A few sunny days this Summer has meant a lot of butterfly stitching in the garden. I love sitting in the sun, snipping tiny fragments of fabric from my scrap box and hand sewing them into place to create butterfly wings. I try to be as accurate and close to the real thing as I can, part of the challenge is finding the perfect fabric and I quite often use the backs of prints for a subtler shade, or even paint up ‘grounds’ of calico in just the right colour. Sometimes I add a sprinkling of hand embroidered stitches for extra texture. A lot of fiddly hand sewing goes into each one before they are finished off with machine stitching.
Here are a few of this Summer`s butterflies so far.
A selection of finished butterflies out in the sun.
Moorland Clouded Yellow, Clouded Yellow and Small Heath. These brooches are a dainty 7cm across.
I think Orange Tips are my favourite to make. I spotted quite a few real ones this Spring for the first time here.
Clouded Yellow. I love the soft illustrations in this vintage field guide book.
Four little ‘Cabbage Whites’. I couldn`t decide which one to make so I made them all!
A larger Large White.
Recently I have started making moths created from layers of machine embroidery. They are really like little 3d abstract paintings in thread. I try to make them as close as possible to the real thing, layering threads and blending colours to recreate the markings on the wings. I love the challenge of making them, and their evocative names!
Green Carpet moth.
Death`s-Head Hawkmoth. This one was a special order.
Elephant Hawkmoth. Another commission.
I loved making this one. It was a real challenge, but an enjoyable one, and such gorgeous colours to work with.
My moths vary in size, measuring from about 12cm- 18cm across, so they could be worn as very large brooches. However I think they would look striking pinned to a curtain, displayed in a box-frame or hung on the wall just as they are. These have all sold straight away, so I`m feeling really inspired to make more and continue to explore these subtle and intriguing creatures.
A few months ago, a very good customer asked if I would consider making her a hedgehog brooch. I wasn`t sure at the time as I was still quite new to free machine embroidery and didn`t think I could do it justice. However last week (after a gentle reminder from the lovely, patient lady) I decided to give hedgehogs a go. Growing confidence, combined with my wonderful new Bernina machine, meant that the time was right to take my machine embroidery to a new level.
I began with drawings and then made three embroideries. These were really little paintings in thread and I really enjoyed drawing with the machine, mark making, and layering lots of different threads. I sort of fell in love with hedgehogs last week as I brought these little creatures to life. They`ve had a wonderful response on my Facebook page and all three embroideries were immediately spoken for, with orders for two more. It seems that everyone loves a hedgehog! Yesterday I started work on four hedgehog embroideries and I`m really looking forward to getting stuck into them today.
It hasn`t been a cold Winter, but it`s been a very long, rainy, dreary, dark and depressing one. Everyone is longing for the Spring, and now we`re into March it feels as though it`s almost here. It`s still quite chilly, but there have been one or two sunny days, and it`s wonderful to have an extra hour or two of daylight in the evenings.
I thought I`d share a few bright, cheery makes that look forward to Spring.
A sunshine yellow Brimstone butterfly.
Stitched flower brooches.
A few twin heart brooches.
New butterfly heart brooches.
And a pair of Orange Tip butterflies fluttering over some lovely vintage fabric in cheerful shades of pink and orange.
I`m longing for long sunny days and really hope we have another Summer like last one. The clocks go forward in a few weeks so at least it will be a lot lighter, thank goodness! Like lots of people I find Spring a really energising and inspiring time so I`m really looking forward to exploring lots of new ideas.
I`ve been working on lots more little stitched birds over the last few weeks. I love making them, especially as I invested in a new sewing machine a couple of weeks ago (a wonderful Bernina) which is an absolute dream to work with. I still feel that I`m gaining confidence with each one, and really enjoy going to town layering all the differnt coloured threads to create little paintings in stitch.
Here are a few recent birds, I must admit that I was especially pleased with some of them, but I think the little coal tit is my favourite so far.
I think this one is my favourite.
And of course, a few more blue tits!
I love this one!
I think it is the vintage fabric backgrounds that really help these little birds come alive, and a big part of making them is selecting just the perfect piece of fabric for them to perch in. Then I stitch in a twig or two, layering little scraps of fabric to look like bark. I like the layered, tangled look this gives, as if the birds are living in an overgrown garden– just like mine!
Happy New Year!
My first working week of the year has been all about bluetits.
First came some scribbly drawings in my sketchbook, inspired by all the bluetits in my garden:
Next came three embroideries inspired by the drawings:
All three embroideries sold straight away in my Etsy shop, which was a lovely start to the New Year. I`m feeling much more confident with free machine embroidery and really enjoyed stitching these little birds, layering fabric and thread to echo the original drawings. I was really pleased with these little bluetits and I want to work on lots more, as well as all the other birdy visitors to my garden. I`m so lucky to have a garden that is always filled with birds, probably because it`s really overgrown and filled with bushes and trees… I always keep the feeders topped up and I added another little bird table this Christmas which I put outside the kitchen window. Birds are always a bit wary of something new, but bold little coal tits visited first, and now there are all kinds of garden birds flying in for a snack all day long.
Last year was a great year for me, my work took on a new direction and I finally started to bring together drawing and sewing. I started an online shop and began to get the hang of Etsy, and also realised the wonders of selling and networking online. Now I`ve got lots of lovely customers and wonderful support and encouragement via Etsy and Facebook. This week I passed 1000 likes on Facebook which I was really amazed and happy about. I`m so excited to see what this year brings… I`m going to begin with lots more drawings and stitching of birds.
I`ve made a few little batches of stitched robins now, and they are continuing to be popular. I`m really pleased with my latest ones, I feel that I`m really getting the hang of them… The little 4″ hoops are my favourite. I like the fact that they are small enough to hang on a Christmas tree– I`ll be making a few of these as Christmas presents!
Here are a few of my favourites from my latest batch.