Tuesday, July 22

More French Knots

I've made lots of progress on my Big French Knot project and I think about three quarters of the squares are filled now. Stitching the same stitch over and over again was kind of therapeutic and helped me a bit to take my mind off the sad events in the news of the past few days.

So here's the whole piece so far. I know what it depicts, but I wonder if you can see it too?

Thursday, July 17

Sign up for the new Furry Nice Embroidery Class!

I'm very excited to announce my second Furry Nice Online Embroidery Class! It's basically a repeat of the class I hosted earlier this year but with a few tweaks and improvements, based on my experience with the first Furry Nice Class and the feedback I received from the students. 

Together we'll be stitching the Polar Bear you see pictured above. My aim is not simply to let you replicate the original but to show you what's 'behind' my furry stitching. It's about shades and colours and creating depth in embroidery. To me one of the most striking things of the first Furry Nice course was how well the students were able to absorb and use the information and techniques I provided them with.  As a result some very lovely Polar Bears were stitched during class! 

In addition to the Polar Bear the class includes several exclusive patterns including a Sailor Fox, A wistful looking Bunny and smaller patterns to practice your newly learned shading skills. 

The Online Furry Nice Class starts on the 25th of September 2014 and will run for five weeks. The information and downloads will be available for much longer than that (at least until the end of 2014) so you can follow the lessons in your own pace. You can go directly to my store to secure a place in the class and you will also find more information about the class there. The price is $40 if you sign up before the 9th of August and $45 if you sign up at a later date. Hope to 'see' you in my class!

Monday, July 14

A tiny watercolour painting & a winner too

After doing some non too exciting tasks today (paperwork *yawn* and tidying my craft room *more yawning*) I allowed myself a few moments with my water colour paints. I decided on familiar subjects: flowers and bears.  Not flowers and beards which also is a thing apparently.

Moving on to something completely different: the randomly chosen winner of the Lisa Lam patterns is Michele T.! Congratulations, I'll be in touch with you soon. :)

Friday, July 11

My Trip to London

I had a great time in London last weekend! After dropping off my suitcase at the hotel Friday morning I headed to Earl's Court which was the Tube station nearest to my hotel. Since I read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere I can never view the London Underground in the same way again and many of the Tube Stations and the famous 'Mind the Gap' phrase have a special connotation to me now. If you like (urban) science fiction than you should definitely check it out, especially if you are traveling to London.

Anyway, I was meeting my friend Sami at Earl's Court and we went on a quest to find Shaukat Fabrics. A store that is supposed to be like an Aladdin's Cave of Liberty Fabrics, some even say bargains can be found there. Well there was a lot of Liberty Fabric there, that's for sure, a bit overwhelming actually! I was really excited when I found the stacks of remnant fabrics. Sami and I went through the stack where all pieces cost 1 pound each, and I dug up a really lovely fabric (the white with flowers). The 2 and 5 pound stack was more impressive and there's where I found the other fabrics. The larger pieces were about a quarter of a metre and cost 5 pound. Reasonably priced but not exactly super-bargains.

Later that day Sami and I met up with Sophie (of What Delilah Did) and we went to see an interesting exhibition called 'Making Colour' in the National Gallery. After that we sat in a park (not sure which one) and talked lots, because that's something you do in parks rather than museums. :) We also managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Liberty where I found this fabulous patchwork deer. Saturday I went to the &Stitches Picnic in Hyde Park and I wrote a little bit about that on the &Stitches blog yesterday. I had quite a lot of time for myself on Sunday and visited the Victoria & Albert Museum where I saw some beautiful embroidered garments and textiles. Especially the Chinese Silk Embroideries were very impressive. 

I received some fabulous gift over the weekend like these two pendants. The one on the left was made by Sami in her signature blackwork-on-Liberty- fabric-style. The one on the right was stitched by Sophie (from &Stitches) and the odd thing was that the motif almost exactly matched that of the dress I was wearing on the day she gave me the pendant! 

It was great to spend a few days in one of my favourite cities again and I felt very lucky to have such wonderful company during my time in London. Thanks friends!

p.s. I totally forgot to mention Pigeon Steve-with-the-Leaf who joined us at the &Stitches picnic. Definitely will write about him in the future as I'm planning to embroider a Steve the Pigeon Portrait :)

Tuesday, July 8

Happiness Halter Playsuit Pattern Review and Giveaway

When my youngest was a toddler I had just started to learn how to sew and over the years I made a few pieces of clothing for her but nothing as cute as the toddler top you see pictured above! It's made from Lisa Lam's new sewing pattern called Happiness Halter Playsuit.* It's a pattern with a lot of variations and possibities. Because I was a bit pressed for time I chose to make the simplest option which is the Halter top but you can also make a dress or a Playsuit from the same pattern.

For my review I used a PDF version of the pattern so there was some printing and sticking together of paper involved before I could start cutting fabric, but the pattern normally is available as a 'hard copy' with full sized pattern sheet which is much simpler to use obviously! I made the top for a 2 year old (as I happen to know a nearly 2 year old girl) using fabric from my stash. The main fabric is Jenn Ski's Mod-Century Petal and I'm not 100% sure about the ties and ruffles but I think it's from the Urban Chicks Boho line of fabric.

A bit of elastic on the back to ensure a good fit

Even with quite a limited experience in making kids clothes, or clothes in general, I found the pattern quite easy to follow. There are always moments when you use a pattern for the first time that you have to read something a few times before you get it. In these instances the illustrations (photos) were very helpful. All in all it did take me a few hours to put this top together.

Things like the ruffles make the sewing a little less straightforward (or quick) but add to a professional looking finish I think. There was a point in the process where according to the pattern I had to put my machine on 0 tension (which I did) to make the ruffle and that didn't quite work as well on my machine. I ended up with a huge nest of thread and found that when I repeated the step but putting my tension on 3, gave a better result.

I do think the pattern is suitable if you are very new at sewing as each step in the process is well described and illustrated. It will take some time to finish but you'll learn some good basics along the way as well like making a ruffle, ties, hemming, inserting elastic in a casing etc. and you will have a great looking piece of clothing for your toddler in the end.

Alongside the Happiness Halter Playsuit Pattern, Lisa released another pattern called the Dance with me Dress which also includes a few cute variations on the basic pattern. The photo on front of the pattern shows that with the right choice of fabric you can create a simple but fabulous looking garment for any occasion! Both patterns are available here OR if you leave a comment on this post before 12 noon (Amsterdam Time) on Saturday the 12th, you have a chance of winning both patterns. Good luck everyone!  Giveaway is closed winner will be announced soon.

Take a peek at the 'blog hop' schedule for more posts about this pattern (including more reviews and giveaways).

*I received the PDF versions of the patterns without obligations to review and as always everything I write is my own opinion. 

Tuesday, July 1

Shades, shapes and texture

In the past week I've been mainly working on two projects. One is a new pattern which I will share when it's completely done. All I can say that it's a winter-y one this time. The other project is my 'Big French Knot Project'.

I use a lot of different shades of red and pink (and some other colours too) in this project. From dusky pinks to deep berry shades and from bright reds with a hint of orange to the 'classic' DMC 321 red. My Colour (or rather Shade) Chaos Theory is that if you put a lot of different shades of one colour range together it can work. Just Dusty Pink next to Christmas Red looks horrible but if you add another eight (non-matching shades) in the mix it's ok. At least in my book. This photo below doesn't really proof my point but once it's finished and you can see the whole picture I hope you will see my point too :)  This project is about shades, shapes and texture and I find it really refreshing to work on something completely different than my 'usual' stuff.

Most of the colours I use are from DMC (the regular six stranded floss) but I also used some very bright Sublime Stitching Floss Red and a very deep Anchor Purple.

I'm about halfway with my French Knot project (this is just a detail pictured here) and I think I will be taking it with me to the &Stitches Picnic in London this Saturday (check the details here, it's free and if the weather is terrible than we have a roofed alternative!). I'm very much looking forward to visiting London again and meeting up with some of my UK based Embroidery Friends. I also hope to squeeze in some visits to crafty stores and museums. If you know any good crafty stores in or near Central London, let me know! :)

Sunday, June 22

Big French Knot Project

This is my Big French Knot Project. Not big in the way of Picasso's Guernica, or Rembrandt's Night Watch but it's still a lot of French Knots! It's an experiment and so far it's turning almost as I had in mind. :)