If you’re anything like me, you have a fabric stash. You may also have a thread stash, a glitter stash, a bead stash, a notion stash, a hoop stash, a craft book stash… It just depends how much of a hoarder you are when it comes to craft supplies.
My favourite thing is rediscovering a piece of fabric or notion, and finally, a year after purchasing it, finding a perfect use for it.
I purchased this piece of fabric at Darrell Thomas Textiles, a fabulous Ottawa shop that carries gorgeous gorgeous fabric and about half a million different types of buttons. A few times a year, they have remnant and sample sales, and I always make a point to go. I don’t think I’ve ever left empty handed!
I tried to use this fabric for hand embroidery a few times, but nothing ever worked. It’s a bit too busy and a bit too loosely woven.
It’s perfect for cross stitch over two threads. I’m not sure why I never saw it, but as soon as it did, I knew I wanted to do something black and bold on there. I dug around the Tantes Zolder patterns and found this pretty one with a bee. Perfect!
Do you ever “lose” something in your stash only to find it again when it’s the perfect time to use it?
Here are the three paper doll dresses I have stitched in the last while. All of them are from a paper doll called Anya Imagines, by Charles Ventura. I found great scans of them on Marge8’s Blog, where she share hard to find/vintage paper dolls.
They are simply redwork, but I find them quite charming. I want to frame the grey one in my room. Check out closeups below!
Paper dolls are like colouring books; they can always be a great source for simple redwork patterns.
Here is the finished cross stitched piece I stitched up using patterns from Tantes Zolder, or my Auntie’s Attic. From what I can find online, it was a website set up by a woman who found over 300 hand-drawn cross stitch patterns in her aunt’s attic. With the help of volunteers, she digitized them all over the course of a year. The original website seems to have gone offline some time in 2012.
Luckily, I found Isabel Gancedo who had all of them backed up and posted on gancedo.eu. They also include patterns found in books in the Antique Pattern Library, which is always a great website to browse. To find the Tantes Zolder patterns, just scroll down a bit on the main page or click one of the side links. My favourites are the octagonal patterns.
Can you see where I screwed up the stitching on this piece a bit? If you look closely at the center, the crosses on the red flower in the middle are not going in the same direction as the rest of the piece. It happened for two reasons: first, the center is perfectly symmetrical, so I didn’t notice any change in the pattern, and second, I was on vacation in England when I stitched most of this piece. I also blame England for having to undo nearly a quarter of the orange border around the middle at some point.
(I fixed it eventually by drawing an arrow on my pattern, and an arrow on the masking tape I had put around my fabric to prevent fraying.)
Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the unpicking. The middle was filled in dark grey for a while , and I hated it as soon as it was done. I forged ahead, thinking it would grow on me as I did the leaves around the center but it didn’t. It even highlighted the direction of the crosses on the red center. So after much consideration, I put on a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and unpicked it all using a thread ripper, a needle, and lots and lots of small bits of tape to catch all the fuzz created by unpicking.
Sometimes, you just gotta undo what you gotta undo. 😉
I have a new piece of embroidery available in my etsy shop: a Sequined Hot Pepper Jellyfish! Click through for a good look at all those sequins.
I originally bought these for a completely different purpose, but after finishing my yellow Lemon Sorbet Jellyfish, I knew I wanted to try the technique again with something different. The sequins were a challenge. They got everywhere; I found them in my clothes, in the couch, in my bed… I am still finding them, weeks after I finished working with them.
My daughter also spilled the little container I kept them in. I couldn’t save some of them and ended up vacuuming them up. At least the contents of my vacuum were sparkly… And even with all this, I still have over half of them left! Three tiny bags of sequins go a long way!
This is a quick piece that Rebecca of Hugs are Fun inspired me to do with her Doodle Stitch Along. A few months ago, Spoonflower gave out a free 8 inch piece of their new fabric with any design you wanted. Holy cow!
Anyway, I love cities and after looking up a few fabrics that I could use for stitching, this one stood out. A few weeks later, the fabric came in and I put it in my stash of things to do. Sigh.
The fabric is some sort of silky smooth garment fabric, which basically sucked for stitching on, but since I had so little to stitch on, and a particular look I was going for, it wasn’t the end of the world. I did almost exclusively messy satin stitch, playing with the slants and the little gables. There is a bit of split stitch in there too. I was going to try chain stitch, but the fabric was starting to get on my nerves too much. I ended up backing it with a scrap of cotton fabric and gluing the back of the piece into place with superglue.
The piece doesn’t look great seen straight on, so I plan to hang it quite high on my stitching wall, in order force the perspective.
Thank you Rebecca for the kick in the butt I needed to finish another project! Are you going to try Doodle Stitching? Come on, how many projects can you possibly have on the go? Click the link below to get started:
I finally finished my spider and got her hooped up. My mother asked for a non-ribbon hoop, so I only used wood stain and matte Modge Podge to darken and seal it.
This piece was a present for my mom who just finished her Masters in Nursing. She is awesome-sauce and she loves spiders. This one was supposed to be for her office, but she has decided it may be too nice for the office.
I used about 4 different shades of brown DMC thread, and two different colours of Anchor yarn. Here is roughly the steps taken to make her look as fuzzy as she does:
- Outline the whole shape in split stitch using DMC thread.
- Fill in the legs with long wool stitches, then couch those with different colours of DMC thread.
- Fill the abdomen of the spider with long wool stitches, in the same direction as the stitches in DMC thread were going to go (typically, when you pad a shape, you do it in the opposite direction, but I wanted the wool to peek through the thread stitches! It worked too!)
- Cover the abdomen, the head and the mandibles in various colours of DMC thread in various browns.
- Buy a huge quantity of minuscule beads and use only four of them.
The good news is, my mother loved it and so do I. I love the wool peeking through the abdomen and the legs, making her look fuzzy and ridiculous. I love the contrast between the spider and the sketchy web even more.
When I signed up for Wild Olive’s Summer Stitching Club (which I never managed to finish, but that’s a whole other post), I was introduced to hexies, otherwise known as English Paper Piecing. About a million tutorials and one new Pinterest board later, I was ready to go. But what to do?
So I just started putting hexagons together. And more, and more, and more. Hexagons are super addictive. You can do them while you watch a movie without stabbing yourself in the fingers too too much. It’s fabulous.
I knew I wanted to stitch something onto the hexagons after they were put together, so I went through my stuff and found these lovely arrows from Urbanthreads. I printed one onto a water soluble paper and stuck it on (some of the fabrics had too large a weave to use chaco paper to transfer the design). To do it again I would place the arrow further to the right side of the piece.
I borrowed some batting from my quilt-queen mother, picked up a gorgeous mustard yellow cotton from Fabrications, and after cutting everything out to the right shape, put everything together. With three little hoops at the top to hand it from a stick, I ended up with a wall hanging I am really super happy with!
I’m not sure what it is, but I love it. I call it my blue raspberry.