop, whether it would come apart from the fabric or shift but it seems okay.  I haven't tightened the hoop as much as I usually would though.

In the hoop

I found that the stitching was a little harder (I really do mean 'a little').  I knew that the needle gets a little sticky and you need to wipe it, which had put me off, but it hasn't happened very much at all.  Back stitch was pretty straight forward.  I think stem stitch might actually be easier to do without the hoop but maybe that's always true!  I started filling the cushions under the cat but to be honest I think I would just stitch all the lines then remove the sulky and do any filling in afterwards.  This is just because the stitching is a little stiffer which makes the filling in a little tedious.

Sleeping cat

I have only done a little bit of my stitching so I will write a second post next week about how it rinses away and the end result.  At the moment it seems a great way to transfer a larger more complicated pattern for anyone who doesn't like transferring or has difficulty with the transfer process.  
So back to my wonky shed stitching

x
Here is part two of my sulky fabri solvy journey