March 26, 2015

Thimblenest Thursdays: Twisted Lazy-Daisy Edge Stitch


In two weeks I'll be bringing you another project tutorial. As I started pulling that post together, though, I realized that I didn't know a great stitch to give it the finish I wanted. After searching in vain for an edge stitch that: 

1. accommodates a curved edge 
2. could be used for joining two (preferably knit) fabrics together
3. and provides a dressier touch than something like blanket stitch, 

I decided to invent something I'm calling "Twisted Lazy-Daisy Edge Stitch". By outlining the steps for this stitch here today, my next tutorial won't need to include directions for that project and this stitch. By the way, I found this post helpful in developing the directions below.

Here we go . . . 


For the purposes of this tutorial, I'm joining the circle above to the square. 


Mark dots around the inside of the circle, spacing them your desired distance apart. The dots indicate where the top of each stitch will be. For this circle, my dots were 3/8" (0.95 cm) from the edge of the circle; I eyeballed the distance between each dot. The next time I use this stitch, I think I will decrease the amount of space between stitches.


Pin the circle to the square and thread your needle. In these pictures I used three strands of embroidery thread, but two worked fine during some of my practice runs.


Bring your needle up through the square fabric right at the edge of the circle, and directly below one of the dots.




Insert your needle back down through the fabric slightly to the left of where you brought the thread up, and continue back up through both thicknesses, coming up through the dot.



Continue pulling the thread up until just a small loop remains; stop short of pulling the thread taut. Twist the loop one turn to the left.


Above you can see the difference between a stitch that is twisted and one that is not. I felt that adding a twist added a little more finesse, as well as strength to the edge of the fabric that is being secured.




Now, just like with lazy-daisy stitch, bring your needle up just inside the top of the loop, holding the loop in the general area of the small dot; then go back down through the fabric just outside the top of the loop.






Bring your needle back up just above where you twisted the loop and then go back down just under the twist. One stitch is complete!

Begin the next stitch by coming up at the edge of the circle in line with the next dot to the right. Continue stitching until you have completed a full circle. I'll be back in two weeks with a fun project that uses the Twisted Lazy-Daisy Edge Stitch; see you then!













Hi, I'm Wendy - I've been embroidering since age 9 when my grandma gave me some blank tea towels and a set of Aunt Martha’s transfers. I blog at ThimbleNest and create embroidery patterns for my shop.

You can also find me on: Flickr and Pinterest.

March 25, 2015

Craftster Find: Baroque Lovebird

If you are on Craftster than you are familiar with one of my favorite members, Ludi. Her needlework is absolutely amazing in every way. She is constantly pushing the envelope with technique, color and size. The piece featured here, Baroque Lovebird, was part of a Craftster swap. The entire piece is about 4.5 inches in size. You can read more about it and see more of Ludi's beautiful stitching on Craftster.org. 

Hi, I'm Pam - I've been a moderator for the Needlework boards on Craftster since 2004 and you can also see me in the Craftster Quickies video series.

I am a lover of all things vintage but I particularly have a fondness for vintage embroidery patterns, which I collect every chance I can get!

March 23, 2015

Mooshie Stitch Mondays: Mountmellick Thorn Stitch

Let’s continue with another stitch common to Mountmellick embroidery - the Mountmellick Thorn Stitch.

First thing I realized was the lack of tutorials and photos of this stitch online. I found this video tutorial that is good, but also a bit blurry and this photo on Flickr. Both were helpful and gave me a good starting point on how to stitch it.



I read on a few websites about Mountmellick embroidery that the thorn stitch is basically a feather stitch with a French knot on every other stitch.
 

Honestly, I had a hard time with this stitch and these photos are my best example after many, many tries. I have no problem with feather stitch - but adding the French knot I found difficult for some reason! I do think it was easier to stitch with the pearl cotton than when I used regular floss.

I know this isn’t exactly how to stitch the Mountmellick thorn stitch - it definitely looks different from the few examples I found online - but that's ok. It’s my version of it. :)




This time for my whitework project, I decided to stitch a little sampler. I switched fabric because I really like how the white floss looks on the linen.

 


Stitches included: Mountmellick thorn stitch, chain stitch, cable chain stitch and french knots.

 

Next time: The cable plait stitch!

Interested in reading more about Mountmellick Embroidery? One great website I found is Vetty Creations. Yvette Stanton's embroidery is amazing. I started following her awesome board on Pinterest and I think I will be purchasing her book on Mountmellick embroidery also.


If you have ever tried the Mountmellick thorn stitch, please let me know! Or if you decide to stitch it - post your photos on Flickr - in the Embroidery Group.


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.

March 22, 2015

Patterns: Satsuma Street Garden Cat


Photo from Satsuma Street

Satsuma Street has another gorgeous pattern out, called Garden Cat, it makes it me feel all warm and spring like just looking at it!

Hi, I'm Jo - I feature new embroidery patterns Sundays on Feeling Stitchy. I also post on our Twitter and Pinterest.

Is there a new pattern you'd like us feature? Email me!

March 20, 2015

Friday Instagram Finds, No. 001



Welcome to the first edition of Friday Instagram Finds! Every other week I'll bring to you a curated list of embroiderers and stitch-related needle workers found on Instagram whose works are ones you need to check out.

@CinderandHoney
Caitlin is the hand embroiderer behind Cinder + Honey, a shop that focuses on hand embroidered hoop art and necklaces. I really like the bold statements she makes with text, and the whimsical nature of her art.

Caitlin's stitches are so neat and tidy, and check out the satin stitching on the flower! Doesn't this cheerful hello hoop make you smile? The colors are so bright and happy.



Check out these mini embroidery hoop necklaces with tiny, dainty flowers, and a monogram! These took a lot of skill to get the flower and leaves that small and perfect, and the letters so neat.


This last hoop from Cinder + Honey is a message that could either be sweet or romantic (or both). This would be such a sweet hoop to hang in a baby's nursery, little girl's or boy's room, or even given to the love of your life as a daily reminder of your love. Sigh...


Jenn is the hand embroiderer of Thread Honey, and she creates, "hand-stitched embroidery for the 90s child." I adore her bold style and mono floss color stitching.

All hand embroiderers know that hands (eyes and lips) can be very difficult to do well. Jenn has this mastered in this extremely clever piece featuring a peek between two hands into outer space (and a UFO!). The next piece with two hands in a flirty state of touching each other just has to have a story! Is it just me, or did you also make up a story in your head about who those hands belong to?!



In true 90s girl style, here's a flashback to the Spice Girls and Girl Power! Her block letters and color blocking make the text on this hoop pop, and the fill stitch has such a great texture, that I want to run my fingers over it.


Jillian is the maker behind Cabin Fever Goods. She creates beautiful and clever cross stitch designs in hoops and necklaces.

My favorite from her Instagram feed is her Sideshow Series. She has designed cross stitch patterns based on the performers you'd find in old time sideshows. Aren't they just so neat?!



She also creates tiny, yet intricate cross stitch necklaces, like this bunch of lavender below. The French knot accents to the lavender give the piece texture and depth.


I hope you've enjoyed edition number one of Friday Instagram Finds on Feeling Stitchy! Please leave comments below to let me know what you thought. If you find a great embroiderer or stitch-related needle worker who you think I should feature, be sure to tag one of their pictures with #feelingstitchyig, and I'll take a look!

While you're on Instagram, make sure you follow Feeling Stitchy! We're @feelingstitchyish We'd love for you to stop by and say hello :)

Friday Instagram Finds, No.2 will be published Friday, April 3, 2015.


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

Welcome to new blogger: Amy on Instagram!

"Be the person your dog thinks you are" "HOME is where my dog(s)/cat(s) is/are" What I'm working on for upcoming holiday markets! #embroidery #dogperson #catpetson

It is a pleasure to introduce our newest blogger, Amy from Random Acts of Amy. You may recognize her from her Instagram account, Etsy shop, and wonderful blog series Back Side of the Hoop and her Hastystitch Embroidery Challenge.

Brooches on the left, necklaces on the right (including 2 of Illinois that don't yet have chains attached). The quarter is for scale. I will have these - and more! - at Urban Farmgirl's Main Street Market at Midway Village in Rockford, IL Saturday, May 10

Amy is a regular stitching dynamo, and in addition to being a fabulous embroiderer, she loves to feature other stitchers and encourage them in their skill. Amy will be featuring Instagram finds on Feeling Stitchy, via our brand-new Instagram account: @feelingstitchyish.

Welcome, Amy!

March 14, 2015

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt - and giveaway!

I am delighted today to bring you an interview with artist Rosalind Wyatt by Karen Thiesen from www.womanwithaneedle.com. Rosalind will be teaching a workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico from May 11-17, 2015. Karen will also be giving away a copy of Leanne Prain's Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles today to celebrate! 

Get comfortable, grap a cup of tea or coffee, and read on to learn more about the fascinating art of Rosalind Wyatt!

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt

Hello, I am Karen Thiesen, and I have been admiring Rosalind Wyatt’s work for years... ever since the photos of her project The Stitch Lives of Others started appearing on the internet. I had the opportunity to take a workshop from her and was delighted to find that not only is she an amazing artist, but an extraordinary person and teacher.

You have a degree in calligraphy and bookbinding...what made you switch mediums from paper and pen to needle and thread?
It wasn't really a question of switching, more like progression; towards the end of the calligraphy & bookbinding degree, I'd taken a module called painted lettering, where we were to design letters for a medium. I had chosen a text which I felt lent itself to be applied onto textiles; the tutors loved the work and I guess saw my aptitude with textiles. One particularly astute tutor suggested a masters at The Royal College of art- mixed media specialism within Constructed Textiles. So I applied to a Textiles course with a purely calligraphy portfolio. My training at the RCA was a complete sea change in direction, learning and development. Moving from an entirely craft based coursed to an art/design education where everything was judged not on whether it was 'right' but whether it was authentic was challenging to the core. During this postgrad, I too questioned everything and had to dig deep to find my voice. I began to re assess how I made marks and my work became very abstract. My range of writing tools became broader, and gradually I discovered that it's the intention behind making a mark that gives it power and presence. One of the tools I picked up was a needle- I thought 'I wonder if you can write with this'. And so it was this simple process of discovery, that stitch by stitch you could form a letter... in thread!

One of the most amazing things about your work to me is that you can copy a person's handwriting in stitch without first tracing it out or making a pattern of any kind! How do you do that?
First of all you have to look and observe closely all the details of a written artifact. The more acutely this inspection takes place the better, and with all your senses! I think we've lost touch with the power of this form of communication. After the voice, an original document records a particular moment in time, a happening, an event! Who wrote it, the content, the thoughts and feelings and intention all come together in a physical manifestation. What is it telling you? Once you feel this connection, you can begin making. The choice of fabric and thread is informed by the original- so if the original handwriting is heavy, use a heavy thread! But don't labour over this, ordinary cotton and calico is fine. Then It's like sketching the contours of a face, mostly you look at the original handwriting, which I always keep as close as possible to the fabric. It does take concentration, but like anything, the more you practise, the easier it becomes. Above all, enjoy it and work with an sense of wonder- watching it all take place!

Tell me about your project "The Stitch Lives of London".
This came about from a body of work called 'the stitch lives of others'. People responded in such a personal way, giving me their textile heirlooms that I felt there was a bigger project waiting to be created. So the idea for SLL came about. It's an art textile installation telling the story of London through text and textile- a modern day Bayeaux Tapestry. People donate their stories in the form of a garment and handwritten document which then becomes an artwork. Eventually all the pieces will hang together, side by side, like on an imaginary washing line that forms the pattern of the River Thames. It is about and for the people of London. So far there are 10/5 garments including an athletic running top donated by Baroness Lawrence, celebrating the life of her son, the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence; the shirt actor Jude Law wore when he played Hamlet on the London stage and this year two garments- a historical piece based on 4 diaries of a stretcher bearer in the WW1 and a contemporary garment donated by Jonny Benjamin of the #findingmike campaign.

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt
"A boy who loved to run" garment donated by Baroness Lawrence to The Stitch Lives of London

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt
Interview with Rosalind Wyatt
Shirt donated by Jude Law, worn in a 2009 production of Hamlet

What is your favorite piece that you have created?
Impossible to say! Like having to choose your favourite child.... But I might just concede that I thoroughly enjoyed the Fortnum & Mason commission of two stitched garments 'I wish I were with you' and 'Because it's there'.

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt

You have studied Zen brushwork in Japan, and now you have just come back from a 3 week artist's residency in India. How do those experiences influence your art?

I never set out to travel to either Japan or India! They seem to have come about from a need or question. After a very formal training in western calligraphy I was always looking at oriental calligraphy and enjoying the freedom and flow of it. My question was how can those zen masters seem to pack so much into a single brush stroke. Even though I didn't understand Japanese script, the marks spoke to me and conveyed a freshness and immediacy that jumped off the page. Then I went to an exhibition of zen scrolls at Oxford university and that was a real lightbulb moment- it took me right to the feet of a living zen master. I felt compelled to make contact and soon after I was invited to visit. Zen brushwork has become part of my artistic practise ever since. This system continues to challenge me about how to make a mark without 'doing anything', and furthermore about the true source of creativity. It is a lifelong study.

India has always played a part in my life- albeit remotely. I grew up with the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and the practise of meditation alongside a simple knowledge of the great epic poems and Sanskrit texts. These great teachers and cultures change you from the inside- you can tap into a well spring of knowledge, freedom, understanding and happiness. This recent residency was my first visit to India to stay as part of a community in rural Gujarat. It was extraordinary and challenging at the same time. I'm still working on a new series of collages based on my time there and digesting it all.

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt

What is your favorite inspirational quote?
The one I always come back to again and again ends with the simple yet profound sentence 'you are a note in a world song'. It's very practical- you have to come out of what you are not, those thoughts and feelings that go round and round, the decisions you take, the separate sense of self....and listen. The world song is happening right here and now.... and you are in everything!

Interview with Rosalind Wyatt
“If Shoes Could Talk”

What is the best thing about working in your studio?
I think a certain atmosphere is created in a space that accumulates over time. It's impossibly small and crammed with all my materials, tools, books and work; sometimes when I've been away for a while, I'll return and just feel so grateful that there is a space where I can be and create. Even though it's physically small, it's light, bright and clean away from the house- at the bottom of the garden. Then of course, it's in the best city in the world- London!

Rosalind will be teaching a workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 11-17, 2015, her first time teaching in the US! Details at www.womanwithaneedle.com.

To celebrate, I am giving away a copy of Leanne Prain’s excellent book, Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles, featuring Rosalind’s stunning work on the cover!

Strange Material by Leanne Prain

Thank you Karen and Rosalind, for the wonderful interview and giveaway!

To win, leave a comment on this post, and merely answer this question - have you ever taken part in an embroidery workshop? If so, what did you think of it? Comments will be open until Monday, March 16, 9 PM CST - one random winner will be drawn and announced soon after!

March 13, 2015

Diary of an Intern: Julia at Hand and Lock

I am beyond excited to introduce our newest guest blogger - Julia Titchfield, an intern at the UK embroidery company, Hand and Lock. In her Diary of an Intern series, she'll be blogging all about her experiences as an intern. A tremendously talented embroiderer, she won last year's open category prize at Hand and Lock. Please welcome Julia!


Feeling Stitchy have kindly invited me to contribute for the coming weeks during my work placement at the prestigious, London based, embroidery and embellishment company called Hand and Lock. I am excited to share my experience with you and welcome your thoughts. With 250 years of heritage, Hand and Lock are at the forefront in the industry. Obviously I leapt at the chance to do an internship; to see behind the doors of this famous embroidery house and more importantly to pick up some invaluable skills of this ancient art.

My entry into the industry has been pretty magical in many ways. Last year I participated in the company's annual, international embroidery competition and to my astonishment and delight I walked away with first prize for the open category! I too am an embroidery enthusiast and initially I entered this competition to push myself and develop my skills with the aim of producing something that could be the start of a portfolio. You can imagine my surprise at the reception my work has received. I suggest that we all dare to dream and allow ourselves to reach our potential. So go on dare, have a go at the prize!


It feels this is the start of my journey into the world of textiles and surface embellishment and I'm filled with excitement about what the future holds in terms of lush fabrics and fine finishes and the techniques I may acquire in order to accomplish my vision.

My first impression was how cosy the workshop is combined with a feeling of stepping into the rich history of this elusive craft. Embroiderers sit silently at large frames. Heavy wooden furniture adorns the room, holding many small drawers filled with an array of threads, silks, beads and sequins. Like a kid in a sweet shop it is a real treat! I have yet to explore the sample room which is home to tambour beaded, goldworked and silk shaded treasures.

The range of clients is also very intriguing. From the theatre and film to high profile individuals such as an extremely wealthy sheikh. Amongst my tasks, so far, I have pimped up a pair of sneakers with no less than Swarovski crystals fixed to the soles to be used for a music video. That posed some tricky challenges on how to achieve a secure and clean finish.

One very important lesson in the last week has been about working tempo, which I'm still improving on. Here it's a whole different approach from my slow and steady working mode to that of professionals in industry working to daily and hourly deadlines. As well as experience and confidence in technique, it's also a question of knowing when to swiftly move through each stage of the process without lingering too long on each part in that futile search for perfection.

It's fantastic to feel I'm part of this dynamic team and to become familiar with the inner working cogs of such an established embroidery house. For now I'm going to take each step at a time.


Hi, I'm Julia! Based in Amsterdam, I am an embroidery enthusiast with a life long passion for textiles. I will be contributing during my work placement at the prestigious Hand and Lock a London based, embroidery and embellishment company with 250 years of heritage.

Join me every other Friday for my Diary of an Intern posts!
Find me on Facebook.

March 12, 2015

Thimblenest Thursdays: Tutorial for an Embroidery Scissor Wrist Cuff


Greetings, Feeling Stitchy readers! I'm excited to bring you embroidery-related tutorials on Thimblenest Thursdays!

I'm sure spouses, children, and pets could testify that those of us who dabble in embroidery are prone to misplace needles from time to time. Having been guilty of that myself, I started getting a little worried recently when I also began misplacing my embroidery scissors. After finding myself sitting on them one too many times, I devised a way to keep them in a safer, more visible place on my person at all times--a wrist cuff!

Calculating Your Fabric/Notion Measurements

As you read through the following tutorial, please keep in mind that this cuff is based on my scissor and wrist/arm measurements. Obviously everyone has different sized arms and scissors, so you may need to adjust your fabric dimensions accordingly. 

For reference, my scissors are 1 5/8" x 3 5/8" (4 cm x 9 cm)--if your scissors are around that size, the pocket should probably work.


Most important is the wrist/forearm measurement; at the wrist, my arm circumference measured 6" (15 cm) . 


4 inches (10 cm) up my forearm (the height of the cuff), the circumference was 7" (17.8 cm). Based on the 7" measurement, I added 2" (5 cm) of overlap to be sure the cuff fit. 

To be sure your cuff will fit, follow this formula:

Forearm circumference (at largest part of arm where cuff will sit) + 2 inches (5 cm) = length to cut main fabric and interfacing.

From this point forward I'll be referring to the measurements I used to create my cuff. If your scissors are roughly the same size as mine, the only thing that will be different is the length/width of your cuff.

Let's do this!


Materials

  • For main cuff 
    • 2 pieces midweight cotton: 9" (23 cm) x 4" (10 cm)
    • 1 piece lightweight iron-on interfacing: 9" (23 cm) x 4" (10 cm)
    • double-fold bias tape
      • 2 pieces 4" (10 cm) long
      • 2 pieces 10" (25.5 cm) long (the length of the cuff + 1 inch (2.5 cm))
  • For pocket
    • 2 pieces midweight cotton: 2 3/4" (7 cm) x  3 1/4" (8.25 cm)
    • 1 piece felt or thin batting: 2 3/4" (7 cm) x  3 1/4" (8.25 cm)
    • double-fold bias tape
      • 1 piece 4" (10 cm) long 
  • 1 3" (7.5 cm) piece of Velcro
  • Water soluble fabric marker
  • Sewing pins or clips


Assembling the Main Cuff


Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of one main cuff piece. Place both cuff pieces with wrong sides together and sew around all four sides using a 1/8" (3.175 mm) seam allowance.





    Sew the 4" (10 cm) bias tape to each short end of the main cuff. Then attach the 10" (25.5 cm) bias tape to the long edges; extend the extra length evenly over each end at the corners. Fold the raw edges in on themselves before sewing the bias tape down.

    Your main cuff is complete!

    Assembling the Pocket & Attaching to Cuff




    Place the two cotton fabric pieces with right sides facing; lay the felt or batting piece on top of them.



    Sew all three layers together using a scant 1/4" (6.35 mm) seam allowance, leaving one short side unstitched. Trim seam allowance close to stitching. Turn pocket right side out--cotton fabric should now be visible on both sides and felt/batting will be turned to inside. Push out corners and press entire pocket with a hot iron.



    Apply remaining 4" (10 cm) piece of bias tape to top (open) edge of pocket, turning in raw ends. Center pocket on top of main cuff along bottom edge and stitch through all layers using a 1/8" (3.175 mm) seam allowance--leave top edge of pocket open!

    Applying Velcro & Finishing Cuff




    Try the cuff on--hold in place with pins or clips. Using the short end of the overflap as a guide to draw a line with the water soluble marker on the underflap. Your line will be at an angle because the cuff forms a cone as it wraps around your arm.


    Place the loop side of the Velcro tape just inside the line you drew (following its angle) and sew in place.


    Flip the cuff over and sew the hook side of the Velcro tape at the opposite end of the cuff. Remove the water soluble line.


    Your cuff is finished!





    Strap on the cuff and gather your scissors and needles (the padded pocket makes a nice little mini pincusion!). Your scissors can be worn either underneath or on top of your wrist and you can embroider in peace--no worries about sitting down on a sharp surprise!

    How do you keep your embroidery scissors under control?

    Hi, I'm Wendy - I've been embroidering since age 9 when my grandma gave me some blank tea towels and a set of Aunt Martha’s transfers. I blog at ThimbleNest and create embroidery patterns for my shop.

    You can also find me on: Flickr and Pinterest.

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