2016: A Year in Thread

Between my day job, wedding and birthday cakes and general life, 2016 was not my most productive year…threadwise. However, it was a year in which I feel my freemotion embroidery skills took a step forward and I found my own style.

The year started with some seasonal appliqué.

Then there were the days I woke up with an idea in my head and couldn’t wait to put it on fabric.

Miniatures inspired by the Very Berry ATC (artist trading card) and mini hoop swaps.

Much of my time…and my heart…has been invested in portraits of pets and wild creatures.

I am still in love with the beautiful city of Bath, and want to many more cityscape and landscape embroideries in 2017.

embroidery-2016-41

 

Bath bubbles..!

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:

atc

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!

Bath bubbles

I also embroidered a few more birds…

bird hoops and lighthouse2

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!

 

Larkhall Festival – Saturday 2nd May

Very happy to hear I have a stall at the Larkhall Festival again this year. I had a blast last year with live music and a cafe and lots of lovely people to chat to.

Of course this year I have my new classy table decor and I am now concentrating on textile art work.

If you can make it to New Oriel Hall in Larkhall, Bath on 2nd May do come and join in the fun…there’s even a food festival this year!

The Big Garden Birdwatch

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 06.38.43

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).

blackcap male
Mr Black Cap
Mr and Mrs Blackcap
Mr and Mrs Black Cap

I am looking forward to sewing a flock of bird art!

a really hoopy frood…

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, hoopy is defined as “a really together guy” and a frood is defined as “a really amazingly together guy.”
As an example to put it in context, Zaphod says, “Hey you, sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is!”
Now I do know where my towel is (soft and fluffy and neatly folded in the airing cupboard), but in truth I am merely searching for a title for this post that might make embroidery hoops a little less…pedestrian.
[short aside: did I ever tell you that my old neighbours in Bristol reckoned I probably worked for MI5, as they couldn’t believe I was really a (then) thirty something who enjoyed quilting, National Trust gardens, and spending time with my cat Brian? Needless to say, they were wrong…but then if I were in MI5, I would say that wouldn’t I?]
So then, hoops. I like embroidery hoops as frames for textile pieces. I have a number of traditional frames, but they are more clunky – and much heavier to post – so I find myself stocking up on embroidery hoops. I have made a few ‘Mama Bear’ size pieces of hoop art that have been fun to do and have sold well…
2014 July 14 hoops - 07
owls hoop
2014 July 14 hoops - 13
storm in a teacup hoop
cat hoop
cat hoop
mistletoe4
meet me under the misteltoe
Then I woke early one morning with an idea in my head and grabbed a ‘Daddy Bear’ size hoop…
lonely tree
lonely tree
Next I picked up a collection of ‘Baby Bear’ hoops and made some Christmas tree decorations…the most fun thing to do with your clothes on! I started with some sketches like this one:
hoops7
tree on car roof sketch
Then I chose a snowy background and cut fusible fleece to the size of the inside of the hoops, ironed it on to the back of the background fabric, cut out my images from lovely thick pure wool felt (using my own pattern pieces), dropped the feed dogs and fitted a darning foot and away I went!
hoops1
Christmas tree decoration hoops
hoops4
tree on car roof (my favourite)
hoops6
snowman
hoops5
polar bear
hoops2
robin
hoops3
snow scene
I am making the Christmas tree decorations to order for £5.50 each plus p&p – order through my Etsy shop or drop me an email: Christmas tree decorations

if you go down to the woods today…

For a few weeks I have been turning an idea over in my mind. Fairy tales. I have always loved them and they suggest such vivid images. With the new year, I made a start…with Little Red Riding Hood.

I started by getting a basic image of snowy woodlands on to the fabric with fabric paints.

fabric painted Winter woodland
fabric painted Winter woodland

I then picked out the detail on the trees with free-motion embroidery and appliqued Little Red and the wolf, using a combination of crushed velvet, calico and brushed cotton.

Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood

Finishing the picture with a bit of sparkle on the snow.

snow highlighted with shimmering thread
snow highlighted with shimmering thread

Now I need to decide how to use it. I am inclined towards framing it as I am concerned about how well it will wear as a bag or cushion. What do you think?

In time I will make a smaller piece to be part of a fairy tale quilt. I think my next fairy tale will be the real princess…!