Sunday, 26 May 2013

Funky Birds Mini Quilt

Here is the Funky Birds little mini. This is my first ever attempt at quilting and I have to say that the process was an absolute joy from the moment the idea came to my head to the very last stitch.


Being a complete novice at quilting, I did not even try attempting some fancy free motion quilting, instead I used simple straight lines around the edge of the quilt and added just a few french knots in the middle part.


The birds and the tree are done by hand using running stitch, backstitch, daisy stitch and french knots. I was a bit anxious at first, but as I kept working on this mini, the excitement took over and it all came together quite nicely. Even the binding was not that scary after all.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Lavender and Bees

Some time ago, while shopping for fabric, I came across this lovely cotton with lavender flowers and buzzy bees on it. The combination of mauve and yellow, and a tiny splash of green caught my eye, the little bees added more excitement to my find. Once I saw the fabric, I knew what I was going to make. 


Yes, of course a drawstring bag. I still enjoy making them, I had quite a few stacked away in a special box with my handmade goodies but they all found a new home to go to. So this is a good time to update my stash with more bags in a new style. This was my first attempt at using two different types of fabric and I absolutely like the look of it. I made new ends for the cords as well - this time trapezoid shape. I could not stay away from my favourite running stitch, had to add just a tiny finishing touch. The yellow embroidery thread is a bit too pale but still looks good. The purple one is just right to my liking. Have you made any drawstring bags lately?


Friday, 17 May 2013

My Happy Place

It's summer. Today is a bit windy, not much, but enough to blow my hair in a crazy mess. The sky is blue and big fluffy clouds are floating by. The sun is shining bright, it tickles my nose. There is a bird, a beautiful, unusual bird I never saw before, sitting on a branch. The bird is singing; the song is so sweet and charming. I join in. Flowers of all colours -  pink, red, orange, yellow... so many of them and they are all dancing in the wind to the bird's song. This is my happy place, this is my flowery colourful world that inspires me.


One more raw edge appliqué has been finished. How much fun it was to work on this piece! The branch is done by freestyle machine embroidery; the girl is a hand stitching. The possibilities of arranging the fabric scraps by colour and print were endless and this time around not that difficult. At first I was going to create a colourful mess similar to my previous work, but then I decided to try something different (I can never stick with the original plan) - to give the background a more distinctive natural look of sky and a grass patch with flowers. While stitching the tree branch I was concentrating on the bird but once finished I realised that the pink flower and the cherries were in a perfect place as well. This appliqué has been framed in a simple white frame and it's awaiting to be hung in my creative space.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Work in Progress: Mini Quilt

Just a little sneak peek at what is on my work table at the moment. Two more birds from Funky Birds series are being used for this fun project - a mini quilt wall hanging.


Never before I used a printed fabric (white print on white) as a base for my stitching and I have to say that I like the look of it. This is going to be my first ever quilt so I am a bit nervous and excited at the same time about the whole process and the binding in particular. I am not using any tutorials, just creating/designing the stitching pattern and the quilt pattern as I go. It takes a bit more time because I have to stop and try out some new details that come to my mind but it gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction as well. Hopefully, I find enough time to finish the quilt in the next few days.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Breaking Free

I am a very conservative crafter. I like all things to be symmetrical, to have clear straight lines, not too many colour combinations. At the same time I do love seeing works of other amazing crafters who experiment with colours, textures and different techniques. A very talented fabric designer Aneela Hoey is one of them. Some time ago I found her mini quilt tutorial "Girl on a Tree Swing". The appliqué is simply adorable. The pink and yellow colour combination is so sweet and the lines of a freestyle machine embroidery remind me so much of a pencil sketch. I have to admit that I don't do patchwork, it's something I will never have patience for I think. But when I saw the way Aneela created the background for the tree (raw edge appliqué), I thought it would be an easy and quick way for me, and plus I could use my scraps of fabric.

Well, as I said being a very conservative and not being able freely to experiment with different colour combinations made this project more difficult than I expected. It took me a few attempts to even start the "trying" process, the pieces of fabric didn't seem to match or fall into a place no matter how many times I moved them around. Plus, as I mentioned before I am not good at following instructions. I did not want to simply copy Aneela's work, I had to add even a tiny bit of my own creation to it.

Last year I stitched an Oak Tree with added little fabric hexagons but this piece of embroidery was lying around without being used. I liked the tree by itself but I could not think of a way of using it in any of my projects.


A few days ago I decided to give the mini quilt one more go. The scraps were piled up on the table and the creative process began. After half an hour the final colour combination was ready and it looked really pretty to me. I was surprised that all the bits and pieces, uneven stitches and raw edges did not make me cringe, they looked happy and joyful. Right at that moment I remembered about my Oak Tree and voila - my own patchwork piece was ready. And I love it!


Of course this work is far from perfect but what it did to me and my creative thinking is priceless - it made me break free from my conservative vision, it took me away from my straight lines and perfect corners, it made me want to create more things like that. Just a crazy splash of colour and a little bit of mess. I already have a few ideas in mind and cannot wait to start working on them.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Stitching Pattern: Little Owl

Today I would like to share with you one of my stitching patterns from Funky Birds series. This Little Owl was the first one I drew some time ago and it was used for the sunglasses case. She is really cute and very easy to stitch. If you have some free time and like this pattern, then let's begin.


Material
  • pattern Little Owl (at the end of the instruction)
  • heavy weight cotton or linen in natural colour of any size (depending on your future use of the embroidery)
  • cotton fabric for owl's tummy in any colour
  • pencil for transferring the pattern onto fabric
  • tracing paper
  • pencil
  • Vliesofix
  • iron
  • DMC embroidery floss dark brown (838), red (349)
  • small embroidery hoop, scissors, threading needle

Method

Step 1: Print out the pattern provided and trace it onto fabric using one of the tracing methods. I am using a blue water erasable pen and a well-lit window.


Step 2: Using the embroidery hoop, work the design with one strand of thread in dark brown colour. For the body use backstitch, for the eyes french knots and for the ears lazy daisy stitch. Start at the right side under the wing and work your way in a clockwise direction through legs, left wing, left ear, right ear, right wing and then move onto the face. DO NOT stitch the line that goes across the tummy.


Step 3: Remove the hoop. Gently rub off the markings with a wet cloth if using a water erasable pen.

Step 4: Using a dry iron fuse Vliesofix to the wrong side of colourful fabric.

Step 5: Trace the tummy shape from the pattern onto tracing paper with the pencil and cut it out on the line. From the colourful fabric cut out the tummy shape with the template. Mark on the back side top and bottom lines.



Step 6: Peel the paper off from the back of the tummy shape and position it inside the stitching aligning the bottom lines. Note: Fuse with the iron only the middle of the fabric piece. Trim any overlapping and fuse in place.


Step 7: Using the embroidery hoop, stitch around the edges of the tummy with two strands of thread in red colour using running stitch.


Step 8: Add some extra details. I made a small grass patch for the owl. Iron gently on the back side.


I am trying my best to write clear instructions but if for some reason you have any difficulties or questions, I would be more than happy to help. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me.

Happy stitching!