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

September 26, 2014

Knitting and Stitching Show... giveaway!

Hi everyone - I have some very exciting news for you very lucky UK readers! We are doing a giveaway of free tickets to The Knitting and Stitching Show  Oct. 8 - 12 in London!

Folding materials

Just looking over the schedule - there is so much to see and do there, and literally hundreds of hands-on workshops where you can learn new crafting skills!

We were given a pass so that our very own Jo, can attend as well - maybe you'll run into her when you're there! By the way, all of these wonderful photos were provided by The Knitting and Stitching Show.

Graduate s

More details on the show:
The Knitting and Stitching Show takes place at Alexandra Palace.

Wednesday 8 Oct – 10am – 5.30pm
Thursday 9 Oct – 10am – 7pm
Friday 10 and Saturday 11 Oct - 10am – 5.30pm
Sunday 12 Oct – 10am – 5pm

Tickets prices – Adult: £16 on the door (£13.00 in advance); Children £7 on the door (£6 in advance)
Visit www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london for more details.

Pretty Fabric 2 prima workshop2
JOB1778W0094 Sewing Rooms I

And now for the good stuff - the Knitting and Stitching show is giving away of 5 free pairs of tickets for all day Wednesday, Thursday 3-7pm and all day Sunday!

Stitch and Sew_M0676

To enter this giveaway - email mail@twistedthread, put K&S Ticket Giveaway on Feeling Stitchy in the subject line and include your full name, email address and full postal address. The giveaway will be open through Monday, 9/29/14.

Thank you to the wonderful people at The Knitting and Stitching Show for making this giveaway possible!

Whether you are in the neighborhood of London or not, just for kicks - what do you think you'd attend at The Knitting and Stitching Show? I'd hit a basic sewing class and camp out in the tea rooms!

September 24, 2014

Fun of the Fair giveaway!

Here at Feeling Stitchy we were lucky enough to be given a copy of Fun of the Fair by Melanie McNeice to review. Fun of the Fair features five different animal soft toys; a pony, elephant, lion, seal and monkey and the instructions for each are very comprehensive with good, detailed diagrams. The patterns are ideal for bright, colourful fabrics and the design of the toys is particularly good, I think, for young children, with the alternative suggestions on what to do instead of using buttons. I also liked how the toys could be styled in multiple ways, depending on the child you're giving the toy to.

Photo from Fun of the Fair by Melanie McNeice

I would say that the book is ideal for an intermediate sewer or perhaps a beginner up for a challenge. I had a go at making the elephants (I made a daddy, mummy and baby elephant, as there are two different size patterns) and although I've made quite a few soft toys in the past, I think I may have been staying well within my comfort zone because these elephants took me out of it!

And although I'm not totally happy with the result, that was absolutely down to me and not the book. I've definitely learnt new stuff to make these, thanks to the book's tuition and I'm eager to make more!

So a big thank you to Stitch, Craft, Create for letting us have a look at this book and an extra big thank you as they would also like to give away a copy of Fun of the Fair to one of our readers. The giveaway is open internationally and to be in with a chance please leave a comment below saying which Fun of the Fair animal you'd like to make first; a pony, elephant, lion, seal or monkey. The giveaway is open until 1200 GMT 1st October 2014. Good luck!

And if you would like to follow the rest of the Fun of the Fair blog hop, you can find the rest of the dates and links here!

September 19, 2014

Colour Complements Threads Test-drive


closeup Colour Complements threads

Remember the Colour Complements giveaway we did recently?

Well, Lorraine was sweet enough to send some threads my way so I could experience their loveliness for myself! Here they are, in all their multicolored glory on my much-used ironing board. :)

slightly better photo of my Colour Complements threads

I chose a favorite from the shades, #57, and sat down with the wonderful free pattern we shared a few weeks ago:

a little stitching in the works!

I chose Size #8 pearl cotton, which is comparable to 2 strands of embroidery floss, as you can see in this picture:

with 2 strands of floss for comparison

By the way, there's a trick to using threads that are wound in a hank, like pearl cotton - I made a terrible tangled mess when I just lazily pulled the thread from its hank.

Check out this helpful tip on the DMC site on cutting your pearl cotton threads before stitching, to avoid my mistake. :)

Here's a glimpse of the lovely range of color in one length of thread:

example strand

I tried out 3 different stitches on the lettering, chain stitch (top), back stitch (middle), split stitch (bottom):

3 stitches

My favorite stitch with this thread is back stitch - it shows the color changes very nicely.

Here's my finished stitching! Thanks again to Colour Complements for the lovely thread and Ortal for the pattern: get the free pattern here.


September 17, 2014

Nell Burns Thread Bowl

Nell Burns is amazing. This bowl is hauntingly beautiful. It is made up entirely of layers of stitches on water soluble fabric. The fabric is washed away and the threads are left. This is just one of the amazing pieces of art she has created. Is it wrong that I want to dive into one of her beautiful structures?

September 10, 2014

Personalized Pencil Case

School is back in full swing and hopefully you have the majority of your school supplies. If you are still looking for an awesome pencil case why not get inspired by the one Alex stitched up. She used an embroidery pattern from the great Alison Glass and then gave it her own little twist. It turned out beautiful. Wouldn't this be great for keeping your floss in? You can can look at Alison's patterns on her site. 

September 3, 2014

September Hoopla Along

I can't believe September is already here. It seems like yesterday we were just starting the summer and now we are heading into fall. I am excited for the new month because it means a new stitch along on  Craftster.org. This month's theme is Home Sweet Home. The details are below:

They say, "home is where the heart is," so why not prove it with this month's theme, Home Sweet Home. Stitch up anything related to your home. It can be a quote,  a piece of furniture, or maybe a sampler. It could even be your dog's house or a dream castle. It doesn't matter-just anything home related! 

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

This month's prize is: 20.00 JoAnn's card

You do have to be a member of Craftster to be eligible, but it is super easy to get an account set up. Come on over and enjoy the fun! Check out more Hoopla Alongs HERE.