WIP Wednesday – Redwork Village

Whenever I go on vacation, I like taking little, simple projects. It easier to take projects that only use a few colours when you might be stitching on planes and cars and random couches.

I found this pattern on Pinterest somewhere, which means that the link above is somewhat useless. Remember: pin responsibly and link to actual content pages, not just images.


Yurt, Sweet Yurt.


I finished my secret project!  My brother-in-law proposed to his girlfriend in a yurt (which is the Mongolian equivalent to a tipi), and since they just bought a house, I figured this would be a cute housewarming present.  I’ve once again used the  Circular Scroll Alphabet Sampler pattern from Kinkavel Crosses, which I used previously in my George RR Martin piece.

I’m quite happy with the final product, even if there are a few mistakes, but I am super happy to be done with the stupid fabric it was stitched on. Never have I worked with evenweave so uneven and so loose. It is gross. I am throwing out my leftover pieces as soon as I get back home.  Working with this fabric was a nightmare, and my stitches had to be quite loose in order not to pull the fabric out of shape.


This was not a relaxing, easy piece of work.  It’s also so thin that you can see all the thread traveling in the back, which isn’t as tidy as I would like it. The other issue I have with it is that it really needs to be backed onto a darker fabric to look right, and my poor brother-in-law will probably have to get it framed professionally  because the fabric weft and warp is looser than any other fabric I’ve ever seen. It honestly feels like a sharp tug could turn the fabric square into a rhombus permanently.


The moral of this story is: take fabric out of the package if at all possible before you buy it, and don’t buy fabric for a special project five days before you get on a plane to another country.


Half’n Half – Redwork, Needle Painting, and a mini book review

Half Redwork, Half Needle Painting

I finished this little piece recently. I’m still not sure what I was doing, but I like it. It’s half redwork, and half needle painting (not very good needle painting, but whatever). I also tried to tie the two together a bit, so the mid-tone of the reds is the red I used in the redwork.

Half Redwork, Half NeedlepaintingI took a class on needle painting last October at the Creativ Festival in Toronto. The teacher, Carol Arsenault, was fabulous at making sure we were not overwhelmed. I mean, in theory, it’s a relatively simple technique: outline your shape with stem stitch, then fill it in with long straight stitches in a gradation of colour… Easy right? I think the main obstacle for me was using a single strand of embroidery floss. It’s so small! It’ll take so long! Yes and yes. It is extremely tiny, and yes, it takes forever. But you get such an amazing effect, that you really need to use the single strand if you want to get the right blended look. It’s the same idea as satin stitch. Sure, you could do it with more than one strand, but it’ll look all chunky and wrong.

Another thing that helped me get going was Trish Burr’s Colour Confidence in Embroidery book, which I also picked up (for a bargain!) at the Creativ Festival. It’s beautiful. It has dozens and dozens of colour pallets, each actually stitched and not illustrated, that can show you what can actually be achieved with proper colour blending. It’s not so much a technique book, but more of a inspiration book. For a more in depth look, check out Mary Corbet’s review on Needle’n’Thread.

This piece was another piece working small. And I love that I finished it. Maybe 2014 will be the year of working small?

Teaching Zoe to Stitch pt 2


My daughter Zoe just figured this toy out. We got it a few months ago, but it was too advanced at the time. She just couldn’t aim properly, and tended to just walk around with the wooden part, risking injury.
Now, she has not only figured out how it works, but has also figured out two different ways to ‘string’ the pieces on. It’s so great to watch her go, figuring stuff out.

Scaling Things Down & An Origami Bunny

Origami Bunny on dorkwithaneedle.comI tend to make larger pieces.  No, let me rephrase that.  I tend to start larger pieces.  Sometimes, as with my Shisha piece, the materials dictate the size of the project.  But a lot of them time, I let something else dictate the size of the pieces I stitch: my printer.

See, I just load up an image, hit print, and run with it, not always thinking what the resulting size will be. This can sometimes mean I end up with very large pieces (8.5×11 anyone?), or at least pieces that are much larger than I can reasonably finish.  They also tend to be much larger than the techniques I want to use are intended for.  Have you ever tried to do satin stitch across a huge shape?  It looks terrible.

Origami Bunny on dorkwithaneedle.comI want to try, when at all possible, to work smaller.  When I printed this origami bunny design from UrbanThreads, I consciously reduced it by 50%, and then I added an extra line in his body to further shrink the areas, so that my satin stitch would stay nice. The completed bunny is only about 2 inches wide and adorable. I am also proud to say that I traced, stitched, and hooped this in one day.  It’s even already on my wall!

What size do you like to work with?  Do you think about every piece before you trace it out, or do you hit print and go?