Embroidered Emperors

Woah I did a mega hoop art! I am very happy with myself that I finished this and reasonably pleased with all of it to boot.

Customised Emperor Penguin Embroidered Hoop Art

Last Autumn one of my besties announced she was having her second child so I set about devising a crafty plan. I worked out that I wanted a family of animals with the children’s names. After that it just evolved. I thought to begin with of doing parrots but I just couldn’t work out how that would fit as a family. Plus have you ever seen a baby parrot?! I am not sure a bald little bird with goggly eyes would be that becoming in satin stitch. I’m afraid that looks won over personality and the penguin family made the final cut.

I settled on a 12 inch hoop as wanted it to be quite large. I used a poly-cotton fabric in dark French blue and drew the design free hand using only googled penguins for inspiration!

Once the design was in place I used a smaller 8 inch hoop for sewing as I couldn’t get the tension on the 12 inch hoop to keep the work flat. Maybe that was the particular hoop I got from eBay, it didn’t have a groove in the screw to use a screwdriver so I had to rely on twiglet fingers to tighten it and it just wasn’t doing it. On the up-side the 8 inch hoop fit far easier in my work bag. Which was handy as these polar guys travelled all over with me getting stitched up.

I did the daddy penguin first, then the rest of the family. All in 2 strand satin stitch with DMC threads. The whole hoop art took two black and two white threads plus a bit of grey, orange and yellow. The stars include a silver sequin in the centre as I wanted something to catch the light in the nursery setting.

I used chain stitch to make the name Jasper and then left room to include the baby’s name. Thank goodness she didn’t pick a double-barrelled Percival-Humphry or space would have been tight! Fortunately she picked a fab name, ‘Sunny’, which as well as being a super cute baby name also fit in pretty jolly well with the hoop art and the yellow thread.

I backed it using my usual method of drawing long 6 strand threads across at opposite points to draw the tension in and added a circle of burgundy felt to the back with a running stitch going over into the poly-cotton.

I wanted something to give it an extra flourish and settled on a row of pom-poms, I tried a few different colours against it but finally settled on the dark blue as think it worked best. Sticking them on to the hoop took a bit of time as the glues weren’t cutting the mustard. After several stick disasters and droopy pom-poms the local hardware store sorted me out with a tube of Copydex. The fishy smelling rubbery stuff stuck the pom-pom edging a treat!

I added some gold picture wire for hanging, wrapped it up and took it off to my friend this weekend.

Welcome to the world baby Sunny Ray, hope you and your big brother Jasper enjoy looking at the penguins for many years.

(Oh and I got a cuddle with the baby, he is the cutest little gnome ever).

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Forget-me-not Purse

I have made my mum a teeny weeny Forget-me-not purse. I have also not blogged for a very long time and have suitably given myself a good telling off. However I have had a good excuse I have been busy making this gift and another hoop art for a friend who has had a new baby. More to follow on that in my next post.

I went out into the garden in April and the scatterings of Forget-me-not faces in the flower bed called out to me to use them as embroidery inspiration. It was perfect timing as my mum’s birthday is the end of May and it gave me a couple of weeks to put this together.

Forget me not embroidered purse

I started by drawing the entire outline of the full purse piece onto plain cotton fabric, then I drew in the Forget-me-not design.

I then stuck it in an embroidery hoop and stitched up the design using satin stitch and French knot. I also used some Whitework on the front section.

Using a piece of felt as interlining and a cream silk lining I sewed the three layers together with the embroidered fabric face inside out. I used my Singer sewing machine and then finished it by hand.

Whilst I was at it I added in some cream seed beads to the outer edge of the flap as I liked the idea and had seen a Victorian bag with something similar. I added gold seed beads to the sides too. Adding the popper was my least favourite part not because I don’t like poppers just because I am not that neat at sewing them on and need to improve.

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Happy birthday mum. Forget-me-not purse complete. I am hoping she can use it for jewellery or very small pairs of socks. She knits socks, I stole a pair from her, they are super toasty. Not ideal in June when it is so warm even my hair is sweating but I look forward to padding about it them in the winter.

Great gift exchange mum.

Forget me not embroidered purse 5

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Blackwork and the Balloon

Yes there has been a delay in my posting, I have been stuck in what can only be described as ‘craft bloggers conundrum’. I have three embroidered gifts on the go all of which are for blog subscribers, IGers or fellow Tweeters. So the blog has had slim pickings! But I do have a very small update I can share.

Exciting news first, I am now an official member of the Embroiderer’s Guild. Fist pumps yeah! I am not too sure what this means but I got paperwork, and an email and I was pretty chuffed about it. I hope they will send me information on all sorts of fun stuff and I’ll keep you posted!

My current work in progress, besides the gifts, is this little Blackwork project on white silk which I have been plugging away at for a few weeks on and off.

I am going to fill all the little squares and make it up into a purse, potentially with a neon lining and a button. This is only a little tiny project but I am really loving it. Can’t wait to see it finished.

Besides this I have also been dealing with a couple of mild concussion incidents at home with my youngest daughter learning to walk and my eldest daughter doing her best to hamper her progress. The eldest also got a scooter recently so I have spent a lot of time chasing her up and down the pavements to pre-school. Oh and I graduated up a level in pilates, chuffed about that too. I am now doing all kinds of things with a pilates hoop. My stomach muscles have never been so pert.

Back to embroidery and in the absence of not being able to post much I can show you a letter I have embroidered for one of the gifts. Well an ampersand to be precise.

sewpopby ampersand embroideered letter

This is the work I am doing for a mega hoop art, I have been unsure whether to stick to the single line of chain stitch for the lettering or go thick with lots of chain stitch right into the centre of the letters. I think I will stick with the single and reassess when the rest of the hoop is finished. It has involved plenty of DMC white floss, so much I ran two pegs worth dry. Can’t wait to finish it and be able to post it here.

My mum came to stay at the weekend, we had a lovely time chatting, strolling about and running around after the children. But it also reminded me of a mini piece I made for my mum several years ago. I had a thing for hot air balloons that year. In the same year I also made a hot air balloon mobile for my eldest daughter when I was just pregnant. So I also made an embroidered case for mum. I am not sure what she keeps in there… it is lined with dotty fabric if I recall. She sent me this photo as I didn’t have one. She’s not the best at photography but thanks mum for papping it for me! (She is however amazing at knitting, see blanket behind, she knocks up a jumper during an episode of Corrie most nights). Hmm I think maybe she keeps her glasses inside looking at this picture, that’s my guess. It is certainly that kind of size. I drew the design based on a balloon in a colouring in book I had and made up the colours as I went along based on what my mum likes. Pretty pleased with this little satin stitch project.

sewpopby hot air balloon embroidery

Right that is it for now, short and sweet. Like my daughters and pixies holding toffee apples.

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Embroidery: Something new

Thanks to everyone who subscribed to my blog this last week, high five! Please share the link with any crafty friends.

This week I have been trying out some new embroidery techniques. I have not strictly been sticking to any official method but rather been inspired by ways of working and done my own thing. I would really like to go along to the Royal School of Needlework this year and enrol in a class, but maybe one for later in the year when my children are a teensy bit older and can be left with their daddy without much complaint! I think I would like to try Metalwork or Tambour. But we’ll see…

The first work in progress is this goldwork piece, which is very much a ‘make it up as I go along’ hoopart and definitely a great one for experimenting on!

By tacking the yellow felt on first you can work over with a couched metallic thread to create the golden layer. I have used Gutterman polyester to work this couched line of thread on and need to go back over until the felt is covered as it is still looking like a little fluffy Easter chick right now. I highly recommend Sarah Homfray’s videos on Youtube, you can buy supplies from her too. I worked out how to couch from watching her goldwork videos and from ‘The New Anchor Book of Free-Style Embroidery Stitches’ and now I am just making it up as I go along!

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I popped along to Threads and Patches in Bletchley this weekend and whilst my toddler terrorised the staff I managed to collect a fab little bundle of supplies, including more metallic thread, beads and new needles. I kept my precious bundle away from my daughter just long enough to take this photo, within minutes at least fifty seed beads were on the floor and disarray had ensued.

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I ordered some gold pearl purl goldwork embroidery thread direct from India via eBay as I really want to try it out to edge the leaves. You can buy it from Sarah Homfray too but I wanted a darker gold than she had available. I will keep you updated on project progress as the pearl purl is on a slow boat from India and not expected until the Easter holidays. I am jolly excited.

I adore whitework on white and want to get really good at it. It reminds me of old fashioned cotton nightdresses and I like that. I hope that if I get good at it I can start embroidering napkins and table runners and other fun stuff. If my daughter didn’t already have her Christening gown sorted by way of a family heirloom I would most likely be stitching away at something for that too, on the up side it saved me a job.

I didn’t have any pure white cotton to hand but I did have my new snazzy remnants, so here is an attempt at whitework on turquoise cotton I have started this week. I quite like it, not strictly white work, but then nothing you will find here is strictly one thing or the other! I have used French knot, Mountmellick, chain and couch stitch so far. This is another piece to help me explore new techniques and I am hoping to keep working in the round until the hoop is full.

A quick event mention, my friend went to The Quilt Show at Duxford Air Museum on Saturday. I was invited but had to miss it, my daughter’s roly-polys at gymnastics club took precedence this time. I was sent two very exciting photos of vast thread stands though. My friend knows how to treat me! Sounds like this place would be great for quilters and stitchers alike and is on again later in the year too.

I have started on the 12 inch mega hoop project. But it is going to have to be a secret one because it is for present for a friend. But I can post snippets of close ups or blurry shots just to keep you in the loop, or should I say, in the hoop (chortle).

Here is the embroidered necklace I mentioned last post. I like it but I don’t love it. It is not neat enough for my liking, but was good practice and I do like the colours. It has inspired me to do more embroidered jewellery in the future.

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Finally, because I start way too many projects and don’t finish them I was running out of storage so I made two more storage bags this week, they just need their buttons added. The purple spotty one has been my faithful storage friend for four years now. The other two are newbies. I line them with heavy canvas fabric so they protect the work if I take it out and about and I add the felt square to safely store the needles on the go.

Good old Granny Singer sewing machine did it again! Thanks for popping by today, see you next time.

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