Because I like to give myself art projects and challenges, I decided my next big embroidery piece would be a skull, surrounded with flowers. And I must have been crazy, because this piece took me ages! There was a lot of frustration, swearing and accidental stabbing of fingers, and wondering why I thought this was a good idea!
I love using black fabric for embroidery, it makes all the colours pop. As this hoop was pretty big I used two pieces of stabiliser fabric in the back to support my work. I used a white gel pen to sketch out an idea, looking at a few references for the skull and butterfly. With the flowers and foliage, I went with my instincts as I wanted it to be semi stylistic. I have loads of embroidery thread I bought online, so you will see quite a mixture in this piece. I think of it as painting with a needle, so there isn’t a lot of variation with the stitches, it is mostly satin stitch, back stitch and stem stitch.
I actually started this in June and had a few stumbling blocks as I tried to motivate myself to continue. So I set myself a mini task of doing 10 minutes a day free hand embroidery as a way to change my perspective on being so rigid with my work. This really helped as I had to think of something and start stitching without lots of planning and analysing.
While this was my larger ongoing project, I also did a few mini embroidery hoops and put together a travel pack when I went away to Paris and also for my lunch breaks at work.
Here I just used a cheap pencil case and added some embroidery needles, a pen, some embroidery scissors, a mini hoop (with fabric ready) and threads. Below are a couple of mini things I made in an hour.
Embroidery on the Train
These made me chuckle as I made them! And here is the finished skull with butterfly and flowers. I’ve been looking into bead embroidery next, so check out my social media for updates!
Since finishing my bird embroidery I have had more ideas for hoops and decided to go with experimenting. I made this cute sea monster dude and my boyfriend suggested he have a top hat! So why not? I like how he came out and I spray painted the hoop blue.
Golden Bird embroidery with flowers
Lurking sea thing
My next hoop was this sweet oval I found among my fabric stash, and thought this pink fabric would go well with a frosted cupcake. Especially as I’ve been baking so many recently! I don’t really do plans for my embroidery, I just sketch an idea onto the fabric and then look at reference pictures as I go. Not sure if that is what you are meant to do!
I added some seed beads to the syrup as sprinkles and I am so pleased with it, I love the cherry!
While I have been busy the last few weeks, and I started trying my hand at shrink plastics, I’m still doing my embroidery and my recent project over the last two months has been beetles and bugs. I also did a bee! I got the idea after seeing some mini hoops in a craft shop and thought having them laid out like a curios cabinet would look cool!
And here are my first few beetles. I thought I would do a bigger one for variation as well. Doing these little hoops was fun and therapeutic.
Well I have been obsessing over foxes the last few months and wanted to create a project based on one. This design was quite simple, as I was going to go for something more realistic. But I decided with the size of the hoop and the fox being the centre focus, that it should be colour and pattern that are more intricate and ornate.
My style is quite elaborate and I find that details really make a project pop which is why I added the detailing inside the fox. That was free hand and I gave myself the chance to just experiment with colours and pattern. I think it works well.
Materials & Stitches
I’ve been learning hand embroidery for about six months now and thought I’d share some tips – and frustrations! – that might give anyone considering trying it (or even beginners) some insights.
The fabric is your background that pulls your design together. When I first started I used some terrible fabric. It was heavily patterned and pretty but overwhelmed the embroidery instead of complimenting it. I’d recommend planning. Being impulsive I went straight in and was left disheartened with the end result.
Another thing that may seem obvious is ironing your fabric piece! Even if it seems relatively flat it may have some small creases and it’s best to start from a completely smooth piece.
This is my most recent embroidery project I’ve been working on for the last two weeks and I love how it has turned out. It is the biggest and most complex piece I have made so far. I love toucans and I also love decorative and fancy designs which I tried to capture here.
Here are two embroidery projects I’ve just finished.
I thought a nautilus was perfect for the smaller hoop and loved the patterns on the shell which I tried to recreate. I used a running stitch and split stitch for this project and I focused in on the details and colours of the threads.
Well hello January. Yep it is that time of year, new beginnings, rain, sales and all that jazz… I have to admit I do quite like the hope that comes with New Year and look forward to Spring, the days getting lighter and the possibilities that lie ahead. I’m also 31 this year and am fully embracing this decade of my life! They say you know who you are in your thirties, or maybe you are just happier with who you are.
A few things I want to do this year include improve my web design skills, try snowboarding, go to Paris, go to life drawing classes, save money, get a fox tattoo and Pilates.
Plus I have always got a lot of art projects going on in my mind, I just need to focus on one at a time!
- A new shadowbox
- A mixed fabric Stag head embroidery
- A Pandora themed tag box
- More felting creatures
Looks good with the Octopus
Still warm inside
And here is a tentacled monster I just finished. He was more a project to practice my embroidery stitches but he came out pretty sweet! My fingers need a break now! After a walk in the lovely wind and rain in Manchester,I came home and baked a cake. Got to take advantage of a free kitchen! It is chocolate and orange swirl and it was still warm inside when I tried it. Yummy!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Tea cups and Bird
Finally hands free
Embroidering has become my newest craft obsession of late and I’ve been sketching ideas down before I begin them on the hoop. I’m really pleased with this bird and tea cup I’ve just finished – I made it for a friend and I know she will be delighted! I even covered the back with some felt to give it a nice finish.
I have’t posted for a while as I have been busy with this whale embroidery project I’ve been commissioned to do for a friend. She wanted a whale, like Moby Dick, flying and I had the idea of him being carried by balloons. I sketched into the fabric with a cool fabric pen that disappears after a few hours and actually did some shading at the front of his head before deciding I didn’t like it.
I added some swirls for a more textured look and to make it a little different. I guess it is similar to my art journaling style. This took me about ten hours to complete and he turned out so cute! I really liket his white thread as well. I have a lot of new embroidery ideas and hoping to get a hoop clamp this week so I will be able to do my embroidery with both hands free!
This took ages, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out 🙂
Yay, new things
Adorable new mini embroidery!
I’ve been busy with this skull embroidery recently, which was pretty much a free hand sketch, then stitching as I went along. I really like this material, although it seemed to overpower the image a lot so I decided to fill the outside with long and short stitches.
I also got a new resource book for more advanced techniques, this adorable mini embroidery kit (which I wanted for ages) and felting! That is on my list next, I can’t wait to create super cuteness with wool!
Starting with the outline
Lovely gold thread
Although hard to stitch
A few cute sewing things
Yay, fabric buttons
Yep, it is my new obsession right now people! I’m actually poorly as well, so I’ve been finishing this bird project. I based it off one of my art journal pages. Really like how he turned out. I love the gold thread I found, BUT it is hard to stitch with. It frays and you have to constantly pull all the threads before tying it off. This puts a lot of tension on the fabric.
I also found this Button Factory box I got a couple of years ago while I was tidying my room. I have some ideas for embroidering fabric buttons 🙂
I prefer this size hoop as it is easier to work with, although the little ones are really cute when finished. Being ill is boring, I am off to sleep some more and hopefully get rid of this cold so then I start a new hoop…
I decided I would need a concrete sketch to work from with my new interest in embroidery, and the best place to start was from my art journal – a doodle piece.
I keep pricking myself but I think that is because I’ve still not mastered the best way to hold the hoop or thread – and I’m left handed so many things seem more awkward! I started with black thread and worked my design from there, adding as I went along. I used stem stitch, back stitch, lazy daisy stitch and a feeble attempt at french knot – think I need to practice these so more.
A first try
Some new materials
Trying to work out stitches!
A new friend
Shameless Love of Starbucks!
My current craft obsession has been embroidery hoops and I’ve been getting frustrated that my ideas in my head don’t yet match my embroidery skills! Duh!