Friday, 27 June 2014

Bear Sewing Tools

I've just finished making the sewing tools to match my new Bear Sewing Set and I am keen to share them with you! 

I've made two stitch markers with semi-precious gem beads that pick up the colours in my sewing plus a bear charm which I've painted brown with enamel paint. 

I've also made a matching laying tool and hook tool. The tools are conveniently joined by a chain. The laying tool helps to ensure that the top stitch in each cross lies flat. The hook is something that I use for all sorts of things - catching loose threads, tightening threads, pushing stuffing into awkward shapes and corners etc. 

I've added a long chain, bear charm and a tiny heart clasp to the smallest magnetic needle rest so that it can be attached to my sewing bag or magnetic pattern board. 

I've also added a shorter chain, beads and bear charm to the bigger magnetic needle rest. 

Lastly, I came across this gorgeous carved bear in agate on Ebay and I just had to have him. I've been waiting for him to arrive for a month! I've simply added some semi-precious agate beads and a lobster clasp so this fellow can act as a scissor fob, bag charm or weight for splitting threads or twisting cords! 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

New Goals and Objectives

I recently saw an extract from a series of patterns by Carriage House Samplers called Hawk Run Hollow. About the same time I saw a picture of a huge cross stitch made from various Little House Needlework patterns. So now I've decided to do the same with the Hawk Run Hollow series. There are twelve houses in the pattern called Houses of Hawk Run Hollow and twelve more pictures in the pattern called Village of Hawk Run Hollow. This should keep me out of mischief for quite a while! When I need a break from this I can do a bit on the Hummingbird Afghan. 

I've also set myself a target to teach myself 30 new embroidery stitches in the next three months. I'll be sharing my stitching progress and what I've learnt with you as I go. This will motivate me to continue and it will give the reader the ability to correct my technique!

I'd like to keep a record of my progress in some sort of stitch book. Maybe something like the old fashioned button book that is pictured on my Pinterest Board but with stitches instead of buttons! I am still thinking about the best way to do this. Please let me know if you have created a Stitch Book and how you did it. I'd love to see a picture.

All of this is a precursor to my stitching resolutions for 2015: 

(1) Learn some more stitches;
(2) Attempt some (simple) stumpwork; and,
(3) Try quilting for the first time. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Bear Finishes

This is a picture of the full bear set - Sewing Bag, Thimble Purse, Pin Cushion, Case for Sewing Tools (I'll be making these next) and two Magnetic Needle Rests. This is the first time that I've finished each piece as I go instead of leaving all of the finishing to the end. It didn't stop me hating the chore but at least it broke up the chore!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bear Bag

Regular readers will know that I've been making some stitching accessories substantially based on an LHN pattern called 'Bear Tree Forest.' I loved the bears, birds, squirrels and the forest but I wasn't too keen on the little house and snowman that made up much of the left hand side of the pattern. 

I've got a picture of a bag for bobbins hanging from a work lamp on my Pinterest board called 'Inspiration.' I decided to make something similar and retire my highland cow accessories (now sold for charity). 

I decided to make a shallow embroidered bag to hang from my floor standing embroidery frame. It will hold my magnetic pattern board, bobbins, thimble purse, pin cushion etc. 

For the front of the bag I omitted the house and added a tree lined hillside, snow and more bears. I also made some other tweaks!

For the back I used the same extract from the LHN 'Woodland Sampler' pattern that I stitched on the purse.

I lined the bag with the same sage green linen and added a hand made label as a finishing touch.

Finally, I stitched some little trees to the base of the handles and lined them with the same sage green linen.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stag Snipper holder and Needle Rest  

This gorgeous fellow is taken from a Textile Heritage kit. He used to hang from my floor standing frame and hold snippers and act as a Needle Rest. It is currently for sale to raise money for my favourite charity. 


I tweak cross stitch patterns! I may add an extra sheep, change the colours or in the latest example miss out a twee house and snowman that has no place in a bear forest but I don't do it to cause offence. If I didn't like the pattern I wouldn't buy it and I certainly wouldn't spend hours stitching it... I also always give credit to the designer for their work.

It got me thinking. Which is worse? Designing a pattern that no one buys or designing a pattern that people love and buy but change in some way?! I like to think the former but then I haven't published a pattern ... yet. 

I think it is time that I gave something back. Over the years I've collected many free cross stitch patterns from the web. I have an idea for a freebie collection. It'll be a while but I hope to publish later in the year.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bear Thimble Purse

Those of you who look at my Pinterest board 'Inspiration' will know that I have been inspired by patterns for thimble purses and the purses pictured on Yumikuhiguchi's blog. 

I decided to have a go at making an embroidered purse myself using a metal purse frame. When I'm using my cross stitching in a different way I'm always worried about getting it wrong and not being able to salvage my cross stitching. I looked at various purse making tutorials on line. The scariest thing was not having a pattern to match my frame. Unless you buy a kit you have to make it up as you go along and I've never used a metal purse frame before. I probably should have used fabric first and then my embroidery, but I didn't!

It took me a while to decide whether to use a frame in which you glue your work or a frame to which you stitch your work. In the end I decided to use a 'glue in' frame because I liked the invisible join of fabric and metal.

I bought two new gold coloured 6.5cm purse frames in an ebay auction for less than £2! I already had my favourite UHU fabric glue in my sewing tools. The rest was trial and error and guess work!

I embroidered the front of the purse with a small bear, snow and two different types of tree from LHN 'Bear Tree Forest'. 

For the back I chose part of an LHN design called 'Woodland Sampler.' It fits well with my Trees and Cardinal set and the Bears as it features a fir tree branch a Cardinal, Squirrel and Rabbit with snowflakes.

I 'squared off' the corners and lined the inside with the same sage green linen that I've used before. I added a handmade label as a finishing touch. 

This is a first for me! I've learnt a lot and there are a few things that I would do differently but overall, I am very pleased with the result. It can comfortably fit my thimble, my gold stork scissors, my beeswax, Needle Case, Handmade Needle Threader and Magnetic Needle Rests. 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Bear Pin Cushion

I wanted to make a large pin cushion and so this time I stitched a big bear and two snow laden trees on a ground of snow. 

It is backed with the same sage green linen as the needle case. I was going to leave the sides plain but now I've made it I am thinking about adding some decoration! I'm just not sure yet. 

I'll have a think while I work on the next Bear accessory. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Bear Case for Sewing Tools

For the front, I stitched a small bear and three trees on a ground full of snow.

The closure is a gem bead and a hand sewn loop.

The back features three trees and more snow.

The inside is made of plain sage green linen without decoration and I put a thin layer of padding inside so that the tools can be inserted directly into the case without having to add another layer.

Now I just have to make the tools!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Trees and Cardinal Magnetic Needle Rests

I've made two magnetic needle rests to add to the set. They are too small to feature Bears so I've used snow laden trees and a Cardinal. 

The smallest magnetic needle rest features a tiny tree. I've pictured it with a 20p coin so that you can get a better idea of the size. It is designed to sit on my magnetic pattern frame without obscuring the pattern. 

The second is larger and features a cardinal on a fir tree branch. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

More Prarie Finishes

I stitched these Prarie miniatures over Easter and i've now finished them as tiny lavender sachets.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Prairie Finishes

Regular readers will know how much I love stitching but hate finishing cross stitch smalls so I am really pleased to report that I've finally finished the two patterns that I stitched over Easter as Lavender sachets. 

I wish I could share the heavenly scent with you. I was very generous with the Lavender!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Trees and Cardinals

Before starting to stitch 'Bear Tree Forest' I decided to make two small accessories, just to see how the snow looked on the newly dyed linen. I think the dye job was successful as the snow is clearly visible.

The sweet little Cardinals and Tree are taken from a Christmas ornament called 'Christmas Cottage' designed by Belinda Karls-Nace of Blue Ribbon Designs.  

Both items are stitched in DMC threads on 30 count linen. The lining is sage green linen. The tassel and the cord is handmade.

The bigger piece is a Needle Case and the smaller piece is a handmade Needle Threader. I chose Cardinals and Trees as they fit well with 'Bear Tree Forest.'

This is a first for me -  A Handmade Needle Threader.

Needle Case - Front

Needle Case Inside 

I used thin padding so that the case has a nice feel but is not too bulky to close. It also means the needles can be inserted into the case directly.

Needle Case - Back

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Dyeing to Start

I am about to start stitching my new pattern 'Bear Tree Forest' using DMC threads and fabric from my stash.

Upon investigation I discovered that my stash of fabric consisted of black, blue and cream aida of differing counts and 30 count cream linen. I've decided to use the cream linen for this project but I'm afraid that the snow won't show up. 

The solution, dye the linen slightly darker! 

I don't drink tea and so I decided to use coffee as a dye. I used two tablespoons of instant coffee in a sink of water for 15 minutes. I kept an eye on it because I didn't want the colour to go too dark. 

When I was happy with the colour I hand washed the fabric with a gentle soap and left it to dry on the line. This is the result....

The linen at the front is the linen dyed with coffee. The linen at the back with the edges stitched is the original colour. 

Hand washing the fabric before stitching has removed all trace of the smell of coffee and ensured that the colour doesn't run.

Now I am ready to cut the linen to size, blanket stitch the edges and start stitching.

Monday, 2 June 2014

LHN Pattern

I thought I'd celebrate a new week and a new month with a new pattern! 

I've wanted this pattern called 'Bear Tree Forest' for quite a while. It is just hard to justify buying patterns when I have so many already but I just couldn't resist these bears. 

This will be my new project.