hints for stitching to frame in a hoop

Recently I've been using ivory essex linen for my stitching which is a lot lighter than the natural colour.  I do try to keep the backs of my embroideries very neat, avoiding knots and carried threads, but sometimes (almost always) there is a place where I just have to carry a thread.  If I then want to frame the finished embroidery in a hoop there is a risk of it shadowing on the front of the embroidery.

Lilipopo on the wall

I originally framed this fairy in a flexi hoop temporarily but liked her so much she has stayed in the hoop with no backing.  She was stitched on the natural essex linen and there is no shadowing coming through despite using black threads

Lilipopo light

As you can see, if I hold her up to the light then the shadowing is clear (all those carried threads!!).  With the lighter colour Essex linen I was worried that this would show through.  I normally back the hoop with felt but I would hate to put all that work in only to turn it over and realize there was a shadow of a thread showing through.

So a simple solution

Lilipopo double fabric

I know there are lots of stabilizers out there but it seemed far simpler to just use a second piece of fabric behind the first and stitch through both.  I like the effect as the fabric feels less translucent and I can still use the lovely Essex linen to stitch and no shadowing.

This works beautifully on the printed fabric panels too.

I do have a tutorial for the way I normally back a hoop over here

It would be lovely to hear about what you use as a stabilizer or backing and how you like to frame or finish your embroideries.

x


a mermaid tale

Lilipopo mermaid stitch fixed

I have been enjoying a quiet but busy January so far, lots of stitching and even more sketching and painting.  Yesterday I decided it was time to warm up the old computer so I could get on with finishing the mermaid pattern and this morning I have her in my Etsy shop 

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I have been having some fun playing around a little with stitches and so I came up with her tail stitch which fills the tail very prettily.  I have also been practicing consistency with my chain stitch (testing my patience a little) but I think I finally have a rhythm going, as long as no-one interrupts me. 

Generally speaking I like to use a hoop as I find I can keep the tension in my stitching more even.  But I found long lines of chain stitch a little easier without the hoop really or at least with a small hoop just covering the area I have to stitch.  An 8" hoop can be a little unwieldy for rhythmic stitching sometimes.  Do you prefer to hoop or not to hoop?

The fish tail stitch is very simple and began with rows of back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 1

I made sure that my stitches met at the top point of all the half stars.  My star stitches are roughly the same size as my back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 2

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 3

Once the half star stitches were in place I added french knots in between using 3 strands of thread instead of 2 and a contrasting colour.

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 4

This is such a simple stitch but I love the textural effect.

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I think the mermaid would make a nice cushion doll.  Just stitched on her own and then cut out with a seam allowance and backed and stuffed.  This might be my next bit of stitching...

Lilipopo mushroom reader

Another project that I have been busy with this month is creating this girl who has found a quiet spot to do a bit of reading.  I am thinking of creating prints of this and possibly notecards (I have an addiction to notecards!).

I hope you are enjoying a quiet cozy creative January

x


stems and outlines some tips

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Stem stitch is not a stitch I use a great deal for outlining my figures because it tends to create a thicker line than I like but it can make a good outline for clothing or a decorative line but also fabulous hair. 

For the longest time I have been stitching two different stitches under the mistaken impression that they were the same stitch just approached from a different direction.  I thought both stitches were stem stitch but it turns out that one was stem stitch while the other was outline stitch.  I had even seen it referred to as outline stitch but there are quite often different names for the same stitch so I didn't pay too much attention.  It was only when I came to do some research for this post that I realized that they are indeed two stitches.  One, outline stitch, has a smoother edge while the other, stem stitch has a more jaggedy edge

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The example above is outline stitch  (it is stitched onto a piece of Robert Kauffman Essex linen in dusty blue).

and I stitched the top straight row using 4 strands of thread.  The second straight row and the curved row were stitched using 2 strands.

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To begin make a straight stitch but before you pull the thread all the way through bring your needle up through the fabric about half way along the stitch making sure the loop from the first stitch is above your needle (or further away from you).  This is what makes it an outline stitch.

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Pull the whole thing through and you can see that my thread, in the picture above, is  coming from underneath the first stitch.  Now take your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch (your actual stitch length goes back to the middle of the previous stitch).  Again don't pull your stitch right through

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Now bring your needle up at the end of the previous stitch as shown above.  You will continue in this way until you get to the end of the line.

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You can also follow a curved line beautifully.  Making the stitches shorter or longer can also change the way the stitch looks.  I like to use this stitch with more threads to create a thick rope like line, it makes fabulous hair because it curves nicely.

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For stem stitch you create your first stitch but pull it through fully then bring your needle just above the middle of the stitch as shown above

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Next bring your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch as you did for outline stitch and pull through

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Bring your needle back up just above the middle of the last stitch and continue in the same way

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I'm sorry for the slight blur (fast fading light in winter!)  Hopefully you can see the stem stitched pink line has a more twisted edge than the lower green outlined line.  Both can be used well on curves you just need to decide whether you want a smoother edge or a more decorative edge for your stitching.

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A fun use for stem stitch are these little flowers.  I made a french knot using 4 strands of a paler pink (I double wrapped it).

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Next I made a small straight stitch along the edge of the knot (you can push it into place with your fingers so it doesn't cover the knot).

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Then, using the same stem stitch technique, I brought the needle up just above the centre of the first stitch and made another stitch moving around the french knot centre.  You just continue going round until the flower is as big as you would like it to be.  The stitches should be a little longer on each round.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you find some time for a little cosy stitching.

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

 

 

 


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and pattern (part two)

Today I have the instructions for sewing the needle book together.  If you are looking for the pattern and the embroidery tutorial it is over here

To sew the needle book together

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Place the lining fabric and the embroidered/quilted piece right sides together and stitch around the edge with a 1" or 2" gap for turning (see picture above).  Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the edges and clip the corners.  My edges are about 0.5cm from the stitching line

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Then squish the whole thing through the gap and turn the right way around.

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press it open making sure you have good sharp corners.  Whip stitch the gap closed by hand. 

Now you will need your piece of felt

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Place your felt inside the needlebook with about a half centimetre around the edge as above.  Find the centre by folding the whole thing in half (you can draw a chalk line on the felt if your fold isn't clear) then stitch down the centre line using running stitch and anchor 874.

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To attach the fastening threads measure half way up the side of the needlebook where the lining meets the front cover.

thread your needle with 3 strands of Anchor 874 about 20cm long.  Put your needle in at the half way point and pull the thread through as though you are making a tiny stitch (as above) but only pull the thread half way through then take the needle off.  You are left with two tails about 10cm long.

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Now tie a knot close to the edge of the needlebook to fasten your threads there.

Do exactly the same on the opposite side of the needlebook

Now you can tie the threads together to close the needlebook as shown below

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I hope you enjoy stitching your little butterfly and (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) it reminds you that spring is on its way, especially when we get to February that longest shortest month!

Happy New Year and I will see you again in 2018

x

 

 

 

 


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and free pattern (part one)

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I hope you have all enjoyed the winter celebrations and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.  As a little thank you for all the lovely support you have given me over this past year I have created a little butterfly pattern that you can download here

I used it for the cover of a little needlebook but you could pop it anywhere.  I think it would look sweet on a little notebook cover.  You could add flowers or stitch lots of butterflies.

These are the threads I used for the butterfly

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DMC 598 blue

DMC 3854 orange

DMC 352 coral

DMC ecru

Anchor 874 gold (the equivalent DMC is DMC 834)

DMC 451 brown

 

a piece of cotton or linen (I used cotton calico) 17cm x 11cm

a piece of quilt batting 17cm x 11cm

a piece of co-ordinating lining fabric 17cm x 11cm (I used Liberty tana lawn Claire Aude D)

a piece of co-ordinating felt 14cm x 8cm

a number 7 crewel needle

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If you are making the needle book you need to fold your calico in half and trace the pattern onto the left side (what will be the front of the needlebook) using a removable pen (transferring patterns). 

Now, using 3 strands of DMC 598 and stem stitch outline the top wings of the butterfly.  Next, using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and stem stitch outline the lower wings.

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Now work on the upper wings stitching both in the same way.

Take 3 strands of DMC 352 and, using rows of back stitch fill the edging of the top wings on both sides as above.

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Now fill the tall triangles on the top wings using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and back stitch.

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Fill the circles with Anchor 874 and satin stitch, again using 3 strands.

Next fill the wings with ecru thread and back stitch.  I used a slightly longer stitch than usual for this part (about 3 - 4mm)  Just stitch lines of back stitch and then add more lines next to those until you have filled the whole area

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Next take 3 strands of DMC 451 and use back stitch to outline the body and stitch the antennae but not the tail

then fill the body with the same thread and stitch

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For the tail stitch alternate single stitches using first DMC ecru then DMC 451 until the tail is filled

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I stitched the very tip of the tail using DMC 451 and vertical stitches.

Next, using Anchor 874 and stem stitch embroider the lines on the lower wings.

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Pop coral french knots in between the gold lines as above using 3 strands DMC 352.

Next add more french knots to the top wings where indicated using 3 strands of DMC 352.

Add a coral french knot to the top of each antennae using the same.

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Once you have finished the butterfly stitching you need to place the embroidered calico onto the quilt batting ready to add the french knots and running stitch

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Leave a 1cm border all the way around as a seam allowance as shown.  Then stitch through the cotton and batting making lots of french knots (you could use seed stitch if you prefer) on the front cover.  

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For the back I drew straight lines 0.5cm apart and then stitched through the cotton and batting using running stitch

Tomorrow I will share how to stitch the needlebook together

x

 

part two of the tutorial


autumnal wanderings and a Kitty embroidery pattern

Flowers and leaves

We have just had a little break in Lincolnshire visiting our families.  I love going up in the autumn because it is so very autumnal up there.  There are so many trees and my mum's garden is full of apples and pears and dahlias.  All very inspiring to an absolute non gardener!

Wonky shed for real

I also love the wonky shed in the corner of her millenium garden.  Great inspiration for sketching and stitching.  Cornwall is very beautiful but our little corner is moorland, dunes and windswept beaches in the autumn.

Autumn girl

and at the end of it all I came home to autumnal dog walks along the sea shore with my autumnal girl.  I think I have enough flowery inspiration to keep me going for a while

Full stitching

when I got back I got on with some stitching and pattern writing

Full line stitch

and did a second stitching in a simpler quicker form (without the filler stitching)

so today I have listed this little kitten lover over in my Etsy shop where you can also find (at the time of writing this post) lavender girl kits and flower gardener samplers back in stock

Flower gardener collage

Lilipopo lavender girl embroidery

Now to go find a pumpkin for us to carve

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


weekending not stitching

Lilipopo books

Autumn has definitely arrived here, the weather is greyer and we come home from our dog walk soaked through despite the raincoats.  This is when I like to pull out a crafting book or two from my shelves or even treat myself to a new one.  On Friday, to my great excitement, my copy of Making Winter by Emma Mitchell arrived.  I had to carry on working and wait until Saturday to actually take a proper look at it. 

It's a beautiful book with projects ranging from baking to sketching to crochet.  There is a quite exciting project in it making silver clay pendant using fire! There's nothing like having fire involved in a craft project to spark the interest of the rest of my family!

I decided on a simpler project to begin with - baking.  I can't think of a nicer thing to do on a cold wet day so I chose the lemon, ginger and thyme bars.

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I love love love lemon anything and I love ginger.  These are delicious!  Very very lemony with a (as my son likes to quote) buttery biscuit base.  I had to hide half of them so we would have some left for today.  

Lilipopo crochet granny chic

I said no stitching but I have to qualify that, no embroidery stitching.  I have been stitching samples all week so I wanted something relaxing to do with my hands that wasn't embroidery.  I remembered that I had started the 'granny puff blanket' from my copy of Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel  and so I pulled out the beginnings of the blanket and my Cornish wool and crochet hook.  Then I had to go and find my notes on crocheting as it has been so long that I couldn't remember how to treble crochet (UK style).  But once I was settled with it the rhythm soon kicked in and my blanket (well it will be more of a wrap really due to a bit of a wool shortage!) is slowly slowly growing.  

I'd forgotten how much I love crochet (and knitting) in the winter.  It's lovely to sit on the sofa with music playing quietly working with my hands while my mind is free to think.   Various members of the family stop by for a while and chat before going back to their homework or whatever Netflix  series they are watching at the moment.  And even though the dinner will still need cooking and the dishes still need doing it feels as though the world slows down for a little while.

Do you have weekend routines so that your weekend doesn't end up disappearing in busywork?

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