Embroidered Easter Egg Mini Bunting

Just in time for Easter I finished this little string of nine embroidered Spring pendants for Easter. I am really pleased with how these have turned out. In an ideal world I would have liked to spend a little more time finishing them, but in the reality of two small children, germs and far too much yummy chocolate to eat I just didn’t have the time. So on this one getting it done to time became more important than the finish. Not always my favourite way of working, but sometimes it’s the only way to finish projects.

Sewpopby Embroidered Easter Egg Spring bunting

I started these a good few weeks ago by drawing out the design on to card. I then used my light box to trace the design on to plain white cotton fabric.

My choice of designs was inspired by my garden, I saw a Chaffinch land on the fence, which to me is always a sign of Spring when they start showing their little peachy faces. I tried to recreate one in stitches, I am not sure how good it was as my husband thought it was a robin and my mother-in-law an owl, but I like it nevertheless! I think I could use a very similar design to do a budgerigar in the future.

Sewpopby Chaffinch

I had a go at a frog and a deer for the first time too. I don’t know whether these are my favourite pieces because they are not particularly refined. Although in some ways the shabbiness of this bunting is half of its appeal! My daughters certainly like it which is the main thing!

I used a light hessian fabric backed with yellow felt and a ribbon hastily stitched across the top. The eggs were cut out using pinking shears.

Embroidered Easter eggs Sewpopby

Since last posting it has also been Mother’s Day and I found this little silk purse I made a few years ago at my Mother-in-Laws. I love this one, it has such lovely colours. I like the idea of it and should probably do more.

Time for Tea Silk embroidered bag 1

Finding this purse also reminded me of a fabulous little black and emerald green bag I made for my sister-in-law. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed making these.

Embroidered toadstool silk bag

Both bags were made pre-children so I had the time to spend lovingly crafting them and they still remain one of my best completed embroidery projects in my opinion. Creating objects from embroidery is my favourite thing to do. I like hoop art, but I do like the challenge of making something out of my work very exciting. I would like to do more bags, mirrors, cushions… so many possibilities.

My WIPS this week are still the mega hoop (still a secret as any photos of it just give too much away!), my Blackwork silk project is still on-going and I have just started a small project for another gift.

Hopefully I will post again soon, there was a delay this month because the lurgy man came knocking again and I spent two weeks clambering into bed at 7pm so the needles were idle. Hopefully with the eldest back at pre-school tomorrow I can crack on with more sewing and perhaps a nibble of choccy eggs here and there.

Happy April everyone.

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Spring stitching

Interestingly I had my first bash at mounting hoop art this week. Despite the piece I chose having quite a messy back, I think I managed to tame most of the wayward strands to get this bee and sweet pea embroidery looking pretty good. I struggled slightly because at some point I had cut the fabric too close to the work so barely had the extra to turn it over the hoop. But I think this has worked in the end. I find the ‘stragglyness’ of embroidery at the back pretty as its own art form but also a drawback when using light fabric and mounting work. Perhaps I should make the back of my work tidier, but I think that would be a step too far. I find stitching and letting the ends go helps me to just get on with something, like raising children, dress them for the day then just let them go. There’s always a bath at the end of the day. Or in the case of embroidery a pair of snippers and some Vilene.

For this hoop art, in light of the back issues I started by using Vilene iron on stabiliser to contain the loose ends. I don’t ordinarily like using stabiliser as it tends to pucker the fabric around the stitches but in this case it works ok. After reigning in the back with the stabiliser I used a simple running stitch in 3 strands of DMC cotton and simply pulled it in neatly and tied it off. I should point out that getting your work as tight as a drum before you start tying up is essential. I got the screwdriver out to really get it tight. So back to the drawing up, some people use a glue gun to mount the work but I find glue a bit like using a sledge hammer to open a bottle of wine. Especially with tiny delicate work. Although I would get out the glue gun for a larger frame I reckon. I finished this hoop art by stitching a felt circle on the back. Voila!

Sew Pop By Embroidered Sweet Peas Bee

My pearl purl arrived earlier than I thought this week. It is wonderful. I have only ever seen it on YouTube, nothing quite prepares you for how amazingly satisfying it is to pull all the coils open. I have started adding the bright gold pearl purl around the leaves using Gutterman quilting thread in golden yellow. I’ve added some more couched metallic thread to those leaves too. But they still look a tad like Easter chicks, more couching needed.

The antique gold pearl purl is beyond exciting. I just love it, it is such a lovely coppery brown. I am looking forward to using it soon. My next steps with this goldwork is to add some tambour seed beads and bugle beads somewhere. I am toying with adding in metallic leather relief work too. This one has been so much fun to tinker away at. My perpetual work in progress.

With four weeks until Easter and in a moment where I obviously thought I did not have enough WIPs already, I started a 7 inch hoop of Easter eggs. I blame my friend who seems to have become my fabric and thread supplier lately, she is just feeding my addiction! She has been having a clear out of her own stuff and things she’s inherited.  She has brought me so many lovely bits. Silks, threads, hoops. She brought this hoop so I immediately filled it. Like a kid with a bucket at the seaside.

I am hoping to do nine eggs (too many?! Eek). Once I have stitched these I am going to back them and hang them up somewhere in a festive Easter fashion. Drawing these designs was fun and took me ages, most likely because unbeknownst to me I was brewing another toddler lurgy. That same day I also tweeted something incorrectly five times, opened the fridge door into my face and put my baby’s trousers on backwards. The next day the germs came by to say hi. Slow, delirious, germy progress on these but lovely to have a project which isn’t too taxing whilst your ill. Stay tuned!

Ok, what else. Yes I have added some more Whitework stitches into this flowery number. I also had to put the bee in and I like it. I really love this piece, more than I thought I would. It is not strictly Whitework as its not on white. Plus there is not a huge amount of typical Whitework relief work but I’ll do that on another piece. I like how simple this is. I have used French knot, couching, Mountmellick, feather stitch, running stitch, lots. It’s been fun.
That silk I mentioned earlier from my friend has made me start another WIP. So that friend is responsible for two WIPs already. But then what is life if not for all kinds of WIPs?! Well that is my excuse. It keeps me busy and my project bags full! So back to that silk. I have (with a slight, if murderous fear) chopped out a 5 inch piece of cream raw silk (!!!). I am going to do tiny Blackwork on it. I have a master plan for a little make from this. Its exciting! I dreamt about it.
Sew Pop By Blackwork in progress the start

Finally, the secret mega hoop project for a friend’s gift is still on-going and still mega. I messed it up a bit and have had to restart it as I didn’t like the look of it. But it’s taking shape.
Well that’s it for now, plenty to keep me busy and more Yogi Throat Tea required.

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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!

sew-pop-by-goldwork-couching-metallic-thread-close-up-start

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.

sew-pop-by-sewing-supplies.jpg

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.

sew-pop-by-embroidered-jewellery

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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Embroidery: The bunny blog

I have had so much fun this week stitching my hoopart ‘Bunny in the dandelions.’ This is one of the first craft projects I have finished in a while so it has given me good momentum to do more sewing in my free time.

I have also discovered Instagram and am finding it fab for voyeuring on other people’s embroidery. There is a lot of eye candy for stitchers on there. So much lovely work to drool over. Including one or two by me now too! #sewpopby

The story of my bunny began with a chance glimpse of an actual wild cottontail bunny. I thought it would be a challenge to try and recreate the fur in stitches. Especially the ticking, not sure if I got it quite right this time but I had fun trying and pleased with this as a first try.

I took a photo from the internet and traced the outline.


I then started adding stitches in to create the fur.


I am always amazed how many different colours go into making up embroidery art. This little bunny used around twenty shades!


My daughter helped me choose the colours to create the foliage and flowers. She had some pretty awesome ideas! Especially when she told me bunny needed the sky. I think the blue really added something!


Many cups of tea, nuts, M&Ms and several baby nap stitch sessions later…


Ready for framing and popping in my littlest one’s bedroom.

Bunny in the dandelions hoopart embroidery #sewpopby

This hoopart used a 4inch hoop, and single strands of cotton. Stitches featured are satin stitch, chain stitch and French knots. And Sew Pop By freestyle of course.

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