One of the things I love to look at when I go along to stitching groups and classes are the beautiful stitching accessories that so many embroiderers have in their work bags. So often the items will be both useful and pretty. My own work box has mostly practical rather than decorative items so time for a little embellishment I thought.
Coincidentally I had just finished up a container of Baking Powder and as I was about to dispose of the container into the recycling I was struck by the idea of using this cardboard tube container as the base for a new embroidered pincushion. I found a long narrow strip of linen left over from a previous project, thinking there should be just enough in the piece to make up into two small pin cushions which I could make by cutting the container in half.
The pictures show how I stitched the pincushion sides first as two facing strips of embroidery – I was being very economical with the fabric. Then I embroidered the circular tops which were hand sewn to the side strips and the resultant piece pulled over the polyfilled half container. The bottoms were made from fabric covered card circles. A little twisted cord around the top to finish and wow two small pincushions done!
The embroidery design is my own based on basic embroidery stitches, and using DMC threads left over from previous projects. This was very much a ‘use up what you have’ project. Now what could I do with that empty Bisto Gravy Granules container sitting on the counter?
While embroidery is my real love I have found myself side tracked or rather “hooked” on crocheting Amigurumi creatures lately.
My first attempt at a crocheted creature was the little sheep I posted previously, and they were a great way to get into the swing of the continuous spiral method of working that is central to Amigurumi.
I really fell for the TOFT Bunny design though it took me a little while to get into the swing of this ‘Emma’ pattern, and I think a good part of the problem was that I was not 100% happy with the feel of the yarn as it moved through my hands. Changing to a yarn with a better hand / feel meant that the ‘Bridget’ Elephant just jumped of the crochet hook. Amazing how touch is such an important part of our enjoyment of a craft.
The only embroidery on these little creatures is the eyes and maybe a nose – I am not a fan of plastic eyes – but those few little stitches can make such a difference and really establishes the character. On my first attempt my Bunny had a terrific squint. I think that they both have their correct faces on now.
Emma Bunny has now gone off to her new home. Bridget Elephant is sitting on the dining table while I decide if she needs little tusks embroidered on.
Patterns for both can can be found in the Edwards Menagerie book by Kerry Lord.
For no particular reason I wanted to try my hand at Amigurumi crochet while I have been having a few days off work.
I have only a little experience with crochet, and I had become fascinated by the possibilities of the Eds Animals patterns from TOFT (https://www.thetoftalpacashop.co.uk) but wanted to start with something small. After watching lots of YouTube videos and looking at various websites I decided to start with Sheep!
These little guys are about 8 to 9cm from head to tail, so they didn’t take long to work up. While I have no real idea what I will do with these cute little fellows – could be handy for that next unexpected baby gift – they have been great fun to play with and a good way to start to learn the techniques of Amigurumi.
Maybe a little Rabbit next?
My 6 year old Grandson is visiting this week. As he was sitting beside me reading his Harry Potter book and watching me stitch he said “I want to learn to embroider like you Grandma”.
I didn’t want to let this unexpected opportunity pass so I quickly found a piece of felt, a sharpie, some cotton thread and a good sized needle. Seeing his book lying on the sofa was the inspiration for a bookmark, and using his own name gave him shapes, lines and a pattern he was familiar with following. Stitching this piece kept him quietly occupied for about half an hour, with only a little help on starting each letter.
On completion of this his next request was to stitch a light sabre! Not sure I can draw that but I think he has caught the embroidery ‘bug’.
Happy New Year to all.
The Christmas /New Year season in Brisbane is so hot and humid that I have not had either the time nor inclination for stitching – leading to a decided lack of progress on all my current pieces. Amongst the many enjoyable activities with Children, Grandchildren and extended family across the holidays, I had forgotten that one special event was the Christening of our dear friends first grandchild.
Knowing that an embroidered gift was expected I was at a loss for ideas on what to stitch, and time was running out. Pinterest to the rescue! though I do have to be careful or the hours just slip by as I look with fascination at the pretty pictures. The answer to the Christening gift was resolved with a little embroidery on a small onesie and a personalised wall hanging for the nursery.
A good evening of enjoyable stitching for me, and gifts that were loved by the new parents.
Now to find the time to get back to that Redwork…
Since finishing the Jenny Wren stumpwork I have been along to a class at my local Embroiderers Guild to start my next piece of embroidery. Our guild organises a wide range of embroidery classes throughout the year and I try to take a few of these when my work commitments allow. I particularly look for classes that use stitches that I either haven’t tried recently, or that use stitches, threads and techniques in interesting ways, and sometimes a class is just a great way of having a break from the real world.
I love that first opening a pre-prepared kit of embroidery supplies. Laying everything out, checking out the fabrics and threads, reading through the instructions, hooping or framing up the fabric.
This particular class was designed by Marlene Lambert from the Toowoomba Guild, and we were to stitch a Redwork Needlebook using traditional Jacobean motifs and a variety of Red cotton threads, with a little of a mid Tan/gold colour thrown in for contrast. One featured thread is a variegated Colourworks stranded cotton in a colourway that moves from nearly black to bright red.
I decided to prepare my working fabric, which already had the design drawn in, onto a slate frame just for the practice of dressing the frame. I make my own slate frames – this one is in Tasmaniam Oak – and at 60cm was just the right length for the supplied piece of linen. A couple of pieces of Calico stitched on the sides brought the fabric out to the right dimensions.
My stitching was well underway by the end on the class and I am really enjoying the variety of stitches in this design.
What a wonderful project this has been. Jenny Adin-Christie prepares the most beautiful kits for her pieces, and they are an absolute pleasure to stitch.
Finishing the Mossy Hillock.
The stitching on the mossy hillock uses a wide variety of interesting threads in variegated cottons, silks, and pearl cottons. It is also liberally sprinkled with embellishments such as sequins, rayon tape, and chipping all applied over the base of lime green velvet. The stitched ‘fungus’ that surrounds the opening where the scissors enter the base is made of Needlelace with a gold edging. Jenny encourages the embroiderer to be adventurous with the stitching and the placement of the embellishments.
After making the Emery filled pincushion, I decided to add a additional decorative collar of Needlelace to this element as well to finish it off. The other major change I made while stitching this kit was to stitch the ‘wing feather’ picots on the bird significantly longer than those on the original. I think this makes her wing feathers look fluffier.
Finally the Mossy Hillock gained some dimension and additional character, as I mounted it over several layers of padding and then attached it to a turned wooden base, creating the perfect perch for my little Jenny Wren. I think she looks cute.
Thanks to Jenny Adin-Christie for another great kit.
Now – what to stitch next……
Getting my stitching mojo back!
After an unexpected break I have finally been able to get back to stitching. I was completely knocked out by the flu and, even though I was home from work for nearly two weeks, I was not able to think about taking a stitch in all that time. However as my health recovers gradually the need to stitch is coming back.
I am currently still working on all of the fun little elements that make up the Mossy Hillock for my Jenny Wren by Jenny Adin-Christie. I can’t help myself, every so often I just have to sit the little wren on the piece I am working just to see how it looks and fits in. I think am very happy with how it is coming along.
I have started work on the base embroidery, a “mossy hillock” , that Jenny Adin-Christie has designed to sit under and beautifully display her Jenny Wren. This piece is designed to be fitted on top of a wooden base that Jenny has available ( purchased seperatly from the hillock kit), or you can mount it over card and just use it as a standalone base for the wren.
The hillock has the emery filled pincushion and the position for the scissors that go towards making up the other parts of this lovely Etui. It has interesting techniques like trapped spangles, needle lace, chipping and beadwork. Once again I find myself enjoying the process of creation so much that I want to take it slowly and enjoy every stitch and technique.
I had meant to mention one of the best things I learnt about during the recent class with Jenny – Tulip Needles. After trying one that Jenny included in the kit I am convinced that I have never used a needle as good as these. I purchased a number of packets/vials, and now I am intent on making a needle book just to hold only these precious needles. They are so good, and definitely worth every penny.