stitching tutorials

Easter and bunnies

Lilipopo little bunnies coasters

Spring keeps showing it's head for a moment here and then disappearing back into cold grey rain.  I think it's probably always like this at this time of year but I do love the sunny days!  So I wanted a happy project to fill a little time this week.

Lilipopo little bunnies idea

With Easter rapidly on it's way... this weekend!  I decided a quick bunny stitch was in order.  I took the little bunnies embroidery pattern  and played around with it a little to make two little coasters.  This pattern is so quick to stitch up and would fit nicely onto little drawstring bags for mini eggs too.  

Lilipopo little bunnies backing and lace

I cut a 4.75" square from some white linen (Robert Kauffman Essex linen) and the same of pink phoebe liberty fabric for the back. Then I cut a 5" square of quilt batting (warm and natural) for the wadding.  I traced the elements of the bunny pattern that I wanted onto the linen square.

Next I centred the linen onto the wadding and hooped up and embroidered through both.

Lilipopo little bunnies stitched

I like the padded effect of stitching through the batting too.  I used just four colours for this - DMC 451 (brown) DMC 603 (pink) DMC 761 (pale pink) and DMC 564 green

Lilipopo little bunnies applique tummy

I gave this little bunny an appliqued liberty pink tummy using bondaweb to stick the fabric down and little pale pink stitches to keep it in place.

After embroidering the pattern I added french knots in the pale pink all around the bunny, leaving a space all around the edge for the seam allowance (0.25")

Lilipopo little bunnies embroidered

and then, because I realized I would have to get my machine out I stitched another bunny on natural linen and added a lace trim and a liberty print border.  I also appliqued a little heart onto the linen backing fabric.

Lilipopo little bunnies machine stitching

These little coasters are very easy to finish just place your padded embroidery right side up and then place your backing fabric right side down on top of it.  Now stitch around the edge leaving a 1.5" - 2" gap for turning (I used a 0.25" seam allowance)

Lilipopo little bunnies finished 2

Once you turn them out poke the corners gently out, hand stitch the gap closed and give them a gentle press.  These were such fun to stitch, especially as they embroider up very quickly and you could add all sorts of trims to them or, if you're a quilter, bind the edges.

I hope you all have a very happy Easter and we get to enjoy some sunny spring weather, unless you are in the Southern hemisphere in which case cosy Autumn stitching is probably in order.

Happy Easter 

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


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


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


A simple stitch guide

 

Free stitch guide

I have created a simple stitch guide that will be sent out with all my patterns.  It contains the main stitches that I use in the patterns and drawn diagrams of the stitches.

I have added this stitch guide to all my patterns on Etsy but you can grab it for free here 

The guide is a basic stitch guide to the stitches I use most often in the patterns.  For some of the stitches (such as french knots!) it might still be useful to look at video tutorials on youtube and to use the guide as a reminder. 

I hope you find the stitch guide useful


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


ferns and flowers and unicorns

Flowers and ferns

of all the things I love to stitch flowers are probably top of my list!  I love the way the simplest combination of stitches and colours can become something lovely.

My unicorn is frolicking  amongst ferns and flowers in my newest embroidery pattern and I thought I would share a very quick and simple tutorial for both

First the flowers

Flower centre 1 small

First I drew a small circle and eight lines radiating outwards evenly.  Then I filled the centre with two strands of pale pink thread and satin stitch

Flower centre 2

Once the circle is full it's time to add the petals

Flower petals

Just stitch single straight stitches all the way around the centre using 2 strands of light purple thread

Flower petals 2

Then pop more a straight stitch in each gap.  I've done this in a different colour so it's clear but they are just as nice all one colour.  I stitch the stalks using a single strand of a soft green to give a delicate look to the flower (more weed like)

Fern 2

For the fern stitch begin with a single back stitch and bring your needle up at the top of the first leaf

Fern 3

Take your needle back down at the base of the back stitch and bring it back up at the tip of the opposite leaf

Fern 4

Take your needle back down at the base of the back stitch and bring it back up a stitch length below to start the next fern

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Repeat the stitching for each fern, creating a back stitch for the stalk and then stitching each leaf in turn as you did for the first one

Fern final

Fern stitch is one of my favourite plant stitches.  I usually use 2 strands of thread and my stitches are about 2 - 3mm long.  It's nice to add some french knots in between some of the leaves in a different colour

French knot fern

here I added a different green but pink or red flower buds would be lovely too.  I used 2 strands of thread and made a single french knot for each bud.

I think ferns with flower buds would make lovely borders for embroideries framed in the hoop.  You only need to draw the curved line of the stalk and then keep the leaf stitches the same size as your stalk stitches at roughly a 45 degree angle from the stalk.

And here is a pic of the whole unicorn dancing in amongst the flowers and the ferns

Unicorn main picture

The pattern is available in my Etsy shop now and I will be ordering some pre printed fabric panels for stitching in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you have a lovely weekend with bits of time for a little flower stitching

x

 


sprucing and long short stitch

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This week I decided to spruce up my winter fairy pattern ready for the colder weather (hopefully not too soon!).  I wanted a filler stitch for the blue embroidered version of the fairy and decided on long short stitch.

Long short stitch is often used for colour changes in embroidery (as I'll show in a sample below) but it's also useful for areas that are too big for satin stitch such as my fairy's dress.  I love the repetitive nature of stitching the dress (not least because I am reading slow stitch by Clare Wellesley - Smith at the moment).

So here is a little tutorial for this simple filler stitch

Long short stitch 1

It begins with the foundation row.  Simply alternate long and short stitches along this row.  The long stitches should be about twice as big as the short stitches.

Long short stitch 2

That was the most difficult part.  Now simply stitch long stitches above the short stitches, leaving a gap between each as above.

Long short stitch 3

and you just continue in this way 

Long short stitch 4

until you are done.

If you are stitching a curved shape you begin in the same way

Curved long short stitch

with your long short foundation row

Curved long short stitch 3

as you continue you curve the stitches slightly at the edges so they meet at the top acting like one stitch for the next row.

Curved long short stitch final

This way you can follow the curve of the edge with the stitching.

I love the effect of this stitch, it's so like knitting, my next favourite type of stitching.

For those who have the winter fairy pattern these are the blues that I used for the blue fairy

DMC 3760 dark blue

DMC 747 paler blue

DMC white

DMC S415 and DMC E168 for the sparkly satiny wings

DMC 3799 for the face etc.

x