Friday, November 30, 2012

December 2012 Journal Project

It's that time again! The final project for the embroidery journal project for the year. I feel this project brings me full circle, but I'm going to save the year review for another post. For now I will focus on this project!
This is after a little drawing I did for our scrap book journal. We are busy catching up from last year, so I had out some photos from Christmas 2011.

Every year the family gathers to celebrate the holiday, and we get a visit from Santa. I don't know about the santa that visits your family, but the one that visits us always has a bat!!! He is no ordinary santa for sure

I thought the drawing I had made was fun, so why not turn it into an embroidery. An embroidery that not only means something for me but tells part of a story. Here is the photo of santa that I based my artwork on.

As you can see, there is no "perfection" in my version (I am certain I broke all the "rules" for proper crewel embroidery), instead it's about telling a story, a memory of a santa that doesn't just give gifts without challenging you first!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blogging tip

This tip is primarily for those using Google's blogger, but can be a handy thing to consider for others.

I've been coming across some bloggers lately that have suddenly found that they can't load up more photos!  This is because they have come up against the limit of free space on Picasa. The limit stands at 1GB.  Which you can think ought to be enough, but if you load up lots of photos without any resize, you will hit the limit fairly quickly. And in this day when people go around with phones and want to be able to upload as they go without any image manipulation, the space will quickly be used. 

That's by design though. They want you to buy from them. It costs about $30/yr for 25G. It's a fair price compared to the other offerings out there, but it does cost.

The big photos on blogs are pretty for sure, but they take space, and not to mention bandwidth to download. But if you don't want to lay out money for your blogging, then you have to consider cropping, resizing and reducing the picture quality. It takes time to do these things, I can assure you, but if avoiding paying is your goal, it's worth the effort

Another small tip is if you use the same photos across several blogs, then you can go in and pull up the same photo from your albums without uploading it again.

There are alternatives to using up your blog space though. You can use Flickr to load up pics and then use their interface for adding them to your blog. Think though that if you don't pay for Flickr either, you will only see 200 pics at a time, and you may have difficulty deleting some of them. Plus your monthly upload is capped at 100 MB, so again, if you upload large photos, you will hit the cap fast.

Wordpress offers 3GB of free storage if you run your blog on Remember though that this will include everything you load up, not just photos. The text doesn't take too much space, but it will add up. The database storage might be included in the 3GB (read the fine print on this), and that definitely uses up some space.

If you are on blogger and want to figure out how to check how much space you have, go to your account overview, then click on Products, then on Picasa Web Albums. There at the bottom in tiny type, you can see how much of your allowance you are using.

If you are willing to pay for your blogging, which most serious bloggers end up doing in one form or another, then you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Take some time to make sure to find the one that suits you best!

Christmas Kitty Embroidery

An embroidery I did last week.
I finished it into a little quilted wall hanging with a vintage lace border.
I'm trying to actually make some of my embroideries into something as I finish them instead of just throwing them on the pile for later. The pile is impossibly big now!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November Embroidery Journal Project

Back to stitching.

For this month, I wanted to make a try at capturing a little piece of the forest around here where I live. This time of year, it's dark and wet and gray. But not in the trees. They are pines and fir trees, green all year. Then there is the moss. It's always green.

There are many varieties too. At first it all just looks like a green clump, until you look closer and see all the many forms and textures.

I started with a painted fabric. I like to use acrylic inks, which I will talk about soon. I just came upon them recently and am still learning.

I did have some ideas of stitches to use, but I didn't quite even get to them all. I was just looking to create some textures.

I feel that my artistic and technical skills aren't quite up to the challenge yet, but this is a start for me in any case!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall 2012 Blog Tour Stop 5

A new stop on The Floss Box Fall 2012 embroidery blog tour. This time we are visiting Janet Brandt's blog Embroidery and the World of Possibilities. If you haven't visited Janet before, be sure you do, her works are delightful!

Stop 1: Sew in Love
Stop 2: Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch
Stop 3: SewAmy
Stop 4: Kitty and Me Design by Pam Kellogg
Stop 5: Embroidery and the World of Possibilities

How long have you been embroidering?
I have been stitching for as long I can remember. One of my very first shopping memories is loving a display of embroidery floss at a dime store. The threads were yellow/gold and that color sends a thrill through me to this day.
My parents owned a women's clothing store and salesmen would send us boxes filled with scraps of fabric from the cutting room floor. Great fun for doll clothes! It was also a great environment for all things fiber. My sisters and I did display work from a very early age and I started drawing the newspaper ads when I was 13.

How did you learn?
My great grandmother lived with us and she was always stitching. And my grandmother was an accomplished needle worker. I don't remember any lessons at their knees or anything quite that formal but I loved seeing what they were doing. I'm sure they must have taught me some of the basics.  I played with all sorts of creative materials on my own. I was always holed up in my bedroom making something. And I read books and magazines, anything I could get my hands on. I now have a very serious library of titles related to all things textile. Over the years I've embroidered, made dolls, hooked rugs, made quilts,and have now returned to embroidery.
How much time do you spend working on embroidery in a day on average?
Never enough! If I get in a couple hours of stitching a day I am very happy. Some days the hands are just too tired. Other day there is design work to do either on the computer or drawn by hand.

What are your favorite types of embroidery?
I love a variety of techniques. I now bring my experiences of crochet, dollmaking, quilting, drawing and applique home to my embroidery work. I use, I borrow, from everywhere to get the effect I want.
I started playing with stumpwork just a couple years ago. And my own version of crewel embroidery. Because I dyed my own wool fabric colors for rug hooking, I am able to dye my wool yarns for stitching. 

What are your favorite materials to use?
Everything! Well almost, my hands and nails are just too rough for silk!

Where do you get your inspiration?
I have always been in love with the ethnic embroideries of the world, eastern Europe in particular. All that red is so delicious! I love their timelessness and the universal themes they depict. Hearts, hands, birds and trees are found in most cultures.

Many stitchers are intimidated by stumpwork and crewel work, do you have any tips on how to get started?
Over the years I taught classes in rug hooking, applique and embroidery. The most important lesson I think I can share with any student is to have fun. And to listen to what makes you happy personally. After all that's why we do this.
More practical advice is to start small and if possible with a kit/class. Be patient with yourself, and realistic with your expectations. Practice makes perfect is a well repeated phrase for good reason!

What do you do with your finished projects?
Over the years most of my work has been done for publications in books and magazines as how-to articles. I've written 4 quilting books and one book about the creative spirit in all of us. I use my embroidered and applique wool quilts to illustrated that book. I'd love to carry on in that vein and publish my embroidery work one day soon. I am using my embroidery to tell the traditional stories and the stories of a "World of Possibilities" that I am creating.

What else do you enjoy doing?
I just became a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The training was 13 months of amazing classes of art history as well as practice giving tours and, most important, engaging the audience. I want people to enjoy going to a museum and not fell intimidated. It's just art and we're all creative people!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Open Needle Woven Picot

Last week I joined in TAST to try doing something with needle-woven picots. These are fun stitches, but I really haven't used them in projects too many times.
This whole little project is a little accident! Even the fabric was a painting experiment I never intended to use for a project. I was going to cover it with the picot stitches, so you couldn't see it. But after making a few rows, I thought it could work as a crown for a tree, so I put down a little scrap of fabric as a ground, and there I had a little tree!

Fun stitch, be sure to give a try. There surely are many more interesting applications!

A Rare November Visit...

from an old friend.

sunshine while I work

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Blog Tour Stop 4

The Floss Box Fall 2012 embroidery blog tour rolls on to the next stop! This stop will be at Pam Kellogg's embroidery and crazy quilting blog called Kitty and Me Designs. I've been watching Pam's work for a long time! She makes some beautiful things, some of which she sells in her store, and she offers classes and books about crazy quilting. Crazy quilter or not, there is still much to enjoy in her work!
Stop 1: Sew in Love
Stop 2: Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch
Stop 3: SewAmy
Stop 4: Kitty and Me Design by Pam Kellogg
Stop 5: coming soon!

How long have you been embroidering?
I've been stitching since I was 7 or 8 years old.  To keep me quiet, my mom would give me a piece of fabric with a plastic needle and some yarn.  I'm sure in the beginning I did nothing more than make a mess but I remember by the time I was 9, my mom and grandma had me stitching on prestamped dishtowels.  From there I moved on to needlepoint and hook rugs and then eventually to counted cross stitch.
By 1988, I enjoyed cross stitch so much, I started designing it professionally for needlework magazines and manufacturers such as The DMC Corporation, Bucilla, Kreinik, Zweigart and others.
But my stitching enthusiasum took a major curve in 2002 when I discovered Crazy Quilting.  Now at age 51, that's pretty much my main passion and obsession!

How did you learn?
My mom and grandma taught me how to do basic embroidery stitches on prestamped dish towels and table runners.  I always liked the way it felt when pulling the thread through the fabric.  I remember my grandma trying to teach me how to do french knots.  It took me years to get the hang of those!
Mom taught me how to sew, crochet, knit, needlepoint and cross stitch.  I learned how to do tatting on my own along with some other techiques like Chicken Scratch, Blackwork and such.  My Crazy Quilting too is completely self taught.  But I've always been good at collage art.

What are your favorite types of embroidery?
I love all types of embroidery and that's why Crazy Quilting has become such a passion for me.  Since I enjoy so many different techniques, I'm not limited to only one.  I can combine my skills and knowledge into a single form of needleart.  I don't have to choose one technique over another.

What are your favorite materials to use?
Is there a limit?  LOL!  I'm a very tactile person.  And I love little things.  Fabrics, threads, beads, buttons, lace, fancy trims, vintage millinery flowers, sequins.  Wait, did I mention glitter?  I love glitter!  All that glitters is gold to me!

What inspires you?

Nature mainly.  I love birds, flowers, butterflies, cats, holidays and the seasons.  But there are other things too.  I have an affinity for anything old-fashioned and vintage.  I'm a very homey, domestic person.  I love doing things the old way, using vintage things and learning about the good old days.  And although that doesn't appear to come through in my needlework, it really does show but in an indirect way.

What are your favorite projects?
My favorite projects are  small things like door hangers and cellphone pouches.  Probably because they stitch up quickly and I feel like I have something nice to show for a short amount of time.  But I also like doing more challenging projects like wall quilts.  Generally, I do my wall quilts over the Winter months when I can't be outside.

What do you do with your finished projects?
I keep a few things for myself like my wall quilts and some of my purses.  I make gifts too.  And I sell some of my crazy quilt pieces in my Etsy shop.

Any advice for someone who wants to start selling their embroidered goods?
It's hard to sell handmade things these days, no matter how nice they are.  Everyone has an Etsy shop.  With the economy the way it is, the market is saturated with handmade things by people trying to make a little extra money.  My advice is to take the time to learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  There's a ton of information available on that subject.  Just do a Google search and plenty of info will come up.
Social networking is a must too but limiting it to only 1 or 2 sites is best.  I pretty much stick with Facebook and Flickr.  A person can spend all day online socializing and never get anything else done.  Also, marketing outside of the internet is a good idea also.

Do you have any other hobbies and interests?
Yes, my husband has spent the last 8 years building a 1929 Model A Tudor Sedan.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  We just got the insurance for it and the license plates for it and we're hoping that we can start taking it to local car shows this coming Spring and Summer.  We're also hoping to take it to our Flea Markets and Antique Malls that we love.  Scott and I adore flea markets.  We both love vintage and antique things and the "thrill of the hunt" is a favorite pass time for us!  It'll be even more fun in our Model A!

Thanks for reading!  And thanks to Pam for being a stop. Another one coming soon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Blog Tour Stop 3

Welcome to another stop on The Floss Box Fall 2012 Tour of embroidery blogs! This time we are making a stop to visit Amy of SewAmy. Amy does a variety of stitching and quilting and combines them into her beautiful creations!

Fall 2012 Embroidery Blog Tour Stops
Stop 1: Sew in Love
Stop 2: Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch
Stop 3: SewAmy
Stop 4: coming soon!
1. How long have you been embroidering?
I have only been doing embroidery for a few years, 5 or 6 maybe.  I started cross stitching when I was a teenager and did it all the way into my late 20's. In my thirties I learned how to quilt. It wasn't until my late 30's that I learn to embroider. And now I am coming full circle and cross stitching again.

2. How did you learn? 
I learned by teaching myself.  I checked out embroidery books from the library and looked up how to do stitches on line. 

3. Why did you start?
 Because I was into quilting, I went to our local quilt show every year. One year I noticed a booth with quilts that had embroidery work on them. They were gorgeous. The company was 'Bareroots'. I bought my first pattern and fell in love. The pattern is called ' What color is Spring?'.( I included a picture of it)  I've since stitched and made many of Bareroot's patterns.

4. What are your favorite types of embroidery? To stitch embroidery, my favorite is just the plain ole 'back stitch'. But to look at embroidery...  any type.I am loving cross stitch right now too.  Crewel work amazes me and I'd love to learn how to do it one day. 

5. What are you favorite projects?
My favorite projects are when I get to stitch by hand and I add a bit of 'me' into the project. I made a camping wall hanging (pattern by Bareroots) and I changed some of the embroidery from the pattern to fit the way we camp, which is in a VW bus.  When I made my Jacob's Ladder Halloween quilt, I added embroidered spiders webs and spiders to it. When I cross-stitched up a little 'Science Lab' (pattern by Bent Creek) there was a pumpkin under the lab table. I had to change it to a frog because I have a big thing for frogs/toads.  I just love when my projects have that personal touch to them.

6. What do you do with your finished stitcheries?  
I've only framed a few. I really like making my stitcheries into usable things... like quilts, pillows and pillowcases, needle cases and Christmas ornaments.

7.  What other hobbies and interests do you have?  

I love to camp. My family camps in our 1970 Volkswagen camper Bus 8 months out of the year. Being a mom, I am always looking for things our family can do together before the kids grow up.  I do paint a tiny bit, but stitching is my favorite so anytime I have any extra time I am stitching.  My favorite way to stitch is curled up , watching a movie (mostly chick-flicks) and sipping wine.

Be sure to visit Amy and see all of her wonderful creations!! Stay tuned for more stops coming soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fall 2012 Blog Tour Stop 2

Time for stop number 2 on The Floss Box Fall 2012 embroidery blog tour! Special thanks for all my interviewees, it's been lots of fun meeting each one of you.
Fall Blog Tour 2012 stops:
Stop 1: Sew in Love

Stop 2: Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch
Stop 3: coming soon
Stop 4: coming soon

This weeks visit will be not to a blog as this embroiderer keeps no blog, but to a Flickr stream. We are visiting the lovely Isabell on Flickr, aka ColourinStitch. I first "met" Isabell a few years ago when I signed up for an ATC exchange hosted by one of the groups. Ever since then I have been a major fan of her work, and I can't really praise her work enough! So please be sure to check out her work, it is truly beautiful, and stunning too! The pictures that follow below are but a small taste.

Read on to for the interview with Isabell:

1. How long have you been embroidering?
The year was 2004, it was the year I retired from full time work and had more time to devote to embroidery. 

2. How did you learn to embroider?
At first it was mainly through reading magazines and books. I began by Cross stitching samplers.
I have always been interested in Tudor history and after seeing an exhibition of Tudor fashion, my eyes were drawn to the exquisite Blackwork designs on the dresses, ruffs and cuffs of that era. I wanted to learn more about it and bought a little book from the gift shop with patterns in it. So began the next stage of embroidery learning. This seems to be the way my embroidery life has continued, learning as I go along. . At the moment it is very much a free style of embroidery. No patterns, just wherever the needle and thread takes me when I begin to stitch.

3. Where does your inspiration come from?
Each day is a new beginning in my embroidery world, inspirations comes from everything around me.  Colour, textures, the time of day or night, the kind of mood I am in also plays a part in how I create my embroideries. Some of my most creative work has come when stress has played a part in my life.
Without fabric a needle and thread in my hand, I would be lost, embroidery brings me peace and tranquility, it is when I am at my most creative.

4. How do you come up with such beautiful colour combinations?
Colour has always played a huge part in my life, I love the seasons with the ever changing colours that they bring. Winter is my favourite season, it reflects the colour palette that I love most. The beautiful combination of stark white mingling with the dark rich colours of green, red, yellow and purple and blue all inspire me.
I have recently embroidered eleven pieces of hand dyed felt that I think reflects the way colour inspires me.  A colour explosion happens on each piece. Depth has been added by using different shades and textures of threads. These pieces of work are my own designs, the embroidery I call 'Doodling' because nothing is planned beforehand, just a spontaneous outburst of creative embroidery.

5. Do you have any favourite materials that you like to work with?
Silk is my very favourite fabric, so natural and beautiful to work with. My next choice would be linen again a natural fabric.

6. What are your favourite types of embroidery?
Crewel Work springs to mind immediately. The 'Tree of Life' embroidery is from a pattern by UK designer, Philippa Turnbull. It is the biggest piece of crewel work that I have ever made make and took many months to complete.

7. What do you do with your embroidery creations?
Apart from the pieces that I give as gifts for family and friends, the rest, of which there are many, are packed away in boxes, each wrapped in acid free paper.

8. What other interests do you have?
My interests include being with my family. Listening to classical music and gardening. Visiting Art Galleries, exhibitions and historic houses and gardens all inspire in different ways to be creative wiht my embroidery.
I like to watch Cricket and Rugby and going for walk along the beach especially on stormy days, that is when colour really stirs the imagination...dark, dangerous and yet beautiful in its own way. 

Be sure to go meet Isabell and view her lovely creations!!!