October 31, 2013

Celebrating St. Martin

Olá! Today I decided that next Saturday I'll participate in a craft show. I had nothing prepared and I needed to think of a very, very simple project inspired by the craft show theme: chestnuts... Yes... Chestnuts...

November is the month of the chestnut in Portugal. We celebrate St. Martin's Day preparing a magusto festivity. In that day you will find us eating roasted chestnuts and drinking água pé -(literal translation is "foot water") - a traditional and very mild alcoholic drink.

All this is stated by a a typical Portuguese saying:
É dia de São Martinho;
comem-se castanhas, prova-se o vinho.
(It is St. Martin's Day,
we'll eat chestnuts, we'll taste the wine.)

We will celebrate St Martin's day next 11th November and, as always, we expect very shinny days!! At that time the weather is always different from the other Autumn days... Very good and warm. That's why we call this period Verão de S. Martinho - St. Martin's Summer. The legend tells that on a very cold and rainy day Martin, a Roman soldier, cut off half of his cloak and offered one part to a beggar that was dying of the cold. Then the sun begun shinning, by God's intervention, and Martin was able to return home safely. All our children learn this legend at school!!

So... I needed a very easy project that could be made by someone that does not know how to embroider... Trying to find out what to do, I took a look at my working surface and I found my favorite materials: burel (a Portuguese felted wool) and cork. With them I knew I could create a chestnut!!! And the next step was, as I usually do, trying to find a simple pattern. As my drawing skills are terrible, usually I google images using words like "chestnut coloring"... And I always find very simple drawings that children use to color... Of course, in the end, I never make like the pattern I found, but  for me it is a very powerful inspiration source!!

So I had the materials and the pattern...

Burel and cork fabric - 100% Portuguese materials
Portuguese materials: cork fabric and burel
And decided to make a coaster using the chestnut pattern and Portuguese materials. But I made a mistake (not for the first time...) and it ended up very small... What a pity!! Next time I will make beautiful coasters to decorate my S. Martinho's table!!

100% Portuguese chestnut
So, I had to think of something else... And I remembered of making something to decorate the table, maybe we can call it a centerpiece...
Using the same materials, I applied the chestnut into a burel piece and with a very thin cork strip I created a simple finishing all around.

Chestnut table decoration
Chestnut inspiration!!
It's not perfect but I believe it will be a good project for someone that does not know how to embroider and is not familiar with these materials... But I confess I would still prefer the chestnut coaster...

Did you know that these two colors of burel only use the natural colors of wool, no dying materials?

October 30, 2013

Craftster Featured Artist

I don't know if there are enough words to describe how talented the Craftster Needlework Featured Artist, Ludi, is. I am constantly blown away by each stitch. Ludi's pieces are rich in texture and hauntingly beautiful. Let's find out a little more about this amazing artist. 

Tell me about your little bit about yourself.
I live in the country with my husband and a bunch of animals; 5 cats, a dog, 5 sheep, many chickens, and of course all the wild animals.  My husband and I make things for a living, we have a business making specialty costumes and props for the entertainment industry.  In addition we both make things for fun, so we end up spending most of our waking hours making things.  I consider myself primarily a sculptor and have only taken up embroidery in recent months.  My other hobbies include gardening and reading.

Do you have a favorite out of your recent needlework projects? 
It’s hard for me to choose, I have so much fun with each piece.  I really enjoyed stitching “Zombie and the Moon” for MissingWillow in the One Tiny Thing October Holidays swap.

Who/What inspires you?
I’m tremendously inspired by literature, especially my favorite author Mervyn Peake.  He’s been my inspiration since my teens.  I’m also inspired by other dark fantasists such as HP Lovecraft, HR Wakefield, Poe, etc.  Other artists inspire me, and I love looking at other people’s art in all media.

What are you working on next?
I have so many ideas for new embroideries!  I hope eventually to do more portraits of fictional characters, but my next project will probably be a “Meowl” a cat-owl hybrid, for my sister.  And I want to try my hand at miniature embroidery.

Check out Ludi as well as other amazing needlework artist on Craftster.org.

October 29, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I have a roundup for you all today with some great Autumnal projects. I can't believe how quickly Fall has rolled around, but these projects are excellent for this time of year and sure to help you enjoy the season. 

Casey of Elegant Musings has a wonderful tutorial for embroidery on a cardigan. This is perfect for reviving cardigans or embellishing new ones. 

Jessica and Mandy of Little Birdies, put together this adorable Fall Leaf Pillow tutorial for Make and Takes. It sure to bring Autumn into any room. 


If you are looking for Autumnal decor, Kelly of The Lilypad Cottage has this great tutorial for creating a door hanging using an embroidery hoop. 

Does your dining room need a little update? Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching has a fun Upcycled Napkin Ring Tutorial. I absolutely love the resourcefulness of this tutorial, and if you switch up the embroidery patterns, you could have napkin rings for every season!

Hope you enjoy these tutorials and give some of them a try. 

Happy Tuesday!

Hi, I'm Kristen! I am a lover of all things stitchy and crafty. I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me how to sew Barbie clothes when I was young and I have been sewing ever since.

You can find me at Bobbypin Bandit, on Instagram, and my Etsy shop.

October 27, 2013

Patterns: Sashiko Placemats

sashiko placemats

Sashiko placemats from Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond

Check out Aimee Ray's blog for a free tutorial and pattern for Sashiko placemats, as featured in her latest book, Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond. I think they'd make fantastic Christmas presents! (you can groan now, sorry for mentioning the C word ;) )

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!

October 24, 2013

The love blouse...

Olá! The blouse I was working on is now finished.. It was inspired by one of the most popular Portuguese traditional embroidery, the fiancé kerchiefs - lenços dos namorados

I embroidered it for my younger daughter and I have to say that I don't know who was happier... Mother or daughter? I bought this common white blouse and made it unique... And that is always a great pleasure...

Fiancé kerchiefs are very popular in Portugal and very sentimental to us. The symbols used are full of meaning, usually related to love feelings.

For instance... The dove that brings a letter alludes to emigration... The Portuguese people have always been a people of emigrants. Moved by very different reasons and in different moments of our history... Sometimes on our own will and others forced to do it... You'll find a Portuguese or descending in almost all countries in the world!! The dove with the letter represents the only way the boy and the girl had to show their love to each other when he was working abroad searching for a better life...

And of course... If we are talking about love, hearts cannot be forgotten...

The key is a very ancient motif already present in the first kerchiefs that were embroidered using cross stitch and represents the union between two hearts. In some kerchiefs you'll find embroidered love sayings expressing something similar to: "I give you this key so you can open my heart"

Hope you like it!!

October 19, 2013

Interview with Karen Elwell, Collector of textiles

I have had my eye on the amazing collection of Karen Elwell ever since I first joined Flickr.  I am particularly fascinated with her beautiful woven and embroidered textiles from Mexico. Stitched dresses and tablecloths have always been a part of my earliest memories, and I'm sure they were my first embroidered inspirations. From textiles to huipils to wood carvings, Karen's eye for beauty is amazing. It's an honor to introduce her to you today - she shares a few favorites from her collection, and was kind enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy this introduction to Karen!

Maya Huipil Mexico

How long have you been a collector of textiles? What region is your favorite?
I've been collecting textiles since a trip to Guatemala in the 1970's. But I have been interested in non-western dress since I visited Chicago's Field Museum as a child and saw the exotic textiles and clothing displayed in the museum. I lived in Ecuador for a year in the early 1980's and became very interested in the many regional styles of dress worn in that small country. My first visit to Mexico was in 1985. Back then it was very common to see indigenous Mexican women wearing traditional dress on a daily basis, and I wanted to learn everything I could about the women -- who they were; where they came from -- and their beautiful clothing.

The indigenous textiles of Mexico are my favorites. But I also like Guatemalan, Andean and Indonesian textiles a lot.

Mazahua Bag Michoacan

How do you discover the works you feature in your photographs?
Many of the photos posted on my Flickr site show textiles from my own collection. I frequently visit museums in Mexico and here in the US to shoot photos of the textiles and clothing on display for posting on Flickr. My goal is to create a "virtual museum" which is available to anyone who has an interest in textiles, especially the women in Mexican indigenous communities who created these works of art.

Mazahua Embroidery

Do you have a favorite style of embroidery?
My favorite style of embroidery is cross stitch. That is what always draws my eye. For many years I did cross stitch myself. It was my form of meditation.

Quechquemitl Nahua

Your eye for color is wonderful - do you have an art background?
I don't have an "art background," although I loved to draw as a child. My Dad taught me to bead on a loom when I was very young, and I think that's why I love cross stitching so much. The stitches are like little beads.

Mazatec Huipil

What is it about Mexican textiles that interests you most?
I love Mexican textiles because of the great variety and, of course, the vibrant colors. There are always "new to me" textiles to be discovered in that huge country. I admire the immense creativity and skill of the women and men who make these textiles, and I find it fascinating that so many design motifs you see in 2013 date back to very ancient times.

Morral Mexico Bag

What would you suggest to others who are thinking of becoming collectors of textiles?
My advice to budding textile collectors is "If it looks nice, buy it." Collectors should surround themselves with the things they love. There are so many resources available today (the internet mainly) for new collectors to learn about where the textiles are/were made, who made them, and when and why. Many museums all over the world are digitizing their collections and posting photos on the web. I find new photos posted by museums almost every week.


Thank you, Karen, for this interview, and for doing such a beautiful work preserving beauty of many cultures. Your appreciation for this beautiful handiwork is truly inspiring! To view more of Karen's collection, be sure to visit her Flickr photos.

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

October 17, 2013

Caldo Verde - cross stitching a soup

Olá! This is the day when an embroidery blog became a food blog... Are you prepared for the change?

I'm introducing you to caldo verde, a Portuguese traditional dish that has its origins in the northern region of Portugal, Minho, but for a long time was adopted all over the country. Caldo verde is a simple, light dish, that may be served on its own or as part of a larger meal. Usually this soup is served with chouriço (pork sausage) and broa - a cornbread leavened with yeast.

Photo from "Up Magazine"

Caldo Verde means celebration!! When we, Portuguese people, think of this dish, we remember family gatherings, popular festivities, a late evening meal in a wedding... Because caldo verde is really a very common dish all around the country... From the humblest country home to the most fancy and luxurious table!!

As I'm not a good cook, I took the recipe from this site... And you can follow a video here...
- Make a light broth with potatoes, as light as possible.
- Take dark green cabbage, or kale--in Portugal called couve galega--roll the leaves tightly and sliced them as thinly as possible. Scald briefly so they are brilliant green. The cabbage should be abundant to give body to the broth.
- When ready to serve, add the scalded cabbage to the broth with a little olive oil and let it boil for about 5 minutes, so the olive oil can cook.
- Serve with slices of the smallest Portuguese pork sausage (chouriço) you can find--each region in Portugal has its own, most of them spiced with paprika (colorau)

Never forget to cut the kale into extremely fine slices - that's one of the secrets... Here in Portugal we can buy it already cut!!! Many cooks add onions and garlic as in my photo...

All you need to make Caldo Verde - only missing olive oil and water!!
In Portugal we say porque os olhos também comem... This means: "as we also eat with our eyes"... So caldo verde is usually served in beautiful terra cotta dishes...

Portuguese cross stitch motifs inspired by Minho's culture
A beautiful book with great motifs inspired by traditions from Minho
I found this pattern - actually it is not a cross stitch pattern, I had to adapt it - in a very beautiful book that I've already talked about in another post... And this was my first choice of this marvelous book. The idea of cross stitching caldo verde was a pleasure and wherever I went with this work in hands, I always received many "UAU"!!!

Cross stitch pattern inspired by Portuguese soup "caldo verde"
Done!!! The pattern and the finished work...
Portuguese people do love caldo verde!! 

October 16, 2013

Spooky Little Lady

Cookie for Halloween

I am a sucker for anything to do with Halloween and anything to do with cute. Gina2424 combines my two favorite things into one. An adorable Halloween dress on the cutest little Blythe. You can not go wrong with this spooky little lady.

October 15, 2013

Vote for Us on Craftsy!

Vote for me for Craftsy's blogger awards!

Oh wow! Feeling Stitchy has been nominated for an award on Craftsy under Embroidery: Best Tutorials. If you've never visited, Craftsy is a great place to take online classes of the crafty variety. I had no idea we'd been nominated and we're super-honored that someone out there put us in the running!

I'd like to especially thank our talented blogger Kristen who has written the Tutorial Tuesday series for the past year and a half, and all of our bloggers and guest bloggers who have contributed tutorials!

Please click that badge up above if you'd like to vote for us, and be sure to check out all the awesome blogs up for awards. Thanks, Craftsy!

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

Tutorial Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I can't believe Halloween is nearing. It's my most favorite time of year! I can hardly wait for the costumes and treats and pumpkins! I am having a small get together to celebrate Halloween this year and knew that I needed to infuse embroidery into the festivities. I decided on cloth napkins.

I used Gina Matarazzo's Halloween Pals embroidery patterns on white cotton for these napkins. I love her patterns and these pumpkin pals are super cute. 

To make some Halloween cloth napkins, you will need the following:

- Four fat quarters (18x22-inches) of cotton 
- Embroidery hoop and stitching supplies
- Iron and Ironing board
- Sewing machine and supplies

Step One: Transfer pattern to the lower corner of fabric. Keeping the pattern at least 2-inches away from either edge. I placed the pattern on the lower corner of the right side, but it's up to you which side you prefer. 

Step Two: Stitch each napkin. When all are complete, wash, dry, and press. I don't like to press the embroidery itself, I usually press around them so as not to snag or warp the stitches. It's a good idea to place a thin piece of fabric over your embroidery to press it, so that the hot iron isn't directly on the stitches.

Step Three: Fold the four edges of the napkin over 1/4-inch and press.

Step Four: Fold the edges over a second time and press.

Step Five: Using the zig-zag stitch setting on a sewing machine, stitch along the fold that you just created to seal the edges and create a clean hem. 

Step Six: Fold the napkin so the embroidery is facing to out. Give each napkin another light press. 

Step Seven: Set the table and get ready for smiles and Halloween happiness to ensue!

This is a fun project to put together before Halloween. Hope you get to give it a try!

Hi, I'm Kristen! I am a lover of all things stitchy and crafty. I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me how to sew Barbie clothes when I was young and I have been sewing ever since.

You can find me at Bobbypin Bandit, on Instagram, and my Etsy shop.

October 13, 2013

Patterns: Most Excellent Party Bear

Nicole from Follow the White Bunny has just released a new pattern, yay! I think this one, the Most Excellent Party Bear, would look fantastic on an extra special birthday card!

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!

October 12, 2013

Sew & Stitch: Review and Giveaway!

Sew and Stitch EmbroideryHi all! Today I'm super-excited to be reviewing Sew & Stitch Embroidery: 20+ Simple Sewing Projects with 30+ Fresh Embroidery Designs. Alyssa Thomas, the author and creator behind Penguin & Fish sent us the book to review - and we will also be doing a giveaway later in this post!

But first, let's have a look at this book - as the title suggests, this book is a blend of sewing and embroidery. If you're like me and not big on sewing, no worries! Many projects are suitable for beginners. The style throughout the book is cute, whimsical, and beginner-friendly.

The book is divided into 4 sections: Section 1- Embroidery Essentials features the tools and materials you'll need, a well-illustrated stitch library and intro to basic sewing techniques. Section 2 - For The Home, has patterns for embellishing household objects and wall art. Section 3 - Just For Fun has sweet, kid-friendly items. Section 4 - Personal Style features embellished clothing, cases, and clutches. The last pages of the book are dedicated to stitch and color guides, and there is a large, fold-out sheet of iron-on transfers with some of the embroidery patterns.

Each project is well-laid out with a list of supplies and helpful suggestions on materials and techniques. The sewing instructions look very clear and non-intimidating to a non-sewer like myself. Um, is sewer a word - I mean other than the other sense? Well, you know what I mean. :)

I fell in love with the owl pillow instantly:

It absolutely possessed me and I knocked out not one but 2 pillows in the past 48 hours! My first pillow was a bust, but it was my fault because I chose a terrible, stretchy material and didn't read the directions - Alyssa suggests using a Chenille needle to stitch with yarn and to stitch on linen.

After reading the directions, my second try on linen was much much better!
my pillow

My only caveat with the book is the way the embroidery patterns are distributed - sometimes they are with the content, sometimes you must flip to the back of the book. Color and stitch guides are also separate and at times quite small, so I had to flip between 3 different sections to complete the owl project. On the plus side, most of the smaller embroidery patterns are contained in the iron-on transfer sheet, which is very helpful.

Here are a few more of my favorite projects from the book:

Whale Shower Curtain

Octopus Quilt and Pillow Sham

Lion and Elephant Racing Sacks

Kitty Sketchbook Cover with Pencil Case

Feather Fold Over Clutch

Overall, this is a great book, and definitely one I'd be happy to add to my library. The patterns are simple but adorable and very inspiring, and there is plenty of room to make a project your own. And now for the best part - the giveaway! Alyssa has kindly offered us another copy to give to one of our Feeling Stitchy readers!

To win a copy of Sew & Stitch Embroidery, leave a comment on this post by Monday, October 14, 9 PM US Central Time. All of our readers may enter, including our International readers! Tell us simply which of the projects pictured is your favorite.

Thanks Alyssa, for the chance to share your wonderful book with our readers!

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

October 9, 2013

Sew Lovely Jacket Winner!

Jacket closeup

Thank you everyone for your entries! We had eleven suggestions for Halloween patterns, I plugged the numbers into the random number generator and we have a winner!

Which is Lisa Black! Congratulations Lisa! If you could pass your details onto me (Jo) or Flor, Feeling Stitchy's editor, (you'll find our emails on Feeling Stitchy's  Email Us page) and we'll get in touch with Maureen from Sew Lovely, who will arrange to get the jacket to you!

Thank you again Maureen for such a lovely prize!

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!

October 6, 2013

Patterns: Halloween round up and a Sew Lovely GIVEAWAY!!!!

I know I probably say this every year but Halloween is my absolute favourite holiday to stitch for. There are loads of great Halloween patterns out there and we're already seeing some great Halloween stitching in the Flickr pool. The collage above shows just a sample of the fantastic stuff out there; top to bottom, left to right, we have

1) Bone appetit stitched by Polly's Lady, pattern by Lizzy*Kate
2) Hallowe'en Trio, an oldy but a goody from a Feeling Stitchy stitch along pattern designed by Cathy Gaubert back in 2011, Jana D recently added a crochet border to her piece and I think it looks great!
3) Dracula by Little Dorrit and Co. (one of the best books of all time in my opinion, the other being of course Frankenstein). Check out the Little Dorrit blog for a free tutorial on how to make their pattern into a tote bag.
4) A free Halloween candy pattern from Red Letter Day Stitches
5) Beautiful Bones by Sew Lovely (read on below for our Sew Lovely giveaway!)

Other great Halloween themed patterns include (both new and classic);

6) The Halloween Spooky Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.
7) Not one but two new Halloween patterns from Badbird (a cartoon style witch and a cutie pie witch).
8) Kitsch Witch, Feeling Stitchy's Halloween stitch along pattern from last year, designed by Cherry and Cinnamon.
9) Cate Anevski's Bride of Frankenstein, which has been on my to-stitch list like forever!
10) Polka and Bloom's skull patterns.

*Phew* my linking fingers are tired! Have I missed any? How about we increase the list and give you guys a chance to win this .......


Hand embroidered front and back with dancing skeletons by Maureen from Sew Lovely, the jacket is an American Apparel size medium and to be in with a chance to win it, comment below with the name of your favourite Halloween design, it can be a design already on the list or a new one! The giveaway runs till Wednesday midnight UK time (9th October 2013) and a comment will be picked randomly the next day, don't forget to keep an eye on Feeling Stitchy to see if you've won! (Giveaway is open internationally, thank you Maureen).

And on one final note, as we're talking about giveaways, we've yet to hear from the winners of the Alison Glass and Stitched Blooms giveaways, so Margaret Schindler (Alison Glass giveaway) and MelodyJ (Stitched Blooms giveaway), if you could get in touch with Feeling Stitchy's editor Floresita at unafloresita(at)gmail.com, we can pass your details on so that you can receive your prizes!

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!