on my work table

colour and threads


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!


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.  


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...




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.


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


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

Here is part two of my sulky fabri solvy journey

on my spring work table


The sun has started to shine outside and it's feeling much more like spring.  The teens even mentioned swimming in the sea the other day (although I noticed that they didn't actually swim).  So it's time for a new spring pattern, a flower gardener.  

This is probably the most complicated pattern I have made.  I don't want to make the stitching too complicated but there is just more going on in it, hopefully, once it's finished, lots of flowers!


I was test stitching flowers last week along with a bit of fern stitch, a fun thing to spend my time on :)  I should point out that I am absolutely not a gardener! We do have one house plant that my lovely daughter gave me on Mother's day, I am trying my hardest to keep it alive.  I love flowers, plants, weeds, vegetables... I love drawing them and stitching them but I am just not a gardener.  So I have to let others do the hard work while I just draw, stitch and eat the fruits of their labour.

Flower gardener 2

and now I am working on the first stitching draft.  I was aiming for this to be finished by the end of the month but I can feel April creeping up on me and I'm not so sure that it will be!

I have been asked about her cheeks.  I use faber castell polychromos pencil crayons if I add colour to the faces.  They are oily so go on nicely and stay there.  I think if you are in USA the prisma color pencils are very similar in quality.

I am panicking a little about the fence as I'm not quite sure how I'm going to stitch it but I'm sure it will work out in the end!  And hopefully look like a fence!

Wip flower gardener 1

I am loving having lots of lovely soft colours sitting on my work table but I also think bright colours might work well for this pattern too.  It may change a little before it is finally a pattern but she will be a flower gardener and there will be lots of flowers, and a watering can.  I love watering cans, they remind me of my childhood, perhaps that was my job in the garden!


Just a quick note, my blog has been behaving a little oddly and closing comments before I can reply to them!  I am not sure why but if you have commented and not received a reply I am sorry !  I have read the comments and always love reading them and usually replying to them!  I will try to sort the techy stuff out


mini designs for mini frames


Quite some time ago (before christmas) I was contacted by Shelby from Ewoodstory to see if I would like to create something using their lovely frames and pendants.  I loved the idea and Shelby sent me some frames to try out.


aren't they gorgeous?

she also sent the sweetest little wooden flowers, a bit like sequins with a central hole so you can stitch them on with a bead.

Wooden flowers

I plan to use these in a very different sort of project later in the month

So, back to the frames...

As I doodled ideas into my sketch book I realized that there were lots of things I would quite like to fit into these little frames

beginning with little heads

Girl c 2

I love the shape of the oval half n half pendant

and then moving onto flowers

Vase of flowers whole

In the end I came up with eleven tiny patterns (between one and two inches tall)  with tiny stitches.

Main collage

and the pattern that includes all these designs is over in my shop 

Tomorrow I will pop a tutorial on here to show how I attached the finished embroideries to the pendants.


ideas, details and questions

Blog two

I spent a lot of time on trains last year so I have an awful lot of sketches but most of them don't make it to be embroidery patterns because I just love a bit of detail, detail that I suspect most people might not want to trace onto fabric.

But it seems I may be wrong

Blog one

yesterday I shared this drawing on instagram and facebook and was surprised to see that some of my lovely followers would like to see it as a pattern.  I am curious to know how you feel about lots of tracing.

Are you happy to do lots of tracing?

Do you always trace all the lines or do you copy the picture sometimes rather than trace the whole thing?

Do you print the pattern directly onto the fabric?

Would you prefer something more complex already printed onto cotton so you can just start stitching?

I love the idea of stitching a whole picture, perhaps for framing so I think this will be my next project after my mini frame patterns are finished.

Next week I have a little freebie for the colouring in fans among you as a thankyou for a wonderful year last year.


the making of a pattern

Blog drawings

I thought I would do a little post about how I go about designing the patterns which may or may not explain why they take so long from start to finish...

It begins with a pencil drawing in my sketchbook, then I make a pen drawing that I think is the right size.  I trace the pen drawing and start stitching.  In this case I stitched the smaller girl in black and hated it!  It just didn't look the way I had imagined it.  But this happens...

So I photocopied her a little bigger, traced her out onto white linen cotton and began again

Blog process stitching

I change things when I'm stitching, I changed her arms and decided a sprigged dress would be rather nice, her tights got a little spottier than the drawing too.

Scruffy note taking

and all the time I'm stitching I'm writing scruffy notes.  I would like my notes to look beautiful but I have a habit of grabbing the nearest pen and scribbling, perhaps I should write them out again when I have time because I keep these for reference with the drawing and the first stitching.

Blog process

once I am happy with the stitching I will redraw the drawing with the changes that I've made and then move on to the  computer to use  Adobe Illustrator to make all the lines look perfect when it's printed off.  Next all of the photographing (and the waiting for a sunny day!) and the photo editing.

Finally I write up the notes and restitch the pattern and it's ready.

The whole pic

This one is just at the end of it's first stitching so on to the computer today I think.   But not until after we have walked the dog in the beautiful sunshine that we have today!


on my work table

Blog 2

The new year is starting gradually with some new work.   Little tiny heads stitched on calico and then backed onto felt

Blog 5

Before Christmas I received some lovely little pendant frames from Ewoodstory to have a mess around with and come up with a pattern to fit inside.  The frame above is the olive  and I have come up with three little heads to fit into it.  I also have one of these that I will be making drawings for and stitching next week.

Blog 3

I've really enjoyed doing a bit of tiny stitching.  I managed to mostly get away with two strands but the face and neck are just a single strand.  Once the pattern is ready I will show how I attach the embroidery to the frame.  It really is very simple.

Blog 4

and the other thing that has found it's way onto my work table just today is the very beginning of a new pattern.

It has been exceptionally windy and wet in the UK recently and I will admit that I tend not to use an umbrella precisely because of the above picture.  I did once have a hurricane umbrella that lasted quite well but even that couldn't fight with Cornish wind and rain, not to mention the waves coming over on to the prom!

So I was inspired to draw an umbrella girl!

Now on to stitching her!

Busy days... christmas is coming

Back stitch

Oh gosh!  It's that time of year again!  No blogging, lots of secret commission work, lots of autumnal home education while the weather is wetter.  So I thought I would share some pics of something I've been working on that isn't a secret

Friends wip

This best friends stitchery is going to be available as a kit next week.  I've designed it to be framed in the hoop but I'm thinking it would also look nice as the central panel of a small cushion.  

Friends heads together

I'm probably going to release it as a pattern as well but with a warning that it has been adapted from the three girls pattern.  The girl on the right has been changed.

Friends full

The kit will be available with or without a hoop and perhaps as a panel on it's own to embroider.

It doesn't have lilipopo embroidery written on it!

Fairy cushion Collage

There are also tooth fairy cushion kits in the shop.  Or if you prefer to choose your own materials the pattern and tutorial for making them.

I have one last lavender girl kit in the shop but I have run out of liberty fabric for one of the lavender girls and I can't find it anymore so I will be changing the fabric over the next week or so and then the girls will be back in stock.

Back to stitching and sketching and educating...


on my work table

Today 001

Today is just one of those muddly days when I can't really settle to anything.  I spent the morning photographing my embroidery stuff for a series of blog posts for beginners starting next Friday.  Then I started sketching from my long long list of ideas for patterns but then I got restless and switched to reading

Today 2

so I drifted off looking at flower paintings.  I am loving reading about the crazy tulipmania in the Netherlands in the 17th century, breaking into people's greenhouses and stealing their bulbs, not to mention bulbs worth 17 years of a carpenter's wage!!  

But mostly I just love Flemish Art.  

The British book has some nice botanical paintings too but the stories aren't quite so dramatic!

Finally, towards the end of the day I found my ink and pens as I was tidying

Today 3

and started doodling... but then the children came back from their sea swimming and the house filled up with noise and wet clothes and towels and hunger... 

And now it's quiet for a short while, children fed and most of the wet stuff drying.  So a little time to procrastinate on the internet.