Monday, March 12, 2018

Project for February 2018

I've been continuing my embroidery journal projects. I was a little slow getting going with February, in fact it was almost over!

But I'm glad I made an effort and got it done. Doing these is a good habit for me. I get to play around with different ideas inspired by what's happening around me. It gets me out of my bubble at least a little.

The arctic turned warm, and so we got the cold and snow and then more snow.  It's still cold!

The snowman is very happy to live a little longer!  But I'm wondering still, where is spring?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Long and Short Stitch Demystified Part 1

Long and short stitch.

This stitch I avoided for quite awhile when I was learning to embroider. I thought it was too slow and didn't understand how to handle it so it looked reasonable.

There was a period I didn't even like how it looked.  

I just didn't want to do it.

But somewhere my attitude change, I was suddenly interested in thread painting, which uses long and short stitch extensively.

I got a couple books about thread painting and gave it a try. The shading is subtle and felt overwhelming, but I got the hang of the stitch and how to handle the threads, and I enjoyed the projects I made.

Design by Trish Burr

The mechanics I learned from the thread painting, and the stitch found it's way into some projects but I never felt especially comfortable or good at it.

Today, I am starting again to seek out projects that use it in order to step outside my comfort zone and hopefully improve.

So what's the best way to approach this stitch?

There are two key things to keep in mind. First, it's just a series of straight stitches that need to be lined up in a varied manner, and second, the stitches are easiest to handle when worked in rows over the area to be filled.

Many crewel and thread painting instructions first say to outline the stitched area with split stitch. This is a good habit as a gives a nice edge to the work, but it's not absolutely required, and there may be places where you prefer that it isn't there.

Next start with the first row. Remember to vary the end points of the stitch. The stitches are very regular and as uniform as I could manage.

Then begin the second row. For this you will start your stitch somewhere in stitches of the row below. Remember to vary the starting point as you work across the row, and as above, be sure to vary the end points of each stitch

Make another row the same way, and so on until the area is stitched.

A couple of final notes, this sample is done with one strand of embroidery floss like many thread painting projects, but you can use as many as you like. It will change the look, but more on this later in the series.

This is only a sample, my stitches in my projects are never so nicely arranged as this, ao this later as well.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A word for the year

Welcome again to 2018. I'm saying it again because I've spent the last 3 weeks recovering from the wicked flu that's going around, and I am still not quite at 100. I'm getting there. It feels like the year is just now getting started for real.

I liked my elephants so well I made a painted version. I'm sure this won't be their last appearance.

I'm sure you've heard about about having a word of the year or maybe even chosen some yourself over the years.

I usually forget mine after a month or two. I don't even think I had one last year. A couple years ago I chose 'adventure'. I am not certain I had many that year, maybe because I forgot to.

But this year I have a word I can't forget! If you haven't guessed by now it's Create.

I chose this not so much because I need a reminder that I should be creating, this I know. But this word is a verb, meaning action.

That's right, it's a reminder to myself to chose action over inaction, every single day. To create something, anything, and there are many forms our creations take beyond the strictly artistic. Even our lives themselves we are creating every day with our choices to act or not act. Yes, our lives are our biggest creations, maybe worth remembering.

So this is my reminder to choose the good actions and creations, to work towards what I really want to have. And to choose them little by little through everyday actions.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Creating into 2018

It's that time of year to think of the changes we want to make to ourselves and our lives in the new year. I'm sure you know how it goes by now. Goals, resolutions, new schedules, all this is going to help us change for the better. It's not quite enough though, it never is. There is one thing our lists often miss...

The action part.  Goals and dreams mean nothing without action to take us where we want to go.

So this year, I'm dedicating myself not just to dreaming big, but taking steps every single day towards those dreams. I aim for at least one or two small steps daily, but I am hoping there could be many in a day.

I dropped off blogging a year ago, I was bummed and felt I wasn't finding my voice. So I spent time through last year writing and writing in my scribbly notebooks, thinking and thinking what it is I want to say.

I have read a lot too. Any articles I come across that I could learn from, hoping to find that hidden nugget that I missed inside myself.

In the end I have realized a few important things:

  • there is no substitute for doing. Yep, action, the more the better.  What do you miss in your life? Think of the action it will require.

  • think in small steps. The actions don't always have to be big.  Little ones matter, and they add up fast when done daily. What small steps can you start today?

  • create, create, create! For me what I want to do is create, and that involves getting going, being uncomfortable, taking risks, not putting things off. Not always easy. What are the things that hold you back from taking a small step today?

  • don't give up too easy. I do sometimes, I know I do. When something feels like a solid wall, I duck away. Sometimes I take long routes to try to get around the walls, but there is no way over them except to learn to climb. Do you have any walls in your life you're running around?

  • be positive! Yes, I have been drowning myself in negativity at various points in my life. I am making good progress on not doing that anymore. Positive thinking is a better way, and it is for everyone. Do you often find yourself slipping down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts?

So now here we are in a new year that can't be wasted. Today is a great day to begin a small step forward.

One little step I am taking is to return to my embroidery journal project. I had a blog for it and even a few people joining, but I am not sure I will resurrect that blog. Maybe.

I have chosen the word create - an active word. It is a reminder to create and to be creative, as often as possible, writing, drawing, painting, embroidery, and many other ways in life.  Above all, I hope to remember to always be active. This is key to moving forward into new paths.

Happy 2018!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Christmas Florals Embroidery

I'm spending the week attempting to catch up on things, but still so far behind, and getting more behind. I spent a week stitching these Christmas Floral Embroideries, which was definitely a week well spent, but I let all else slide while I did that. I am so not a multi-tasker.

I was trying to think which was my favorite. The little bird? Maybe. Definitely a cutie.
 But I really like the reindeer too.
I like them all! They were each fun projects to work on and not at all difficult stitching, but even so, they were still interesting to work on!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Three Favorite Embroidery Stitches

I really do have more than three top embroidery stitches, but this will get me started for now. More favorites are coming

1. Stem stitch
This is my go-to stitch for lines of all sorts - stems, rings, swirls and more. It's simple and relatively quick. I prefer it to back stitch for lines mostly because much more of the thread ends up on the top of the fabric compared to back stitch.

Stem stitch makes a really  nice line and can be stitched either with small, neat stitches for a perfect rope like appearance (no I'm not especially great at making even stitches!)
 Or it can be made with larger, less even stitches for a line with a little more texture.

And stem stitches make a great filling when made in rows. I've done this many times on many projects.

2. Satin stitch
That should really be padded satin stitch because I love the extra texture a little padding adds. In any case, this is definitely my go-to stitch for fillings. I've made it with 1 strand of thread for a very fine appearance.

And I've used all six strands for a chunkier look that has great texture.

There is no one right way to do it. Always do it your way!

I've made projects that are almost exclusively satin stitch.
I just love the stitch!

3. Beads
An embroidery stitch you ask?  Sure, it is. In my stitch samplers I've given many examples of stitches that can have a bead added for interest and sparkle, so a basic bead stitch is simply a straight stitch with a bead attached. Ok! Maybe you didn't need to be convinced, but I do love adding beads to my projects.

They are great as berries.

And they are always terrific eyes for birds and other creatures.

And I do love to add them simple as decoration and texture to my projects!

So that sums up my three favorite stitches and how I like to use them. I do have many more favorite stitches, as I said, and I'll be writing about them very soon. 

For now... Happy stitching!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Winter Wreath Crewel Embroidery

My latest finish is done!
This is a crewel version of my earlier winter wreath. I made a few changes to the pattern. Switching from white to tan fabric gave me some trouble, and I can't tell you how many times I felt compelled to take out stitches and change colors. That's sometimes the way it is though.
It is a fun project though with a bit of sparkle. It's available as a pattern with full instructions or as a kit.

I'm also re-writing the instructions for the original project, or rather, making full instructions, as I am for some of the other stumpwork wreaths I have made. And there will be more!

Right now, I'm keeping busy with plans for new designs and I'm hoping to create some classes too finally of different sorts.  They should be fun! I've wanted to for a long time.

I hope your day is great! :D