Stitched Robins.

My first robin embroideries all sold out within a couple of days! I took inspiration from my robin drawings in my sketchbook, layering tiny scraps of fabric and stitching them in place, using recycled cottons and little pieces of calico that I painted to just the right colour. Then lots of scribbly machine stitching added more texture and colour. I hand embroidered their little legs and feet. I set them in embroidery hoops- a 6″, a 5″ and a few little 4″ ones, just the right size to hang on the Christmas tree!

I was really pleased with them and plan to make lots more for Christmas. Here are a few  of my favourites so far:

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Robin Drawings.

My sketchbook has been filling up with drawings of robins recently, which will be used as inspiration for some robin embroideries. This is my favourite way of working now- scribbly drawings first, then echo the colours, marks and line of the drawing in fabric and stitch. It was important to get the colours right- so many depictions of robins at Christmas time show them with dark brown backs and scarlet red breasts, but they are really more orange and grey than red and brown.

At this time of year, robins seem to be everywhere- as soon as you step outside, their song fills the air- little bright beads of sound. They look so cute but are actually tough little birds, and fiercely territorial. I`m sitting at the kitchen table while writing this and I can see a robin bossing the sparrows about on the bird table.

Here are a few of my favourite robin drawings so far:

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robin drawings 014 This one is my favourite!

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Embroidery Hoops.

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:

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blackbird 7 inch hoop 013I love blackbirds!

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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!

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Filed under bees, birds, butterflies, drawing, embroidery, embroidery hoops, ladybirds, machine embroidery, online shop, recycled fabrics, stitched birds, vintage fabric

Ladybirds.

I finished this little stitched sampler of ladybirds last night. I`d been meaning to try some ladybirds for a while, but hadn`t really seen any about. But yesterday a little one hitched a lift on the back of my car and I found two more at the back door.

I did some very quick sketches then tried some stitched ladybirds. As usual I used lots of layers of fabric and stitching to give texture and a sketchy feel. I tried to keep them quite loose and had fun with them, especially when it came to stitching in their little legs. I`ll make some ladybird brooches, but I`d also like to try a larger piece with an all-over pattern of ladybirds, I really like the way they look scattered over this sample piece.

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Stitched Birds.

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.

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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…

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Butterfly Summer.

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:

small copper butterfly 090Small Copper

butterflies 8th july 010Orange Tip

butterflies 8th july 020Cleopatra`s Brimstone

red admiral 10th july 008Red Admiral

red admiral 10th july 010

2 butterflies 15th july 017a special order blue butterfly

butterfly for etsy 16th july 019Small White

butterfly for etsy 16th july 030my favourite so far!

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New Butterflies.

I`ve been working on some new butterflies this week.

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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…).

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Large White.

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Clouded Yellow.

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Large Blue.

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.

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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.

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June Colours.

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…

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Ten More Bumble Bees.

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.

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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!

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Mollie Makes Mention!

My bumble bee brooches have been featured in this month`s Mollie Makes, my first magazine mention! I`m a big fan of Mollie Makes, so it`s very exciting. Got started on another batch of bumble bees this morning!

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