A New Year Begins

1 Year of Stitches  Days 1-3 
Hello 2017! This year feels different to me. I want to get organized, commit to things, complete stuff that's hanging out there, move forward and focus. This usually comes over me in September - the usual back to school emotions. This year I got a planner (this planner from Ink & Volt) that is making me think about my year differently. I won't go into the ins and outs of the planner but I am thinking more about goals and achievements. I'm hoping to create a lot more embroidery patterns and put them in my etsy shop. I'd like to find some more venues to teach and I've committed to a stitching 
challenge that will last the year.

Sara Barnes at Brown Paper Bag started up 1 Year of Stitches 2017 and I've decided to participate. It is a celebration of embroidery and the idea is to make at least one stitch per day on an embroidery of your choice. The group is nearly 2,000 strong and everyone has their own interpretation for how to proceed. Some are finishing ufo's, others are working from patterns, there is cross stitch, free form embroidery, beginners and folks teaching their children and just about anything else you can think of. If you'd like to join in it's not too late. You can check out Sara's blog for instructions or go to the Facebook page 1Year of Stitches:2017 and ask to join. My photo covers days 1-3. I hope to see your stitching!

One more thing! I've listed the Emerson Winter pattern from the previous post on my etsy shop in case you feel like stitching up some inspiration! It's a downloadable PDF pattern so you can get started on it right away!


Inspired by Winter

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
                                                      -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm pleased to tell you that I have recently completed a new embroidery inspired by winter, the spiral form I used in the Rumi Wisdom embroidery and the quote above from Ralph Waldo Emerson. It seems to me that winter is all about patience - the patience to sit by our fires and create slowly, to let a stew simmer for hours and hours developing amazing flavors and finally, the patience to wait for the snow to melt and the earth to wake up and grace us with greenery. 

Now that the embroidery is complete and my notes are in mostly good order I've started working on the pattern. I'm hoping to have it in my etsy shop in time for some long winter stitching.



How Its Made Needles and Pins

I'm gearing up for my next class on stumpwork embroidery focusing on using wire. I've not taught this before so there is a lot of prep to do and it engages me fully! If you are in the area you might be interested in taking it.  Here's the link for more information and sign up!

In the meantime have you ever wondered how needles and pins are made? I came upon this great video on the How It's Made Channel on YouTube. I use needles and pins pretty much daily so it was fun to see what goes into their production.


New Embroidery Pattern!

Rumi Wisdom
Sometimes I get sidetracked with blogging. I get stuck for ideas or I have a big project to complete. I get out of the habit and much too much time goes by. Well, here I am again with lots of things to write about.

While I've been away I've been doing many, many things with needles, thread, yarn and a few adventures. Teaching classes at The Textile Center of Minnesota, a wonderful place has taken up some of my time. I've met some people with interesting things going on which I'll share with you in a later post. 

My newest creation is an embroidery that features a Rumi quote spiraling under a cheery landscape with trees, flowers, sheep and some tiny houses. The best part is you can make your own! I've put the pattern, called Rumi Wisdom, in my etsy shop and you can find it here. It is designed for a beginning embroiderer because it uses just a few basic stitches. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned stitcher I think you will enjoy making this.

I like this spiraling format so much I'm thinking of doing a series of these, perhaps one for each season.
Sheep detail of Rumi Wisdom embroidery


Tiny Knitting and a Makeover

Welcome to 2016! This year feels like fresh new start and fresh starts is what this blog post is about!

When I was about ten I visited my grandparents in Minneapolis. My grandma took me to a toy store where we found a beautiful doll. She was the only one of her kind, wearing a hot pink dress with small white buttons and a white collar. Plus that hair! She was mine!!!

This fall I helped my dad with a yard sale and in the bottom of a box of toys I found her, minus her pink dress and a lot of messy hair. She was on the table for sale, but alas nobody wanted her. She was looking a little sad wearing an over sized pinafore, and a layer of dirt on her face and clothes. Instead of sending her off to Goodwill I decided to keep her and give her a makeover. Such good memories that she surely was deserving of a new look.

She's had a bath, her hair was dunked in fabric softener to tame it (although I think it needs to be rinsed out a bit more) and that sad pinafore is now clean. Next up some new clothes that fit!

While rooting through the library at the Textile Center I came upon some vintage knitting patterns for dolls and decided a sweater was just the thing to begin the new look. After reading through the patterns none of them were quite the right size or style. Elizabeth Zimmerman's bottom up sweater design (for more info go here) seemed like the right way to go. I knit a swatch, took her measurements and kind of make up some of it as I went. It looks pretty good, although for a human it might be a little tight under the arms. This dolly won't complain because it's way better than that silly smock. Next pants, skirt, dress? I'm not quite sure. Actually maybe some undies!

If you are interested in dolls, she has some markings on the back of her neck and I looked them up. She was made in Italy in 1967 by Italocremona a company no longer in business.


Christmas Tutorial

 As promised, a tutorial for some holiday embroidered napkin rings.  These are pretty quick and easy to whip up so it's not too late to put together a set for your Christmas dinner or a gift for your stitching pals.

For each napkin ring you will need:

  • 6" x 1 1/2" piece of deep red felt
  • 6" x 1" piece of white felt
  • DMC embroidery floss medium green #367
  • DMC embroidery floss dark green #890
  • DMC embroidery floss red #304
  • DMC embroidery floss dark tan #840

    Notice there are buttons in the photo. I thought about putting them on but decided I didn't like it. I left them in the photo because you might decide you like the look. Also, both embroidery stitches used are linked to a video tutorial on Mary Corbet's site.

To begin the embroidery, using three strands of #840 stitch a line using a backstitch down the center of the white felt. I didn't draw a line, just eyeballed it. If you want you can measure and make small dots with a fine marker as a guide. I left about 1/8" at each end. Notice my line is not perfect! I don't worry about things like that. Branches aren't perfectly straight either!!!!

 Now time to add the pine needles. I decided to stitch these with two different greens in the needle at the same time. This creates a bit of a shadow effect. Measure out two strands of #367 and one strand of #890. Make sure they are the same length. Put all three strands in your needle together. 

 Starting down about three back stitches make little pine needles in sets of two and three where each back stitch joins. Alternate the stitches on either side of the center line. Work your way all the way down the center line stopping one or two back stitches from the end.

Using two strands of #304 make french knots along the center line, alternating sides about 3/4" apart. I wanted to make the french knots fairly delicate so only wrapped the needle two times. You can try three strands and more wraps. Experiment and see what you prefer.
Next form the red felt into a circle, overlapping the ends about 1/4".  Stitch with small running stitches in matching thread.
Center the white embroidered band onto the red felt. Be sure to put the seams for both pieces on top of each other. Pin in place and stitch down with white thread using a running stitch.

Add to your favorite Christmas table and ENJOY!!!!


Holiday Links!

Christmas Tree by Kelly Fletcher

I was recently asked where to find embroidery patterns - my etsy shop has a nice one - but there are all sorts of resources online. Pinterest is one of my go to places for most everything and of course, there were some great patterns. Here are a few of my favorite links for free holiday patterns. There is still plenty of time to get some gifts made.

Mary Corbett has a lovely Holly and Joy monogram pattern. On this page are directions for creating monograms but if you scroll to the bottom you will find the pdf download links.

Cheryl Fall, about.com's stitching expert, designed some easy and quick tags which could go on gifts or the tree.

Another design by Cheryl Fall is a Christmas tree using detached chain stitch, eyelet stitch and satin stitch. Very easy and would whip up quickly. I can imagine this on small hand towels or ornaments.

This pattern is pictured above and is by Kelly Fletcher on Craftsy. One of my favorites!

Regina Lord is the designer and her blog is creative kismet. At the top of the page is an adorable bird design and just below is the tree. She suggests using the design for a tote bag, wall hanging or pillow. 

My next post will be a simple napkin ring to embroider. It will be a speedy project which will make your table festive!!!

P.S. If you are on Pinterest and want to check out my embroidery board, here is a link