Hand Embroidery

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by Mr X on 1 July 2015

xstitchersofinstagram, curated and shot by Mr X Stitch

Love this #amypoehler hand embroidery from @holeysocksart
・・・
I’m loving how this turned out!
#fanart #embroidery #institches #hoopart #needlework #portrait #celebrity #mothernature #dmcfloss #surfaceembroidery #lostart #art #regram #mrxstitch via The Mr X Stitch official Instagram http://ift.tt/1R3M8lh Follow us on http://ift.tt/1GckNXo and @mrxstitch you pics to share your stitchy ‘grams with us! #xstitchersofinstagram #mrxstitch

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Nuido It Yourself - Japanese Embroidery with Madeline Scharpf

 

When I started Nudio-it-Yourself, a whole year ago, Bunka was the the first technique I wanted to show you. I got a little sidetracked with other ideas, as I often do, and didn’t get around to making up my mind about a kit and needle. So, in honor of Nuido-it-Yourself’s first birthday, I bought my column the Bunka kit it’s always wanted.

 

It's puppy time!

It’s puppy time!

 

What the funka is Bunka, anyway? Essentially, Bunka is punch needle embroidery. The difference between needle punch and Bunka is the thread you use. Needle punch uses typical embroidery floss, such as DMC, where Bunka uses Kao yarn. Kao yarn looks and behaves completely different from your typical embroidery floss. Kao yarn is a knitted thread and it doesn’t need to be separated like embroidery floss but it does need to be unraveled.

 

Pull gently to preserve kink.

Pull gently to preserve kink.

 

Bunka kits come in either Matsuhato or Tokyo Fluffy. Matsuhato have a bit of a raised dimension, but are considered flat. They often depict traditional Japanese scenes or flowers. Fluffy Bunka is just like the name sounds. The stitches are brushed with a fluffy brush, giving the piece a fur effect. All the fluffy kits I’ve seen, so far, are of cute little animals like puppies, kittens, foxes and pandas. Fluffy kits are super kitschy, like they belong with some 60’s Big Eye art and we all totally needed one.

 

Example of Matsuhato

Example of Matsuhato

 

Your Bunka kit should come with pre-printed fabric, any accessories, like eyes, and enough thread to finish the project. The fabric is printed with your image and numbers indicating which color of yarn to use, paint-by-numbers style. What doesn’t come with the kit is your Bunka needle, a long needle threader, a hoop or stretcher bars and a fluffy brush. A fluffy brush is only needed if you’re making fluffy Bunka. You don’t need one for Matsuhato. I recommend buying an adjustable Bunka needle, that way you can use it for fluffy or flat projects. When you’re making a fluffy project, you want the needle at the longest possible setting in order to achieve maximum fluffiness. Your new needle should come with a long needle threader and an instruction booklet about how to Bunka. I got mine from BunkaCraft Embroidery.

 

Stuff to buy

Stuff to buy

 

There are a few websites that sell Bunka kits and supplies. You can even find some on Ebay and Etsy. You may find that Bunka is rather rare. There aren’t tons of sites to choose from and YouTube has very little to offer in the way of Bunka information. It seems like the young, video savvy, blog-tastic youth haven’t caught on to this somewhat aggressive form of needlework. Don’t be fooled by it’s lack of popularity, Bunka is seriously fun and anyone, regardless of skill level, can enjoy this project. Here’s a helpful video I found.

 

What comes in the kit

What comes in the kit

 

I did have a bit of trouble finding information about how to Bunka. In fact, I nearly gave up because it just wasn’t clicking for me, at first. Here’s a few things I learned along the way.

 

      1. Fluffy Bunka is worked on the printed side, turned over and brushed on the underside. So the bottom is the top, in the end. You don’t have to trace your image on the other side. Just know that the finished image is reversed from the side you’re working on.


        I fill in all the spaces for each color before moving on to the next.

        I fill in all the spaces for each color before moving on to the next.

         

        I had to test out the brush, but you'll probably want to finish the entire project before you brush

        I had to test out the brush, but you’ll probably want to finish the entire project before you brush

         

      1. I chose to use a hoop instead of stretcher bars, so be sure to get a hoop large enough to work the entire image because the product is thick and won’t secure well if the stitches are under the hoop edge.
      2. If your stitches aren’t staying, then your fabric may not be taunt enough, you may have forgotten to unravel more thread or there’s tension coming off the bobbin.
      3. It helps if you have nails when you’re picking at the end of a new thread to fray it.
      4. The thread follows behind the direction you’re working. Rotate the needle to change directions.
      5. To begin, wrap all the Kao yarn in the skein around a bobbin and work off the bobbin.
      6. Be careful while working in your lap. I stabbed my thigh plenty of times.
      7. Tape around your finished image before brushing it. The brush will damage the fabric. I was lazy and didn’t tape, it’s very disappointing.
      8. Brushing takes time. I found folding the fabric to expose the knots helps.
      9.  Don’t over brush. It will turn from fur to fluff.


        Pinch between fingers to expose the knots

        Pinch between fingers to expose the knots.

         

 

Part brushed, part not.

Part brushed, part not.

 

Bunka works up quickly and is far more forgiving than common embroidery. No hours are spent tenderly picking out stitches who’ve done you wrong and no concerns about breaking or fraying threads. If you break a thread in Bunka, just re-thread your needle and keep punching away. Bunka is enormously satisfying. Fraying the Kao yarn is like frogging a crochet project without the dismay and you get to stabby-stabby-stabby like you haven’t a care in the world.

 

Done!

Done!

 

My next Fluffy Bunka will be stitching a kitten onto a denim jacket. Imagine the effects and depth you could add to your typical embroidery project! Hair! Clouds! Don’t brush it and you end you end up with crazy easy bullion knots! I’d love to see more Bunka on the internet. If you have any questions about your project, I’m here to help. Just put your question in the comments!

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Madeline Scharpf

When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things and staying sunny in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. You can keep up with Madeline’s endless fiber projects and find her travel blog at www.madelinewonderland.com

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Craft + Activism = Craftivist Collective

Craftivist campaign launches after survey shows 17 percent of British shoppers would shop more often at Marks & Spencers if it paid a Living Wage.

The Craftivist Collective is joining forces with ShareAction’s AGM Army this summer to press UK retailers to pay a Living Wage. The campaigners are coordinating a series of “stitch-ins” at branches of Marks & Spencers across the UK, for crafters to sew hand-made messages onto M&S handkerchiefs, to be delivered to the board, celebrity endorsers, and major shareholders of the British retail giant at its annual general meeting at Wembley Stadium on July 7th.

Craftivist stitch-in for a Living Wage at M&S LONDON - photos by PollyBraden.com

Craftivist stitch-in for a Living Wage at M&S LONDON – photos by PollyBraden.com

An online poll shows 17 percent of British shoppers would shop more often at Marks & Spencers if it paid staff a Living Wage. (Source: Opinium survey, 12th – 16th June 2015, based on 2002 online interviews across the UK).

The first “stitch-in” will take place on June 22 in London at 6:30 pm outside the Marks & Spencers on Liverpool Road, N1 0PR. Another “stitch-in” is scheduled for June 24 in Cardiff, another in Brighton on June 29, and another in Milton Keynes 30th. There will also be stitch-ins in Lincoln, Edinburgh and Birmingham amongst others.

The idea of the “stitch-ins” is to show M&S that in addition to major shareholders with billions of pounds under management, its core customer base is also fully engaged and supportive on the issue of the Living Wage, and that they expect the company to show leadership on this basic fairness issue.

Craftivist Gemma Morrison with her hanky and handwritten letter for M&S board member Alison Brittain - photos by PollyBraden.com

Craftivist Gemma Morrison with her hanky and handwritten letter for M&S board member Alison Brittain – photos by PollyBraden.com

Each unique hand-stitched hanky encourages board directors of M&S to commit to paying the Living Wage of £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the UK to all staff. This is a part of ShareAction’s campaign in partnership with Citizens UK to achieve the Living Wage across the FTSE 100 through shareholder activism. Nearly a quarter of FTSE 100 companies have now accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, but no high street retailer has yet signed up.
ShareAction has organised AGM questions on the Living Wage at more than 20 company AGMs so far this year.

ShareAction is simultaneously mobilising an Investor Collaborative for the Living Wage made up of institutional shareholders with billions of pounds in British companies, including asset managers, pension funds, charity and faith investors. These large shareholders have written in 2015 to all of the FTSE 100, including M&S, in support of the Living Wage.

Crafters will be giving M&S handkerchiefs with personalised positive messages stitched into them to all 14 board members of M&S, as well as to its largest shareholders, and to the 2014 celebrities who feature in the company’s ad campaign: Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Alex Wek, Rita Ora, Dowreen Lawrence, Lulu Kennedy, and Rachel Khoo.
Craftivist Natasha Peters with her bespoke hanky for Andy Halford, board member of M&S - photos by PollyBraden.com

They will also be handing out 250 special handkerchief craft kits with a Living Wage message printed on them to shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting, so that shareholders can stitch too, to encourage themselves to support the Living Wage. These kits include an ethical hanky, needle and thread, instructions, and a briefing note on investment risk.
M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland is paid £2.1million a year. Last year, his company refused to consider a Living Wage at its Annual General Meeting. Later, at a meeting with campaigners, the company again refused to consider paying the Living Wage.

Young Craftivist with bespoke hanky for Martha Lane fox made by craftivist Sarah Corbett - photos by PollyBraden.com

Young Craftivist with bespoke hanky for Martha Lane Fox made by craftivist Sarah Corbett – photos by PollyBraden.com

Sarah Corbett, founder of the Craftivist Collective, said: “Marks & Spencer is supposed to be a company with solid values threaded through all that they do, which include paying your workers fairly. We’re sending the board and shareholders these carefully hand-stitched handkerchiefs to encourage the company not to ‘blow’ their chance to support life-changing decisions.”

Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareAction says: “This craftivist initiative at the M&S AGM is nothing to ‘sniff at’. Sarah and her amazing stitchers are devoting hours to creating gifts the M&S board we hope will treasure and remember forever. People adore M&S but they want to see the company step up and become a Living Wage employer. The many big shareholders backing this call know it makes business sense as well as being the right thing to do.”

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#xstitchersofinstagram

by Mr X on 23 June 2015

xstitchersofinstagram, curated and shot by Mr X Stitch

I bet Kimika Hara’s dog won’t dig holes in my lawn! Not like my #ninjadog! rassum frassum… #handembroidery #mrxstitch via The Mr X Stitch official Instagram http://ift.tt/1N6JxAQ Follow us on http://ift.tt/1GckNXo and @mrxstitch you pics to share your stitchy ‘grams with us! #xstitchersofinstgram #mrxstitch

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