Embroidery

Someone’s missing …..

by Helen on July 7, 2014

Today we went down to South Milton Sands.  I had some forgotten bits and pieces (including two unopened bottles of champagne – woo hoo!) to pick up from The Barn after the wedding reception, and thought it would be nice to fit in a trip to the beach as well.  The beach was stunning as always, and not at all busy as we were there quite early.  I say we … but someone was missing …..

There was no playing at speedboats – “that’s no fun by yourself” thought Daisy …

And no charging in and out of the waves.  Just a wistful gazing out to sea, hoping her big brother would somehow miraculously appear.  We both missed the big furry one – and he’s not home yet :(

This is because Ben is spending the day at the vet for a couple of minor operations.  His eyes have been very red and itchy and he’s suffered a series of infections – apparently as he’s got older his eyes have become baggier (I can so relate to this!) and his bottom eyelashes are turning inwards irritating his eye.  Luckily this is a minor procedure and the problem can easily be corrected.  But poor Ben is also having a big back tooth extracted – it has cracked and decay has set in.  He has been very quiet for the past few weeks, and although he hasn’t shown any sensitivity in that area I think it is causing him some discomfort.  So he’s going to be very sore when he returns home and Miss Daisy will need to be gentle and considerate until he’s feeling better.

So to take my mind off poor Ben, I decided to assemble the first project for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – and began by painting a hoop (something I promised myself I wouldn’t do again for quite some time after we painted nearly a hundred for the wedding!).  Then after binding the bottom part and inserting my embroidery it fitted beautifully snuggly as a lid for one of the Ikea jars left over from the wedding sweet table ….

Useful as well as beautiful (to paraphrase William Morris!).  And it’s sitting on some of the blocks for my new quilt.  I might need to go and piece some more now to occupy myself whilst waiting for the vet to call and tell me it’s time to pick up Ben, who will need a lot of tlc over the next few days.  The pattern for my button jar top, as well as instructions for assembling it into a well-fitting jar lid, will be in the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.

 

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A pair of lovebirds ….

by Helen on June 20, 2014

No – not Rosie and Dan – though the BIG DAY is now only a week away.  These are different lovebirds.  I’ve been busy making new bunting for my kitchen, digging deep into my stash and finding fabrics that I’d completely forgotten about, one of which was this large remnant of Nina Campbell Perroquet acquired from the remnants bin at a furnishings shop sale.  Some of the lovely painterly roses and parrots went into my bunting, but I couldn’t bear to cut up this pair of lovebirds…..

And then I had an idea.  I’ve recently discovered the joys of embroidering on printed fabric.  No, that’s not quite true, I’ve always enjoyed embroidering on printed fabric – but have recently begun to really incorporate the fabric design into my stitching rather than simply working over it.  My Bloom and Grow pattern in last month’s magazine is an example of this idea …

And so I thought I’d turn these two lovebirds into a little gift for the happy couple.  Other than the text I didn’t draw up a pattern, but simply indicated with my erasable pen where I wanted to stitch and dived in …..

Bullion stitch roses with Anchor variegated floss – loads of fun!

From reading the comments on my giveaway (closes tonight, but there’s still time to enter if you’d like the chance to win a Bloom & Grow kit) I think others have enjoyed stitching on printed fabric too. I think that my first two kits – coming in the late summer/early autumn are therefore likely to be an embroidery kit with printed fabric and a softie.  I can’t decide which softie yet, though I’m leaning towards a Humphrey – if anyone has any strong opinions then please do let me know. The softie kits will be available in limited runs only as I will need to source the perfect fabrics – usually vintage or recycled – which by their very nature aren’t available in large quantities.

But I’m getting over-excited and ahead of myself, so here to finish is the completed Lovebirds Hoop ….

I hope they like it!

 

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Not forgotten …

by Helen on June 9, 2014

I am afraid that for the next couple of weeks I might not be around as much as usual.  This doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten - simply that there’s now only just over two weeks until the BIG DAY and, as well as all the busy-ness that involves, I also have to finish off the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine  (there’s a lot I want to pack into this issue!)   This means that blogging time is in short supply which makes me sad, because there’s so much I want to show you. Our excitement is building and Rosie’s Handmade Wedding vision is becoming reality.  We have placenames …..

All the names are handstitched in a mixture of stem and satin stitch onto vintage linen sheet, hemmed at the top and mounted in a 7″ hoop.  Rosie chose an assortment of pretty pastels in blues for the boys and pinks/lilacs for the girls to back the hoops.  We produced the menus on Photoshop and they were printed by Vistaprint.  We’re still working on the tablenames – just waiting for the hoops to arrive (spot the theme going on here!)

I just hope I don’t discover I urgently need a pink button for another project as Rosie has snaffled them all!  Then one of my favourite projects didn’t involve sewing at all…..

Yes, granny’s vintage teacups and an old five-arm candlestick.  I can’t take credit for the idea though, I spotted it in the French magazine, Marie-Claire Idées.  We’ve made one each as they’ll make a great centrepiece when we’re entertaining friends.  But amongst all the wedding projects, I have found time to finish off my latest Rosie and Bear project – Princess and the Pea ….

In which a very rumpled looking Princess Rosie, who has clearly spent a most uncomfortable night is being given no sympathy by Bear who slept very well.  He’s suggesting she’s too fussy and needs a magnifying glass to discover whatever is causing her discomfort!  This was inspired by all the pretty vintage-y fabrics I’ve been using for wedding makes and I do hope you like it.  The pattern will be in the July Magazine.

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I think the question I am asked more often than any other is how I transfer my design from paper to fabric.  There are very many ways of doing this, and I talk about a few of the more usual ones in my little e-book “Simple Stitchery”  (available on the free patterns page of this site).  But often people are intrigued by what appear to be graphite pencil lines (but they’re not!) on my fabric …

I use a slightly risky method to transfer my pattern – I say risky as there is the potential for damaging both self and fabric in the process  - which is why I would never recommend anyone else to try it, or at least issue the warning “do so at your own risk!”  But it does give excellent results so if you are interested, then here’s how I do it …..

When I’m creating a design like my little Friendly Fox (he’ll be in the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine) I first draw him out with pen and ink, making many revisions and using plenty of tracing paper before I’m completely happy with the result.  Then I scan the image and clean up any background smudges etc using Photoshop.  Although I draw with a fine black pen, I use the colour changer tool to make sure that any lines that have scanned as a dark grey are black as this technique only works with strong black lines.  Finally I reverse the image and print a mirror image onto ordinary paper using my laser printer.

Then it’s over to the heatpress.  I set the temperature at 195oC and the timer to around 70 secs.  The fabric goes in right side up and the paper on top, right side down.  Once the fabric has cooled, then I peel off the paper – which can then be used for tracing applique shapes onto my Bondaweb as it’s a reverse image.

I find this method is great for crisp detailed transfer of images onto light coloured fabric.  It is a permanent transfer, so you have to be sure to cover the lines with your stitching/applique.  Obviously it only works with cotton, linen or cotton/linen blend light coloured fabrics and there is always the danger of scorching your fabric.

I have done many test prints in the past, and it’s taken a lot of trial and error to arrive at the above settings, which is why I wouldn’t advise anyone to simply follow my method.  But if you do have the right equipment (I don’t know if it would work with a hot iron or not, I’ve never tried) and are willing to experiment, then you could find the results are well worthwhile.

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