Sunday, February 17, 2019

Stitcher Feature: Blackwork Poinsettia

My free Blackwork Poinsettia Ornament stitched by Shannan of Bobbin & Fred

I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted to introduce you to Shannan Grierson, a new stitchy friend I've met on Instagram (@bobbinandfred)! She is a very talented designer specializing in needlepoint who blogs about her adventures with trusty French bobbin spool (Bobbin) and Fred (Bobbin's goat friend), at Sewing With Bobbin and Fred 😊

Shannan's cute logo, showing Bobbin on the left and Fred on the right!

Shannan kindly wrote an introduction for you too, so in her own words:

Hello Happy Stitchers! I'm Shannan, the author of Sewing with Bobbin and Fred and designer of needlework projects. My aim in life is to cover as many things as possible in hand stitch. I love all styles of needlework and so my designs span across embroidery, needlepoint and counted canvas.

I'm very passionate about turning flat hand-stitched fabrics into 3D pieces as I find the construction process fascinating and I like to create things we can all use on a daily basis.

I love trying new techniques and I love Christmas so I was very happy to find Aurelia's blackwork ornament design. I hadn't tried blackwork before this and I found it a wonderful introduction into a new way of sewing... and my Christmas tree's going to look so pretty this year!

You may remember this little free Blackwork Poinsettia ornament pattern and finishing tutorial that I shared a few years ago (for Jo's 2013 Advent Calendar Blog Hop!):

When I shared it again on Instagram for Throwback Thursday (#tbthursday), Shannan told me she liked the pattern, and I was absolutely thrilled when she started stitching her own variation, sharing her progress as she went. If you have a quick look at her website or social media, you will notice that Shannan has a super fun, vibrant sense of colour and I absolutely LOVE the new colour combination she came up with, along with her decision to stitch it on pretty green Aida:

Isn't Shannan's bright and cheerful colourway beautiful?!

She also followed my finishing tutorial (which you can find at the bottom of the pattern post), which is super easy and can apply to any ornament. It's a modified version of Whipstitch Edging, worked over Chain Stitch (instead of the traditional Back Stitch), which makes picking up the stitches with your needle so much easier!

Here's a photo of the edging in progress, from my tutorial:

And here's Shannan's lovely, clear closeup of how the Whipstitch looks over the Chain Stitch - you can see the beautiful braided effect of the edging:

Shannan had a really great question about the edging too. When you put your back and front together, using this method, you end up with two lines of chain stitch next to each other. Which loops do you go through? That depends entirely on the look you're going for. I chose to go over both of the loops, but you can also go underneath the pairs of loops, which leaves the tops of the Chain Stitches visible. The original magazine article I adapted this technique from also suggested just picking up the inner arm of each loop pair for beading, but the seam would be significantly weaker.

I have added some more information about this and a quick info graphic to the post 😊

Many thanks again to Shannan for kindly stitching and sharing her version of my free Blackwork Poinsettia Ornament! When you pop over to visit her, be sure to check out her great Tutorials section, where she has a lovely free pattern for her gorgeous Turkish Jewel Needlebook, designed to match the Turkish Jewel Scissors Pouch and Minders recently published in Needlepoint Now magazine:

I've never tried making a needlebook, and I don't have much experience with plastic canvas, but I recently bought some to make this pretty project and I'm looking forward to learning this new technique. I have another project on the go at the moment, but I'm hoping to try my hand at stitching Shannan's needlebook soon!

I love designing and sharing projects with you, and if you stitch any of them up, I'd absolutely love it if you could send me some pictures to share! 💕

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A New Year Brings New SALs!

Happy 2019! I hope this is a spectacularly Stitchtacular Year for all of us 😊 Although I know I probably won't be able to blog regularly, due to continued illness in my family, I couldn't resist joining in with Jo's fun Gifted Gorgeousness (GG) SAL again this year:

This is a relaxed SAL that posts every month on the 15th, and is meant to encourage us to use up stitchy supplies given as gifts. You can join in every month, or on an as-you-can basis (which I'm doing). The full rules are on the FAQ post on Serendipitous Stitching. I've participated in past GG SALs and it's a great way to meet new stitchers!

Jo also mentioned a great new SAL that is just starting. It's so new that it doesn't have a name yet, but Rachel at the Ten Hour Stitcher is starting a Fully Finished Off (FFO) SAL to encourage stitchers to make something - anything - with previously stitched projects.

As she says: "It saddens me that there are probably hundreds of completed cross stitches stored away in drawers and boxes when all that might be needed is a bit of encouragement or inspiration for their owners to dive in and have a go at fully-finishing some, even if it's only one or two."

This will also be a relaxed, join when-you-can sort of SAL (right up my alley!) and more details will be given around the 10th of February, as she is more accurately able to gauge stitcher interest. So if this sounds like something you'd like to join - and as an added incentive, each entry will count for a prize draw! - head over to her post and tell her you're interested. If this gets off the ground, I might try to jump in for a month or two. Although I don't have the majority of my unfinished stitching with me right now, I do have a few small projects that are waiting to be FFO! And, no doubt, I'll make more in need of finishing this year too 😄

Although I'm not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions, my Stitchy Goals for 2019 are to keep experimenting with hand embroidery and embellishment, and to stitch whatever takes my fancy LOL I'd also really like to update the blog too, as time permits.

EDITED: I totally forgot TAST! Take A Stitch Tuesday is a SAL that has been hosted by Sharon B at Pintangle for the last few years, for hand embroidery. It is meant to teach a new embroidery stitch each week, with an additional Beyond TAST level for those who want a challenge. There is a group TAST Flickr pool where you can see lots of stitchy goodness and which will give you a better idea of the SAL.

You can customize the SAL by working stitch samplers or doodle cloths, a big sampler, monthly small projects or one big project. Some people have made beautiful fabric books, with each page being variations on a stitch, such as this amazing example at Crafty Creek. Or you can use the stitches in projects you are already making. You can post every Tuesday with a single stitch, or post some Tuesdays with several stitches at once. It's a challenge I've greatly admired from afar for the last four or five years, and I hope I can dip in and out of that one too this year. I still have so many hand embroidery stitches to learn 💟

How about you? Any Stitchy Goals for 2019? And are you participating in any SALS this year? I'd love to hear all about your plans for this year!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

❤🎄 A Very Merry Christmas! 🎄❤

❤ The Greatest Gift is Love ❤
My Variation of a Lizzie*Kate design from the
Just Cross Stitch 2001 Christmas Ornament Special

(There's a lovely finish of the design by Anne on Flickr here, closer to the original)

Hope you're getting into the Christmas Spirit! It's been a little hard for my family this year, as it's our second Christmas without my beloved Grandpa. He died on Christmas Day 2016, and last year was a blur - I have no idea how we got through it to be honest. This year his loss is always in our thoughts, and the grief hits hard at the strangest times. So I stitched this little ornament as reminder to us all that it's not the Holiday hustle and bustle that matters, but the time we spend together and the memories that we make 😊

I really enjoyed working on this, and it stitched up quickly! My first idea was to stitch everything with beads, but the lettering looked too wobbly, since I was using inexpensive silver-lined seed beads that have a pretty sparkle but unfortunately aren't a regular size. So I settled for beading the star and the border, which I turned into little red flowers with gold centers. The lettering is in metallic floss, for some extra sparkle ✨

In keeping with the sparkle, I found this beautiful glittered gold fabric for the back! It is so lovely, especially in the Christmas lights - it looks like it's sprinkled with real gold dust 💛 Unfortunately I had trouble capturing that in the photo.

And I used some of my favourite cording, a red-gold-green tinsel cording I found at Michaels a few years ago (and really wish I'd bought more of!):

It's a little challenging to attach, but I've found that sewing through the trim with invisible thread does the trick. And the end result is fantastically sparkly! I tried to capture all that pretty glitter, and this is the closest I could get (sorry it's a bit dark):

You can see a little bit of that gorgeous silver-lined seed bead shine on the star ⭐

2018 has been an interesting stitchy year for me! Although I haven't been able to do nearly as much with the blog as I'd hoped, I joined Instagram and have greatly enjoyed the huge stitchy community over there. I was awed and incredibly thankful for the support my Joyful Jester entry to the SFSNAD Stitch At Home Challenge brought 🤗 And I've been having a ton of fun experimenting with hand embroidery.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more stitchy time, for all of us! 😄

Best Wishes for A Very Happy Holidays, and a Stitchtacular New Year!