I`ve started working on some little bird embroideries, inspired by my drawings in my sketchbook. So far I`ve finished a blackbird and a bluetit, and I plan on doing lots more. I`ve enjoyed the process of creating them, taking time to select fabrics and stitching them in layers to echo the scribbly marks, tones and colours in my drawings.
I set the first two into embroidery hoops, using vintage fabric for the backgrounds.
I was so pleased with this little blackbird when I finished it and it sold instantly in my Etsy shop. I think blackbirds must be my favourite garden birds, but I love them all and try to encourage as many as possible into the garden. I`m lucky to live quite near woodland so there are lots of birdy visitors and lots who live in the garden all the time, including a huge colony of sparrows who live in the hedge. There are always a few bluetits busy at the feeders hanging in my apple tree. At the moment there are lots of young ones which are much paler in colour than the adults.
I think I`ll try a little wren next, I`ve just spotted one flitting in and out of my plant pots looking for a meal. But the choice and variety is endless…
I`ve been working on some new butterflies this week.
I wanted to make a freestanding butterfly brooch that would give the impression that a butterfly had just landed on you for a moment. I looked closely at illustrations in my butterfly book and tried to make the brooches as realistic as possible, painstakingly snipping out tiny pieces of fabric before stitching the into place.
These are based on Large White, Clouded Yellow, and Large Blue butterflies (with a little bit of artistic license…).
The wings are covered with layers of machine stitching and the butterfly is slightly padded and backed with felt. The antennae are made from strong button thread.
These butterflies can be worn as a brooch but I think they would also look lovely pinned into a little box frame.
These three will be listed on my Etsy shop, although one has been reserved already. I`m definately going to make more, I`ve been thinking of some larger pieces and perhaps some 3D butterflies incorporated into mixed media embroideries.
Three little embroideries set in mini embroidery hoops, freshly listed on my Etsy shop. Two butterflies and a bumble bee.
I really like the soft, muted colours of this vintage linen.
I deliberately chose this piece of fabric so the bee looks like it`s crawling over daisies.
This little piece of fabric reminded me of a cottage garden.
I set my daisy embroideries into hoops too and I think they work quite well. I backed the embroideries with natural calico, with a thin layer of wadding in between. The fabric at the back was carefully snipped away and I decided to brush a thin coat of PVA glue onto the edges to prevent fraying and set the fabric into the frame. I`ll definately do a few more of these, in various sizes, perhaps birds next!
I treated myself to some lovely marguerittes for the garden this week and they instantly added a dash of cheerfulness and sunshine. There really is something about daisies that lift the spirits.
I felt inspired to try some daisy embroideries, taken from the sketches of ox-eye daisies I did last year.
My friend recently gave me a bolt of vintage white glazed cotton and this is perfect for daisy petals. So crisp, lovely to cut into and gives the daisies a lovely lustre. I chose some bright, fresh, yellowish-green for the background.
Really pleased with these, I tried to make them as realistic and ‘drawn’ looking as possible. I`ll put these in my Etsy shop, perhaps set in embroidery hoops. I`d like to do a bigger piece, perhaps a large cushion or wall hanging featuring a whole swathe of daisies.
Inspired by my forsythia drawings, I made this little stitched sampler this week.
The forsythia twig is ‘drawn’ on some loose woven, vintage linen, framed by scraps of toning cottons, vintage lace, cotton tape and shell buttons, all sewn onto a small piece of pale yellow recycled furnishing fabric. I want to experiment with lots more botanical stitching, based on drawings, I`ll just play around with little samplers till I feel I`m getting it right.
Last week it was all about bees and butterflies again as I concentrated on finishing some more brooches and lavender hearts. I also had a commission for some bee sketches from a nice lady via my Etsy shop.
The drawings gave me a chance to look closely at bumble bees again and inspired a few more brooches.
Two new bumble bee lavender hearts. I chose pale vintage linen so that the bees really stood out.
I love the colours in this butterfly, my favourite brooch from the latest batch!
I had such a good response to my little bee embroideries that I decided to do some more and turn them into brooches.
Tiny, layered scraps of black and yellow cottons and lots of scribbly stitching make up their bodies and they have hand-embroidered little legs. The bees have been stitched onto recycled linen furnishing fabric in shades of blue. My favourites are the ones on the dark, indigo blue fabric.
I think insect brooches will sit well with all my flowers and are also quite an edgy contrast. I`d like to try other insects, maybe butterflies or ladybirds, I`ll start with some drawings then work from there, I think the embroideries definately work best that way as it keeps them looking free and hand-drawn. I`ve got lots to catch up with next week, but if I get time in between making more fascinators and brooches for my stockists then I`ll start sketching, hopefully in the garden- if it ever stops raining!
I`m very lucky to have a sewing room, but it faces to the front of the house, so if I have hand sewing to finish, I`ll usually take it through to the kitchen table so I can look out to the garden. Quite often in Spring there will be a gentle tap (or bump) at the window and it will be a newly emerged bumble bee, trying to get to the jug of flowers on the window sill.
I think bumble bees are gorgeous, so fat and furry you just want to stroke them! They are the first bees to emerge in Spring and a sure sign that Winter is over.
I`d been thinking about bees this week, after having a dream that I made some pin cushions with busy bees on them. I wanted to have a go at stitching some bees, using the same layered technique I`ve been using for my heart brooches.
This was my first attempt:
It wasn`t quite right, so I decided to sketch some bees in the garden on the one sunny afternoon we had this week.
I love sketching animals from life, such a nice free and scribbly way to draw. I really should make time for more drawing, I enjoyed scribbling these little bees.
Then I did a couple of embroideries straight from the drawings. These were much better. I`m pleased with them, I think they look quite life-like, but with the same loose, sketchy feel.
I`m not sure what I`m going to do with them yet, perhaps they could be details on cushions, but I`m feeling inspired to carry on with this way of working- maybe birds will be my next project…