Monday, 14 April 2014


A while ago I signed up for a Phat Quarter swap... erm quite a while ago actually, I had to contact my partner (the very cool Mr X himself) and ask for extra time because I was making something odd that I had no idea how to make.
Behold the 'sort of' stumpwork stiletto wasp:

The main part of the body is embroidered in floss, the face is fake leather appliqued onto kid leather, the legs are wire and the wings are tracing paper stitched on gauze with paper covered wire stitched on for the veins. It is huge because stiletto wasps are a mythical beast from the Scott Lynch book Red Seas Under Red Skies - it's a great book, the second in a series (the first The Lies of Locke Lamora is even better)- I used a description of the wasp in the book to design my version.
 I was pretty pleased how it turned out - not bad for a first attempt at something like this. It was very challenging, as I was making it up as I went along. I had to make the wings twice as my first set didn't have the tracing paper and were awful- they needed something to give shape to the gauze.
Next on my embroidered object list is either a fish or something like an urchin or starfish (think french knots and plenty of em) whaddya think?

Monday, 17 March 2014

my stitchy watch

Surely every discerning stitcher needs a timepiece featuring cross stitched flowers. I've had this baby for a while- isn't she a beaut?

but if that doesn't meet your stitchy watch needs how about this little number?

Speaking of time- I know a lot of time is passing between posts right now- there is real life stuff eating away at my time that I won't bore you with but there are also lovely soon-to-finished objects I can share with you very soon.
 I will be back in a tick ...

Monday, 24 February 2014

Johnny 5 is alive!!

Do you remember this film? Short circuit!! Me and my brother watched it all the time as kids.
I watched it again recently with my oldest, Jake, who is a fan of robots- he was very taken with Johnny 5.

So I made this- it's on a pillowcase. I simplified him down quite a bit but think he is still fairly recognisable. I wanted it to look like a tattoo design but could have spent more time planning out the arrangement of the leaves underneath- my original sketch had a better layout but I didn't trace it well and just freehanded it in the end, oh well.
The stitching isn't a smooth as I would usually make it because it is a cheap pillowcase and fairly thin so I didn't want the stitching too heavy- you can see at the bottom of the  leaves it is puckering a bit. Now the best thing to do would have been to unpick and back the area that was going to be stitched with stabiliser to make it stronger but I wasn't too bothered about a little  bit of puckering on this piece so I just tried to keep my stitch length long and not make my stitches too tight to keep the fabric as flat as possible.
Now it is in use the pillow smooths the puckers out mostly. It fits in well in his robot themed room.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Finish-Along with &Stitches!

Over at &Stitches there is a different kind of stitch-along taking place- the Finish-along. The idea is simple- lets use all those good intentions we have at the start of the new year to tackle some of the neglected UFOs (un-finished-objects) lurking in the bottom of your craft bag/pile/pit.

So this is my project for the Finish-along. This is my hardanger sampler- started January 2013.  The patterns are by Mabel Figworthy from a stitch-along she did last year, there was a pattern every month and unfortunately I fell behind in February and never really got back into it. I would like to get it finished and although I don't intend to stitch all 12 patterns I would like to do four or maybe even six. So I've printed some of the stitch-along patterns out and I will try and make a bit of progress on this one over the next few weeks.

I find this style of stitching quite difficult- the stitches need to be very even to look nice and there are some bits that I will probably unpick and re-do. There is a lot of bare fabric between the counted stitches- so lots of counting holes to get the stitches in the right place- this sends me a bit cross-eyed and makes me a cross when I keep losing count. Some of the patterns also involve cutting the fabric which is a bit scary- I am worried I might snip through my stitching. I will probably finish it as a sort of mat/runner type thing to go on top of my sideboard which means that although some of the patterns include beads I will probably improvise with french knots or something.
The patterns  all look quite traditional- I think if I stick to this grey, cream and mustard yellow palette it will look rather lovely. It is perle cotton if you are wondering and the fabric is hardanger cloth which seems very like Aida but I think it perhaps has a different weave.

What's your oldest UFO? I have one that I started in 2008- maybe once my sampler is done I will try and get that finished!
 If you are trying to get some of your old projects completed come join in!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Woolly bullion knots

I'm making the reindeer pillow from this book by Clare Youngs. It's not finished yet but I wanted to share how great the bullion knots look when stitched in crewel wool. They are so tactile- it's tempting to cover a whole cushion with them- maybe that's a future project! I would like to see what these knots would look like mostly in white but with the occasional coloured one scattered amongst them. why does every embroidery project seem to result in more new ideas? I feel like I will never find the time to make all the things I have planned.

I am using my beloved appleton crewel wool and the fabric is actually wool fabric from an old coat!

Hope you are all nearly done with your Christmas crafting- work those needles ;)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I'm dreaming of a stitchy Christmas...

Wouldn't you be thrilled if you found these beauties under your tree on Christmas day? Sadly as far as I know the man in red doesn't read my blog so I'll just have to make do with smellies and chocolate!! 

 I'm not sure I need a 'needle minder'  but that doesn't stop me coveting this

these embroidery kits are so beautiful
and how about some sashiko needles as a stocking filler?

What are you hoping for this year- any crafty goodies on your Christmas list?

Monday, 25 November 2013

My first quilt!

I recently became an auntie (yippee!) and wanted to make something for the new arrival. I've also been wanting to try quilting for a while now so I decided to make a pram quilt. With hindsight an entirely handstitched paper-pieced quilt might not have been the easiest choice for a novice quilter but I'm glad that's what I chose because I really enjoyed the process. Like hand embroidery it is a craft you can do whilst sat in a comfy chair, with the tv on in the background and a glass of wine  cup of tea
I won't lie it took ages- there are many hours of work here but it wasn't difficult and I felt a real sense of achievement when I finished. In fact I can't wait to get started on another and plan on tackling a throw sized quilt next time- I have a pattern in one of my books for a folded japanese quilt using this technique that I think would be really attractive in my favourite colour combination of grey and mustard yellow.