The Leafy Tree SAL

Last month I started the Leafy Tree embroidery by Mary Corbett, of Needle ‘n’ Thread I’d bought the e-book last year and finally got round to starting it. I love the way the colours gradually change through the tree from dark green to red, with the larger leaves being stitched in a variety of stitches.

Last time I shared it I was half way through stitching the trunk and branches and I’d just started the leaves…

I’ve made pretty good progress over the last three weeks, I would have stitched even more if I hadn’t run out of two of the flosses! I’ve finished the trunk and I’ve stitched about a third of the leaves. The leaves are all numbered in the instructions with a different colour combination or stitch for each one, there’s over a hundred different leaves and only a handful have more than one leaf in the same stitch and colour.

On the whole I’m working the stitches in numerical order, it seems easier that way as the leaves seem more or less to be listed in colour order, so a certain colour thread might be used in three nearby leaves combined with other shades.

The little leaves seem mainly to be in fly stitch and fishbone stitch…

…the larger leaves include wheatear stitch, woven lattice stitch, padded satin and long and short stitch.

I’m pretty pleased with it so far, the shading in the trunk and branches in stem stitch seem to have worked OK and the leaves are small enough to be interesting to try all the different stitches. The fine cotton fabric with calico behind seems to be holding the embroidery well too.

Hopefully over the next three weeks I’ll get a lot more leaves stitched.

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis of Stitching by the Sea, we all post our progress on our chosen project every three weeks, just regular enough to keep the motivation going! Please follow the links to see a wide variety of embroidery projects…

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen  

Posted in embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

April Smalls

It was nice this month to get all the spring themed cross-stitch smalls out. There’s an abundance of rabbits, I seem to recall a collection of rabbits is a fluffle, I’ve definately got a fluffle here!

The hopping bunnies and the duckling were cross-stitches I did when my children were babies, one was on a bib and the two with ducklings were on a nappy pin cushion.

The nuthatch and the ‘Be nice’ are recent makes, ones a Shephers Bush design and the other is a kit by Fido Design Studio. It’s a few years since I made the Hello Spring and the brown rabbit, so I can’t quite recall who the designer is. The Zoe box and the seasons etui have both been turned to the spring side.

Despite the flurries of snow yesterday, I think spring has finally sprung.

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Serendipity, Smalls of the Month | Tagged | 4 Comments

Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

The weather at the moment is a bit like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons all at once! A couple of days ago it was so warm and sunny we sat outside in short sleeves and enjoyed a chilled glass of wine. Since then it’s been very windy and very cold, though we’ve missed the sprinkling of snow many areas have had. Despite the fluctuating extremes of temperature it’s actually pretty dry, our clay soil is already starting to crack…but heavy rain is forecast for the end of the week! The poor plants don’t know whether to stick their heads up or not…

I’m enjoying my magnolia stellata while I can, it’s blossoms are beautiful, so light and delicate. I planted this one about twenty years ago and it’s one of my favourite shrubs. During the summer it’s pretty boring, but the buds and then the early blossom make up for it. Unfortunately they do tend to brown with cold wind, it’s still looking gorgeous at the moment so fingers crossed it may have escaped the worst of the weather.

I worked my way along this raised bed last week, pruning and weeding as I went. By mid summer the wall is hidden by foliage and it becomes quite difficult to step round, especially when you have no balance like me, so this early weeding is quite important, I get as much out as I can, mainly bittercress, grasses, wild geums and self seeded alcemilla mollis at the moment.

The rose bed above the stone wall was the next to be tackled, these roses are all about fifteen years old, I’ve tried this year to cut one old branch right back on each bush to encourage new shoots from the bottom. This bed has couch grass, bind weed and buttercups! I’ve pruned back the spirea and the wiegela which both flower later in the year and the pheasantberry has had a hard cutback as it’s getting to be a bit of a thug. The bush just coming into leaf on the left is a daphne which flowers in late spring, so I’ll cut back after then. The daffies are still looking cheerful.

The next border to be tackled hopefully this week is by the big fence,you can see all the little weeds popping up! The pieris is in flower at the moment, that’s the one with the creamy white flowers on. The perennials are all starting to appear so at least I know where they are, there’s geraniums, astrantia, daylillies and a peony.

As well as weeds I also get quite a few self sown plants which I encourage, such as aquilegia or astrantia. I noticed the other morning down by the conservatory there’s a very pretty clump of violets. They’re tiny but so pretty…

I mentioned last week that my OH had taken ownership of the front garden and the side of the drive. Well he’s quite enthused and protective about his garden! You may remember the side of the drive before was a tangle of shrubs, all getting a bit overgrown. When nextdoor decided to replace the fence we decided to clear our side at the same time. We got someone in to clear it and I eagerly ordered some roses from David Austin to make a long rose border. They arrived in November as they were bare-rooted, but at that point we were still waiting for the drive to be widened…and then I had my operation…to save all my roses I ‘heeled’ them in in the front garden, I basically just planted the whole bundle together, this saves them from being damaged by frost….

…and there they sat as we then waited for a hand rail to be erected! Finally my OH could dig the area over, add two tons of top soil and compost and then plant all twenty roses! He then found to his disgust that he had created the perfect toilet facilities for the local feline population! Out comes the phone and google! Lavender and garlic he decided was the answer! I managed to buy about ten lavender plants on the market the next day and he chopped up an old garlic bulb…well it’s worked! No evidence of cats since!!

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rose border looks, I’ve chosen deep red at the bottom of the drive, gradually lightening through the pinks to creamy white at the top. I hope it works!

I do like this time of year, the trees are just starting to green up, it’s a wonderful vibrant green in spring, everything is starting to sprout and grow. It’s a positive time of year.

Posted in Garden | Tagged , | 6 Comments

A Bunny for Easter

Happy Easter everyone!

This week I finished my rabbit, it’s a kit from Raggedy Ruff Designs. Three weeks ago when I last shared it I had just started the free motion embroidery, it was starting to take shape…

As usual I procrastinated as I still had the hardest bit to stitch, the eye, I do think they are a bit of a make or break as your eyes are automatically drawn to them, you don’t want a rabbit that looks cross or angry!! Andrea’s instructions are great and once I’d sat down to do it it didn’t take too long. I still nearly fluffed it on the eyes, my first attempt wasn’t bright enough, so I added a brighter orange…then it was too bright and googly…so I added some grey round the edge…but that wasn’t dark enough so I added some black…which looked too dark! By this time my sewing machine was starting to complain about the amount of stitches in the area and missing a few!! In the end I added the creamy white highlights and decided from a far it looked OK…

The whiskers aren’t quite at the right angle, or maybe too uniform, but they’re staying, it would cause more mess trying to undo them!

The grasses and seed heads were fairly quick to do, again if you look closely they’re not very neat, but looking as a whole they look fine.

I still have a love hate relationship with my new sewing machine, but for this it’s a godsend as it has an automatic needle threader (just how does that work!!!) which when you’re changing colour every few minutes is wonderful!

I haven’t quite decided whether to make a cushion out of this or add it to other blocks to make another quilt. I love the colours in this one, I do like the way Andrea (the designer) does her backgrounds, there’s just enough to make it interesting without dominating the piece.

If you fancy having a go at one of these designs Andrea has a 50% off sale over Easter, so it’s an ideal time to pick up a kit or a pdf pattern to try. I’ve got quite a few kits in my to do pile but I’m still tempted! There’s a gorgeous little one of a mouse giving her mum a flower, so pretty. I’m stitching a pheasant next which was part of the highland quilt, I bought it as a stand alone piece, but I am tempted to get the others in the set. The kits are great as Andrea uses lots of batiks, the unpatterned style, just the right amount is sent, together with freezer paper and stabiliser, all neatly labelled and with great instructions.

Update; I couldn’t resist! I’ve just popped over to Raggedy Ruff so I could make a link here and the little mouse and a pair of squirrels just fell into my basket, guess I’m going to be busy for a while!

Posted in embroidery, Quilting | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Community Stitch Challenge

At the end of last year I promised myself I wasn’t going to do any stitch-a-long projects, I was just going to stitch whatever I wanted…so how come just three months in I’m doing not one, but three weekly stitch-a-longs! In my defence only one of them is lasting all year!

Each Monday a new workshop video is released by Textile Artist for their free Community Stitch Challenge. So far it has certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone and week 3 was no exception.

This time it was Jennifer Collier who was presenting the workshop cum challenge. Jennifer works with paper rather than fabric but stitches it together much like you would do fabric, she showed us how to do Cathedral windows ( a classic quilting technique), Suffolk puffs, a pocket, rouleau loops and a rose, all made from paper. I really wasn’t sure about this challenge by the end of the workshop, but then I had an idea and ran with it…

I don’t have much of a stash of papers, I’ve never been into paper crafts really. However I do have a large number of paper patterns which I am very unlikely to use again. I had a flick through my patterns and came across the pattern I used for my wedding dress, which I’d just kept for sentimental reasons. I also came across an old design book of mine from my twenties when I used to make wedding dresses and ball gowns for friends and family. I used to draw a sketch of what they wanted, so we both knew what was in their mind. I pulled out one of the sketches which is particularly pretty.

I used one of the instruction sheets to try the cathedral windows, they’re stitched down in the middle and then a button can be added, I found some odd pearl ones in my stash. I also used the pattern envelope to make another square to add a different weight.

I made three Suffolk puffs from the actual pattern tissue paper. I thought it might be too thin and tear, but I followed Jennifer’s instructions about folding the edge under and it made the puffs without problems. By this time I’d forgotten all about the pockets, the rouleau loops and the rose!

I then pulled out from behind a cupboard an Ikea box frame, I used to use it with lights in as a light box until I splashed out and bought a proper one. My ideas started to take shape.

I lined the back with the first page of pattern instructions, the bit with the line drawing on. I cut a square of my wedding dress lace and some vintage lace which just looked pretty.

I went through the fabric labels my friend prints and found one saying ‘Discover your passion’, so that went in the melee too, together with an old Vogue pattern label and one of my Crafty Creek labels.

I rummaged in a little drawer of vintage haberdashery which a friend gave me when her mum died. To my surprise the needles were all in perfect condition, so I just added the empty packets to my box. I picked the Merchant and Mills box off the window sill together with an old pair of scissors, a wooden cotton reel and three pins with ivory coloured heads.

In true Blue Peter fashion I stuck it all down with a bit of double-sided sellotape. This is something I’ve never thought to buy but I found rolls of the stuff when clearing my mum’s house…and it does come in useful! As it’s a box frame things like the pins, cotton reel and scissors are just propped up against the back.

So I have a display box for my sewing room, I’m really quite chuffed with it.

Posted in Crafts, embroidery, Serendipity, Workshops | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Tuesday’s Totter Round the Garden

It’s been lovely today, sunny and warm, in fact it was that warm I took my fleece off! I spent most of the working in the garden, weeding, cutting back etc. Over the last couple of weeks I finally got all the roses pruned, I had about thirty to prune, plus the rose hedge at the top boundary of the garden.

Today I’ve mainly been weeding my raised bed by the patio, digging up those pesky wild geums, self-seeded alchemilla mollis, grasses. It does look much better. It’s nice to see the beds close up too (like on my hands and knees!) as you realise just how much is starting to grow, little shoots, buds…

We’ve got quite a lot of pulmonaria around the garden, it seems to quietly spread itself about under roses and shrubs. It’s quite useful like that as it adds a bit of colour now but when it starts to get straggly it’s not as noticeable for the rose above it. One patch is a particularly vivid shade of blue…

Over by the pond I was tidying up earlier in the week, everything is growing so quickly, another few weeks and Hubert the heron will be disappearing! The brunnera adds a nice splash of colour here and the hellebores are still looking OK. As you can see the roses along the back hedge have been given a hard prune. I’ve two types of rose along here, one with dense but softer prickles and one with evil ones!

The magnolia stellata is just starting to flower, it’s covered in downy long buds at the moment,it’s one of my favourite trees in the garden.

My favourite hellebore is still in flower too with deep wine coloured flowers…

So the garden is starting to look a bit more tended. My OH has decided to do the front garden, he’s never been particularly interested in gardening, though he loves sitting in it! Anyway last month he said he would help more and I suggested he took over the front garden. He is quite surprised how much he is enjoying it. I think giving him ownership has made all the difference. I pointed out three shrubs which are ‘precious’but otherwise he has free rein. He’s dug over the large area in front of the house and is feeling very pleased as he got a big tub of marestail roots out…bless him, he thinks he’s got on top of them! I didn’t like to dampen his enthusiasm by pointing out that I dug and weeded most of that twice last year! Anyway, him doing the front has psychologically made a big difference to me, now that I’m ‘only’ gardening the back it seems more manageable.

Posted in Garden | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Community Stitch Challenge

Last week I completed the first Community Stitch Challenge from Textile Artist with my portrait of James and Helen walking along the beach…

This week the workshop was by Merrill Comeau,, she’s a very interesting lady and her challenge was to include text in a piece of embroidery, it could be a single word or a whole load of words.

It took me a while to think of which words to use. There were all sorts of examples coming up on the facebook page, from positive uplifting ones to angry ones, to very sad and poignant ones. One which hit a nerve for a lot of people was an embroidery of an elderly lady, clearly very upset, with the words ‘Bitter Pill’. The embroiderer had just had to put her mum in a home and was feeling very guilty. There were so many messages of support, it was quite moving.

After much thinking I decided to use the first two lines of one of my favourite poems, ‘Leisure’ by William Davies;

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep and cows

No time to see, when woods we pass

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to glance at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait til her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare.

When my friend and I go walking we often stop to look at something, it could just be the sunlight coming through the trees, or the reflections in a pool, that’s how we see the red squirrels and the deer or the owl flying by. Our OH’s find it very amusing that whether the walk is five miles or ten, it still lasts all day as we do like to stand and stare!

My first thought was to do a generic view, I started to try and draw one but it didn’t take long for me to decide to do my favourite view, Catbells from Friars Crag, I’ve spent many an evening watching the sun go down from Friars Crag on the banks of Derwentwater.

Having sketched out my idea I had a rummage through my batik scrap box and pulled out several fabrics which would work. I used calico as the background and decided to just do raw edge applique. Batik cotton has a very dense weave so it doesn’t fray as much as usual quilting cotton. I cut out the shapes and arranged it on the calico…

I started to stitch the shapes down with a simple running stitch. Having stitch the fell down I then had the idea of including a clock face in the reflections possibly with no hands as a play on the line ‘We have no time…’

I used the insides of embroidery hoops to draw the circles and decided on Roman numerals to give an idea of the timelessness of mountains (and I also thought they would be easier to get neat!!) I used one of the fabrics printed circles to be the centre of the clock face. I used a silver thread to outline the clock with back-stitch and then running stitch towards the end. The reflection of Catbells still needed securing so I just used running stitch again.

I wrote the words freehand with a silver gel pen and then used a grey DMC thread to back-stitch over it. I’m pretty pleased how well the writing has come out, though I realised too late that I have missed a word out of the first line, luckily it doesn’t affect the line!

All that was left was the trees on Friars Crag. It took me ages to arrange my ‘squiggles’ of green! I wasn’t sure how to stitch them down at first and eventually stuck to running stitch so it would detract from the main image.

I’m pretty pleased with this piece, it’s also one of those projects where I could have gone a lot further, the circles on the grey for example look like the iris in an eye, there is also a possible underlying theme that actually we don’t have time to stand and stare if we care about the natural world and are to slow climate change down.

Posted in embroidery | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cottage Garden Quilt HQAL

Well I’m still hand quilting this beautiful quilt, but I’m still enjoying the hand quilting too!

This is the gorgeous quilt from The Cottage Garden Quilt book by Kathryn Whittingham, so far it’s hand embroidered with raw edge applique, machine pieced and now I’m hand quilting it. On the whole I’ve worked out quilting designs which can be stitched in one direction which I think has made it a lot easier…and therefore more enjoyable! By that I mean rather than going around the little squares, I’ve quilted a leaf/petal shape which meet at the corners so I can stitch one side of a few petals in a row, then go back to the beginning and stitch the other side, it’s easier to do that rather than man-handling a quilt every time you need to come back. Three weeks ago I had quilted about three-quarters of the main design…

Whilst I haven’t spent quite as much time on it this time I’ve still made good progress…

I’ve finished quilting the central area. The churn dash blocks were quilted with two circles, the stars I quilted in the ditch as I felt quilting just inside or just outside the star wasn’t going to sit right. The pin wheels were quilted with a petal shape which then led me to quilt all the little squares with a petal/leaf shape. I think it works pretty well.

The embroidered blocks and the log cabins with a heart inside were simply quilted a quarter inch from the seam.

Once the main quilt was quilted I had to decide what to do on the borders, both the off white strip and the piano key border. I had the idea of stitching a scallop shape along the strip, linking up with every other piano key. I then thought I would have a ‘flower’ on one point and a single leaf on the next one. I pinned it first to see if it would work and although it was perfect on the two sides (i.e. symmetrical) it didn’t work on the top and bottom. So I decided to put a flower on each point…

…it’s much easier to sew to for the same reason I mentioned above, I can do a row of flower bottoms from right to left, then a row of the top half from right to left. All I had to go back for is the central petal. I made a paper template of the flower and I’ve just been marking it with dots from my silver gel pen.

So far I’ve stitched two sides, then I just have the corner posts to quilt and I’m within sight of a finished quilt!

I’ll be quite sad in a way to finish this quilt as I’ve enjoyed every step of making it, but I’m already collecting fabrics for the next quilt, The Seaside Quilt, the second book by Kathryn. If you fancy making this quilt (or the seaside version) please follow the link to Patchwork Katy.

Hand Quilt Along Links

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyMargaretDebNanetteSharonKarrinGretchenDaisyConnie, and Sherrie

I’ll also be linking up to Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday so please follow the link more more hand-stitched inspiration.

Posted in embroidery, Quilt-a-long, Quilting | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Memories in Stitch

I’ve recently started following Textile Artist on facebook and they have just started their 2021 Community Challenge. Each week a different textile artist presents a workshop or talk to inspire you to stitch something. It’s all free and I find this sort of challenge good for pushing me out of my comfort zone and finding my own style. The first one was by Sue Stone and one comment she made was that everyone has their own unique style of embroidery.

Sue’s workshop was about choosing an image that you particularly like and make an embroidery inspired by it. She often uses paintings, but it could be a photo of a person, an item, nature…she showed us how to trace the image, transfer it onto tissue paper and then stitch through the tissue paper. this can then easily be removed without damaging the stitches.

I wasn’t sure about this one at first, I think partly because I wasn’t keen on the type of art she used and I found it difficult to think how I could translate it to something I did like. Then I saw a few embroideries on the facebook page as people started to share their work. There were quite a few from family photos and that sparked an idea.

One of my favourite photos of my children is from our last big family holiday. We usually did things like hiring a canal boat or a cottage somewhere, but this time we pushed the boat out and took the family to Australia where we have family and friends. This photo was taken on the last day as we enjoyed some time on one of the beaches just north of Sydney at Newport. James and Helen would be about 13 and 16 years old, they were just walking together along the beach, exploring the area. James as you can see was still following the fashion of having your trousers half way down your bottom so your pants show – who ever thought that was a good look!!!

I traced the outline of the children and then transferred it onto tissue paper. I decided to do more of a neat quilt background rather than raw edges etc. I found some sea and sand coloured fabrics and started to play with them. Initially I was trying to use the azure blue of the sea and sky, but I couldn’t get it to work with the lighter fabrics I wanted to use for the surf and the sand. It didn’t help that I haven’t many plainer fabrics to choose from. I eventually decided to concentrate more on the surf and sand which meant I could use just the softer batik fabrics I had found.

I added a pale blue tulle lace and some white lace in between the batiks whilst I stitched it on the machine. I decided to pick out the clothes in applique to add a spot of colour, I just used bondaweb to attach them and then tacked the tissue paper image in place over the applique.

At first I wasn’t so keen on stitching through the paper as it wasn’t easy to do a precise back-stitch but once I started to see the effect I quite liked it as it almost looks more sketched than it would with a perfect outline. I realised almost immediately that my applique clothes weren’t perfectly lined up so I took the decision to ignore the placement of the clothes and stitch the outline instead, so at times it just misses and I like that effect. I used a single thread of dark brown as it didn’t seem so harsh as black.

My next decision was how to do the hair. I’ve seen a few embroideries on pinterest which have say a pony tail coming out of the embroidery and I quite fancied doing something similar. I googled it but all the ones I found seemed to stitch the ‘hair’ round the edge and then gather it into the pony-tail. I felt that would give me too thick a ponytail. I decided to make it up as I went a long. I back-stitched round the hairline to give a neat, slightly raised finish, a bit like you do with satin stitch. I then stitched the pony tail by stitching into the cental point, leaving a tail before stitching from the edge to about half way in and then back out through the middle, leaving a big loop before stitching again.

This seemed to give just enough stability to the loose threads. I didn’t aim to cover the head at this point, just to get enough hair for the pony tail. Once I was happy I changed to a slightly darker thread and used a satin stitch into the centre until it was covered. All I had to do then was give her a hair cut! I’m pretty pleased with this.

James hair took a little more thinking as it’s just a typical short back and sides. In the end I used a lighter brown, chose where the crown was and stitched with short stitches or long and short radiating outwards until his head was covered.

I was really pleased with how the figures came out but I still had to work out what to stitch on the background, it needed something. Remembering how Sue Stone had divided her A4 design sheet into thirds and then added diagonal lines I decided to stitch diagonally across the the embroidery, approximately where the shoreline and sea foam was on the photo. First I tried blanket-stitch, thinking I might follow it with a wavy feather stitch, but the blanket-stitch didn’t look right, it was neither perfectly straight or curved enough to work. I undid it and decided to keep it simple with 1/4 inch rows of running stitch, starting at two diagonal corners. I used a variegated DMC floss and I like the rippled effect it gives.

I always find it hard with this sort of thing knowing when it’s finished, I could have done more stitching, maybe on the sand, but I decided I was happy with it. So here it is…

I’m well chuffed with how it’s come out,I like the figures and the background seems to work. I’ll probably use the tissue paper method again too.

If anyone fancies doing these challenges, just follow the link to the Textile Artists website, this weeks challenge is to use text in embroidery.

Posted in embroidery, Workshops | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Leafy Tree SAL

Having finished my Stitching for the Soul book last month I then spent a few days deciding what project to stitch next. Having done a few more of what I would call textile art embroidery projects recently I was in the mood for some more traditional style of embroidery, more of the neat and pretty style rather than the frayed edges and running stitch style!

Last year sometime (or it may even have been the year before!) someone at Embroiderers Guild mentioned the Mary Corbett Leafy Tree embroidery. I had a look and ended up buying the e-book. During a recent organising day I came across it again and thought Ooh, I like it! When I originally bought it I had immediately ordered any extra DMC colours I needed so hopefully everything will still be ready to use.

Mary Corbett has an excellent website called Needle ‘n Thread, she has lots of designs both free and for sale including the leafy tree one. She has written lots of embroidery books too.

I printed off the design slightly bigger than it’s meant to be – 120% so it’s about 6″ tall, I thought some of those leaves at 5″ would be pretty small! Just that extra 20% also meant it didn’t particularly affect the thread use too, two strands of DMC would still be fine.

I found some lovely old linen to embroider on from my stash. It looks like it was a pillow case, not sure where it came from as I don’t recall cutting one up! It’s a lovely weight of linen to stitch on anyway. I’ve used a square of calico as a stabiliser too as although the linen is a pretty high thread count it’s still a lot of embroidery and hopefully the calico will stop it from stretching and distorting in the ring. It’s also useful for hiding the start and finish of threads.

I traced the design using a lightbox and a pilot silver gelpen. I like the silver gelpens for marking fabric, Sarah Fielke suggested them for applique and I’ve been using them ever since. You can get archive quality, acid free ones too. The silver shows on both light and dark fabrics and if it’s not quite covered by stitching a little twinkle of silver isn’t as noticeable as a black line.

All the leaves are different, using quite a few different stitches and combinations of stitches and the colours fade from dark green at the bottom to orange and red at the top, so as well as learning new stitches and how to use them it’s also teaching colour use. There’s over a hundred different stitch or colour variations!

I started with the dark green leaves at the bottom. The little leaves are mainly fly stitch or fishbone stitch, others include wheatear, twisted fly-stitch (which if I’m understanding the instructions is just an uneven fly stitch) and fern stitch over satin stitch. There’s instructions in the e-book for all the stitches.

I’ve also started the trunk and branches which are stitched with stem stitch. I got a bit confused here with the instructions as I could only find two browns in the list of colours but the instructions talked about mixing three colours. I sent an e-mail off via the web-site, thinking someone might get back with in a few days. Mary herself replied within an hour, clarifying that although she used three Madeira threads in the original, she had since found two DMC threads mixed was sufficient. She’s going to have a look at the e-book to try and make it clearer. I was quite impressed! Sometimes you get the feeling from a website that it’s a big business, when actually it’s not, it’s still very personal.

I’ve started the trunk and branches, I’ve actually used three colours in the end as I happened to have the floss that was in between the two recommended ones. I’ve grown more happy with the effect as I’ve filled more in. It’s grown a lot quicker than I anticipated too.

Next time I share this with you in three weeks time I will hopefully have finished the trunk and branches and have stitched a few more leaves.

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, please follow the links to see how everybody else is progressing with their stitching.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen  

Posted in embroidery, Serendipity, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 23 Comments