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.
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.
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.
Hello again to my poor neglected blog! Here we are in October already, the summer flew past and now it`s Autumn with Christmas fast approaching. It has been a very busy Summer for me and a creatively satisfying one. I really feel happy with my work now and I`ve settled into a style that marries four things I love; sewing, drawing, nature and vintage fabrics. I also finally embraced the wonders of Facebook a few months ago and have built up a wonderful network of supportive people and customers. So although my blog posts have become rather few and far between, I post on Facebook daily with news, previews, sketches and finished work. My Etsy sales have become steady too, and having the Etsy shop has really helped me focus on the style and look of my work.
I`ve been setting little stitched pieces in embroidery hoops quite a lot recently. Customers like them because they can buy a little piece of textile art that is ready to hang, and I really enjoy working within a circle. There is something quite satisfying about a circle, and I like the way a motif from a piece of vintage fabric becomes focused and can frame a little stitched creature. They remind me a bit of vintage plates hanging on the wall, and have become quite popular, I`ve had lots of sales and a few commissions for them. These are some of my favourites:
I love blackbirds!
Bees and butterflies were very popular over the summer. I want to work on lots of more birds over Autumn and winter and maybe some mammals (I`ve had an order for a hedgehog!). My focus over the next couple of weeks will be robins, I`ve got some lovely old linens and muted furnishing fabrics for backgrounds and some tiny 4″ hoops that would be just the right size to hang on the Christmas tree… I`ve had lots of lovely comments for my drawings too, so my next few bird drawings won`t be in my sketchbook, but for sale in my Etsy shop!
Filed under bees, birds, butterflies, drawing, embroidery, embroidery hoops, ladybirds, machine embroidery, online shop, recycled fabrics, stitched birds, vintage fabric
This is turning out to be a bit of a butterfly summer for me. I`ve been developing my stitched 3d butterflies, thinking of them as little soft sculptures as well as brooches. My recent ones are all based on real butterflies and I`ve been trying to make them as realistic as possible, layering tiny pieces of fabric and stitch and even incorporating little pieces of calico that I`ve hand painted to just the right shade. They are miniature labours of love!
The butterflies have gradually been growing in size, culminating in my Red Admiral which measures just over 14cm at its widest point. This would be rather large to wear as a brooch, but would look striking perhaps pinned to a curtain. All my new butterflies would be equally at home pinned into a little box frame, or hanging on the wall just as they are, the brooch pin on the back will hook happily onto a little panel pin.
I`ve been adding a few butterflies to my Etsy shop, although some people have been buying them directly from my Facebook page where they`ve been having a wonderful response, which is really encouraging.
I`ve loved making these butterflies, especially with the gorgeous summer weather we`ve been having recently. I sit on an old quilt in the garden, with my butterfly books spread out for inspiration and surrounded by scraps of cotton, handstitching the first stages of the butterflies, then coming in from the heat to the cool of my sewing room to finish off with machine stitching. Perfect! I`ve been more aware of butterflies in general too, spotting lots in the garden and on walks, although I can`t always get a good look to identify them properly. I`d love to be able to identify them as easily as garden birds, I only know a few at the moment. I`m looking forward to making more butterflies and also perhaps incorporating them into larger embroideries inspired by their evocative names.
This has been a wonderful summer so far, in fact it`s wonderful to actually have a summer for a change! Long may it last, although the garden would love a little rain- maybe just the odd shower at night!
Here are a few of my new butterflies:
a special order blue butterfly
my favourite so far!
We`re now well into June, but because of the cold Spring, the garden is way behind. There are even still a few bluebells in bloom! I`ve planted out lots of seedlings among the perennial plants but the are still tiny. However everything is filling out now and there are a few flowers about. A wander with my camera yesterday proved that there is plenty of colour too…
Just finished ten more bumble bee brooches. I like to make them in small batches because there are so many layers and stages to complete in each brooch, it`s so satisfying when I finish the last one!
I used discarded furnishing fabric samples for the backgrounds of these bees. I like the earthy tones and chunky weaves. I only had a tiny piece of each fabric, just enough for one brooch, which makes each one unique.
I used this black and white print for the backs of this batch. I don`t use a badge maker, but carefully finish each brooch by hand and I like to choose pretty coordinating fabrics for the backs.
Five more bee brooches have been added to my Etsy shop!
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!
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!