November 23, 2014

Patterns: Aotearoa Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Aotearoa Tree of Life by Liz Smith

When I spotted this piece in the Flickr pool by Liz Smith, I was curious to see if it was a pattern, so I checked out Liz's Flickr profile and I found her online store, The Stitchsmith, which as well as having the lovely pattern above (which in the sample in the store looks great as white work on black fabric), also has loads of colourful birds and New Zealand themed patterns to! I will definitely be bookmarking that site!

November 19, 2014

Home Sweet Home

As we get ready to dive into the holiday season, I believe we must slow down for a minute and remember what is important to us: our family, friends and a warm place to gather with them. This House Pillow created by Isabel Freire is a beautiful reminder of saying, Home Sweet Home. The textures are amazing. I can almost smell the wood burning from the fireplace. This is just one of many  designs Isabel has created. You can see more of her work on her Flickr account

November 16, 2014

Patterns: Wild Olive Christmas Sampler

Wild Olive Christmas Sampler 2014 by Wild Olive

Wild Olive has created a very cute red work Christmas sampler; on her blog she says she hopes they become a yearly thing, ooh I hope so! Check out Wild Olive's blog to for a great tutorial on how to frame your embroidery in an Ikea frame as well.

November 10, 2014

Hand and Lock Prize 2014

Hand and Lock Prize 2014

1. Meta Mckinney, 2. Myra Chung, 3. Justine Bonefant, 4. Justina Moncevicute, 5. Krista Terauda, 6. Maria Alina Hera, 7. Julia Titchfield, 8. Eranga Bandaranyake, 9. Ana Maria Restrepo, 10. Umme Salma, 11. Katrina Viper, 12. Wan Hung Cheung

Feeling Stitchy was very kindly invited to the Hand and Lock 2014 Prize Giving at the historic Bishopgate Institute in London, UK. Hand and Lock is a fusion of two embroidery companies dating back to 1767. M Hand was a Hugenot refugee, who added embroidery to his range of laces and his company M Hand and Co continued for the next two centuries, creating beautiful embroidery for the military, royalty and tailors, throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Whereas S Lock started life in 1898 as CE Phipps and Co, an embroidery business that supported London's growing couture houses. In 1956, the designer Stanley Lock took over from Mr. Phipps on his retirement and the company was renamed S Lock Ltd. For the next 45 years the company worked on commissions with couturiers including Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. S Lock Ltd was awarded a Royal Warrant and they made gowns for both the Queen and the Queen Mother, as well as the wedding ensemble for Princess Anne. Princess Diana was also a big fan. Their embroidery also hit the stage, working on productions from Barnum to The Lion King. In 2001 M Hand and S Lock merged to form Hand and Lock.

So, as you can imagine, a competition run by such a prestigious embroidery company would have high standards, so it was an exciting opportunity to see the finalists work in person. The embroidery and attention to detail in the pieces was exquisite. It was great to see hand embroidery used in such innovative ways.

There were two categories, student and open and we were all given voting cards to choose which from the two categories we liked best and the audience's votes were combined with the judges votes before the prize giving ceremony itself. The winner of the student prize was Myra Chung (2nd from top left in the mosaic above) and the winner of the open prize was Julia Titchfield (middle row, 2nd from the right). Well done to the winners and to all the finalists, the standard was amazing and a massive inspiration.

The Hand and Lock Prize is an annual event, you can read the design brief for next year's competition here and read how to enter here, who's tempted to give it a go?

November 5, 2014

Craftster November Hoopla Along

It is time for the November Hoopla Along over at This month's theme is Vintage, Retro and Nostalgia. Do you wish for the old days? Feel like you are living in the wrong time? This month's stitch along cries out for the days of long ago. Stitch up your favorite retro or vintage image...something you are nostalgic for. It can be any time period, any image. 

You have until November 30, 2014 to be eligible for random drawing

This month's prize is: Craftster mug filled with goodies
You can read more about this month's theme HERE. 

November 4, 2014

#crafttheparcel - envelope quilt block (free pattern)

Feeling Stitchy was very kindly asked by InPost UK to take part in their #crafttheparcel, you may have seen my tweets about it on Feeling Stitchy's twitter account. The idea was for each blogger to make a quilt square, could be anything, a traditional quilt block, applique, knitting, you name it and each week the growing quilt would pass from blogger to blogger via InPost. InPost is a new service in the UK and as someone who gets quite fed up of waiting in for couriers (and post office counter queues!), I think it could be quite handy. The idea is that you leave your parcel in one of InPost's lockers, with a prepaid label to the nearest InPost locker of the person you're sending it to. InPost then pick it up and take it to the new locker and your friend / relative / customer, gets a text message to say that the parcel is ready to be picked up, along with a special code to allow you entry into the locker.

For my quilt block I decided to go with a post theme to match the idea of #crafttheparcel and I made an applique, openable envelope, with a little 'letter' inside with an embroidered quote from Phyllis Theroux, which I thought was quite apt.

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.

If you would like to make your own envelope and letter, you can download the pattern and tutorial here for free (personal use only). You could embroider the quote or maybe something else that is important to you. We'd love to see what you made!

And if you would like to see what more blocks get added to the quilt (there are actually two of them going round at the moment), don't forget to check out #crafttheparcel on Twitter.

(Sponsored post)

November 2, 2014

Patterns: Alphabet Motif Club

Alphabet Motif Club

Carina is half way through her alphabet motif club, but you can still join in and download the earlier letters. I love how colourful these are and I think they'd make a great quilt!

Edited to add (sorry, me being forgetful and forgetting the link!) - you can find Carina's Alphabet Club here.

October 29, 2014

Book Review: Colorful Stitchery

Colorful Stitchery may look a bit familiar to some of you, and that's because it is a reissue from 2005. Roost Books has revamped the book but it still holds up and may be even better than before. 

The projects in the book are great for beginner to advance stitchers, so there is something for everyone. One of the things I love about the author, Kristin Nicholas is that she not only gives us great projects, she explains the tools and techniques needed. Her book offers clear, easy to understand directions. I felt as if I had her in the room with me, guiding me through each step. 

The only problem I have with this book is which project to start with first! Do I stitch the embroidery blanket or maybe the chicken scratch pillow...decisions, decisions! Do yourself a favor and go to your favorite book store and demand Kristin Nicholas' Colorful Stitchery. You can thank me later. 

October 25, 2014

Stitch the Halls Review and Very Special Giveaway!

Stitch the Halls review and giveaway

Hello all! I'm reviewing Stitch the Halls by Sophie Simpson from What Delilah Did today, and we're also doing a very special giveaway!

This is an absolutely delightful book that I wouldn't hesitate to add to your library - the main focus of this book's projects is counted cross stitch and embroidery, but many of the projects could easily translate into freeform embroidery, as well. The book begins with a nice summary of counted embroidery basics - going over fabrics, thread, and frames, and how to read counted charts. There's also a helpful stitch directory of 11 counted stitches you can use in addition to the basic cross stitch.

Let's open it up and have a look, shall we?

opening to the first page...

As you can see, the watercolor illustrations by Ana Victoria Calderon are absolutely gorgeous, and you'll find them throughout.

The book's 12 projects are divided into 3 broad categories: Stylish and Chic - for sophisticates; Merry and Bright - for modernists; and Classic and Cosy - for traditionalists.

I am loving the Stylish and Chic section of the book - with muted shades and classic black and whites for a nice variation from the ordinary Christmas red and green:



The Merry and Bright section is just as modern and refreshing, however. I love how crisp and geometric the designs are, and the bright pops of color in the projects within:



Last up is the Cosy and Traditional section, and although there is a traditional selection of red and white, the patterns don't lose their clean, modernist take - and how adorable are those mini Christmas sweaters?!



What I love about these patterns is that there is plenty of room for creativity - they are fresh and modern while being classic and elegant - in short, not unlike What Delilah Did's signature style.

I chose one of the small Advent Tree designs to stitch up on for this review - it was a quick, delightful stitch - easy to follow, geometric, and striking. I used the Mountain Merino Wool from our previous giveaway, and the homespun quality of the wool added a great deal to this, I think:

Advent calendar design

So, on to our giveaway! I call this a very special giveaway because in addition to the review copy which we were kindly sent - we have been offered 3 copies of the book to give away to our readers! 3 copies! You have 3 times the chances to win this gorgeous book, just in time to do a bit of Holiday stitching.

To win a copy of Stitch the Halls!: 12 Decorations to Make for Christmas, simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday, October 26, 9 PM US CST, and tell us, which section of the book appeals to you most, and what do you think you might make?

October 15, 2014

Inspiration: The God of Crabs

When I first saw this on Flickr I thought that it was just printed on the fabric and then a little bit of stitching around the image. The entire piece is embroidered with various types of stitches. It is fully embroidered, people! You can pick your jaw up off the floor now. Mother Eagle's The God of Crabs is absolutely stunning. I'm not sure there are enough adjectives to describe how amazing this is. Check out the various stages of this piece here.  Also check out her other pieces of art, you will not be disappointed. Many of her pieces are available on her website and you can see other collections there as well; Made By Mother Eagle. 

October 11, 2014

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2014

Feeling Stitchy was very kindly invited along to The Knitting and Stitching Show this year at Alexandra Palace in London. The show was gigantic, with lots of shopping opportunities, as well as lots of craft workshops and lectures. I went along to a red work class to make a needle keeper.

I then hit the shopping opportunities big time. There was a real mix of stalls, quite a lot was for crafters perhaps a little more traditional than I am (but even then I found their stuff lovely, like these 3D needlework cottages from The Nutmeg Company, don't you just love the little post office?).

But there was also plenty of more modern stuff and it was great to see stuff actually made up from popular craft books and companies, such as from Louise Walker's Faux Taxidermy Knits (the two animal heads), Merchant and Mills (the dresses) and Sew Over It (not pictured but they do have a new London shop opening soon!).

There was also lots of fantastic suppliers, it was great to see companies I'd previously only known from the web in the flesh, such as The Eternal Maker (some great fat quarters) or to find companies that I hadn't heard of before but totally won me over with their products and their enthusiasm, such as Ernest Wright and Son, who make the most beautiful scissors that feel like you're cutting through butter (check out this short film about how they make their scissors).

There were also lots of gold work and bead work suppliers to, selling stuff that isn't always easy to find even with the aid of a Google search. This makes The Knitting and Stitching Show a great place to find new craft supplies long term, as most of the suppliers also have websites, so even if you go along to the show feeling a bit broke, you can easily come away with a long list of companies you can try in the future.

(Vineyard Silk from West End embroidery)

There were also lots of displays of work, from a fashion show from Coats, featuring among others knitwear from Rowan and fabrics designed by Zandra Rhodes for Freespirit.

As well as art work from individual artists, my favourite was work by Renate Keeping.

Renate Keeping

So, I had a fantastic day, time flew by, before I knew it I'd been there all morning and a good chunk of the afternoon. I will definitely be back next year. But it's not too late to go this year, as it's still on tomorrow (12th October) between 10am and 5pm.

October 10, 2014

Mountain Merino Wool Winner!

Thanks to all who entered our giveaway - our random winner is Kendra!

These are very attractive and I would love to work with them. I especially like the blue shades as I am working on a blue wool project. It would be fun to add these wools.

Hope you enjoy your threads, Kendra, and thanks, Mountain Meadow Wool!

October 7, 2014

Winner of the Fun of the Fair Giveaway

Sorry for the delay everyone but we have a winner for the Fun of the Fair giveaway and the winner is .....

Which is Whiplashed, who would like to make a lion!

Well done Whiplashed, we'll be in touch to get your details to send to the publishers for your prize.

Thank you again to Stitch, Craft, Create for letting us review the book and thank you to everyone for your entries, I enjoyed reading what you would make.

October 4, 2014

Mountain Merino Wool Review and Giveaway!

Mountain Merino Wools and free pattern by Mollie Johanson

Hello all! Recently the nice peeps at Mountain Meadow Wool sent me 4 shades of their beautiful Mountain Merino wool, in a new weight made especially for crewel embroidery. And not only did they send me the wool for review, they are also doing a giveaway on Feeling Stitchy - stay tuned for the details later on in this post!

But first off, let's have a look at that lovely wool!


The wool comes twisted into hanks, like pearl cotton. Also like pearl cotton, the thread is comprised of two thin strands that are twisted together:

closeup of wool strand

I was afraid it would be super-chunky to stitch with - not so! It fits easily through the eye of the crewel needle I embroider with, and the lines were a bit chunky, but not as thick as I'd assumed. I'd say it's equivalent to stitching with 6 strands of cotton embroidery floss. If you need really fine detail, you could divide the strand into 2 as necessary.

Here's a comparison of thread weights I had on hand, Mountain Wool on top, Appleton Crewel Wool next, DMC floss - 6 strands next, and DMC floss - 2 strands last:

thread weight comparison

Like other crewel wool, it has a nice, springy texture, and since it is hand-dyed there's a natural color variation - almost a heather texture to all the shades. I did notice it knots up a fair bit when pulling through the fabric - so my suggestion is to work with short lengths of thread.

The 2 ply thread makes it stronger than 1 strand of crewel wool, so it won't break when you pull it tightly. Since it's merino wool, it feels softer and less scratchy than regular wool under your fingertips - it's very nice to work with.

I used 3 of the shades they sent me - Geranium, Silver, and Teal to stitch up this wonderful free pattern by Mollie Johanson:


I used a back stitch and lazy daisy stitch on the leaves - You can really see the nice pearl texture. Knots were made by wrapping the needle once with the wool. The large letters were stitched with a split stitch.

So, to sum up my review - this is a very nice quality wool, with a wonderful hand-dyed texture that looks beautiful when stitched.

view large
Now for the exciting part - a giveaway! At last glance, the merino wools have not yet been added to the Mountain Meadow Wool site, so 1 lucky reader will be receiving a sneak preview of their Mountain Merino wools for embroidery!

This color card shows the full range of colors - please forgive the lighting in this pic and be aware that the colors may not be an exact match, but this is close!

To Win:
Tell us what your favorite shades are - for example - blues, reds, greens, yellows, neutrals, etc. Click here to see a larger version. Leave a comment on this post by Sunday, 9 PM CST we've gotten such a nice response on this post that I'm extending the deadline through tomorrow, Monday 12 PM CST!

Thanks again to Mountain Meadow Wool for making this review and giveaway possible!

October 1, 2014

October Craftster Hoopla Along

Hello guys and ghouls! Craftster is at it again with it's October Hoopla Along.  Promote ghostly interest this season by stitching up your favorite fall or Halloween themed pattern.  It can be anything related to the fall months or my favorite holiday, Halloween. Get out that glow in the dark thread you have been hoarding and create something simply dismal....

You have until October 31, 2014 to be eligible for random drawing.

This month's prize is: Craftster skully needle t-shirt