Hand Embroidery

It's Blast From The Past From Mr X Stitch

‘Ello! This weeks BFTP comes from starrley and is of the amazing worm from the film Labyrinth!

 

This embroidery was originally featured in Lord Libidan’s Sprite Stitch Best Bits in June 2012! You can see the full post here.

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Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Wood, glorious wood is what today’s ‘Exploring Etsy’ is all about and what happens when you introduce it to the wonders of those lovely stitched x’s we all affectionately know as cross stitch. Well when you have a talented crafter, who has a fabulous eye for colour and pattern, the possibilities are endless. Coincidentally, it just so happens that today’s featured seller Kerri Kokias is one such crafter, whose shop ‘Stitch Redux’ is glorious!

Color Blocked Diamond Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Color Blocked Diamond Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Color Blocked Chevron Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Color Blocked Chevron Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Kerri is a stay-at-home mom, writer and stitcher living in Seattle, Washington. Her modern wall hangings are a vibrant and playful exploration of cross stitch. Her exquisite eye for colour really draws your eye and makes a wonderful contrast against the gorgeous wood grains. As well as her fabulous shop it’s also worth checking out her instagram which is chock full of all the latest developments in her creative explorations.

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging (detail) by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging (detail) by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Chevron Wall Hanging (detail) by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Chevron Wall Hanging (detail) by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

I learned to cross stitch at 13 when I went to visit my aunt in New York City. I flew by myself for the first time from the suburbs of Colorado to the big city. My aunt wanted to show me EVERYTHING and I was overwhelmed with the crowds and running around nonstop. One day, towards the end of the trip, we stayed home to make a scrap book of our adventures. My aunt had the idea that I cross stitch an apple for the cover of the scrap book to represent “The Big Apple.” I remember having opposing feelings while doing it. I was simultaneously intrigued with how all these little x’s came together to form a picture, but overwhelmed with how many little x’s I needed to sew. I was frustrated that my floss kept tangling and knotting, but impressed that my aunt could fix it. At one point, I lost count of my stitches and needed to remove a row. I was so discouraged to have to remove these eight or ten x’s I’d worked so meticulously to sew. I remember feeling disappointed that I didn’t finish the piece in time to put it on the scrapbook before leaving town, but in the end I was terribly proud of myself for creating this picture out of a scrap of cloth and bits of string.

Cross Pattern Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Cross Pattern Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Opposing Triangles Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Chevron Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Chevron Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

Words! Colors! Patterns! Texture! I get inspired by looking at various types of surface and textile design, fiber art, and quilt patterns. When I fall asleep at night I often have words and colors popping up and pairing in my head, forming random phrases and palettes.

Native Pattern Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Native Pattern Wall Hanging by Stitch Redux (Hand Embroidery)

Before I pop off and start the hunt all over again for more delights for the next instalment I wanted to share a bit of my own happy news. I’m very excited to announce that two of my own embroidery pieces are going to part of Islington Arts Factory Summer Salon exhibition. So if you should happen to find yourself in dear old London town between 12th June and 3rd July I’d love it if you popped along and took a peak! Until we meet again my lovely readers….

Islington Arts Factory - Summer Salon 2015

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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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Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

When life gets a bit stressful, putting together a new edition of ‘Exploring Etsy’ for all you lovely readers is a perfect remedy. There’s nothing quite like celebrating all that amazing crafty talent on Etsy for putting a smile back on your face, it certainly helps that in my humble opinion crafters are some of the kindest people out there. Today’s featured maker Candy Barnes is no exception, owner of not one but two fantastic Etsy shops ‘Candykins Crafts’ and ‘Heartful Stitches’. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the wonderful ‘Heartful Stitches’.

French Knot Heart Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

French Knot Heart Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Impressionist Landscape Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Impressionist Landscape Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Based in Brisbane, Australia Candy is a busy mum of three young children between 7 months and 5 years of age. She rediscovered her love of stitching when her second child was a baby and at the time launched her first shop ‘Candykins Crafts’. Her second shop ‘Heartful Stitches’ was born out of her desire to support a charitable organisation that had been incredibly helpful to her family when they were in hospital with their youngest child. Her little girl born, with multiple heart defects, required life-saving open heart surgery at just one week old. Thankfully after spending her first month in hospital she is now a happy and healthy baby giving her whole family joy on a daily basis! Twenty percent of the proceeds from each sale at ‘Heartful Stitches’ goes to HeartKids QLD, so not only can you treat yourself to stunning work you can also get a kick knowing that some of your money is going to a truly worthy cause.

Custom Child's Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Custom Child’s Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Custom Child's Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Custom Child’s Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Custom Child's Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Custom Child’s Artwork Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

My Mum taught me to stitch when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I have wonderful memories of sitting by the fireplace with my mother and sisters, all of us stitching. While I look back on these memories with rose-coloured glasses, I’m sure there were plenty of arguments and dummy-spits over knots and tangles.

French Knot Bouquet Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

French Knot Bouquet Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

French Knot Bouquet Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

French Knot Bouquet Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

Many of the designs for Heartful Stitches came out of a personal project that I am working on – a postage stamp quilt. It is my first attempt at making a quilt, and I am hand embroidering many one inch squares with designs that represent something of sentimental importance to our family. The cycling couple, lighthouse and french knot bouquet were designed in this way. Other pieces, like the impressionistic landscape were inspired by the beautiful, bold colours of nature. I love using variegated threads, and starting a piece without knowing what it is going to be and just seeing what develops as I add colours. I also love creating variety in texture by using different types of stitches. This kind of exploratory work can end up with a piece that I am not happy with, but I enjoy the process as much as the end result. I find it incredibly therapeutic.

Lighthouse Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Lighthouse Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Cycling Couple Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

Cycling Couple Pendant by Heartful Stitches (Hand Embroidery)

‘Heartful Stitches’ is full of one of a kind or limited edition pendant necklaces that are all exquisite and full of joy. For something with that extra personal touch Candy can also custom stitch children’s artwork in a pendant for you!

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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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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Have you ever walked up to a painting in a museum, a quilt in an exhibit, or a relief on a building, and thought: “Wow, how did they do that?” I responded that way when I saw needlepoint designer Gay Ann Rogers’ newest project, The Young Catherine. An artist’s vision, technique, ability, and the finished art itself inspires and touches us as humans regardless of the medium. You and I are stitchers—all ages and skill levels—connected by common stitches and shared passion, so I know you will enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the design and designer. She adds layers to our favorite stitches, mixes in beautiful fibers, and teaches us that it’s ok to reach for the stars in our projects.

Take a read through this interview with Gay Ann Rogers, a wonderful lady and designer I’ve known for many years. The Young Catherine is extraordinary (“exemplary & bloody amazing” says one stitcher on Instagram who is “currently #losingmysh!% over it!”), yet not out of reach; Gay Ann offers complete instructions/chart/diagrams in a kit, and will be teaching the project via the Shining Needle Society, an online needlework group.

The Young Catherine needlepoint by Gay Ann Rogers

Gay Ann Rogers’ newest needlepoint design is of The Young Catherine. The project combines history and a classic medium with modern fibers and the hot layering-stitch trend in textile art. For more information on The Young Catherine or Gay Ann Rogers, visit http://www.gayannrogers.com/

Q: What inspired you to create this design?

Gay Ann: About five years ago I designed and stitched a portrait of Elizabeth 1. You can find it on my Gay Ann Rogers website, I think. It was a very successful project for me back then and my followers wanted me to do another big one. They wanted me to do Henry Vlll but I wanted to do another powerful woman. My husband suggested Catherine the Great. The style of the two portraits is so different, having to do in part with the evolution of painting in the 200 years between the two.

Q: How long did it take to design The Young Catherine?

Gay Ann: From first stroke of pencil on a drawing pad to last stitch on the piece it took me just about 6 weeks. I stitched her last summer.

Q: Why did you choose Congress Cloth for this piece instead of linen or canvas?

Gay Ann: Congress cloth is usually my ground of choice, although I sometimes work on 18-mesh canvas, and occasionally (very occasionally) on linen. I am essentially a needlepoint person who tinkers with some counted thread techniques and some surface techniques as well.

Q: The face is extraordinary; how did you achieve such detail, shading, and expression?

Gay Ann: Thanks! When I did Elizabeth’s face, I noticed in studying the portraits that there wasn’t much shading. By the time of Catherine’s age, it was dominant. I had been on a personal study course of Cezanne years ago and I had evolved from him a way of shading very unlike traditional shading. I used the techniques to do Catherine’s face. They are essentially blocks of color. I don’t like traditional shading in needlepoint, it ends up looking too splotchy to me. I wrote all about it on my website. here’s the link to my lessons: http://www.gayannrogers.com/6-painterly.html

As far as the face goes, I have tinkered with figure drawing and faces the whole of the time I’ve designed needlepoint. I am a great believer in trial and error — I sit with all kinds of threads in a horseshoe shape around me and then try and rip, try and rip until I get the effect I’m looking for. For Catherine’s face I stitched it partially three times on doodles and then once fully on the doode. I stitched it twice ‘for real’. My followers are lucky — they don’t have to go through my trials and errors as the face is fully graphed for them.

Q: Layers of embroidery create beautiful details on the clothing. How many different stitches are used in the piece? Do the instructions include stitch diagrams?

Gay Ann: The effect is all layered: there’s a base stitch, often Diagonal Tent Stitch and then layers on the top of it. I tend to use rather basic stitches but layered to achieve the color mixes I like.I don’t know how to count how many stitches because there are so many variations. Yes, the design is fully graphed — to do it, the stitcher just has to count well and follow my instructions. The instructions are 45 pages long; in addition there are 12 Oversize Graphs (11 x 17) and 2 color prints of my finished Catherine. I used to draw the graphs by hand, now I do them all in Illustrator. I once answered a questionnaire from Adobe about my use of Illustrator and I said, minimum 40 hours a week — I stitch with my laptop beside me and build the graphs in Illustrator as I stitch.

Q: Which Kreinik threads are used in the project?

Gay Ann: As I think you know, I love Kreinik braids and ribbons and I can’t remember the last piece that I stitched without them. In Catherine I used one #8 braid and two #4 braids for overstitching on her headdress (Kokoshnki) and costume; in addition I used 1/16″ ribbon and 1/8″ ribbon on her veil.

Q: What is your favorite tip regarding stitching with metallic threads?

Gay Ann: My favorite tip for using metallic threads is paying attention to size. I almost always use lighter weight braid than people think is ‘right’. I am a lover of #4 Kreinik braid on congress cloth and #8 braid on 18 mesh. I think you get amazing sparkle, but the thinner braids make your stitching look more delicate.

Q: Attention to detail in your designs goes beyond the image—do you use test stitchers and/or proof readers?

Gay Ann: Absolutely!! I have the most amazing proof-stitcher! No matter how many of my designs she has done, she catches every little thing — and if I make a mistake in phrasing, she tells me what it should be and exactly where to insert it. Her amazing skill at proofing might just have to do with the fact that she was a lawyer ‘in another life’ (as she puts it). The most incredible part about her involvement with Catherine was this: from first stitch to last, she stitched it in 12 days, IMHO, and inhuman feat. But I know she did it because she sent me a photo of her progress for the day every evening. I will teach the project online at Shining Needle Society and I asked her if she would be a ‘guest commentator’ in the class. I think she will be great at explaining lots of tips. Remember, I never stitched my design from my instructions, but she did.

Gay Ann Rogers knows needlepoint. She has been teaching and designing for many years, and now uses internet resources like cyberclasses and her website to reach new stitchers.

Gay Ann Rogers knows needlepoint. She has been teaching and designing for many years, and now uses internet resources like cyberclasses and her website to reach new stitchers. You will learn something from every Gay Ann Rogers design—and have an amazing piece of textile art when you’re finished.

Q: Are you going on a vacation now that the biggest project to date has been released?

A: No, Kate Gaunt has set up a classroom for me at Shining Needle Society; it’s not a formal class, it’s a Stitchalong Group. I think I’ll be leading it for a year. It will be a fun year, watching a group of Catherines come to life. When I taught my portrait of Elizabeth 1, I posted a bunch of them and it was fascinating how each Elizabeth had a different personality. Stitchers brought a bit of themselves to their pieces and each was a little different — it was super.

Q: Where can stitchers learn more about your designs?

Gay Ann: Probably the best place to learn about my designs is on my website, www.GayAnnRogers.com. I don’t have everything of mine posted up there — I’ve been designing and teaching needlepoint for such a very long time (I used to travel and teach for the Embroiderers’ Guild (EGA) and American Needlepoint Guild (ANG); then I discovered the computer and have been online ever since.

Needlepoint teacher and designer Gay Ann Rogers with Kreinik Creative Director Dena Lenham and thread company owner Doug Kreinik, at a TNNA tradeshow.

Needlepoint teacher and designer Gay Ann Rogers with Kreinik Creative Director Dena Lenham and thread company owner Doug Kreinik, at a TNNA tradeshow.

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Mr X