Saturday, December 29


Somehow I was under the impression that I didn't get much things done in 2012. Probably because I only released two embroidery patterns (Abel the Stitch Explorer and Tales of the Forest Motifs ) and made some crafty resolutions and plans that didn't quite work out. I have been keeping myself busy though: a big new project was started (&Stitches e-zine and blog) and I contributed to a book (to be released next fall I think). I worked on improving my embroidery skills, trying out shading techniques and making more detailed embroidery work. Something I will continue to do in 2013.

I think I only finished two quilts, 3 quilt tops, started about six new quilts and bought enough fabric to make another 12 quilts! :)  In August Pretty in Patchwork holidays was released to which I contributed three patterns. In June I attended the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London which initially was scary but turned out to be a fun experience. I learned how to do English Paper Piecing there and now have a box full of hexagon-flowers (but not nearly enough to make a quilt). I have already bought my ticket for next year's retreat and hope to meet some of you there.

In 2013 some things will continue (this blog!), some things will change and I'm sure exciting new things will be created too!

Friday, December 28

Gorey Stitch A Long starting soon!

Just a little reminder that on the first day of the new year the Edward Gorey Stitch A Long that I'm hosting together with Bridgeen begins! I'm still not 100% sure which illustration I'm going to be embroidering this time. I really like this one of the roller skating Doubtful Guest but have only found one, not very clear image of it on the internet. This cat & book one would be pretty sweet too. Anyway, if you want to join in the fun: we have a Flickr Group dedicated to this SAL here.  You have three months to finish so that's totally do-able right? And if Gorey is not your thing, you might want to stitch a long next time when we focus on Tim Burton's art and characters!

Thursday, December 27

Inspirations magazine winners!

Congratulations to Gccmom  and Kay! You both win a copy of Inspirations magazine. Please send me a mail (click button in side bar that says 'email') with your home address and I'll get the magazines in the mail to you as soon as possible!

Friday, December 21

A Bear & Fish update

I couldn't wait to start stitching the bear's kerchief! I think it came out pretty good, maybe a little too smooth? But I kind of like that too. A little while ago, and I'm not sure if I mentioned his name here before, I stumbled upon the work of Stephen Mackey. He makes dreamy, slightly odd paintings and drawings. Somehow I'd like to bring some of that dark, slightly threatening feeling his work has into this embroidery piece. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to go all murky on the background though. I have also started to stitch  some Foxglove on the left. Beautiful plant but quite poisonous too...

So far I'm very happy with the cotton satin fabric I'm stitching on. I'm pretty sure it's all I will use from now on for these really time-consuming, detailed pieces.

This was (is) my original Bear & Fish pattern my piece is based on by the way. Still available in the original, simpler, version. :)

So unless something really exciting comes up, I think I will be back her on the blog after Christmas. I always like to do a small(ish) project over the Christmas period. Last year I made this and for this year I was contemplating stitching the cute polar bear that's on the current issue of our zine except that I forgot to buy the beads. Any suggestions for nice, easy cross stitch patterns are welcome! Which reminds me that you all should check out this special Wee Little Stitches pattern to help raise money for the Sandy Hook School Fund and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Hope you will all spend this Christmas the way you like best!

P.S. Don't forget to enter my 'Inspirations' magazine giveaway

Wednesday, December 19

A stitch a long and an Inspirations giveaway too

A little while ago Australian publisher Country Bumpkin informed me they had a stitch a long coming up of one of the projects in the current issue (issue 76) of 'Inspirations' magazine. I'm a little late in writing about it but you can still join in if you want to. It's a gorgeous appliqué/embroidery pattern called Flame Tree by Kelly Fletcher.  Maybe you can't really tell from the photo but 17 different embroidery stitches were used in this pattern, including one of my favorites: the wheat ear stitch! You can join the Inspirations Stitch a long Flickr group here

Obviously you will need the magazine to make this project. You can buy both a printed and a digital copy on the Country Bumpkin website. As I understand it 'Inspirations' is available in the UK as 'Classical Inspirations'.

So because I needed to know what it was all about Country Bumpkin sent some copies of Inspirations magazine. I hadn't come across it before and was pleasantly surprised, it's like an embroidery glossy for the 'serious' stitcher! Sure some of the motifs and projects are fairly traditional but these techniques and stitches are of all times and would certainly interest any stitcher who is curious about learning new things and taking their skills to a higher level.

The best thing in my opinion are the detailed stitch and colour guides for each project, supported with great photography and diagrams. Lots of inspiration to be found in these pages! I even found a stitch (with 'how to') I hadn't heard of before, called the Porcupine Stitch. Must try that soon. :)

And how about this really lovely blackwork pincushion? 

I have two extra copies of 'Inspirations' here to give away to two lucky readers. As sending magazines to other parts of the world is really expensive I would like to send at least one of the two within Europe, I hope you understand. So if you are interested in winning a copy, please leave a comment and tell me your favourite stitch or technique and where you are in the world. Also don't forget to either leave an e-mail address or a profile that contains your e-mail address! Giveaway ends the 27th of December 12 AM Amsterdam time.    Comments closed winner will be announced later today 27/12/2012

Good luck everyone! 

I wasn't paid for this review (except that I received one copy) but was keen to share this fab magazine with you

Thursday, December 13

Quick peek at new project

Here's a quick peek at a new shading project I'm about to start! Some will recognize the image as I have a similar pattern in my shop called 'Bear and Fish'. Not so much a favourite with the pattern buying public (although I always think extra fondly of the people who do purchase it) but I have a soft spot for this Bear. Story goes he's a lighthouse keeper on a tiny island off the coast of France...

Compared to the shading projects I did earlier this year (a Rabbit called Lucky and Boris E. Morley)  this one is rather big so that makes it a whole different kind of challenge to me. By sizing up I hope to get even more detail into the piece. I'm also using a different type of fabric now. Usually I embroider on quilter's cottons but I figured if I'm going to spend many hours on making something I'd better choose a slightly fancier type of fabric. It's called cotton satin fabric (medium) and I bought it online in a store called Mace & Nairn, a UK based Hand Embroidery Supply shop. The cotton satin fabric looks and feels really nice and it's definitely sturdier than quilter's cotton. Will keep you all up to date with the progress of this new project!

Tuesday, December 11

Snowy Owl & a new winner

Yesterday I posted a freebie Snowy Owl embroidery pattern on the &Stitches blog. I made a Christmas Tree Ornament with mine! It was super quick to make (took me less than an hour) so if you are looking for a small last minute handmade gift this pattern could be useful.

For those of you who entered the weelittlestitches giveaway: I picked another winner! Congratulations to B Greene! 

Friday, December 7

Cool Colours

While I was browsing through the photos I made this year and stumbled upon this Polar Bear & floss pic. The cool palette suits the current weather conditions perfectly as we had our first snow of the season today. Much to the amusement of my kids (snowball fights) and the cat (watching snowflakes from her comfy and warm spot on the kitchen radiator).

I made the Polar Bear photo for the Scandinavian Issue of &Stitches (available here!) for our 'Colour by Numbers' feature, but we chose to use the other picture (the Danish Teacup you see in my header) I made. Anyway, the top one of the six-stranded flosses in this photo is a favourite of mine. No. 747 is one of the most wonderful icy blue colours DMC has to offer: a cool blue with a hint of mint... The floss in the middle is a subtle silvery grey colour (DMC 762) and the mid shade of blue is DMC 598.  

And if you are looking for a project to use these shades, check out this wonderful free 'woven' star pattern Carina posted on the &Stitches blog.

I have a winter-y freebie pattern on the &Stitches blog early next week.
Wishing you all a fun and crafty weekend! 

Monday, December 3

Winner of the weelittlestitches patterns!

Wow, you guys (well girls mostly) really like the weelittlestitches patterns. There were many fabulous ideas for new pixel people patterns. I would definitely love to stitch a Sherlock pattern for example! Lots of comments too, and lots of comments on comments which made finding out the true number of comments to feed to mr. a bit difficult. But I managed to figure it out in the end...

(edit: had to do a re-draw. B Greene is the winner of the second draw) 

& many thanks to Jacqueline and Christopher of weelittlestitches for making this awesome giveaway possible! :)