Thursday, January 28

A New Website

I have a new website! Now all Follow the White Bunny news, links to my shop and blog etc can be found in one place. I still need to tweak some features (a lot!) but I like the new, clean look. Especially the rotating gallery on the homepage. Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 15

Flowers in Winter

You may remember that I made a couple of these 'negative space' projects last year. When I look at those projects (well at the ones I finished anyway) I think: 'This looks really nice'. Immediately followed by: 'But it's so much work!' It's a lot of fun to do though: the shading, the fill stitching, experimenting with colour combinations (not always a success) and trying to improve my embroidery techniques at the same time. Today I added the flower on the top right, that looks like a poppy (at least I hope it does). It was a bit of a struggle as I used too many shades, and in some parts the stitches were incredibly small which really isn't good. In the end I made some adjustments so I'm not completely unhappy with the final result. Hoping to be able to show you a finished piece in a week or three!

Friday, January 8

Hello 2016

Hello 2016,

I'm not quite ready for you I think. December went by so quickly, just like the whole of 2015 actually. Often at the end of a year, I feel like I didn't do much, but looking back at 2015's projects and photos, it's not too bad. :)

The Simply Shading Class was a project close to my heart because shading is one of my favourite embroidery techniques. If I ever get to write a book about embroidery it would probably be about shading! I also had some more of my patterns professionally printed as iron-on patterns and in May the project I made for Australian Homespun Magazine, a Doe with flowers embroidered on a skirt, was featured on the cover! I experimented a bit, embroidering with sewing thread (the 'knitting bear') and using just one colour ('fish and anchor') and releasing a 'Fowl Talk' PDF pattern, inspired by Shakespearean sweary quotes. In October ('Inktober') I really got back into drawing and found out that I really enjoy drawing with fineliners.

I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing this year. I started a new shading project just a few days ago that I think could turn out real nice. Maybe I could do a themed series in the same style. I'm also secretly hoping to receive an amazing, embroidery commission (Penguin Book Cover or something else completely unexpected!) In March I'm teaching my first embroidery workshop, hopefully it'll be a success. And next month I'll start attending a drawing class locally. I can draw a little but I want to learn more, possibly even master new techniques. Oh and I'm working on a new website, but more about that later.


Wednesday, December 16

Workshop coming up in 2016!

Next year I'll be hosting an Embroidery workshop for Beginners in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) at a local gift & craft shop called 'Maak' (which means 'Make') . I know that's probably halfway around the world for most of you, but just in case you live within travel distance of Rotterdam: come join me! The price is 30 euros and coffee (or tea) cake and a kit with supplies and instructions are included (yay!).

It's a workshop for beginners, but if you happen to be a little more advanced in your embroidery skills, I'm happy to help too. I can also give instructions in English, so please feel welcome too if you don't speak Dutch and think you can bear my Dutch accent. :) Mail to the ladies at 'Maak' to sign up for the workshop.

Thursday, December 10

Stitched Family Heirlooms

This lot was stuffed in an old cardboard chocolate box, handed down to me from my mother's side of the family. I think, based on the initials on the samplers, it's most likely these were stitched by my great aunt Jacoba. Born in 1902 she would have been in her early teens when she made those. The labels (for organising linens) were possibly made at a later date.

Perfect stitches, as you can see, but made in difficult times. This sampler is dated 1914, the year that the First World War started. Even though the Netherlands remained neutral during the First World War, there were lots of consequences for the Dutch. Refugees from Belgium, food scarcity etc. During the First World War, the family lived in the Rotterdam area (my hometown) where towards the end of the war, housewives plundered food stocks. In 1914 Jacoba already had lost two younger sisters (at the ages of 1 and 6 months old) and, in 1917, her oldest sister as well. I wonder how my family was handling it all... We often know so little about our ancestors, even if it's just a few generations back.

The Darning Sampler sadly has some water damage but it shows that Jacoba learned how to mend things as neatly as possible.

There are lots of labels like Nachtjaponnen (Night gowns) Handdoeken (Towels) Bedlakens (Sheets) and Kussensloopen (Pillow cases) I imagine these were pinned to shelves, to indicate where the linens should go. You can even see some rusty marks on the sides of these labels.

The satin stitching on the hanky looks great but what's more amazing: the backside is so neat you can hardly tell it apart from the stitching on the front!

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my stitched family heirlooms. They may not be valuable, but learning a bit more about where these labels and samplers came from, is definitely worth a lot to me.

Monday, December 7

Modern Cross Stitch by Hannah Sturrock

Normally I would start a post about a book with a photo of its cover, but my cat Milo photobombed this picture so elegantly, I chose this one. It is as if he's saying 'I really like this one, mum!'.
This cute project is from Hannah Sturrock's (of Bobo Stitch) new book 'Modern Cross Stitch'.*

'Modern Cross Stitch' has a wide variety of styles: some projects are slightly retro (like the banner), some are a bit folksy (like the snowflakes below) and some are inspired by popular culture like a 'Kapow' cartoon style mobile phone cover or Skull patches. There's also a few projects in the 'young ones' section that hint at traditional nursery themes (Alphabet, a teddy etc) but with a more modern approach.

I really like these Stitchy Bugs, especially the dragonfly! All patterns in the book have a colour key and are printed on a good scale, which makes them easy to follow (depending on your skill level, of course). Skill level (complexity of the pattern) and Material level (28 count linen is harder than 14 count aida for example) are also indicated, so you know what to expect!

The 'Cross Stitch Basics' chapter is really useful, especially if you're starting out with cross stitch.  It has easy to understand diagrams and as far as I can see, it answers any question aspiring cross stitchers may have. Check your local bookstore for a copy of 'Modern Cross Stitch' or find it in various online bookstores.

*The publisher sent this book to me a little while ago and I thought I'd share some of my favourite things about it here!

Tuesday, December 1

What do you think?

I'm thinking of trying, to teach embroidery workshops locally (although invitations to exciting places elsewhere will definitely be taken in consideration!) and I was wondering what would be the best way to introduce people to embroidery. A small embroidery project maybe? Or something a bit more 'practical' like embroidery on clothing? Or a sampler? And would a basic kit be a good idea (hoop, needle etc) and perhaps a small guide to the basics to take home? What would your perfect workshop look like? And is there anything beyond embroidery basics that you would like to learn from me? Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts!