Wednesday, October 7, 2015

&Spotlight: Crafttoos!

My favourite item at this year's Thread Festival in Farnham was found at the Floss & Mischief stand.


Genevieve Brading, the creative force behind Floss & Mischief, was all smiles as she showed me her latest embroidery goodies. Can you see it? Let's look closer, beside that jar...


Crafttoos! Temporary tattoos for us stitchy folk. Six embroidery-themed motifs per sheet:
I'm already through my first pack and will be ordering some more. They will make perfect stocking fillers or little treats for friends!


Oh the temptation to make these permanent! You can find Crafttoos, and Floss & Mischief's super-cool cross stitch kits, here.

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fictional Villains stitchalong- Evil Edna!


I am so looking forward to seeing what people make for our villains stitchalong. I have already started my piece; the truly wicked witch Evil Edna. She is a witch shaped like a television from the cult kids tv show 'Willo the Wisp' and she likes to terrorise the other characters in the show by zapping them with spells from her antennae.

Mwaaa ha ha haaa!!!

I picked her because this is a favourite show from my childhood- it's brilliantly camp and still makes me laugh now.

I'll be sharing my dastardly progress as I go along on instagram using the #VillainsSAL tag. I hope she gets plenty of evil company there, with Halloween just around the corner this is the perfect excuse for you all to stitch somebody scary.

What are you stitching- are you joining the stitchalong? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Join the &Stitches Villains Stitchalong!


Are you ready for the most fun Embroidery Stitchalong of the year?  We came up with the idea of hosting a Stitchalong, featuring just villains. You can choose any fictional character from a book, comic, tv series, film or play, as long as he or she is an evil, bad, greedy, vile or nasty character. From Richard the Third to Joffrey Baratheon and from the White Witch to Scar. Stitch up your favourite and you might even win one of our prizes!

Besides the subject, there are not many rules in this Stitchalong. To make it more fun use the tag #VillainsSAL on Instagram and Twitter so we (and you) can keep up to date with all the baddies that are in the hoop. If you want to have a chance of winning one of the prizes you'll have to submit a link to your blog, Flickr or other online presence we can view. You can do so here on this blog in about two weeks time until the end of October. The piece you enter doesn't have to be finished, but it would be nice to see some stitching on your piece and a short description of what you're up to: Cross stitching Cruella or Blackwork Darth Vader etc. Longer elaborations are very welcome too. :)

We have some fun prizes for you!

A Happy Halloween felt and floss kit from Cloud Craft.

A PDF pattern of your choice, from WeeLittleStitches (for example a Dr.Who & Villains pattern!)

A Ghostly Paisley kit from &Stitches blogger Cate of Bee's Knees Industries with everything you need to stitch up this lovely pattern.

And from &Stitches' own Julie of Little Dorrit & Co, a Dracula pattern to sink your teeth into. :)

Throughout the month the &Stitches team will share updates of their Villain stitcheries here on the blog and on Instagram. Here's what's in my hoop right now: the 10.000 Volt Ghost from Scooby Doo!

Happy Villain Stitching everyone!

What Villain are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group or on Instagram or Twitter using the tag  #VillainsSAL  We'd love to see your Villain!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stumpwork: Space Edition

&Stitches Strawberry Stumpwork

I really wasn't very familiar with stumpwork before I started looking into it for this project. I've seen finished projects but I didn't know much about the process and hadn't ever really looked into it. When I did, I found myself very, very overwhelmed. There are so many different stitches and methods and I just couldn't figure out where to start.

 Kristen from Hey Paul Studios was immensely helpful and she pointed me in the right direction to get started. I had this idea to make Saturn with a wire ring, but wasn't sure it was completely feasible. Kristen suggested the Beginners Guide the Stumpwork. (which Aimee reviewed here)

I used the spider web stitch around the ball, it's basically circular weaving. I had some issues getting started because I was using an even number of anchor stitches, which results in the thread being visible. If you anchor it down using an odd number of stitches, when you weave with the over and under pattern, the anchor stitches are hidden.

I used a variegated brown thread for the weaving, and then used a metallic Kreinik thread for the ring. I used Aimee's tutorial for a stumpwork butterfly and applied the same technique to making the ring.


 I'm glad I tried this, but I don't know how much stumpwork I will be doing in the future. I found the whole thing kind of frustrating and was only mildly pleased with the result. I am a lot more critical of this than I am other embroidery styles I've tried out, I'm not sure why.

 What about you, what do you think of stumpwork?

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Teeny Needlelace Vinyl

&Stitches Strawberry Stumpwork


A few days ago, I pointed you in the direction of some great needlelace video tutorials. I followed the very basics of those tutorials (more or less) to give needlelace a try - nothing more than absolute beginner's needlelace, but I manage to produce a tiny project!

My first, and biggest, problem was that I couldn't think of anything to apply these skills to. I got my brain stuck on traditional needlelace / stumpwork subjects - mostly flowers and leaves - and although they're lovely, I was looking for something a bit more me. In the end, I was inspired by my own blogmates' projects, and I settled on music as something I love enough to build with tiny threads. Stumpwork vinyl?! That's definitely a me thing to do!


As you can see in my little montage above, I started by couching wire to muslin (I didn't have any tracing paper to work over, but that would've helped make the process a little smoother, I think) and then worked one round of buttonhole stitch around the wire. From there, I was able to work in a spiral, skipping a stitch here and there to decrease the rounds and keep it lying flat.

None of the books I had told me what to do when adding a new thread in, either with the ends or the new thread - so I just sort of fudged that and hid the ends under my finished piece when I applied it to fabric, which worked out ok in this case. Otherwise, I found the basic, no-frills needlelace stitch remarkably easy and surprisingly quick to do. I can imagine it would take a bit of practice to get a properly even tension - this wasn't really an issue for my teeny project, but I can see that it's not especially even. I would also start with a thicker thread, perhaps - I used a number 12 perle cotto, but a 5 might've been better for a first attempt.

I finished off my wee record by buttonholing all around the wire edge and removing it from the muslin - the record is only about an inch across! I then added a label (a tiny piece of Liberty fabric with interfacing on the back to help it keep its shape, and a 'hole' satin stitched with sewing thread) and applied it to a fabric turntable. My dials are fat french knots and I made a tiny arm by wrapping a folded-over piece of the same wire as I used earlier.


I enjoyed the wire wrapping more than the rest of the project, for some reason - I can definitely see me playing with that again sometime!


I did enjoy this funny little stumpwork project and I'd like to try more, but I have to admit, I'm still at the same place as I started - I honestly can't imagine what sort of project I'd apply these techniques to. But you never know, maybe I'll run into some unexpected inspiration one day and start stumpworking up a storm!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!