I've continued work on Strawberry Fayre and have finished the first of the four inner hearts. The stitching is largely the same as for the front and the back heart. As I really did not like the way the picots under the strawberries had turned out on the front heart, I swapped threads. The instructions tell you to use a stranded variegated spun silk (Gumnut Yarns 'Stars'). This thread is far too fluffy to make a nicely defined stitch. As a result, my picots turned quite fizzy. Strangely enough, the picots in the Inspirations pictures are sharply defined... Another hint that the threads listed in the instructions might not have been the ones used by Carolyn Pearce :). As I wanted better picots, I looked for a thread less fluffy and with a tighter twist. So here are my new picots using House of Embroidery #12 perle 'bush'. Much better indeed!
$Unfortunately, I ran out of the green Güttermann Sulky thread. Although I was able to substitute it with a thread from my stash, I wasn't a happy bunny. Reading the comments on my Instagram account, I am not the only one who has run out. I don't think this is acceptable for a kit priced at €138 or $170. So far, I only had good experiences with kits from Inspirations. I stitched my needlecase 'Cottage Garden' and 'Home Sweet Home' with the original kits and had no problems. My issues with Strawberry Fayre, and the solutions I have started to implement, have given me the confidence that I will be able to stitch future projects from Inspirations using my own stash!
Seeing today's blog post on real thread cards over on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread combined with a recent enquiry by one of my readers, I am pondering making real thread cards for the Heathway Milano crewel wool I sell. Since there are now 33 fabulous colour families which each have nine lovely shades, this is going to be a huge undertaking. So I'd like to ask if there are other readers potentially interested in these thread cards. I am thinking of wrapping the nine shades of a colour family around a strip of card and then glueing several strips onto an A4 page. Two pages back-to-back in a pocket and the pockets into a sturdy cardboard file. How does that sound? Please share your thoughts below!
For those of you who missed last week's post on the new Heathway Milano crewelwool colour families, you can find a free pattern of a Russian doll here. And don't forget, if you like what you read, please consider making a donation using the PayPal button on the right :)!
As I have a few embroidery related newsies, I thought I'll combine them into one blog post :). First up is Langley Threads Merino Crewel Wool. This fantastic soft and fine crewel wool with a regular thread thickness is produced in the UK. I much prefer stitching with this particular brand. Especially due to its regular thickness, it is so much nicer to stitch with than Appletons! The only disadvantage so far has been that it came in a rather limited range of colours (21 colour families). So, I was thrilled to bits to find 10 brand new colour families in the mail! You can find the beautiful new colours in my webshop.
Next up is the 'encrusted pebble' I made for my aunt's memorial service. I find it rather therapeutic to doodle stitch a simple pebble in preparation for these kind of family gatherings. This particular pebble features my aunt's traditional hair bun, the red currants in her garden (which we severely disliked, but still had to help pick) and her red garnet necklace. I used several speciality threads with nice colour variations and rich textures. In addition, I also used some DMC stranded cotton I have inherited from my grand-mother (her mother).
If you would like to play with a variety of threads and ribbons, why not sign up for my Easter workshop? You'll create a unique picture of a mother chicken with her chicks. A nice piece of hoop-art to be finished just in time for Easter! You'll find the details and the sign-up button here.
Last but not least: when we were in the Netherlands for my aunt's memorial service, we also visited a brilliant exhibition on illuminated manuscripts. The margins of these manuscripts teem with pretty flowers, cute birds, lovely butterflies, creepy insects and many other wonders. Quite a number would be perfect as inspiration for stumpwork embroideries. The exhibition is held at the Catharijne Convent in Utrecht and runs till the 3rd of June 2018. And while you are there, don't miss their embroidered vestments!
Before I open the candy tin, I would like to voice a big thank you to all who left comments of encouragement on last week's blogpost. I also received many personal emails and further comments on my instagram account. Thank you very much! What will happen next? The farm building is beyond help and will be demolished. The cattle will be sold over the next weeks. The Lötschmüllerhof will no longer be a farm. That's a strange idea. As reference to 'the farm' in my family was always to this particular place. However, we are all settling in to our new lives and the help from others is balsam to our souls.
On to the eye candy! Remember this piece by Anja from the Netherlands? She started it earlier this year during one of my stitching retreats. I think she did a terrific job! The piece is balanced and the purple flower is such a beautiful centre piece. So proud of her :). By the way, I am running the next crewelwork stitching retreat from 23-10-17 until 27-10-17. You can sign up here.
Next up is a stumpwork piece by Annelot from the Netherlands. She started it last week during my stumpwork stitching retreat. Annelot is creating a stitched version of Treebeard, the oldest Ent from the tales of J.R.R. Tolkien. For his mossy beard we tried the overtwisting method as described by Alison Cole in her great book on stumpwork (you can read my review here). This is a fun method with great texture. Can't wait for the piece to be finished. Would you like to try your hand at stumpwork embroidery? Why not sign up for my two-day workshop 'Summer Sampler'?
Over the years, I have learned that embroidery calms and sooths my soul. So I was particularly happy to find the September #broderibox by Nordic Needle in my mail last week. With this month's threads I worked a moth from one of Millie Marotta's books. I used Snow by Caron, Watercolours by Caron, Kreinik Silk, Colour variations by DMC, Londonderry linen thread and silver plated spangles. The moth is stitched using a combination of Schwalm drawn-thread work, surface embroidery and stumpwork.
And last but not least, this altar frontal or antependium was saved from the fire. It used to adorn the Corpus Christi altar put up in front of the farm every other year. It is a little dirty, so I will try to gently clean it. Since the altar did burn, we need to construct a new one. But the antependium will still adorn it!
And that's it. All candy distributed :). See you next week!
Today I am going to share some lovely embroidery pieces with you. We'll start off with the work of one of my students, then we'll have a look at some new pieces I made and we'll finish with a new initiative to bring Mastercrafts People together. Let's start with a stunning blackwork piece:
This piece has been embroidered by Anja from the Netherlands. She started it last year during one of my week-long embroidery retreats. Anja worked from a picture and translated the different textures and shades beautifully into blackwork's geometric patterns. Anja will add some white highlights to the eyes to make the birds even more life-like. I so enjoy seeing a finished piece which started under my tuition!
Next up is another piece by Anja. She started it last week during another one of my embroidery retreats. We had great fun designing this piece by using a piece by Hazel Blomkamp as the base. Then we added two flowers from a colouring book by Millie Marotta and a pomegranate from an older embroidery book. Just to illustrate that you don't need to be able to draw your own design from scratch. Mix and match often produces a stunning new design. I have a feeling this piece will turn out great as well!
As most of you know by now, I have a subscription to the Broderibox by Nordic Needle. Although I used all threads present in the May box, I wasn't sure what to do with the purse clasp. I am an embroideress and I can mount a finished piece satisfactorily. However, I am not good at finishing. Mainly because I do it so rarely. Time to change that! There are so many lovely products out there to turn your embroidery into something other than a framed picture. Time to become acquainted with the clasp.
Luckily for me, there was a website listed on the back of the clasp's packaging: Zakka Workshop. Do visit their website as they have some adorable stuff on there. And best of all, they have a really good Youtube video on how to install the clasp. As I wasn't confident that I could come up with the right size embroidered purse, I ordered their instructions for the simple patchwork pouch. It provided me with a template for the purse and then it was just a matter of adding a cute bird, do some Schwalm embroidery, add some beads and best of all: use a House of Embroidery hand-dyed perle #12 in a colour combination that's totally out of your comfort zone :).
Worked a treat so far. Installing the clasp wasn't as easy as the video makes you believe. Especially not as I've probably used the wrong interfacing between the embroidery and the lining of the purse. Mine is probably too thick/stiff. That's the challenge when using instructions from another country. However, I am quite pleased with the result! I will tinker with the purse design and write up instructions at a later date. Just keep an eye out for them on this blog :)!
Another great way to finish your embroidery (and really hot on Instagram!) is to use a tiny wooden hoop by Dandelyne. Since I really like my Schwalm butterfly, I wondered if I could shrink the piece enough to go into a 4cm hoop. Guess what? I could! I used a combination of House of Embroidery hand-dyed fine silk and raw silk as well as paper covered wire to stiffen the upper-wings. I've now worn the piece around my neck for two days straight (I did put it down for sleeping...) and it holds up beautifully. As I had some trouble adding my finished embroidery to the hoop using the instructions provided, I will write a blog on this alternative method soon. It will help others mount embroidery on thin fabrics into a Dandelyne hoop. By the way, you can get your Dandelyne hoops here in Germany from the lovely Nadine from Zur lila Pampelmuse. That's where I got mine :).
Still reading? Good reader! There is one last thing I want you to go and check out: the Mad' in Europe initiative. It is a website where you can find European Mastercrafts People. Please do visit my page and leave a review! It will not only earn you my eternal gratitude, but it will also help to make my work more visible. And don't forget to check this initiative for local crafts people near you or your next holiday destination! (and do apply for membership if you are a fellow European artisan; it's free!).
THE END :)
Today we are going to have a look at a few embroidery pieces my students work on. As I have only two hands and there are only so many hours in the day, tutoring others to embroider is THE solution. It is the perfect way to see some of my ideas put to work, without me actually stitching them :). First up is a crewel piece by Elisabeth Stix, which was started during one of my crewel embroidery courses.
Elisabeth's piece is really big. It has been inspired by a beautiful piece of wall paper. You can see a glimpse of it on the right in the above picture. Elisabeth works on and off on this epic piece. Just stitching what takes her fancy. She mainly uses Heathway Milano crewel wool, but beads and other threads are also included.
Latest addition to the piece is this adorable monkey in Turkey rug stitch. He is just such a lively chap amongst all the greenery! And I love the fact that his coat is so nicely mottled. Elisabeth must have had great patience whilst filling such a large area with Turkey rug stitch. And a lot of courage cutting it into shape :).
Next up is Sabine Gallner's peacock clutch bag in the making. This piece was started during my goldwork embroidery course a few weeks ago. Although it was originally inspired by an antique clutch bag, we have moved away form an exact copy. It is quite a challenge to use these long stretches of wire check to fill the peacock's tail. They later get secured with pearl purl and a blue spangle with a bead. You can get the idea from the one in the left-hand corner. This will be a real showstopper once finished!
And last, but not least: two creative bees made during yesterday's goldwork embroidery workshop. The left bee was stitched by Monika Wilms. She is now planning to stitch a larger floral-with-creepy-crawlies-piece which will combine stumpwork embroidery and goldwork embroidery. So looking forward to mentor her on that one!
The bee on the left was started by Sonja, a lace-making friend of Monika and Sabine. Sonja had not embroidered in a long time and had never done any goldwork embroidery. I think she did a terrific job!
Would you like to stitch your own Bee Creative piece? A full kit with instructions in either English or German is now up for sale in my webshop. Alternatively, you can purchase the instructions for direct download.
One more thing: I would love to start a student gallery here on my website! Showcasing embroidery pieces made by you from my kits, downloads or conceived during my embroidery courses. If you would like your piece included, please do send me a picture. I will start compiling the gallery in the next few days!
As promised in last week's post, this week we'll explore some of my students' embroidery projects. First up is Elizabeth's stumpwork piece she started last week. She brought along with her a beautifully illustrated children's book. The colourful and witty illustrations are by Lilo Fromm. Do check out her website (and scroll down a bit as it starts rather 'grey'!) as there is inspiration to be had. Her illustrations would be wonderful as canvas embroideries too!
Elizabeth choose this lovely illustration of the witch's house. It is a nicely layered picture, ideal for stumpwork embroidery. It does however mean, that you'll need to do a lot of stitching before you can start the nice lady and the gorgeous chap in the foreground. That said, stitching a witch's house is never dull!
This is progress after five days of stitching. We had particular fun with the broken glass windows. We opted for black silk with white sheer fabric 'glass sherds' fused with bondaweb. Cleverly stitching the partitions and the frame over the fused fabrics should ensure that they'll stay put even when the bondaweb disintegrates with time.
And what do you think of our cat with the three eyes? He, or are three-eyed cats female?, has been created by covering a black felt base with black silk chenille. He then got a felt head adorned with three silver plated spangles and tiny black beads for his eyes. I think he is an adorable witch's cat.
Although we only barely touched upon stitching the witch, we did manage to stitch her face. You can tell she is the cats mother, as she has three eyes too!
Elizabeth now has lots of fun homework to do. And once she gets stuck for inspiration, I'll get to help her on her way again. I am very much looking forward to see this lovely piece grow.
And then there is this fantastic crewel piece by Ellen. She started it in February and finished it a couple of weeks ago. It is always so nice to see how a piece eventually turns out. Five days of stitching is rarely enough to finish projects of this scale, so I am always very pleased when I find pictures in my inbox!
Before I'll tell you about two upcoming course possibilities here in Bad Bayersoien, let's take a look at some 'work in progress'. Remember Ellen and Elisabeth who did a crewelwork embroidery course way back in January? They have graciously allowed me to share their progress with you all.
First up is Ellen her piece. The design was made up of all things 'crewel' Ellen came across and liked. Eclectic, colourful, vibrant and fun. Perfect for trying out many different stitches and colour combinations. The shading on the green leaves of the pink and coral flower has been worked very nicely!
Next up is Elisabeth's piece. She used a designer piece of jungle wall paper as her design source. Her piece takes a modern approach on Jacobean crewel as she incorporates stumpwork elements and beads. Below is a detail of the pomegranates.
I love both pieces and think the ladies have made great progress! Five days are too nearly always short to finish a piece of embroidery. This blog is a great way of keeping track of each other's progress; especially as both ladies live 675 kilometres apart.
Want a bit of embroidery bliss yourself? Then why not join me for one of my upcoming courses? From Monday the 5th of September until Friday the 9th of September I'll run a canvas (needlepoint) course. During the course you will create a colourful masterpiece on canvas. You will have the choice between creating an embroidery with different threads, ribbons and pearls using many different stitches. Or would you rather stitch a classical Berlin Wool piece using tent stitch? One way or the other, the result will be a true eye-catcher. Nice too: this course is well suited for newbies!
From Monday the 31st of October until Friday the 4th of November I'll run a stumpwork course. True to the motto: "anything goes", you will create a three-dimensional embroidery with freestanding elements, needle lace and textured stitches. Use unusual materials and be inspired by the naturalistic pieces created by Jane Nicholas from Australia or 17th century originals.
There are many accommodation options available locally. During lunch break, I'll put bread, spreads and a hearty soup on the table. Wouldn't it be lovely to join me and others for a week-long relaxed embroidery adventure? As bookings are coming in and places are limited, do book your place today!
Last week saw the launch of my first five-day embroidery courses new-style. Students can either bring their own design, make one up using my extensive library of embroidery books or simply pick a ready-made design from one of those books. Equally, they can choose to work a small design in an embroidery hoop or opt for a more professional approach and use a slate frame. I've also moved away from the very formal approach of my training at the Royal School of Needlework. Good as it was, it has proven not to be suitable for copying one to one for mainland Europe. So, what did we do?
Ellen from the Netherlands decided to create a design out of pictures she had found on the internet. It works really well to copy bits of designs you like, re-group them and amalgamate them into a new design. And then the fun part comes: choosing colours. Although traditional crewel embroidery involves a woollen thread on linen, you can equally use embroidery floss, perle and the like.
Elizabeth from Augsburg had brought with her a magnificent wall paper she wanted to recreate in stitch. An exotic jungle view with nice vivid colours. As both projects were quite big, and will last them well beyond the five days we had, they both opted to work on a slate frame. For larger projects that are not table cloths or the like, this will always be my preferred option to work with. OK, it takes some time to set up, but it will keep your fabric drum tight for a long time and give you a lovely overall stitching experience. Soon you will find a new breed of slate frames in my webshop. I'll keep you posted on that.
The ladies had so much fun experimenting with different stitches and colour combinations. Pomegranates with silver plated spangles and deep red beads added extra interest. As did a magnificently colourful bird with its many feathers.
And these were the results after five days of hard work, yet relaxed stitching. I think they did marvellously, don't you think? We all agreed that we could have added another week. If you would like to join me for a week of stitching, you will find all the details here. The next course is a goldwork course and runs from the 28st of March until the 1st of April. Hurry as there are only two spaces left!
I am going to have a stand at this year's Allgäuer Nadelstiche needlework fair in Oberstdorf. Apart from selling embroidery supplies, I will also be teaching my four well-loved short workshops. On both days you will have a change to try your hand at crewel embroidery (long and short), stumpwork (needle lace), goldwork with beetle wings and silk ribbon embroidery. Teaching will be at my stand and a maximum of six people can join per workshop. The teaching fee of €20 includes all materials and a detailed instructional booklet so that you will be able to turn your finished embroidery into a handy needlework tool. Further details of the workshops can be found here. Please book early as places are limited!
Thank you all so much for your nice comments on last week's post of the Victorian Mice Etui! It made my day. For those of you wanting to try your hand at box making, you'll now find curved needles ideal for box making in my webshop. I plan to turn the Victorian Mice Etui into a pattern and possibly a kit too. It won't be for a while though as I have some more pressing embroidery business to finish first. But don't worry, thanks to my new and genius mailing list you, dear reader, will be the first to know when the pattern/kit is out! Not on my mailing list yet? No worries. Just fill out the small form to the right of this post and you're in.
First of all: Happy New Year! Me and my husband spent the last day of the year reading, stitching, eating nice food and watching a documentary on Charlemagne (what a nasty guy that was...). And now it is back to business as usual. My students were here on Saturday for another day of stitching fun as part of the professional embroidery course I offer. Lets have a look at their progress!
Jessica M. Grimm
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