Hand Embroidery

It's the Craftster Pick of the Week - brought to you by Mr X Stitch!

Time for another look at some of the great work featured in the forums at Craftster. Note: Although they’re the pick of this week, they may have appeared before this week.

Elderflower's Glow In The Dark Blackwork Map of Africa

Elderflower created a fantastic map of Africa that not only contains some seriously great pattern usage but also glows in the dark! Does that make it glowinthedarkwork?

Elderflower's Glow In The Dark Blackwork Map of Africa (detail)

Here’s a process shot that Elderflower shared in her original Craftster post (which is really worth a read). Be sure to come back next time for another great pick from the forums!

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Stitchgasm – Karen Barbe

by Jamie Chalmers on 14 September 2014

It's another Stitchgasm from Mr X Stitch - the home of contemporary embroidery

I’m loving Karen Barbe‘s cool embroidered potholders – a great piece of domestitchery.

Karen Barbe - Potholders III

It’s a great design and the potholder looks robust enough to do the job properly.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, Karen recently wrote a post about how to wash your hand embroidery and I thought it was worth sharing. Here’s the visuals:

Karen Barbe - How To Wash Embroidery

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Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Bonjour! After what, I’ll hope you’ll agree, has been a lovely bit of crafty globe trotting of late here at ‘Exploring Etsy’ it’s time for another creative staycation. So it is with great honour I share with you, the work of UK based designer Jane Smallcombe whose Etsy shop ‘Applique Originals’ is bursting with colourful creations to delight you all.

Snowscape Brooches by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Snowscape Brooches by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

 

Peacock Felt Picture by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Peacock Felt Picture by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

After a lifetime of making gifts and commissions for friends Jane launched ‘Applique Originals’ in 2006 with a range of brooches, going from strength to strength ever since. Continuing to flourish, expanding her design range to include stunning collections of jewellery, homewares and children’s toys, lovingly crafted by hand in England, each item is truly a unique work of art. As well the shop, ‘Applique Originals’ has also exhibited in galleries and is currently working on a forthcoming joint exhibition with a fellow textile designer.

Lion Cushion by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Lion Cushion by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

 

Stitch detail  by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Stitch detail by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

Making a felt elephant at junior school with sequin and hand stitched embellishment – I still have it!

Vintage Bouquet Brooch by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Vintage Bouquet Brooch by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

I believe inspiration can emerge through a variety of forms. Many of my pieces and colour schemes are derived from nature but I am also a huge fan of pinterest.

I always have a frustrating backlog of ideas that I long to fulfil but in such a busy world it is hard to find the time to initiate new pieces. I am not a planner – I am instinctive. I tend to sit down with a palette of felt and embroidery cottons and begin to cut and sew without a drawing to hand.

Stitched Collection by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Stitched Collection by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

I find Jane’s exquisite use of colour utterly captivating, my eyes can’t help but delight in all of her exquisite combinations. The pieces featured in this post barely scratch the surface of all the goodies out there in her shop for all to enjoy, so why not head over there now, fair warning you may get sucked into a time vortex, I’ve found time seems to travel quicker there!

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Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.

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It began in the late 1800s, peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, and found a resurgence in the 2010s. That’s a nice run for a math lesson involving thread. I’m talking about string art: arranging threads between various points to create geometric patterns, shapes, and designs.

Today, many of us don’t even like math, er, I mean, many of us make string art for the patterns and colors rather than for the geometry. I dabbled in it during my Girl Scout years, then started pinning and following string art Instagrams last year when the home decor magazines brought it back in style. I didn’t really pick it up again, however, until Doug Kreinik showed me his latest creation: metallic thread string art. This was different from any string art I’d seen, and not because of new patterns and designs. It was the thread that made it unique: it was shiny thread not plain yarn. Doug started showing his metallic string art models to designer friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Wow.”

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (specifically, Medium #16 Braid).

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (Medium #16 Braid and Heavy #32 Braid, www.kreinik.com).

Since then, I’ve spent many evenings stringing my metallic heart away. Metallic thread string art is more vibrant than yarn string art, but not garish. It marries child-like colored lines with a grown-up finish. It somehow encapsulates rudimentary form and modern tech. It’s geeky, retro, yet current. It’s so eye-catching, it surprises you. Can you tell I’m a convert? It slices, it dices, does your taxes and calls your mother. Well, not really, but you get the idea: it’s something fun and different. You are going to have to try it, trust me. It’s one of the freshest trends in thread that I’ve seen in a long time.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Kreinik (the thread company out of Parkersburg, West Virginia) developed a line of String Art On Canvas kits as a result of the growing interest in metallic thread string art. Instead of needing hammer, nails, and wood, not-to-mention carrying that around as a cumbersome embroidery project, these kits are compact and portable. This is free-form embroidery with metallic threads on a gauze-like canvas. The gauze gives stability to the design, plus makes it like a patch that you can attach to any surface.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads. The string art is created on a gauze-like canvas, cut out, and attached to surfaces using double-sided tape.

The kits include everything you need to make one design, including outlines, canvas, needle, thread and reusable embroidery hoop. There are no rules, no limits, just color in the outline. I can stitch one in about two hours if I’m really engrossed in the game/show/movie I’m watching. The Kreinik kits include glow-in-the-dark threads, which adds another layer of fun to the project.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add a fun dimension to string art.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add another level to string art creations. This bat design is from the new Halloween set in the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kit series.

I demonstrated metallic thread string art at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival last month. Kids and teens LOVED it. I mean, couldn’t stop doing them, begged their parents for them. For some it was the first time they’d held a needle and thread. I’d say two out of five adults had trouble with the “free form” concept (“No charts to follow? I don’t know if I can do that?”), and one parent even told their child, “You’re doing it wrong” (yikes, poor child, and there’s no way to do string art incorrectly). Once they tried it, they embraced the freedom. Funny, how hard it is to let creativity loose once we “grow up.”

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads.

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads. The gauze provides a stabilizing background for the stitches but also creates the sense of a “floating” design.

Your mission is to explore the exciting world of metallic thread string art: to seek out free-form creativity with random stitches, to boldly stitch on something you may not have tried before. You can go here for more information on Kreinik’s starter kits. Stitch long and prosper.

P.S. It’s so much fun to be on this stitch-and-embroidery voyage together. Happy 6th birthday www.mrxstitch.com.

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Mr X