Yup, it is true: I have arrived in the modern area too. It took me years. But when I heard that Fairphone makes smart phones that last, are repairable and don't use blood minerals; I ordered one. So far, I have used it to download (and use!) a 5K running app, Instagram, WhatsApp with my family, use Google for directions and information AND made the very occasional phone call :). Still much prefer my Ipad and Laptop... Maybe I should seek professional help? Pondering this option, I did make my Fairphone a cozy home to live in.
On Zweigart Newcastle natural coloured 40ct linen, I outlined the bird with chainstitch using a #12 variegated House of Embroidery perle colour Grapes C. Then I stitched partial buttonhole wheels for the feathers on the tail and the wing. I added straight stitches for the feet and the beak and attached some blue beads along the upper-edge of the wing. From the back, I withdrew every fourth thread in both directions and then added a Schwalm filling stitch called 'Gefieder'. The lettering was stitched using stem stitch. To make my 'phone home' a bit sturdier, I added wadding and a sheet of template plastic. The seams were then pimped with knotted pearl stitch. So far, my phone seems to be pretty comfy in her new home!
I've asked my very talented husband to make a nice clean digital drawing of my scribbled birdy pattern. You can download it at the end of this article. Apart from using it as I did in a Schwalm embroidery way (finished design including lettering H 55mm), there is tons of other possibilities. How about stitching it monochrome on a piece of felt? Or applique with a few simple stitches for embellishment? Surprise me!
Next up is another #broderibox project using a design of a Chlamydosaurus by Millie Marotta. This amazing creature can impress by unfolding his neck frill. However, it can only do so in opening its mouth widely. The bones in the frill are extensions of the hyoid or tongue bone. Isn't nature amazing?! The lovely people of Nordic Needle had put in a glow-in-the-dark thread made by Rainbow Gallery. I made sure to add it to every canvas stitch I used on the chlamydosaurus (it is the white thread you see). And it glows beautifully at night! Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well in a picture. You have to take my word for it.
Last finish for today: the Floral Pomander by Hazel Blomkamp. I really enjoyed this project with all the little flowery scenes using simple embroidery stitches and tiny beads. However, the instructions were a bit messy with tiny pictures of the finished panels. And piecing the pomander together was a little fiddley. That said, it makes a great project if you like miniature embroidery, beads and a different way of finishing your embroidery. Oh, and thanks to the dried lavender mixed in with the toy stuffing, it is my best smelling project ever :)!
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 :)
As a teenager, I loved Bob Ross' television painting classes. Not only do I really like his painting style, but I also like his way of performing on screen. Especially those episodes in which he brought an animal, are my favourites! And all things he painted were always 'happy' by his own words. So today, I am introducing to you: a happy blue snail, a happy honey bee and a happy pink flower :). Feel the happy vibes dear reader (epecially the newly-signed-up readers from Belgium!).
Let's start with the bee and the flower. As most of you know, I have a rather large commission on my hands with another pair of traditional Bavarian suspenders. Canvaswork is tough on your hands, so a little gently stitching in between sessions is a good thing. When I saw a picture of the Floral Pomander by Hazel Blomkamp on Pinterest, I so wanted to stitch this project. Not only is the stitching and beading adorable, but I really like this finishing technique. I've never used it before, but I can see great potential for it with a different design and embroidery style...
It is a rather 'old' kit by Hazel Blomkamp and the instructions are not as perfect as I know they are today. Personally, I can live with the fact that she calls the same colour thread by more than one name. And, since I can stitch, I do not need a step by step instruction on how to embroider the little scenes. However, if you are a newbie, maybe not the best kit to start with.
When my kit arrived, I was positively surprised by the fact that German customs had missed it :). Vielen, vielen dank ! Hazel has not only packaged the kit supplies beautifully; there seems to be plenty of them. Especially of the beads. As you might remember, I'd run out of threads when stitching a kit by Pascal Jaouen. Although I contacted him in several ways, I haven't heard back from him ever since. Interestingly, Mary Corbet is addressing the issue on her blog today.
On to the happy blue snail. Every now and then, I just need to play. That's why I like Nordic Needle's broderibox subscription plan so much! My February box was released by customs on Saturday, so I had some quality playtime over the weekend. I decided to stitch up a happy blue snail on 18 TPI antique canvas. I found this particularly adorable snail in one of Millie Marotta's colouring-in books. Great resources for instant embroidery designs.
Again, this month's broderibox contained a few threads I had never encountered before. Yummy! New to me was the trebizond silk (the blue spool in the picture above). I had come across it on Mary Corbet's blog, but I had never seen it in person, let alone stitched with it. It is a really nice twisted silk thread similar to a #8 perle. It does not cover a 18 TPI canvas completely, however. Using two threads wasn't an option as that was too bulky and thread fatigue was horrendous after only a few stitches. So I decided to use it only for relatively small diagonal stitches and live with the fact that the canvas shimmers through. The thread reminds me a lot of a silk perle and it indeed comes with the same disadvantage: the plies untwist faster than you and I can stitch :)!
Also new to me was the Water 'n Ice yarn. It is a flat translucent braid said perfect for long stitches. I decided to weave it through pre-stitched trebizond tent stitches on the body of the snail. It gives a really lovely, yet subtle 'wet' impression. I can see this work well for watery scenes in canvaswork. Or maybe even couched down in regular surface stitching.
Other nice goodies in February's broderibox were a skein of DMC metallics, a spool of Kreinik blending filament and a gorgeous skein of Watercolours by Caron. The lovely people at Nordic Needle also included some petite Mill Hill beads and a really handy pincushion with a magnet on the bottom. To finish the background on my happy blue snail, I used a dark green Vineyard silk from January's broderibox. I have really fallen in love with this lovely silk thread. It is so soft and hardly wears when stitching on canvas. Can't wait for my next broderibox to arrive! Until then, it is back to my beautiful Bavarian suspenders.
Jessica M. Grimm
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