August 29, 2007

Magda's little bird

embroidery bird

Magda generously posted a beautiful original embroidery design in the pool yesterday. Visit her blog to learn more about it, and her beautiful artwork: free embroidery pattern

August 27, 2007

Interview with Sara and Sam, Pin Pals

Q. This is our first interview with not one but two talented crafters who are also friends! Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship, how you met and ended up crafting together?

A. Sara and I met at a craft fair in Montreal in 2005. I remember seeing Sara’s work posted on the show’s website and thinking I’d definitely check out her table, and the day of the show we ended up right beside each other! We’ve been working together ever since.

Q. I have seen a lot of great cross stitch pins on your flickr photo stream. Do you both stitch and how long have you been embroidering?

A. I (Sam) started cross-stitching about a year ago after looking through one of my many vintage craft books and thinking I’d love to give it a try. I was instantly hooked! It feels very natural to me as I love playing with pattern and colour. The possibilities are endless. Sara is an illustrator and uses her talents to create amazing appliqué for our tote bags. She hand-stitches and uses the sewing machine to apply the wool felt and scrap fabric which make up her unique designs.

Q. Besides the great pins, you have made some wonderful totes and really cool paper doll cards, do you two have backgrounds in the arts?

A. Our artistic backgrounds are varied. Sara studied Studio Arts at Concordia University, but she has always been artistic and created her detailed, vibrant puppet cards through practice and imagination. Most of the products we create are inspired by old craft books, children’s book illustration, and vintage fabric. My craft was self-taught, but is partly derived from some training in graphic design and illustration.

Q. So it looks like you guys have quite a little business going on and have done some craft fairs. Could you give some advice or tips to those that might be thinking about entering a craft fair?

A. Go for it! Craft fairs are tons of fun. As long as you work hard and believe in what you make, you’ll have a great time. One tip: The first few fairs you do may not be as monetarily rewarding as you might expect, but hang in there, patience, time and practice will bring success!

Q. You have a website “coming soon!” Can you tell us about your plans for the website and what we might see?

A. Our website will work as an online portfolio. There will be various links to Sara’s illustration and my cross-stitch work, as well as combined work and a link to our etsy shop which is already up and running, redroostercraft.
Q. What has inspired you to create modern cross stitch and do you create your own designs?

A. Modern cross-stitch is a combination of my love for old embroidery techniques and new geometric pattern and colour combinations. I get a lot of inspiration from op artists and modern paintings. Some of the patterns are variations from pattern books or interpretations of old designs. One of my goals for the future is to create my own unique cross-stitch designs, and to cover larger pieces with them.

Q. What other interests do you have besides crafting?

A. We both love listening to public radio! But we do that while working, so our other interests are: thrift shopping, eating at one of the many delicious restaurants in Montreal, reading, bike riding, meeting with friends. We really love what we do so we don’t have a lot of other interests! We also love coffee!

Q. Do you have different roles in your crafty business and what do each of you bring to the table?

A. The different roles are evident in the work we do. Sara does all of the illustration work including the puppet doll family, our business cards, product cards, and future website. She also appliqués all of our tote bags and creates special edition “Pin Pals” made of wool felt in a variety of characters.

I create all of the cross-stitch work, fan and cornet brooches, quilt work (including quilted scarves and belts which are in the works) and I sew all of our tote bags. Outside of the creative roles, Sara and I both contact craft fair organizers, manage the business and scout fabric stores and thrift shops for accessories. We’ve never worked harder or been happier with our jobs!


I don't remember why I decided to cross-stitch a waves pattern, but I do remember feeling restless until I found the perfect pattern and made a pin out of it! I really love the repetition and colour combinations you can use with this pattern. It's pleasing to the eye to see a bunch of waves floating along an aida cloth sea.

Momma and Baby are a highly detailed, original pin by Sara Guindon. You'll never see another one like it! Sara's "pin pal" pins were the reason I wanted to work with her, I had never seen such stitching artistry used to create her unique characters. Past pals have includes banjo playing beehived wearing singers, pipe smoking old men with hats, a marching band drummer and a beach ball beauty. These are little works of hand-stitched art!
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Thank you, Sara and Sam! Your work is wonderful and so inspiring. If you want to see more of Pin Pals visit their flickr photos, redroostercraft, and their soon to be opening website, The Pin Pals.

August 24, 2007

Seeing red

1. stitchette cheering, 2. stitches, 3. red & white sampler, 4. m's turkey, 5. Fabric Postcards, 6. 2 red loops

I'm seeing red in the embroidery pool tonight. And it makes me very happy. Enjoy the weekend!

Calling All Swappers


Feeling Stitchy did a how-to post on embroidered buttons and a reader commented that she would like to host an embroidered button swap. That reader is Michelle, at greetingarts, and she has made an announcement on her blog for the swap sign up. So go check out Michelle's blog and enter before the deadline. This should be a fun and easy swap, plus the cost of shipping these little buttons will be painless!

August 23, 2007

deliciously snarky cross-stitch

from krisatomic


from reeselightnin


from carosaurus


Want to be snarky too? Subversive cross-stitch is a great place to start. Are you just naturally snarky and need no outside inspiration? Type your phrase into the magic Cross-stitch generator and post your finished work in the pool! :)



August 16, 2007

needle in a haystack

Enjoy this guest post from Erin (rectangel) - a super-cool Craftster embroiderer. Some of her amazing projects are on Flickr, but check Craftster for the real deal on this chica. :)

Recently I realized what a difference the right needle can make and wondered how I had completely ignored it up until now. It is like a deep dark secret of the sewing world and thank goodness for the internet or I would still be walking around Michael’s wondering if this time I had gotten lucky.

Chenille vs. Tapestry Needle
I can now say with confidence that my favorite needle is a number 26 chenille needle and I will never buy the mixed package of “embroidery needles” again. Chenille needles are shorter (which is great for tight spots) and easier to thread in my opinion but still have a sharp point:
chenille needles

I previously bought a package of Tapestry needles (they look the same as chenille needles) but their dull point can really make your chain stitch look uneven. Tapestry needles are good for cross stitch and thus abound everywhere but are not good for precise embroidery.

Another thing I hate is needles that tarnish and bend, and needles where the eye doesn’t seem smooth inside so I recently ordered some fancy needles from http://www.colonialneedle.com/. Needle six-packs are under $2 which is a great investment for the pleasure of perhaps stitching with the perfect needle.


Needles Unstuck
: What is the difference anyway?
Below are some great diagrams from Colonial Needle to help you see the differences in types of needles and how the sizing works. (view their complete list)

embroidery needles
embroidery: the ones I can thread are always too big. Oval eye, sharp point, finer-shanked than chenille and tapestry needles.


chenille needles
chenille: sharp point, long oval eye (and my fave).


tapestry needles
tapestry: same as Chenille but blunt point –good for loosely woven fabric (can be curved), long oval eye.


sharps / sewing needles
sharps/sewing: round eye, sharp point, medium length.


quilting needles
quilting: same as sharps but shorter, round eye, sharp point.

Some other things I’ve learned:
  • Needle eyes have right and wrong sides - choose the larger smoother side to prevent thread wear or if you aren’t happy with your needle's performance try threading it from the other side.
  • If your floss starts to fray the needle eye may be flawed or you might using too much floss.
  • A larger needle will help prevent wear on the thread if your fabric is rough.
  • A needle that leaves holes in your fabric is usually too large unless you are making bigger holes to protect the floss from the fabric.
Cowgirl

What I love the best about the embroidery I do is that there are no rules. The back doesn’t have to look as good as the front the colors are up to me and so are the stitches and how my design comes out is not predetermined. It puts the art back into this craft for me and makes me extra proud of my designs. I have Jenny Hart to thank for that because she makes designs that I want to stitch and has never made a kit detailing the colors and number of threads. Everyone’s comes out different and they all look great.

I found my needle in the haystack I hope you find yours too :) and if you are working on an unconventional fabric maybe test out an unconventional needle!

August 13, 2007

Cross Stitch Revisited

Feeling Stitchy has featured some unique and inspiring cross stitch. A fun and easy way to design your own original cross stitch is to use graph paper. Listed below are links to help you get started with a project.


- Patternpatch provides the directions for mapping out your design on graph paper.

- Needlepointers provide free printable graphs. Incompetech does as well but also lets you specify the number and size of the squares.

- Check out Yarntree's Learn to Cross Stitch in 5 Minutes plus its shop where you can find tons of supplies.

- There is a great cross stitch tutorial at Primrose Design.
- Create your own chart with a chart generator at Dark Lilac.
If you have a great resource for cross stitch or other embroidery projects, let us know!

August 11, 2007

Embroidering with wax paper

My 4-year-old starts preschool in a few days. Her name needs to be on her backpack and I was itching to embroider it. I used wax paper as a tear-away stabilizer substitute.

Before:

I printed out her name.

Put a piece of wax paper over the name and traced with a Sharpie.

Pinned the wax paper to the backpack.

Started stitching. I used "old faithful", the split stitch.
I noticed that it helped to move the left pin over as I completed each letter. It helped stabilize the wax paper in the middle.
Tear away the wax paper. It tore away very easily. I used tweezers to get any bits of paper that were stuck.


The end result:

August 8, 2007

uncommon cross-stitch

the breakfast club
the breakfast club

Mötley Crüe
Motley Crue

zz top
Z. Z. Top

All masterminded by the brilliant rubykhan, using Minipops as her inspiration... I can't wait until she finishes The Royal Tenenbaums!!!

showing off letters

I think like most people, the idea of embroidering letter and words is a little daunting. Here are 3 examples from the Embroidery Pool that are quite different.

This computing sampler from heidicrafts.


A cute door hanging from little miss scruffy.


This letter A is part of a felt book made by Dr Alice.

August 1, 2007

Special occasions


This has just been posted to the Embroidery pool as I write this post. It's by burb_mama and I love it! It's a tooth fairy pillow.

For a wedding announcement or wedding present, this little portrait of a wedding couple is so sweet. It's by lori joy.
wedding portrait

This little bunny by apple & eve would be a beautiful keepsake for a newborn.