April 29, 2011

Something old, something new...(and a giveaway winner too!)

Goodfella Clown

Brilliant! Poppy (Experimentl on Flickr) added a quote from the movie Goodfellas to this vintage pattern making it quite a nasty scene all of a sudden! The clown alone creeps me out a little bit anyway...but his pom pom made with a Turkey Stitch is a nice touch! The Turkey stitch is a fun stitch and quite easy to master. Check out this video tutorial by Di van Niekerk to see how it's done!

Moving on to the Sewn by Hand giveaway winner. Thanks for all your stories of the stitching/knitting/embroidering you all do in public. It was fun to read that lots of crafting actual takes place outside the house, even if it's only on the porch. :)  Random.org chose Erica as a winner! Erica said:  "I do some hand sewing when finishing some of my needlework projects, but not a ton of it. I have to admit that I just got a brand new sewing maching and I'm rather enjoying playing with it! (...)"  Congratulations Erica! Please contact me at follow the white bunny [ at ] e-tropolis [ dot ]  nl  and let me know your full name and address.

Hearts


Stitched by adacao

In honor of the Royal Wedding, how about some lovely hearts stitched by Bo? What can I say, I'm a sucker for weddings - there's something so brave and reckless and awesome about saying "I Do" that will always make me shed a little tear at every wedding, no matter how silly or overdone. And I must say Kate looked magnificent. Happy Wedding Day, guys! What did you think of the wedding? :)

April 28, 2011

April Showers

The month is winding down and we are saying farewell to our April Stitch Along. I absolutely love that people took this wonderful pattern and made it their own. A big thanks again to Digital Misfit for drawing this up and a big sloppy kiss to everyone who participated!

This is my finished project. I decided to make the raindrops in different colors.

This is hiphomebody's piece. She says she is new to stitching but I think she's a natural!

I love that Little Red Emo Hood made an apron. How clever!

I love the braid! Just perfect SewingByStephanie!


Awesome Tinting by Terrildorr.

Wonderful tinting by Troublet42. The puddle is so perfect.

April 27, 2011

Little Crochet Blog Tour

Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers

I met Linda totally by chance in New York City at a book release party and I would have never thought that 2 years later we'd again be living in the same city, 100's of miles from New York, and practically neighbors. I am thrilled to be today's stop on the Little Crochet Blog Tour, because I can pretty much never stop touting my friend Linda's merits - she's an amazing designer, artist, and crocheter - if you haven't visited her blog yet, you should definitely have a look.


Little Crochet is a beautiful book with 24 crochet projects for babies and children. The directions are clear and easy to follow, and the photography and colors are vivid and inspiring. I loved her "Before You Begin" section for the detailed description it gives of all the different yarn weights, crochet hooks, supplies, and sizing.


Toys, hats, sweaters, legwarmers, and throws - there's a little bit of everything in Little Crochet, and a project for every skill level. I also loved how Linda created alternate color choices for many of the patterns - it really helps you visualize all the different possible options. But aside from a few feeble rows, I'm no crocheter, so I enlisted the help of my wonderful sister Norma to help with this review!

She's currently crocheting the owl design:

My sister had this to say about Little Crochet:
I enjoyed trying out the Owl pillow pattern. I fell in love with it at first sight! It was easy to follow and understand even though I haven't crocheted in a while. I haven't completed it. Actually, mom is working on it now!

The book was beautifully done and well put together. The kids were adorable!

Thanks Linda, for sharing this wonderful book with me and including Feeling Stitchy on the Little Crochet blog tour. If you are a crocheter looking for some great projects for kids, I can think of no better place to start!

April 25, 2011

Sewn by Hand Blog tour + Giveaway

Susan Wasinger's new book Sewn by Hand: Two Dozen Projects Stitched with Needle & Thread offers 'two dozen' (or '24' to the rest of us) projects to hand sew. Not just at home but to take along with you and work on wherever and whenever you like. The book is aimed at sewers of all skill levels. There are quite some fairly easy-to-do projects (napkins, bibs, thermal packs) that can be made with little or no experience. And some are more challenging like the Hassock. If you are not familiar with hand stitching you will find lots of information about materials, tools, knots and stitches in the first chapters.



Do you sew by hand? Not counting embroidery, I rarely do. Maybe a tiny bit of hand sewing when I have to close gaps on soft toys and pin cushions. Or the occasional button on a coat... And for any other sewing project I get my sewing machine out. So the idea of sewing bikinis, aprons and hats 'unplugged' was kind of new to me! 



The portability factor is indicated with each project and varies a lot. Obviously most people will be unlikely to tag along some huge curtains to a cafe but the cute thermal packs could be sewn up quite easily when you are on the go.


In previous work Susan Wasinger has been keen to recycle and re purpose stuff so it's no surprise that Sewn by Hand has a couple of  projects where recycled materials are being used.  There is a nice project (see photo above) using old men's shirts (that is not shirts from old men but...oh you know what I mean!) to make an apron. Personally I would be very much inclined to get my iron out to make neat seams and run the panels quickly through my sewing machine. Maybe because I already spend much time on other 'slow crafts' like embroidery and quilting... In other projects,  the hand sewing is part of the charm or decoration of the items made. Many of the projects, and indeed the whole layout of the book, have a nostalgic, timeless feel to it which fits the 'strictly Hand sewn' theme perfectly.



The nice folks at Lark Crafts have been so kind to provide us with some neat goodies to give away. Yay! Not just the book Sewn by Hand by Susan Wasinger but also the fun haberdashery that's pictured on the photo above.  

To have a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and tell us if you get your needle and thread out in public (and if so where!).I will close the comments this Thursday and announce the winner the next day. ed. comments are now closed, winner will be announced later today! If you can't wait to try out some hand sewing yourself you can find a project from the book here.

The Sewn by Hand blog tour will continue on the following blogs!


Happy Stitching everyone!


April 24, 2011

Patterns: Vintage Shop


I love the pretty detailing in this new Vintage Shop pattern set by The Story of Kat. The Story of Kat is relatively new in the pattern design world, I look forward to seeing more patterns from her!

April 23, 2011

Who is Behind the Stitching?

Cause I can't wait till tonight for the new season of Dr. Who.
Onegroovyday over at Crafster.org stitched this and I was completely blown away, but look...it get's better...
And even better...

April 22, 2011

The Bird with the Parachute

The bird has a parachute! That was enough for me to be totally intrigued with this piece embroidered by Moorea (aka Drama-Club on Flickr), So I went to investigate further and discovered that Moorea has made many more striking pieces.


How about this embroidered Double Portrait? It comes to me as no surprise that Moorea is also a tattoo artist.  Because aspects of her 'other needlework' shine through in the bold lines and strong images of her embroideries. I can't wait to see more inspiring work from this talented artist!

April 20, 2011

April Stitch Along... It Keeps Going

I can't believe what a wonderful response we have had to Digital Misfit's pattern. I love to see all the different ways everyone is interpreting the pattern. One thing is for sure, we are a talented bunch of stitchy goodness!



April 19, 2011

Royal Wedding, anyone?

coversmall

Guess what I got in the mail? Well, if you don't feel like guessing, you're looking at it! The nice peeps at CrossStitcher were kind enough to mail their latest issue and I decided to keep it all to my stingy, non-stitching self. What? Of course not, guys - is there anything I don't give away? You probably think I'd give my own mom away if I could. (There is absolutely no proof of that. Yet.)

Anyway! This wonderful, commemorative copy of the CrossStitcher could be yours. I decided to keep this giveaway US-only because I want to make sure you get your copy in time for the wedding AND it'll be a nice treat for us non-UK-ers.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, and I thought, in honor of the wedding, I'd have the comments be extra goofy. If you could marry a prince (or princess) and choose exactly who he (or she) might be - actor, person in history, past or present, etc - who would it be? Choose your prince! (Or princess) :) And although I cannot mail you that person, I can send one lucky person a very nice magazine instead.

And, because I gotta be first up - here's mine:


Mark Ronson.... because he's cute... and talented. Ok, so I know nothing of his character, but he can make a mean record, and he's one snappy dresser. And he's a Brit (yours doesn't have to be). Comments will stay open until Saturday morning, when I'll close the comments, choose a random winner, and pop this magazine in the mail. So, bring it on, folks - it's prince time!

Edit: 4/23/11 - here's our winner!
Winner of the CrossStitcher magazine!

Happy zombie has a magazine coming in the mail!

Winner of Pocketful of Posies!

PFOPcover

We have a winner!




AshleyJane said...


I love the french knot!


Ashley Jane, this book is yours! Email me at unafloresita AT gmail DOT com and I'll mail it out to you, pronto. :)

And thanks everyone, for your wonderful comments and thanks especially to Salley Mavor, for sharing this book with us! :)

April 17, 2011

Patterns: Royal Wedding - Rosie & Bear

Royal Wedding  - Rosie & Bear

Royal Wedding - Rosie & Bear by Bustle & Sew

I love the idea of being able to stitch things to commemorate certain dates and events and well, a royal wedding is as good an excuse as any, specially when the pattern is this pretty. From Bustle & Sew's Rosie & Bear series, you can buy the pattern here.

April 16, 2011

Interview with Salley Mavor, artist and illustrator

PFOPcover

I was instantly inspired by Salley Mavor's Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes - pretty much the second I opened the book. On the inside covers you see intricate chain-stitched shapes on light green felt - creatures, houses, hearts, leaves and symbols that look deceptively simple - it's only on closer inspection that you appreciate how meticulously they are stitched. I decided that's an apt description for all of Salley Mavor's illustrations - deceptively simple in their loveliness - in reality they reflect hours of construction and and intricate layers of beading, stitching, and imaginative three-dimensional elements.

Pocketful of Posies is a children's book illustrated with Salley Mavor's felt and fabric art, but it's so beautifully illustrated I could see this in the library of any crafter or stitcher. I can see myself thumbing through these pages every time I need some inspiration. But now - it could be you thumbing through these pages - Salley was kind enough to share a copy of this book with us - and I'd like to send it to one lucky FS reader!

Salley also took the time to answer some interview questions about her process and the things that inspire her...


How do you plan your projects? Do you sketch or paint or use some other art form to prepare?

Just like other illustrators who work in more traditional ways, I draw a layout of the book, making sketches of each page that show the general positioning of the subjects in the picture, leaving space for the type. I find the design phase to be the hardest and most cerebral part of the process. I’m glad when it’s done, because then I can get down to the more intuitive and enjoyable business of making. It’s thrilling to hold the materials and let my hands start forming the pictures.

Lately, I’ve been describing my work as part of a Slow Art Movement. Yes, its very time consuming and not very practical, but that is part of what attracts me to this way of working. I sew, wrap, embroider, carve and embellish in as many ways as I can think of—all by hand. I can’t really speed it up and machines are no help. Through the repetitive, tactile processes, I find a calm satisfaction that can help lead to effective problem solving. Each illustration requires figuring out something new, whether it is a way of constructing a driftwood house or making a tiny basket, so I need time to work things out.

Besides illustrating children’s books, I’ve also written the craft instructional book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects, which shows how to make little dolls and other felt objects.

PFOPpg12_13

How thoroughly do you plan? For instance, do you "know" exactly what will be in each piece or do you find "surprises" happen?

I find that welcoming found objects into my work can become a trap. Some very interesting looking things sometimes seduce me into thinking they belong in a picture. Later, if it doesn’t contribute to the story, I’ll have to make the painful decision to kick it out. That’s hard, especially when I really like the object. Writer friends tell me that they encounter something similar in their writing. They have to get rid of clever characters, witty dialog or funny situations that seemed perfect earlier. We agree that it’s all part of the creative process, but you have to be willing to see the imposter for what it is.

I’ve worked with several editors over the years, each one with their own comfort level of control and have found that my way of working requires flexibility. I work best with trusting editors who leave me alone for long periods—sometimes a year at a time. I’ve never been very open to a micro-managed style of direction and this has caused problems in the past. I need freedom to experiment and I realize that editors take a chance with me. There will be surprises and changes in my finishes, but hopefully we can agree that the results are worth the uncertainty.


What's your ideal setting to create in? Do music, tv, or movies inspire you or do you need a quiet studio?

I am most productive in my studio, with either music or the radio playing. I can also listen to recordings of books, but I can’t ever seem to get that organized. I can’t watch anything while I work—the visuals are too distracting. Since I work in the evenings, I haven’t watched TV in decades. Most creative people I know watch very little or no TV—they’d rather be making something.


Do you have a favorite stitch? What type of threads do you use (DMC or other?)

I find that I can sew what I want with just a few stitches. The blanket stitch makes a nice edging and the chain stitch is good for writing lines and doodling designs. I use French knots quite often to fill in a spot with texture and a kind of daisy petal stitch for leaves. I mostly use DMC thread and have lately been having fun with their variegated thread, which gives a changeable, organic look. DMC Flower Thread is a nice thicker cotton, but they no longer make it. I’m still using my stash. The Caron Collection makes beautifully hued pima cotton, called Watercolours, that comes in all kinds of variegated color combinations.

WalnutHush

Do you have a favorite piece from Pocketful of Posies? If so, why?

I like the illustrations from Hush-a-bye-baby and Molly, my sister, and I because of the composition, colors and mood they create. I really liked making the baby’s cradle out of a walnut shell and the cat and bird topiaries.

PFOPpg54

What do you find most inspiring - the creative process (being in the middle of your work) or looking at the finished product?

People often ask how long it takes to make an illustration, but I’m not really sure, because time disappears when I’m working. I know that it takes between 2 to 4 weeks per picture, but as to the hours, I don’t keep track. My husband, Rob says that when I’m not eating or sleeping, I’m working in my studio. Of course, this is not entirely accurate, but it’s close to the truth. I admit to being obsessed with making things, as I believe are most artists. Holding a threaded needle is my default position.

I am most happy when working on a piece and am not particularly attached to the finished artwork. I keep a few originals, but sell most of my work. I like to see the pieces going out into the world, creating space at home to fill with new artwork!


How do you inspire yourself to work consistently on a project? Is that a challenge, or does it come naturally to you?

The act of making comes naturally to me and the challenge comes when I have to balance my responsibilities with the overwhelming desire to work on my artwork. Being married and having children has helped me find equilibrium in my life and forced me to come out of my cocoon.

It took 5 years for Pocketful of Posies to go from early sketches to the final production stage. For three of those years, I stitched and assembled the 51 nursery rhyme illustrations. What kept me going was the challenge and excitement of bringing so many stories and characters to life. I could concentrate a lot of energy into each picture and make bold design decisions. I was determined that every rhyme would have the love and attention it deserved.

PFOPpg23

What advice would you give to a fabric artist who would like to have an art or children's book published?

To artists who work in fabric, I would say that your portfolio should show how your work reproduces onto the printed page. Include good quality, well lit photographs that bring out the unique appeal of what you make. As in any medium, publishers want to see that you can create engaging, active characters in environments that children understand. Make sure that the photos bring out the details of your work. Don’t make your originals much bigger than the printed size, because the textural quality is lost in the reproduction. Have your photos show the raised texture and sculptural quality of your medium. Otherwise, you may as well be working in paper collage or paint.

Bringing characters to life is key to successfully illustrating a story. Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to learn as much as you can about making books and preparing your ideas.

I would also say that your work cannot stand on originality alone, that you should aim to reach beyond the technique and concentrate on telling a story in a visual way, with as much feeling as possible. Just remember that it’s not the medium, it’s the message. After all, it is a great responsibility to reach out and connect with children.

Do you have any upcoming exhibits or shows?

The original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies are currently touring and will be displayed at various locations around the country through Dec. 2013. The next show will be in Iowa at the Muscatine Art Center from April 23 – June 19, 2011. I will be giving a workshop and talk in Muscatine the weekend of May 21-22. The exhibit schedule is frequently updated on my blog.

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Thanks, Salley - it was truly an honor to feature your work and interview you! For more information on Salley, visit her blog.

Want a copy of Pocketful of Posies? This giveaway is open to all FS readers - to enter, leave a comment here and tell us your favorite stitch! Comments will be closed on Monday, 4/18 at 6:00 PM, Central Time, and a random winner will be announced soon after.

April 15, 2011

It Gets Better

It Gets Better by mabith
It Gets Better, a photo by mabith on Flickr.
Mabith created this pattern as a fundraiser to buy Dan Savage's It Gets Better Books for school libraries. I love the design and the sentiment.

April 14, 2011

Wild Olive: Embroidery Basics

Color wheel
Photo by Mollie Johanson

I just stumbled across the most wonderful Embroidery Basics series over on Mollie Johanson's blog, Wild Olive.

So far she's featured a gorgeous array of pics and stitches, including:
Transferring a pattern
Choosing colors
Strands, sewing, stabbing, and starting
Running and back stitches - free pattern!

Her photos are just amazing, and she has the cutest little mascot ever:
Separating the strands
Photo by Mollie Johanson

If you haven't visited Embroidery Basics, you should run right over there and do so right now. I'm so inspired - thanks for creating such a wonderful series, Mollie!

April 13, 2011

April Stitch Along...Going Along

It's week two of the April Stitch Along. I'm really excited about this pattern. There are so many things you can do with it. Here is my progress so far. I'm not worry with the black lines showing, once I get finished, the stabilizer will be washed away to reveal the picture.



I am SO excited to see what Katbaro has in store for her applique.


The Girl 83 is rocking the umbrella! Look at those stitches!

What are you doing with the pattern? Have you started yet?

Delightful shapes


embroidery, originally uploaded by valerieroybal.
This is absolutely be-yuuu-tiful!

Love the shapes, love the colours!

Check out Valerie's Flickr stream for more stitchy loveliness!

April 10, 2011

Patterns: Egg sampler

Egg Sampler WIP -- free pattern

Egg sampler wip by Sara Chung

Just in time for Easter, Sara Chung over at The Split Stitch has posted a free egg sampler as part of her Spring Time Eggstravaganza series, which also includes some fantastic cross stitch patterns such as this and this and some simple quilting and softie making. There's more to come, so keep checking back to her lovely blog!

April 8, 2011

Porcupine with Accordion

porcupine

When I noticed this embroidery by Fiona Bearclaw my first thought was: "I wish I had made that!" I mean: what is not to love about an accordion playing Porcupine with a shiny top hat? I can almost hear the melancholic tones of his accordion and I bet he sometimes sings along in a raspy voice. The use of the stitches in different lengths and shades in the quills is sublime and the detail of the pattern on the accordion is just gorgeous. Can you tell that I love this porcupine portrait A LOT?

April 7, 2011

Embroidery and emotions

A Rose By Any Other Name
Stitched by Cate Anevski

I love when artists and bloggers talk about their creative process in embroidery.

From Cate, on this piece:
"I watch a lot of movies and television while working with my hands. I've tried audiobooks, but I have a hard time staying focused enough when my mind is preoccupied with handcrafts. The extra visual on the screen makes it easier for me to multitask.

I mention this because I start to embed emotions into the pieces I create while watching certain shows and movies. While stitching this piece, I finally got around to watching Toy Story 3, which I adored. Now, every time I see the piece, I remember how emotional I was about Woody and the gang. I particularly think of trying to keep my running stitches nice and even while choking back tears as the toys yet again battled against the changing times.

I'm sure I'm not the only person to do this. Creating artwork can be a very emotional process, and any extra emotions can easily get added into the mix. Anybody else have strong memories attached to a certain piece they've created?"

Well, for me - I kind of feel an emotional creation to everything I create - especially to the pictures I take. Just looking at them brings back the exact state of mind I was in, and everything I was thinking and feeling at the time. Most recently though, it was with my mom - she was recovering from a minor procedure on her eye, and I walked in to her room to see her curled up with the pillowcase I embroidered for her years ago...m
I was so overwhelmed and happy at the same time - I forget that the things we make with our hands are very special to the people we love...

Thanks, Cate, for letting me share your thoughts here, and what do you guys think? Is there an embroidery project or craft you have very strong emotions or memories attached to?