I have been having fun with freemotion again today – will be at Bradford on Avon on Saturday.
Mind you there is lots of distraction outside my window!
I will be having a stall at Made in Bradford on Avon’s extra Summer market this Saturday – 10 to 3 at St Margaret’s Hall, Bradford on Avon. I have been replenishing my cards stock this week.
I am a big fan of nature and wildlife. I do enjoy embroidering city scenes too, but free-motion embroidery works so well for fur and feathers I keep returning to wildlife.
Today was my last stock-making day before King Edward School Christmas fair on Saturday 26th November (North Rd, Bath 10 – 2) as I am in the office for my day job tomorrow. I embroidered a sleeping fox – a little bigger than the mini hoop I made earlier in the year…
The Winter is such a busy time with craft markets and Su and my ‘At home’ – not to mention a busy time in my day job and lots of Christmas baking…
I rather thought the New Year would be quieter all round, but actually all aspects have been decidedly busy – not least with commissions (and gifts) of appliqué and free motion embroidery portraits of pets…
..and even horses!
Applique and embroidery landscapes and seed heads…
There are more commissions but I can’t share photos of them until I know they have been given to their final recipients.
I so enjoyed the challenge of last year’s Hillary’s Blinds craft competition that when I was emailed about taking part again this year, I jumped at the chance! I was given the choice of a metre of any of these fabrics:
I think all four are lovely and was particularly tempted by Rayna Apple, but the lovely colour and foliage print of Safi Turquoise won me over. As anyone who reads my blog cannot have escaped noticing, I love bugs and bees and wildlife so I decided to use freemotion embroidery to add a few bugs to the fabric and then to use it to make a shoulder tote. I almost always make things for other people and decided this one is for me!
One of the nice things about upholstery or curtain fabric is that it is more substantial than a quilting cotton and is a good base for free-motion embroidery. Mind you, to be sure there would be no puckering, I added a stitch and tear stabiliser to the back of the fabric before I began stitching. Free-motion embroidery is rather like drawing by moving the paper instead of the pencil. I love it; totally addictive.
Once the free-motion embroidery bee, dragonfly and ladybird were complete I could tear away the stabilising fabric.
The other benefit of upholstery fabric is that it holds its shape and does not necessarily need lining. I am a big fan of French seams – stitched once with wrong sides together, trimmed, turned inside out and stitched again, so all the raw edges are enclosed within the seam.
Once the body of the bag was complete I turned over the top edge twice and machine stitched two neat rows of stitches. The bag is finished with long handles, so the bag can be worn on the shoulder. I used two narrow lengths of fabric for each handle, ironing the raw edges to the centre and sewing the two pieces together with the raw edges tucked neatly away in the middle of the fabric ‘sandwich’. The handles are sewn to the bag with two layers of stitching for strength…and ta da!
This is a really simple way to make a bag – if you have a sewing machine you haven’t really tried using, a big like this is a great way to start sewing. In fact this is a method I teach at Grownups Playgroup, as it is great for beginners to take home something they can use and be proud of. I am keeping this bag, but feel inspired to embroider more bugs and beasties on bags and zip pouches in the coming weeks.
I have loved seeing how differently everyone approaches this challenge; have a look for yourself on the competition’s Pinterest board: Hillary’s Craft Competition 2015
[Oh and I just realised, this is my 100th post since I switched to WordPress…may push the boat out with a celebratory alcohol free lager…all that’s in the fridge]
Last year I started taking part in a few artist trading card swap with other stitchers, via lovely Ali at VeryBerryHandmade, and got hooked on making things tiny. The latest swap was on the theme of ‘home sweet home’. This was the one I made and sent off:
…and this is the little piece of gorgeousness I received from Cynthia:
All this working in miniature inspired me to try some well known views of Bath and frame them in 3″ flexihoops…my version of Bath bubbles!
I also embroidered a few more birds…
All were very well received at my stall at the Larkhall Festival on Saturday – had a lovely time; thank you to the organisers and all the lovely people who came to support me (and Su selling her willow work). We also had lots of interest in our Grownups Playgroup craft workshops!
One of the things I love about working from home is being able to interact with the garden birds. We put out food and try to keep our garden wildlife-friendly – with a big, deep hedge between us and the other half of our semi, and shrubby bushes and trees in both the back and front garden gardens. So I need no encouragement to take an hour to watch and count the birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch.
In honour of the birdwatch I made a couple of 3″ embroidery hoop stitched pictures of black caps on Kaffe Fassett backgrounds (the female has a ginger cap, rather than a black one).
I am looking forward to sewing a flock of bird art!
Ooh it’s been a busy Winter. Busy, but profitable. What has slipped has been writing (and housework…sorry Mark!). So here goes…a brief summary of 6 weeks in the life of Sue Deere, textile artist.
I have worked on a teeny weeny Artist Trading Card for the Very Berry Handmade swap:
I have had lots and lots of orders – many for pieces using the customers’ own photos, so I can’t really share them here while others were freemotion pieces and now Christmas is over, I can let you see!
My photos as well as textile art:
I had a number of craft markets and hugely successful and enjoyable open studio with my friend and willow artist, Su Macpherson (involving plenty of mulled wine and mince pies too!) – for the Christmas Fair at Bath Library I even had a very lovely young French lady to help me run the stall.
Su and I treated ourselves to a half day fused glass course at Silversides in Larkhall:
Excitingly, Su and I have also decided to work together running craft workshops – a creative fun day out, suitable for the absolute beginner: Grownups Playgroup
We are now booking for:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
I will also be running a workshop for the Bath WI, making pincushions in teacups:
As well as all this crafty loveliness we have had a lovely selection of frosty mornings and Winter sunshine…stunning sunrises and delicate moonfalls.
A few brisk Winter walks to put roses in our cheeks:
Lots of wildlife to admire, including a kingfisher in the Botanical Gardens in Bath!
In contrast, the cats have been making the most of the central heating. Max has been experimenting with different resting places including Christmas presents, a hamper, boxes and a rather nice pack of truffles! Rio stuck to Mark’s dressing gown and the ironing board…
There were decorations…
…and lots of baking…
…injuries – little ones like burning my arm on the oven and bigger ones involving an ambulance ride to A&E when our neighbour tripped and cut her head badly.
There were party hats, racing wind-up robins, cocktails, two Christmas dinners, accounts and my first tax return…
…and the new year started with a new hair cut!
So here’s to 2015 and all the excitement ahead!
A little while back I had a vision. It wasn’t spiritual or enlightening, I just had a picture in my head I wanted to put in to fabric. A picture of a tree on a hillside in rich autumnal colours. This was the result:
I have now sold this piece and the lovely lady who bought it commissioned me to make the other three seasons. It has been an absolute delight making these fabric pictures. Have a look at the rest of the year…