July 1, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 59 with Novelsnob


Happy Stitchy Friday, friends! On today's Friday Instagram Finds we feature @novelsnob. Emma creates absolutely stunning pieces of 3-D embroidery! And that's not the end of her talents - she is an accomplished embroidery artist, she sews, crochets,  and does free-hand machine embroidery. Here are some of my favorites from her Instagram feed. Emma used #feelingstitchyig, and I'm glad she did so I could discover her beautiful work.

While you're on Instagram checking out Emma's work at @novelsnob make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

@novelsnob
A photo posted by Emma J. (@novelsnob) on

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 29, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #7: Tiny Boxes


I'm loving everything about this lovely little PDF pattern on Etsy by Tiny Boxes - the colors, the modern feel, and that it looks like a quick and easy stitch.

June 28, 2016

Katrina Majkut - In Control


The fantastically innovative artist Katrina Majkut joins us to discuss her work and specifically her latest embroidery collection entitled 'In Control'. Katrina talks about her inspirations and work processes as well as the powerful message that she expresses and transfers through her work and the incredible impression and response it evokes.

What led you to the medium of thread and embroidery art? Was there a defining moment for you?
I was living in Berkeley, California from 2009 to 2011 and all around me was the birth of many modern activist movements: Black Lives Matter, marriage equality, Obama was pushing for free birth control, Occupy. I was also starting TheFeministBride.com and doing a lot of research into wedding tradition and how many Western social practices define women’s identity and set their status in society, which really helped me understand how embroidery did the same. I was also bound for grad school and very bored by store-bought, mass-produced cross-stitches so I started experimenting.

When did you learn to embroider?
I was around ten years old. Like most young girls, I learned from my mother.


How does embroidery best translate your idea and vision?
Embroidery as a domestic craft has almost always been a way to assert specific feminine values and identities – for example, what it means to be a woman, a mother and a wife, but it never included the physical components many use to fulfill those roles. I began to wonder whether that omission had contributed to so many social and civil politics that refused to give women full reproductive rights or even acknowledge that basic need, so I started stitching all products related to women’s reproduction, bodies and health. In doing so, my artwork is often characterized as subversive, which is insane because the reality is these health products and needs are natural and common for the majority of women. Someone once called me “brave” for doing this work, which was a compliment that caught me off guard because it’s so basic to me - it’s part of everyday life, but for me to connect the idea of bodily autonomy with women’s roles has been considered radical. There’s absolutely no reason why this should be the case.


How does feminism inform your art in particular your embroidery collection entitled 'In Control'?
The collection would not exist without feminism. Feminism is the tool that enabled me to understand how women’s health is treated in respect to social practices and equality. It also empowered me to modernize the sexism embedded in embroidery in a constructive, educational and bipartisan way. It also gave me the confidence to do this project despite the fear that it might be considered controversial; it’s a great support system. Feminism is just the means to achieving social, economic and civil equality between men and women; healthy and comprehensive access to widespread reproductive rights is crucial for that to happen. I don’t think that equality is possible if we don’t address where the inequality lies in all social and civil systems, and that includes embroidery. How can equality be possible if everyday practices, even something seemingly benign ones like stitching, reinforce obsolete gender roles and inequity?

Do you sketch your designs before you commence your embroideries? Could you tell us more about your creative working process and how you develop your idea into the final piece?
As a classically trained painter, I use observational painting techniques to create my cross-stitches. That means I essentially look at the object and translate it visually directly with needle and thread. There’s no computer program to turn the image into a stitching map and I seldom draw the object on the fabric (drawing on the fabric muddies up the final image). I will draw curves sometimes so I get the angle correct the first time, but it’s very minimal. I use a grid book to block text though as it’s more efficient to do so and helps to prevent spacing mistakes and material problems. Using observational painting techniques also lends itself to more accurate still life drawing; a computer program too often reduces the complex colors in an object to the point of color blocking. Being familiar with color theory immensely helps realistically render an object. As a result of my personal methods, I’ve taught myself new techniques in cross-stitch that include color layering through half stitches, texturing and color gradation.


Is there a particular style of embroidery that you prefer?
Definitely cross-stitch, though I’m currently learning drawn thread via traditional Ukrainian techniques, which is awesome because I’m simultaneously learning about my heritage.

Who and what influences and inspires you?
I’m really inspired by the women (and men) who see my artwork and feel confident and comfortable enough to share their own personal stories or thoughts with me. It’s something I had not anticipated happening with my artwork. So many will share what it was like to get an abortion or have a miscarriage or go through menopause or grow up in a household/school that ignored basic health knowledge and will share how that hurt them as adults, etc. These are experiences that get too often silenced in the public despite being common occurrences. For them to feel strong enough to share these stories with me or the art patron next to them (who they also don’t know) is just so powerful and inspiring. And sometimes the stories are not always easy to listen to, but it’s taught me a lot about patience, listening, empathy, kindness and how necessary lessons like these are for everyone.


Which other artists do you appreciate?
My favorite artists tend to be painters since that’s where my formal art training lies and with painters that attempt to modernize historical art tropes by including modern social and civil issues – Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Willey, Swoon. As far as embroidery artists, Elaine Reicheck was really the first one that got the wheels turning for me, though to me, her work is much more about the Mechanics of Reproduction (Walter Benjamin) and breaking away from the domestic and gendered hand of embroidery, whereas I think the power of my work lies in connecting the handmade with ideas about bodily autonomy. Cayce Zavaglia is really an inspiration too when thinking about how thread can function like paint.


Can you tell us about the impact that your art has on the audience and what responses you receive about your work?
I’ve been very lucky in that most patrons have been extremely supportive. Once in awhile, I get the question of why would I bother to make this work, why does it matter and why should it matter to the viewer; to which I have to backtrack to basic ideas about civility and understanding other people’s needs outside one’s own and how art is a good platform for increasing this understanding. I think taking a strong bipartisan, medical (I consult with doctors, etc. on accurate representation) and educational objective helps a lot in quelling those who might not like or oppose my chosen topic. The series doesn’t just focus on one aspect of reproductive rights, like birth control or abortion as is common in a lot of feminist reproductive art; I think it’s more useful to show how those two things are connected to less controversial things like disease prevention, menstruation, pregnancy, etc.

Since I’m constantly working on creating a more intersectional perspective of needed products, I get a lot of thanks from certain demographics, who want to be represented but often feel like they are excluded – baby boomers are particularly vocal! Though sometimes people often (constructively) highlight demographics or perspectives that I’ve missed, and I’m eternally grateful when they do that because my point of view as a cis, heterosexual woman is limited. Because they were brave enough to speak up, my series becomes better rounded, humbling and inclusive, my perspective is not the only one that matters. That’s why I included essays in my In Control catalogue from women who offer a diverse personal and professional perspective regarding health and reproductive rights – I hope to get more essays over time and build out the catalogue.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, workshops or lectures?
Yes, at Hollister Gallery at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts this fall! Opening reception and artist talk is October 27 from 5-7pm and the show closes December 21, 2016. I’ll also be exhibiting at Bloomburg University in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2018. Anyone can also check out my artwork here.

Hi, I'm Julia - an embroidery enthusiast based in Amsterdam with a lifelong passion for textiles. I like to mix things up by combining different techniques and mediums - my origami styled dress won the Hand & Lock embroidery prize. Join me on my exploration of embroidery with mixed media and fibre art.

June 24, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 58 with Stitching Pretty


Happy Friday, Stitchy Friends! I hope you've had a week filled with stitching fun, and a weekend filled with big stitchy plans!

@stitchingpretty

This week we're going to take a look at @stitchingpretty. Elizabeth creates beautifully detailed embroidery. She also stitches onpaper, which is a fun twist. I'm so glad Elizabeth used #feelingstitchyig so that I could discover her Instagram feed, and see her awesome work (and super cute dog!).







That's it for this week's edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Join in the conversation by commenting below. While you're on Instagram checking out Elizabeth's work at @stitchingpretty make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 22, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #6: Cree Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior pattern by little dear on Etsy
Cree Rainbow Warrior pattern by littledear

I find this Rainbow Warrior pattern in littledear's Etsy shop so inspiring, in a week when it is hard for me to find something wonderful. The colors, the textures, the tinted fabrics, and above all the message of love and unity in the story behind this pattern inspire me.

In the US we have faced another mass tragedy, with a beautiful rainbow of lives lost. It is so frustrating to see even the small measures proposed by our government defeated, and that our Senate has once again chosen not to act.

But when I feel discouraged, I'm reminded by the words in Aimee's post that there is hope. I too, hope that "more and more people become Rainbow Warriors and help make this world a better place."


June 18, 2016

Book Review: Stumpwork Embroidery

One of the fun things about being a blogger for Feeling Stitchy is that free books and materials sometimes come my way. I received a copy of Stumpwork Embroidery: Techniques, Projects, and Pure Inspiration by Kay and Michael Dennis to review.

Stumpwork is an embroidery technique that I would like to be able to do. I will be honest and admit that I found the projects in this book very difficult to complete. While each project does walk you step by step through it, I feel as though many projects in the book are geared towards the embroiderer who has a better grasp of how to do stumpwork already. I started a project making a butterfly with 3D wings, but I have a hand injury that's preventing me from finishing because of the dexterity involved.


Stumpwork Embroidery starts out with an introduction to Kay Dennis' journey into stumpwork, and then goes into the history of this art form. I found that aspect fascinating! In this photo below from the book, it's a closeup of a British stumpwork box from circa 1650. Look at that detail and how well it's held up over the centuries.


Some of the projects in the book, like this poppy seed below, are definitely projects that someone who has some basic understanding of embroidery can accomplish.


Completed poppy seeds from the book Stumpwork Embroidery
The author, Kay Dennis, is a big fan of needlelace, and she is exceptionally creative at creating interesting projects! Needlelace is made using needles and thread to create many stitches to make lace. It requires dexterity and an attention to detail. The end result is fantastic!



Once my hand is sufficiently healed, I'm going to dive further into this book to master the techniques. You can find me on Instagram where I share on the Feeling Stitchy and my personal Random Acts of Amy accounts.

Have you tried stumpwork? Have you read this book? Or do you have recommendations for other books or resources on stumpwork? Please leave your comments below!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 17, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 57 with Jes Hallagan


Happy Friday, Stitchers! On today's Friday Instagram finds we're going to take a look at Jess Hallagan whose Instagram account is @thegoodthingthings. Jes creates cross stitch pieces that feature families and pop culture references. She also does some pretty fabulous hand embroidery, too. Her artwork is fantastic - take a look! (In order to go right to each picture on Instagram, just click either the account name in the top left-hand corner of each photo, or the bottom border of each picture.)

@thegoodthingthings







That's it for this week's edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Join in the conversation by commenting below. While you're on Instagram checking out Jes's work at @thegoodthingthings make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 15, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #5: Tamar Nahir Yanai

Girl in a Red Dress Pattern by Tamar Nahir Yanai

So sweet and so delightfully stitched - this Girl in a Red Dress PDF pattern on Etsy by Tamar Nahir Yanai is a perfect summer project for lazy days.

June 14, 2016

Fabric Portraits


From his Design studio, artist Benjamin Shine creates ethereal tulle portraits and sculptures which are renowned throughout the world. Shine's background began in Fashion Design and his affinity with fabric stemmed from his upbringing within a family of material manufacturers.



Shine made a mark creating fabric collages of famous figures using strips of material woven through eyelets and he began to consider creating a portrait with a single piece of fabric. This led to the tulle portraits which originate as a single piece of tulle (fine net) which is then scrunched and pleated using an iron to sculpt the shapes and shadows in the form. Shine's 'Hands of Time' is made from over 164 feet of tulle.



These extraordinary pieces have so much depth and detail. Shine expresses that 'If my work can provoke the reaction ‘How?’ or ‘Wow!’ then I’m satisfied'. You can find out more about his work here.


Hi, I'm Julia - an embroidery enthusiast based in Amsterdam with a lifelong passion for textiles. I like to mix things up by combining different techniques and mediums - my origami styled dress won the Hand & Lock embroidery prize. Join me on my exploration of embroidery with mixed media and fibre art.

Winner in the Silk Mill Threads giveaway!

We have a lucky winner who will be receiving some beautiful threads from The Silk Mill!

Silk Mill Threads
Herbs and Spices themed set from The Silk Mill

Our winner is:


to best show off these gorgeous threads, I would make a cover for my embroidery machine and place some embroidery on the front. That way I can see the beautiful threads on show every day


Thank you to Amy for doing such a lovely review (and our first ever Facebook Live post!)

Thanks especially to The Silk Mill for so generously sending us their beautiful threads for review and a giveaway - and thanks of course to all of you who read Feeling Stitchy and commented! :)

June 11, 2016

The Silk Mill Thread Review and **GIVEAWAY**

One of the perks of my job as a blogger for Feeling Stitchy is that I sometimes receive products to try out. I was excited to be the recipient of 20 skeins of silk embroidery thread from The Silk Mill in France! The Silk Mill is...
"...a small family run business located in South-West France, specialising in Chinese silk threads, silk needlepoint kits, and vintage needlework tools,"
As a bonus, The Silk Mill has kindly agreed to send out some of their silk thread to one lucky Feeling Stitchy reader! All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment on this post explaining what you'd make with the silk thread if you won.

Yesterday I made a Facebook Live video on the Feeling Stitchy Facebook page that gave a sneak peek of this luxurious silk thread. You can check out that video below.




The first thing I noticed about this silk thread is that it is so soft and shiny! I will admit to totally geeking out and petting the thread before unwrapping it :) The second thing I noticed is that it's wrapped in the skein differently than how I'm used to floss being wrapped. Instead of being able to pull the floss out while keeping the wrapper on, I needed to unwind this thread.

The texture is different than DMC floss, which is what I usually use. The strands separate easily from each other. This meant that I needed to have more control over keeping the thread on my needle, and once I got the hang of it, it was a piece of cake. The thread slips so beautifully through fabric - it was like butter!

 

When I saw the gorgeous greens and bright yellows, I knew right away what I would make. On May 4, 2016, a dear family friend, Conni, passed away from MS. She told us that when we see a white butterfly, it will be her coming back to say hi. I decided to make necklaces for Conni's daughter Kaiti (who is a sister to me), her daughter Elay (who is my niece), and Conni's granddaughter Elsa using a Dandelyne mini hoop. I wanted to stitch some grass, flowers, and a little white butterfly. This silk thread makes this mini embroidered piece pop with color and texture! (Note: The white of the butterfly was stitched with DMC floss because white wasn't included in the packets I received.)


The Silk Mill silk threads get two big thumbs up from me! I'm excited to unwrap the other skeins and create fun projects to embroider. 

Now it's your turn - leave a comment on this post by Sunday, June 12, 9 PM CST letting us know what you would create with The Silk Mill silk threads, and you could be our lucky winner of a prize pack of silk threads, generously provided by The Silk Mill! This giveaway is open to all of our Feeling Stitchy readers.

Here's some more information about The Silk Mill silk threads:

And here is a photo of the gorgeous threads that will go out to the winner - a beautiful selection called "Herbs and Spices."

Silk Mill Threads

What would you create with these threads?

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 10, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 56 with Handmaid Stitch


Hello, Stitchers! It's Friday again, and that means another Friday Instagram Finds! Today we're going to look at Cristina's, aka @handmaidstitch, Instagram account. Cristina creates gorgeous hand embroidery that has a lot of detail and color. Her stitches are so pretty! Take a look! (In order to go right to each picture on Instagram, just click either the account name in the top left-hand corner of each photo, or the bottom border of each picture.)

@handmaidstitch










That's it for this week's edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Join in the conversation by commenting below. While you're on Instagram checking out Cristina's work at @handmaidstitch make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

June 8, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #4: Jenny Blair Art


I love the whimsical quality of this pretty pre-printed kit by Jenny Blair on Etsy. It's so imaginative and her choice of colors is subtle and spot-on. The kit includes floss, pre-printed fabric, needle, hoop, and wonderfully detailed instructions.

June 6, 2016

MooshieStitch Monday: Padded Satin Stitch Flower



The padded satin stitch is an easy way to add a raised effect to your embroidery. There are different ways to add the "padding", but I decided to try it with felt first.

Here is how I created the flower:

I roughly drew simple flower petals on felt. I chose a felt that was the same color as my floss so it would be more forgiving in case I had any gaps in my satin stitch.


Cut out the flower petals and attach to your fabric. I stitched a small little straight stitch on each petal to keep them in place.


Satin stitch over each felt petal.


Cut felt leaves and attach onto the fabric.


Satin stitch each leaf.


Once complete, I added some yellow french knots in the flower center.


Up close you can see the puffy raised effect of the padded stitch.




Don't know the satin stitch? Check out this how-to.

This video tutorial is another method for the padded satin stitch.

And finally - I had to share this blog post of amazing felt padded embroidery I found on the Hanging by a Thread blog!!




Hi! I'm Michelle (aka Mooshie) and I've been stitching since 2007. I own more embroidery hoops than I will ever need and am a borderline hoarder of floss. In my spare time I'm hanging out with my dog Sega, planning my next hike, or trying to convince my husband to draw me embroidery patterns. You can find me on my blog, MooshieStitch and Flickr.

June 3, 2016

Friday Instagram Finds No. 55 with Adam Pritchett


Happy Friday, Stitchers! I'm so happy to see you back here again :) I hope you've had a wonderful week, and I hope that you have a fantastic weekend planned! Can you believe it's already June? Half of the year has already come - where did the time go?!

Today we're going to take a look at Adam Pritchett's Instagram account. Adam lives in the Lake District of the United Kingdom. He embroiders lovely and detailed pieces that feature a variety of stitches. His bullion knot roses are on point! Take a look! (In order to go right to each picture on Instagram, just click either the account name in the top left-hand corner of each photo, or the bottom border of each picture.)

@ajpritchett







That's it for this week's edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Join in the conversation by commenting below. While you're on Instagram checking out Adam's work at @ajpritchett make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We'd love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find Feeling Stitchy on Instagram at the handle @feelingstitchyish. You can find Amy @randomactsofamy on Instagram.

Want to be featured in Friday Instagram Find? Tag your best stitch-related photos with #feelingstitchyig!

Hi, I'm Amy - I feature interesting embroidery and stitch-related photos I find on Instagram. Use #feelingstitchyig on Instagram for pictures you want me to find.

Find me on: Instagram | Random Acts of Amy | Etsy

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