Saturday, April 28

Furry update and a new quilt book!

I've been spending some quality time with my furry friend in the past few days, a couple of dozen minutes here and there...Somehow the photo makes him look much more textured than he really is. The 'real' rabbit looks much smoother and I must try and capture that in a photo for my next update! While I was stitching I kind of went back to my own 'crazy fur stitching' technique but it's looking pretty ok so far so that's fine. :) I think for a next project it would be better to get my colour pencils out before I start my embroidery and plan the shading a bit more thorough than I did with this piece.

I'm a little biased when it comes to all things Fat Quarterly, the e-zine about quilting. Katy of FQ has been an online buddy for years and years, every since I won a giveaway on her blog. (I still have the Cath Kidston Tesco Christmas shopping bag I won!) 'T was in the days that giveaways were more rare and (lucky for me) not many people entered either, haha. I think I first stumbled upon John of FQ when we were both contributing blocks for the Bushfire Quilt Project (also quite a few years ago now) and we exchanged embroideries in the Hoop Up Swap etc etc. Can't wait to meet both John and Katy (and a lot of other quilters too) on the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in London early June! Anyway, naturally I just had to buy the new book they wrote with FQ colleagues Tacha Bruecher and Brioni Greenberg.

I'm having a great time browsing Shape Workshop for Quilters. I love that it's not only got great projects but a lot of individual blocks as well. Some blocks are basic, some are traditional with a modern twist, there is really something for every quilter in here. Beginners will find all the basic information about quilting in this book and easy blocks to start with and gain confidence in quilting. More advanced quilters will find  much inspiration in this book. Shape Workshop for Quilters is available here (and in many other places I'm sure..)

This reminds me that I must do a post about all the quilts I have in progress right now!

Monday, April 23

Subtle shading

Attempt at subtle shading
I am always looking to improve my embroidery techniques and inspired by Trish Burr's wonderful book Colour confidence in embroidery (find a book review I wrote about it here) I decided to try and improve my 'subtle shading' technique.

crazy fur stitching in action a couple of years ago. this piece was finished but can't find a photo of the finished jackalope right now!
Usually, especially when stitching animal furs, I use what I call my crazy fur stitch. Effective but not exactly subtle!

Colour confidence in embroidery has many lovely, if not a little traditional, projects (birds, flowers, fruits) but no furry animals. And I love stitching furry animals! So I drew a bunny myself and I'm now trying  my shading techniques on it. Which sounds cruel but I can assure you no bunnies are hurt during the process. ;) I quickly ended up doing some 'crazy fur stitching' again. So I think I'll do some unpicking and  try to follow Trish's suggestions a bit more. :)

Tuesday, April 17

Big Bad

It's been a bit hectic in the past week two weeks or so. Two birthdays (myself and my youngest daughter), the release of my Abel the Stitch explorer pattern (which had a wonderful warm welcome and I'm really chuffed with that) and finishing the second issue of &Stitches!

While both Carina and I have worked on putting together the new e-zine since January, somehow a lot needed to be done at the last moment. But we managed to do it! Please check out our blog for details (including a discount for Early Bird Buyers) and there's a chance to win a copy of our e-zine at the Wild Olive blog too.

I'm currently stitching Cate Anevski's Big Bad and Little Red pattern from the current &Stitches issue, it's such a fun pattern to stitch. I used one of Lizzy House's 'Outfoxed' fabrics to stitch on and now it looks like the Big Bad (grey) Wolf is hiding in the forest a bit. :)  I'm nearly done stitching Little Red; I chose a lovely but difficult to stitch on fabric for that one and I may have to start again on a fabric that is more suitable...

Thursday, April 12

Abel the Stitch Explorer pattern is here!

Finally finished with the Abel the Stitch Explorer pattern (aka Abel the Balloon flying Mouse)! It was a bit of a struggle in the last few days to sort out all the details. I had to get used to using new programs on my computer and that's not exactly my greatest talent. But we got there in the end...Abel and me.

As you can probably tell from the photo(s) it's a sampler pattern. I have included all the details about colours (more than 30!) and different stitches (about 15) in the pattern PDF (as I always do, at least the last two years or so) but to be honest I would much rather see people do their own thing with this pattern, try out and learn stitches and come up with amazing colour schemes. Abel is especially fond of the not often used stitches or even stitches unknown to man (and mouse)kind!

So if you feel like welcoming Abel the Stitch Explorer to your home, you can find him here in my shop. He is more than happy to fly over to wherever you are! x

Wednesday, April 11

Bird(s) in my mailbox

There was a crow in my mailbox yesterday...and a rather awesome one too! A little while ago Lee of Dancing Crow Designs contacted me if I wanted to receive one of her circle a day stitcheries and I was delighted to find out she had send me this stitched crow. Some birds speak more to me than others (not literally, I'm not a Bird whisperer although I like the idea of being a Bird whisperer) I really like crows and herons for example. And owls, I'm not over owls yet. Back to Lee's crow now! You can check out more of Lee's circles (love the latest tree additions!) here. Thank you Lee for generously sharing your talent!

Photo by the Mincing Mockingbird
And while we are on the topic of birds: I recently purchased this hilarious book on Etsy. Guide to Troubled Birds is well....a guide to troubled birds. I must add that it's written with a particular sense of humor (and a few swear words occur as well) that will not suit everyone. :)

Don't forget to visit the &Stitches blog. We have a fabulous giveaway of an original Lucky Jackson stitched work of art!

photo by Lucky Jackson

Saturday, April 7


I have been using a lot of this Colour Variation Floss in the last couple of weeks, including some in my new 'Abel, the Stitch Explorer' pattern. I actually used a ridiculous number of different colours in that pattern as you will find out if you decide to purchase it. (Still working out the details but I'm aiming at launching it next week!) Some of these variation threads have more than one colour in a skein, other skeins have different tones of one colour.  The colours are very soft and the changes in colour (or tone) very subtle.  Anyway these Colour Varation Flosses, or any other variegated floss for that matter, obviously are best used in a bit of your embroidery (or cross stitch) where the change of colours can be seen. Having said that, I also sometimes use small bits of variegated floss for a detail just because it's the right colour! (or so I think). I think (cross)stitching lettering with variegated floss could give lovely results too. Where do you use variegated threads for?

If you follow the &Stitches blog (or Facebook page or Twitter) you will probably already have seen a couple peeks of projects from our next issue. The second issue of &Stitches is all about books and reading. Our featured artist is the very lovely and talented Cate Anevski! This is the pattern I designed...

"Books&Stitches" is available from the 17th of April.

Sunday, April 1

Meet Abel the Balloon Flying Mouse

Besides my work for the second issue of &Stitches (it's out on the 17th of April, yay!) I have been busy with a new pattern. It's a big one and I'm now working on the last couple of details. I have gone a bit crazy with this pattern: I used about 25 different floss colours and lots of different stitches. All will be specified in the pattern of course. Do you like my little adventurous rodent? I think I will name him Abel, after a famous Dutch explorer. I hope to have the pattern available sometime in the next two weeks.  :)