Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to make an embroidery nest

These little nests are so fun and easy to make, and I got a few questions about them, so I thought I would make a little how-to explaining how I do them.
The eggs are made with polymer clay, in this case, I use Fimo.  I roll up a bunch at once, often of different sizes so I hopefully have enough of a similar size for the project.


Then I place the selected eggs on the fabric and measure about how big the inner circle of the nest should be to fit the eggs. I use a circle stencil to draw the circle on the fabric.


Then I gather up some long embroidery floss. For this example I used the colors 642, 840, 3781, 3782, 611, two strands of each together on the needle. (Use a big needle!)  Then I begin couching down the threads around the circle.

I continue on around, overlapping the couch stitches with the previous round.

After I have the width I like, I pile on more layers of couching over the ones I just did. I don't have any set number, it all depends on how big you want your nest to be.

When I am satisfied, I used one of the browns to fill in the bottom of the nest with satin stitch. I usually pick a medium brown shade for the job.

Then I make little branches sticking out around the nest. They are randomish, but I usually make them pointed all in the same direction.  Some have an extra little branch or two on them and some don't. I use one of the medium browns for this.

Then I add some lazy daisies around on the little branches with a nice shade of green for leaves.

Now the nest is done, I glue down the eggs, using a clear drying craft glue such as Ailene's. It works real well for this.
And that's it!

I hope you will give it a try!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lessons from a doodle cloth embroidery

I think the last time I did one of these way back in 2009, and I didn't complete it. And that's a real shame, because after making this new one, I realize how much I love doing this sort of stitching.

The great thing about this type of embroidery is what you can learn along the way! I made a little list of things I have learned this time.

1. It's the perfect opportunity to test how various stitches look on fabric and next to each other. This is actually hard to know before you see them, and the more times you make the stitches together, the better you learn them.

2. Playing with shapes, this is one of the best parts. The playing around. I make a nest, then I just try some flowers around it for fun.. then more and suddenly I have a little field of flowers in three colors and they look kinda cool.



3. Trying out different textures, a great thing about embroidery compared to other media is the texture. It is wonderful to have the chance to try out some different types of textures without knowing ahead how they will turn out or the worry that it could be "wrong" because there is no wrong!


4. Creatively filling the spaces. I never know exactly how I will fill the space, and there is a lot of it to fill! I take it one area at a time and focus on that. You can really surprise yourself when you let go!

5. Getting to know color. This kind of playful cloth is the perfect opportunity to practice color. combinations. I have a tendency to learn toward certain shades, so here I can play without any worry how it might affect the rest of the project.

6. Watching a project like this develop is extremely satisfying. Yes, it is! Day by day it grows and becomes something interesting, made of different moods and thoughts all blended together into one. It adds feeling and contrast.


7. And the best part, for me, watching a project like this develop is extremely satisfying and rewarding.  I love the different parts and the open freedom to express myself.

There are more of these in  my future!




Thursday, May 24, 2018

April Embroidery Journal project


Love! One of my favorite themes I thought it was perfect for the beginning of spring, and for a little April project.

I kept a simple and uncluttered design for this in order to keep attention on the sentiment. I love these soft colors, and it suited the them so nicely.

I'll be sending this design out with instructions in my next newsletter, which will be sent out very soon.  So be sure to sign up now!

I am enjoying doing these little monthly projects after a break of several years. These are my chance to play around without a lot of pressure or great plan. I will offer all the designs to my newsletter readers, but they won't be available for free for long, so don't wait! At the end of the year, I will package them all up into a little book.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Project for February 2018

I've been continuing my embroidery journal projects. I was a little slow getting going with February, in fact it was almost over!

But I'm glad I made an effort and got it done. Doing these is a good habit for me. I get to play around with different ideas inspired by what's happening around me. It gets me out of my bubble at least a little.


The arctic turned warm, and so we got the cold and snow and then more snow.  It's still cold!


The snowman is very happy to live a little longer!  But I'm wondering still, where is spring?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Long and Short Stitch Demystified Part 1

Long and short stitch.

This stitch I avoided for quite awhile when I was learning to embroider. I thought it was too slow and didn't understand how to handle it so it looked reasonable.

There was a period I didn't even like how it looked.  

I just didn't want to do it.

But somewhere my attitude change, I was suddenly interested in thread painting, which uses long and short stitch extensively.



I got a couple books about thread painting and gave it a try. The shading is subtle and felt overwhelming, but I got the hang of the stitch and how to handle the threads, and I enjoyed the projects I made.

Design by Trish Burr

The mechanics I learned from the thread painting, and the stitch found it's way into some projects but I never felt especially comfortable or good at it.



Today, I am starting again to seek out projects that use it in order to step outside my comfort zone and hopefully improve.

So what's the best way to approach this stitch?

There are two key things to keep in mind. First, it's just a series of straight stitches that need to be lined up in a varied manner, and second, the stitches are easiest to handle when worked in rows over the area to be filled.

Many crewel and thread painting instructions first say to outline the stitched area with split stitch. This is a good habit as a gives a nice edge to the work, but it's not absolutely required, and there may be places where you prefer that it isn't there.



Next start with the first row. Remember to vary the end points of the stitch. The stitches are very regular and as uniform as I could manage.



Then begin the second row. For this you will start your stitch somewhere in stitches of the row below. Remember to vary the starting point as you work across the row, and as above, be sure to vary the end points of each stitch



Make another row the same way, and so on until the area is stitched.



A couple of final notes, this sample is done with one strand of embroidery floss like many thread painting projects, but you can use as many as you like. It will change the look, but more on this later in the series.


This is only a sample, my stitches in my projects are never so nicely arranged as this, ao this later as well.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A word for the year

Hello!
Welcome again to 2018. I'm saying it again because I've spent the last 3 weeks recovering from the wicked flu that's going around, and I am still not quite at 100. I'm getting there. It feels like the year is just now getting started for real.



I liked my elephants so well I made a painted version. I'm sure this won't be their last appearance.

I'm sure you've heard about about having a word of the year or maybe even chosen some yourself over the years.

I usually forget mine after a month or two. I don't even think I had one last year. A couple years ago I chose 'adventure'. I am not certain I had many that year, maybe because I forgot to.

But this year I have a word I can't forget! If you haven't guessed by now it's Create.



I chose this not so much because I need a reminder that I should be creating, this I know. But this word is a verb, meaning action.

That's right, it's a reminder to myself to chose action over inaction, every single day. To create something, anything, and there are many forms our creations take beyond the strictly artistic. Even our lives themselves we are creating every day with our choices to act or not act. Yes, our lives are our biggest creations, maybe worth remembering.




So this is my reminder to choose the good actions and creations, to work towards what I really want to have. And to choose them little by little through everyday actions.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Creating into 2018


It's that time of year to think of the changes we want to make to ourselves and our lives in the new year. I'm sure you know how it goes by now. Goals, resolutions, new schedules, all this is going to help us change for the better. It's not quite enough though, it never is. There is one thing our lists often miss...

The action part.  Goals and dreams mean nothing without action to take us where we want to go.

So this year, I'm dedicating myself not just to dreaming big, but taking steps every single day towards those dreams. I aim for at least one or two small steps daily, but I am hoping there could be many in a day.

I dropped off blogging a year ago, I was bummed and felt I wasn't finding my voice. So I spent time through last year writing and writing in my scribbly notebooks, thinking and thinking what it is I want to say.

I have read a lot too. Any articles I come across that I could learn from, hoping to find that hidden nugget that I missed inside myself.

In the end I have realized a few important things:

  • there is no substitute for doing. Yep, action, the more the better.  What do you miss in your life? Think of the action it will require.

  • think in small steps. The actions don't always have to be big.  Little ones matter, and they add up fast when done daily. What small steps can you start today?

  • create, create, create! For me what I want to do is create, and that involves getting going, being uncomfortable, taking risks, not putting things off. Not always easy. What are the things that hold you back from taking a small step today?

  • don't give up too easy. I do sometimes, I know I do. When something feels like a solid wall, I duck away. Sometimes I take long routes to try to get around the walls, but there is no way over them except to learn to climb. Do you have any walls in your life you're running around?

  • be positive! Yes, I have been drowning myself in negativity at various points in my life. I am making good progress on not doing that anymore. Positive thinking is a better way, and it is for everyone. Do you often find yourself slipping down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts?

So now here we are in a new year that can't be wasted. Today is a great day to begin a small step forward.

One little step I am taking is to return to my embroidery journal project. I had a blog for it and even a few people joining, but I am not sure I will resurrect that blog. Maybe.



I have chosen the word create - an active word. It is a reminder to create and to be creative, as often as possible, writing, drawing, painting, embroidery, and many other ways in life.  Above all, I hope to remember to always be active. This is key to moving forward into new paths.

Happy 2018!