Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Hoop Hoopla

My latest foray into creating new and exciting items for my Etsy shop is hoopart.  Based on trends in my Instagram feed by other extremely creative embroidery artists and stitchers, it appears to be quite a popular, modern and artistic form of home decor.  So with that in mind I thought it was worth using my own cross stitch designs in wooden hoops on a range of different coloured evenweave fabrics to gauge the effect.  And...I am not disappointed.

I have chronicled the process -

A beautiful grey-swirl evenweave fabric from Sew-it-All was chosen to complement the vivid red colours of the striking Sturt Desert Pea.  The fabric was first machine-edged to prevent fraying whilst stitching and then placed firmly in the hoop before tightening to keep tautly in place.  The relaxing job of stitching the design then began. 

Once finished, I used the 'measure twice/three times - cut once' rule (and a good dose of dutch courage!) to cut a 2cm edge around the outside hoop edge which was enough for folding over into the back of the inside of the hoop with a little extra allowed for tucking under.  As I wanted the wrong side of my work to be covered, I devised a method where a piece of wadding was cut to the size of the inside of the hoop as well as a plain black cotton fabric - with an extra 1-1/2cm added all round the circumference.  A tacking stitch was then used around the edge of the black cotton and slightly pulled in to evenly encase the wadding.

It was then just a case of folding the evenweave fabric over the back of the hoop and placing the black encased wadding into the open space, pinning the two fabrics together at close intervals to keep in place (I could've used half a dozen hands here) and then neatly slip-stitching together.  

This is now a stable piece of work and with the addition of complementary narrow black ribbon attached to the screw top, ready for hanging on a wall in an area of the home that needs a little bit of brightening and cheering up.

This is the first hoop in a series yet to be stitched in preparation for the next Hustlin' Womens Markets on April 8 where I will be having another stall.  


'Home is the nicest word there is'.  -  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Design Release - Geraldton Wax

Welcome to February.

So happy to be able to release a new design today which I have just finished working on and that is of the Geraldton Wax which, as the name suggests, is endemic to Western Australia.  It's a beautiful and hardy medium to large shrub bearing either white, pink or purple blooms and aromatic leaves and can grow to a height of 4 metres which, as you can imagine, would look just spectacular when in flower en masse.  I can only imagine the fragrance too.  This also makes the plant highly attractive to bees and pollinating insects.  The petals have a unique circular shape which are separated from each other and quite robustly formed.  

Image result for geraldton wax white

The Geraldton Wax is a well known Australian native flower and extensively used in the cut flower industry for its beauty and longevity.  Many years ago when I was doing floral work, Geraldton Wax was pretty much the only standard 'fill-in' flower for arrangements and bridal bouquets - as well as Gypsophilia (Baby's Breath).  Sprigs would be used in corsages and buttonholes to complement the bride's and bridesmaid's bouquet.  What I do remember most about working with the flower was its rustic and heady fragrance and the almost woody feel of the stem in comparison to other more fragile flowers. Today native flower bridal bouquets are quite popular and with such an array of beautiful native flora on the market, it's great to see the Geraldton Wax has stood the test of time.

My design is 64 x 76mm (2.5 x 3in) in dimension when using 14/inch fabric or 35 x 42 stitches.  It uses 8 colours and double strands for the stem and needle-like leaves to give the impression of strength and robustness.  Both stem and leaves are stitched using filament threading whereby a single thread of two different shades or colours are threaded in the needle and then stitched together as one.  Small french knots for the centre of the flower and larger and thicker french knots for buds complete the design. 

As with all my designs, instructions are clearly set out on all kits and charts and available now on my website.  In time, this design will be stitched as an item and listed in my Etsy shop.  I feel as though the shape of the design could lend itself quite well as a needlebook and look quite pretty on complementary evenweave and contrasting cotton.  What a great excuse to buy more fabric!!


'If you love life, life will love you back' - Arthur Rubenstein