Friday, September 10, 2021

Little UFO

This little canvas work piece has been in my Work In Progress box for a couple of years. Before relegating it to the Unfinished Object box, a more final resting place, I took another look.

I started it one Christmas intending to use up the small piece of canvas and make a little Christmas tree hanging. The small eyelets were the stumbling block. 

I tried a few options to cover the bright white canvas that shows through from behind the eyelets. Eventually after trying that silver eyelet I put the put the canvas aside awaiting some other inspiration.

I still haven't decided what to do about those eyelets, but I am adding a few more rows.

Although the days are gloriously sunny, the weather has been changeable and the chilly August winds seemed to linger. In the garden the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow has burst into bloom so summer must be on the way.

'Till next time, take care and happy stitching!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Buttons and Hats, and a Trip Down Memory Lane

Kaffe Fassett's studio are having a sale of some of his original work. I've been a fan since first seeing the extraordinary way he used colour in his book Glorious Knitting. 

I was fortunate to hear him speak on a trip to the UK. This was before the days of being able to purchase tickets via the internet. My husband had phoned as soon as I heard about the lecture to book me a ticket. It was held at the beautiful Albert Hall in Nottingham. 

I collected the ticket from a local knitting shop when I arrived in Nottingham, assuring the staff that yes, it was was my husband who phoned about the ticket, and yes, it was me, and I had come all the way from Cape Town, South Africa. 

Having arrived early, I queued outside the hall for almost an hour in the chilly grey light as the afternoon faded. I managed to get a seat three rows from the front. You can just see my empty seat on the right.

The atmosphere in the hall was electric - full of anticipation, excitement and happy chatter. The moment Kaffe appeared on the left of the stage checking his watch, a hush fell and the classical guitarist wrapped up his charming performance. The first thing Kaffe did was welcome the audience. And the lady from Cape Town! 

The talk was inspirational. Afterwards I joined the long queue to have my book signed. My accent must have given me away because Kaffe stopped and looked up as he signed my book, had a few words and thanked me for coming. 

But, back to the sale at the Kaffe Fassett Studio. Here's the link. For something different, if you like buttons, make sure you scroll to the end to see the hats.

And finally, the Delta variant of Covid has emerged in Brisbane and unfortunately it has infected a number of school children. We are in lockdown to slow down the spread. Thinking about the lovely trip I had to Nottingham was rather a nice momentary escape.

'Till next time, take care. I hope all is well with you. 

Happy stitching! 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Lavender Bags and Bookmarks

The local school has an annual Mother's Day stall. Every child in the school has the opportunity to do their shopping in the hall sometime during the week leading up to the big day itself. Most like to buy two or three small items with their pocket money. 

They have a wonderful time shopping - browsing, choosing and counting out their precious coins. 

My daughter asked me to make a few lavender sachets - always a popular item. There are not many lavender flowers around during winter, but I picked what I could from the garden and someone on the local Facebook gardening group offered another bag of cuttings. After oven-drying them there was only enough for filling a few mini sachets.

My granddaughter had great fun choosing the ribbons and the buttons for some of the lavender bags.

As the day drew nearer more small items were needed to make sure everyone had the chance to find a suitable gift. I find it very hard to throw out little pieces of quilt fabric. Bookmarks seemed like a quick item to make that would use up some more of the small pieces I had left over from a colour wash quilt. And they'd provide an inexpensive gift.

The first bookmark I made was too soft and floppy and needed more body. 

Out came the iron-on vilene. I had to cut fabric and vilene pieces out individually because everything was cut from small remnants, mainly narrow strips of fabric and irregular shaped bits of stiffener.

Small oddments of ribbon came in handy too.

In the past I've had a few mishaps when ironing the stiffening onto the fabric, no matter how careful I thought I was being. This time I used baking paper over the vilene. I was pleased it worked well and protected the iron from any stray melted bits of glue. 

Initially I used printed fabric on both the front and back of the bookmarks. But I remembered there were scraps of plain fabric in my cupboard too. Putting plain on the back meant I could make more bookmarks - with a pretty floral on the front and a complementing plain on the back. 

In the end I forgot to take a photo of everything I made. These were just the first few bookmarks.

The market was a great success with most items on the tables completely sold out. And the children were delighted with the little presents they were able to find for mom or gran. To my surprise all the bookmarks and lavender bags were sold too. It's nice to know that bookmarks are still useful; that not everyone does all their reading on an electronic device.

I hope you are well and safe. 'Till next time, happy stitching!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Most Popular Patterns 2

In my post of 25 June, I showed you some of the most popular patterns in my shop Lynlubell on Etsy. Besides those three canvas work pincushion patterns, there are two more patterns that stand out above the rest. 

I was intrigued to find that one of them is this whitework pattern. It's a sampler of pulled thread stitches, simply framed in the embroidery hoop I used for stitching it. 

Embroidery of crazy patch pulled thread sampler
Crazy Patch Pulled Thread Sampler

I enjoy working on little samplers.  I think it's the variety of stitches on a small piece that I really like. It's fun stitching, and it's also something you can easily pick up and put down when you have a little bit of time without forgetting what you were doing and losing your place. 

Embroidery of pulled thread sampler in a crazy patch design

The last pattern I wanted to show you among the favourites in the shop is neither canvas work, nor pulled thread. It's the pattern for Australian Cross Stitch pincushions and it is by far the most popular.

Australian Cross Stitch Pincushions

The pincushions are pretty, simple and quick to stitch. And included with the pattern for these two pincushions is a free extra pincushion pattern. Visit the shop to see all my patterns by clicking here.

'Till next time take care, keep well and happy stitching!


P.S. A reminder to subscribers that my subscriber list has moved to Mailchimp. If you have previously subscribed to my blog, I hope this first post finds it way to you safely.  

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Housekeeping update for Blog subscribers

Embroidered Ukrainian Drawn Thread Sachet
Ukrainian Drawn Thread sachet

Today I couldn't resist a photo of the pelargonium that has been flowering so cheerfully in the garden for the last few weeks. The Ukrainian Drawn Thread sachet was made some time ago and the photos were just for my records. 

As you may know, from 1 July Google is discontinuing its email subscription service on Feedburner. I shall be moving my list of blog subscribers over to Mailchimp. If you no longer wish to receive my blog posts via email as soon as they are published, please let me know and I will remove your email address from the subscriber list. 

Leave a message, with the email address you used to subscribe, in the Comment section at the end of this post. Your email address will not be made public in Comments. That's because the comments are first moderated by me and do not appear automatically.

Or email me directly to unsubscribe. My email address is lynette(dot)warner(at)gmail(dot)com 

It should all be up and running in the next few days, when I'll show you my overall most popular pincushion pattern - and it's not a canvas work pattern. You can see my most popular canvas work patterns in my previous post here.

We are in a short lockdown in Queensland Australia due to the spread of the Covid Delta variant. And it looks like the next few days are going to be cold and wet. Its good weather for staying in and for knitting so I am altering a jersey I knitted years ago for my daughter. She no longer wears it and it's a nice warm wool. My daughter is taller than me so I am pulling out part of the too-long sleeves and reknitting the cuffs.

I do hope you will continue to follow my blog posts and keep in contact either via the Comments section on the blog or via email. It's always lovely to hear from you, read your comments, hear your opinion, and have a chat. 

Till next time, keep safe and happy stitching!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Most Popular Patterns

I took a little planned break from my desk a few weeks ago. After some thought I closed my Etsy shop for a few days. I wanted to avoid any customers trying to contact me and then wondering why they were not getting a reply. 

I thought I had done everything to re-open my shop, Lynlubell - until today when I was going through the shop stats to see what the three most popular patterns are. Somehow something had gone wrong and the shop was still closed and in vacation mode! Anyway, it's all fixed and I'm relieved that it's open and working again. Do pop in and visit it here.

Now back to finding the most popular patterns. 

I drew up the very first pattern to be listed in my shop with my friend Beryl Saunders in 2011. It's a digital pattern for the Flower and Cushion Stitch canvas work pincushion. It's been the most popular for almost 10 years.  It's pretty and it's an easy introduction to canvas work. The original version of the pattern was stitched with Paterna wool. For a while Paterna became difficult to find, so we updated the pattern and it can now be stitched either with Paterna wool or with DMC stranded embroidery cottons.

Canvas work pincushion pattern
Flower and Cushion Stitch Pincushions

To my surprise when I looked at the stats in the shop, the little Rosebud Bookmark and Scissor Fob pattern is now an equal contender for the most popular canvas work pattern. It's one of my favourites too. I just love the little rosebuds. They were inspired by the work of David McCaskill. Unlike most of my patterns, this one is worked on 18ct canvas. I think the finer canvas adds to the delicate look of the rosebuds.

Canvas work scissor fob
Rosebud Bookmark and Scissor Fob

The third most popular pattern is the Blue Eyelet Pincushion. I always find eyelets intriguing to embroider and I love the finished effect of the spokes all dipping down smoothly into the centre hole. It's funny how some stitches are just more enjoyable to stitch than others.

Canvas work pincushion
Blue Eyelet Pincushion

If you have recently visited my shop, Lynlubell on Etsy, to browse through the patterns, thank you for your support! I'll tell you more about the most popular patterns in my next post. 

 'Till then keep safe and happy stitching!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Pulled Thread Pincushion

The small pulled thread sampler I wrote about here and here is finished. 

The sampler was something I stitched just for fun, choosing the stitches as I went along.  I rather like the freedom of choosing and stitching rows of different stitches across a surface. It's also a way to try out stitches or their variations and see how they look on fabric, rather than in a book. Cobbler filling (just above the eyelets) was new to me.

Although my embroidered pincushions have always been square, the idea of making oblong pincushions has been at the back of my mind for some time. It's been one of those things I planned to do 'one day'. I like to do something useful with my embroideries and this little mini sampler seemed well suited to become a rectangular shaped pincushion. 

I auditioned some patchwork fabrics for the back and even sewed the green fabric on the left in place and started filling the pincushion. 

I liked the colours, but no. The fabric just didn't suit the front. 

So, linen it was. But first came the unpicking. The seams had already been trimmed and the corners clipped. A few threads unraveled as I unpicked, but nothing too serious. Finally, a backstitch row around the top and a matching row on the backing made stitching it up easy, with the two sides joined together with a whipped stitch.

I like the neat edge that the backstitch and whipping makes. 

Perhaps I'll make another pincushion this shape too.

'Till next time, keep well and happy stitching!


Message to Email Subscribers

Blogger has let me know that the email subscription service to their blogs is ending in July. I am looking into finding a new subscription service. I would love to keep you as an email subscriber and will let you know what happens.


Friday, April 16, 2021

Do you wet your thread before threading a needle?

Threading a needle can be tricky. Sometimes the thread just does not want to go through the eye of the needle - like those 3 strands of dark red floss and the no. 12 perle in the needles in my pincushion.

The close up photo on Quora in this link here helps explain why a thread can be so stubborn*. 

As a child, I learnt to solve the problem of trying to push those splaying fibres through the hole by first giving the thread a quick lick and a pinch. This may be fine for a piece of embroidery that will soon be washed. If not, the tiny drops of saliva that are transferred to the fabric may with time cause small yellowish spots on the embroidery. 

If your needle refuses to be threaded, rather wet the very tip of the thread in a saucer of clean water, squeeze it between your fingers and then thread the needle. 

Another method of threading the needle is to fold the end of the thread over the needle, pinch the two threads together near the fold, and push the folded edge through the eye. It works first time nearly every time for me. 

Next time I'll show you the little pulled thread sampler I wrote about here and here, and how I finished it off.

Till then, happy stitching!

*Thanks to Carina of Carina's Craftblog for sharing the link.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Phulkari flower embroidery

As has happened to many forms of embroidery, Phulkari embroidery handmade in the Punjab and the northern areas of India was slowly being replaced by machine-made embroidery. That was until a group of women got together to revive it. The group are now promoting it, supporting themselves and their families, and encouraging the younger generation to value it too.

Phulkari motifs. Photo courtesy: Strand of Silk

Phulkari embroidery. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

There's a short BBC video about this extraordinarily labour intensive embroidery here. The video clearly shows the technique, and how it is stitched. 

It's interesting that shape of the 8-petalled lotus flower used in Phulkari appears in many other forms of embroidery, such as canvas work, pulled thread or Schwalm. It can be purely decorative or represent either a flower or an 8-pointed star. Here it is on my canvas work bookmark stitched with a one of Penny Cornell's variegated threads.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Pulled Thread Sampler Pincushion

Some time ago, I experimented with stitching a small pulled thread sampler, without an embroidery frame. 

I enjoyed the more tactile experience of actually holding the fabric in my hand while I stitched. You can read more about that by clicking here.  

Below, you may just be able to see how I used the edge of the fabric for trying out some of the stitches, before embroidering them on the sampler itself. The pile of books are all stitch dictionaries I refer to.

The embroidery was finished ages ago and I took it out of the cupboard the other day to damp stretch it, or block it, on my cork board. It's amazing the difference that makes, turning a crumpled piece of fabric into a pristine looking embroidery. Walking past to my printer, my husband noticed it straight away and stopped to comment.

Looking back over the stitches on the little sampler, the stepped satin stitch is the most striking. Although it's an easy stitch to embroider, being made up of straight stitches all lying quite predictably next to each other, it makes a big impact. Perhaps it's the play of light over the stitches, or may be it's the way your eye is drawn down over the steps, along a strong diagonal. It's a 'big stitch' and it does need quite a bit of space to show it off to full effect.

One of my favourite stitches is diagonal cross filling, which I did in band number four. Once the first row is in place the following rows are very quick and easy to do. I kept the tension light this time, so it's more of surface stitch than a pulled stitch and it reminded me of smocking.

For the sampler I used 28 count Zweigart linen, with DMC pearl thread no. 12 for the pulled work, and no. 8 for the satin stitch. The stitches are worked over 4 threads, except for the eyelets and the satin stitch leaves. 

The bands on the sampler are made up of nine different stitches. From top to bottom, the stitches are:

1. Pulled satin stitch
2. Four-sided stitch
3. Spaced pulled satin - 2 pulled satin, skip 5 threads 
4. Diagonal cross filling
5&6. Flowers - surface satin leaves, eyelets over 2 threads
7. Cobbler filling
8. Algerian eyelets over 3 threads
9. Pulled stepped satin stitch - 5 stitches on a step

 Next time I'll show you what I want to do with the little sampler. 

'Till then, take care and happy stitching!