Posts Tagged ‘embroidery’

The complete lack of recent posts about embroidery might give you the impression that I don’t do it any more.  I promise that’s not the case at all!  I’m still beavering away at my knitting needle roll/bag/thing, which has planned embroidery elements, still reading upon blackwork and redwork and different stitch techniques, I’ve just had nothing worth showing off in a while!

But I do still love embroidery, which is why I thought I should remind everyone that May is the month that Urban Threads celebrates it’s birthday – and they just announced a site-wide sale on all embroidery designs!

Personally, I’m a big fan of their design packs.  The packs are 25% off, while individual designs are 50% off, but the packs are already cheaper per-design, so now is a great time to pick up your favourites!  It’s an especially good opportunity if you’re a hand-embroiderer like me – their hand-embroidery versions of the designs are only $0.50 each, which works out something like 30p per design.

I’ve picked up the Blackthorn and Elven Court design packs.  I’ve already got most of their others – the Nordic Majesty and Clockwork Magic packs were early favourites of mine – and I’d had my eye on these two since they came out.  I also picked out their standalone design, the Hops and Grain crest.  I’m a big lover of earthy designs incorporating plants, so this and the buckthorn designs were no-brainers for me.  But actually, Urban Threads are pretty good all-round if you’re Pagan, and they’ve got designs featuring symbology from Norse Paganism, Wicca, Celtic Paganism, Druidry, Eastern religions and all sorts.  Not only that, but they’re Yuletide Revelry pack features Christmas designs that manage to display a little Christian theology while still looking appropriate for both Pagan and Secular homes!

Oddly, the design categories only seem to have a tiny sampling of designs that quality – “Pagan” as a category only has two pages of designs, and yet not only does it not include the Ankh designs, Hugin and Munin or the Vegvisir, it also only contains one or two items from entire design packs dedicated to Pagan spirituality.  So your best bet really is to just search every category and save every new, useful pattern to your favourites – you never know where it’ll disappear to later on.


Anyway, enough blathering on.  There’s a sale on!  Go!  Go!

DSCN0047 DSCN0052 DSCN0053 DSCN0054Just some quick WIP photos of the January pages.


I’m making good progress on the entry for January!  The sampler is pretty much done, and I’m just finishing up the text on it.  Found a lovely blue and white striped fabric in my stash which helped with the nautical themed colours to fix the sampler onto, and I’ll probably use the same fabric as the base for my diary page, so the two will match.

My concept for the diary page is pretty much entirely settled now.  I’ve made a few different sketches, and I’m confident I know what I’m doing with it.  As soon as I make decent headway embroidering that page I’ll share it here, too.


I also have a broad theme figured out for February.  Good things are happening now, and I want February’s entry to be all about that.  I’ve been selling some of my writing, my mother is in the UK for a long-overdue visit and I might be getting a chance at a job – albeit only part time, and only for 3 months, but it’s something to put on my CV!  So February entry is going to be all about the good things we’re working towards in this house.

I’m not yet certain what stitch I want to focus on for the February sampler.  Maybe chain stitch, since like buttonhole/blanket stitch it has so many fun variations.  I think my favourites are alternating barred chain and wheatear stitch, but it’d be interesting to see what other variations there are.  I know I’ve never yet done any of the textural, thick variations.

Watch this space!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m working on an embroidered diary for 2013, as a way to learn new stitches, and to help expand my understanding of stitches I already know.  This month, I’m tackling blanket stitch and it’s relatives in the blanket and buttonhole stitch family, and I’ve made good progress on the sampler page.   Aided, of course, by my totally helpful and not-at-all aggravating cats.

Curious Kitten

I’m helping!

At first, the plan was just to do a circular sampler very plain, with lines of different stitches.  However, around the point where I started playing with a buttonhole wheel, which rapidly became a buttonhole cup, I realised how much they look like the suckers you get on tentacles and thus, inspiration struck.  The backing fabric is white cotton.  Tentacles are felt applique, fixed to the backing using plain blanket stitch, and the suckers are, of course, buttonhole cups.

Yellow thread is hard to photograph well


The suckers on the tentacles aren’t quite as good as the first, blue, one I made, but I like the look.  I’m going to play with more kinds of buttonhole stitch for the tentacles to try and give the appearance of the suckers facing towards or away from the viewer.

The rest of the piece is fairly simple.  First row is blanket stitch.  Second is buttonhole stitch, which looks very similar until you notice the tiny knots holding the thread tight.  This is followed by Rosette of Thorns, a simple stitch worked by varying the length and angle of stitches in blanket stitch.  Below that are some raised buttonhole bars and a buttonhole cup.

Stitch Close-up

Stitch Close-up

The next row is Berwick stitch, and I realised after starting it that I really should have completed that row before the Rosette of Thorns, as it’s similarity to buttonhole stitch, only differentiated because of the different style of knot, makes it harder to tell them apart when separated like that.  Next is a whipped variation of double-rows of blanket stitch, called Barb stitch.  Followed by the related up-and-down blanket stitch and the German knotted blanket stitch, and finally a grid of blanket stitch honeycomb.

Tentacles Tentacles Tentacles!

Overall View


I’m going to add more details to the tentacles, some more suckers, but the sampler stitches are almost done.  The circular piece is going to be incorporated into a square page, with more blanket stitch in the borders.  Overall, I’m pleased with how this turned out, although some of the variations I’m less familiar with did not turn out terribly neat (I’m looking at you, honeycomb!).  But with samplers like this, perfection isn’t as important as just achieving an accurate example of the stitch for future reference.

Besides, it’s also given me ideas for the diary page for this month.  I think having a dark, eldritch horror of tentacles as the thing representing all the bad of 2012 will work well, and let me play creatively with blanket stitch on the page.

I’m currently working on design concepts for my embroidered diary entry for January.  Each entry will include one sampler page illustrating a new stitch I’ve learned, and an embroidered picture or diary entry relating to the month.

2012 was kind of a rubbish year at the Whipped Witch house, so my entry for January 2013 is going to focus on leaving all of the old, bad things behind us and looking forward.  I have most of the concept down, but still have a few things to iron out.

Image:  Winter scene.  Grey sky, snowy ground.  Pine trees in background.  Me, the Mister and our cats walking off to the right.  May put pots and pans in our hands, calling back to the old tradition of banging pans and making noise to drive out evil spirits on New Year’s Eve.  To the left, a mess of something that represents all the bad stuff.  Maybe a defeated dragon, or just some dark and foreboding embroidered tendrils.  Haven’t quite figured that bit out.  Or I might have us circling the mess of something with our pans, to more directly show us driving it out.

Text:  January 2013.  2012 was shit.  Roll on the new year.*

I’m probably going to go for a felt appliqué design since it has a thick, Wintery feel to it, although the sampler page will be on cotton, for simplicity.  I’m planning on playing with buttonhole stitch for the sampler, and it’ll be fun to see how I can then incorporate the stitch into the diary page.

*The text I’ve chosen feels a bit flat and lifeless, and although it kind of reflects how tired and down I feel at the end of 2012, it doesn’t really reflect the attitude I want to have going forward.  Will almost certainly end up changing it.