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.
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
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.
I`ve been busy this week making some more round heart brooches. They proved to be popular for Valentines day so I decided to make a few more. I used more muted colours for these ones, with some thick, twill-woven vintage calico for the background. I was quite pleased with these, the rough texture of the calico gave them a look (I think) of little sandstone pebbles. I only have a small piece of this fabric, so I`ll keep it for more brooches. I`ll be making a few of these brooches for my stockists, these ones are heading into my Etsy shop.
I`ve been experimenting with bits of linens and lace this week and I bought a big piece of calico to play with. I used to use calico all the time and it`s fun to work with it again. It`s such a humble fabric, with a folksy, homespun feel and speckled with tiny imperfections, but is also really sturdy and versatile . I love combining the textures of calico, grainy old linens, homely ticking and frothy vintage lace. I`m planning to combine these in new work, using the lovely creamy, neutral shades as a nice contrast with embroidery.
The calico I bought was stitched together like this on the roll. I like the utillitarian, rough stitches.
My first butterfly… lots more to follow…
I`ve been working on some little keepsake hearts this week too. They are stitched from calico, vintage fabrics, vintage lace and shell buttons. They have a linen sachet of lavender inside as well as a bit of padding. I like the idea of making little one-off treasures and mini embroideries, something I`m hoping to develope over the next few weeks. I tried to give these hearts a collagey feel, and I`ve used both machine and hand embroidery.
I`ve just discovered that my favourite charity shop now has a fabric rail! Here are some of today`s finds:
This lovely vintage embroidered linen cushion cover was only 20p! I love the old curtain fabric too.
More embroidered traycloths to add to my collection!
The best find was this gorgeous length of 50`s (I think) print on a satin weave fabric. It reminds me of the apple blossom in my garden. I like the pale sky-blue background too.
I do try to use mainly recycled fabrics in my work, but now and then I can`t resist a fat quarter. Because I use such tiny amounts of fabric, a quarter metre can last me ages, even years. I had to stock up on thread in our local haberdashers today and decided to treat myself to these packs of fat quarters by John Louden.
I couldn`t resist these tiny stars and really liked the muted colours.
This pack with its subtle blues and tiny scattered letters was a must-have too.
I`m sure I`ll really enjoy using them for lots of future projects!
I`ve been happily making more of these little stitched hearts all week and I`m so pleased with them! My first batch was delivered to Flux and the Lucie Fenton Gallery today and I was almost sorry to see them go! I really enjoy making them and they`ve been inspiring me for future projects. I like the subtle blend of the different colours and patterns and the way the stitching gives them an almost faded look. They`re quite delicate and much smaller than most of my brooches. I`ve enjoyed looking out my tiniest shell buttons and vintage pearls to finish them off.
I`ve been thinking of other ways of using this technique and in between sewing the hearts there`s been lots of doodling going on… Looking forward to starting some new work, but time for a few more hearts first!
I made this little brooch late last night and I really love it! I`d been making more of my new daisies yesterday and in the evening I couldn`t stop thinking about the technique, wondering how else I could use it. I went back into my sewing room before bed (or I should say climbed in! It`s really messy just now with lots of cotton fabric strewn everywhere and my sewing machine is at the centre of a giant nest!) and fiddled around for an hour or two, and the result was this wee brooch.
I`m really pleased with (in fact I wore it all day today!). I keep thinking up lots of ways I can use the technique, but first I`m going to make more little hearts. In fact tomorrow is going to be a daisy and heart making day, even though I had planned to get started on more papier mache work. Oh well, go with the flow!
These are some new little daisy brooches that I`ve been working on this week.
Tiny scraps of vintage cottons have been layered on to felt to create the petals. I seem to be working this way more and more, layering and blending fabrics the way I do with papers. I like the way that the paper side of my work has naturally started influencing the fabric side. I love the collagey, fragmented feel that it gives to these flowers.
The daisies are finished off with a vintage shell button at the centre. They are deliberately asymmetrical to give a cute, quirky look.
I`ve become a bit addicted to making these flowers over the last couple of days, it means I can dig out my collection of cotton scraps and have a good play, mixing and blending colours and patterns, something I really enjoy doing!