photography things and a new little caravan

Caravan full picture

This week my trusty little Ricoh camera finally gave up the ghost and I had to learn how to use a grown up camera!

The truth is it was never my camera in the first place.  Everyone in our house loves photography apart from me.  It's my guilty secret, I really don't like taking photographs.  I like setting them up but when it comes to camera techy stuff.... yuk!

That little Ricoh seemed to do everything for me (it even took the pictures in a square) but now I have to learn how to use the family DSLR!

Camera

Tripod and everything.  I would like to tell you that running lilipopo is just doing a bit of sketching and then doing a bit of stitching but there are all of the other things too.  I have learned an awful lot of techy skills on my lilipopo journey, from adobe illustrator to photography to book keeping.  I'm sure all this is very good for my brain but really I would like to just sketch and stitch.

Instead I am in the process of learning about ISO and aperture and shutter speed, I can't seem to work out how to turn the flash off and use macro at the same time but I'm sure I'll get there in the end.

Flowers in garden

and in the midst of all this I finished my new little caravan pattern.  I loved stitching this pattern I just kept embellishing (hopefully not too much!) and had so much fun with the colours and stitch choices.

Window and border and bunting

I have included guides for the colours and stitches that I used but I really think it's the perfect pattern to just stitch the colours you love and the stitches you love.  

It's available in my Etsy shop now and the perfect pattern to practice those stitches.

Now I'm moving onto sketching a wintery pattern, I'm aiming for a sampler type of design but I'm also going to have to get back to that camera manual and learn to love photography!


caravans and colour

Finished first caravan

I have been working on a new caravan pattern, one that fits into a hoop to be framed but could still work as a cushion centre or in a square picture frame.  Last weekend I would have loved to have had this little caravan as we danced in the mud and rain at WOMAD.  Our little tents kept us dry but I think this caravan might have been a little more luxurious!  

WOMAD was absolutely fabulous despite the rain, it's hard to complain about a bit of rain when there are musicians from Syria along with the Survivors of the Khmer Rouge making the most beautiful music.  It really is such a positive festival that reminds you that we are all just people striving to be as happy as we can be, no matter where we are from.  Music always seems to me to be the best art form for crossing boundaries and bringing people together.

Since getting back my youngest has turned 17!  I can't quite believe that next year all my children will be adults.  

Colour and pattern

And so now I can get back to a little bit of stitching.  I've been choosing the colours for the final version of the caravan.  I had to change a few small details, the cups and saucers were just too tiny to see properly once stitched so we are drinking tea out of mugs.  And my original handwritten 'happiness' was a little messy so that has been adapted along with a few other details.

I am leaning towards a palette with a lot of pinks, reds and peaches although I think the main outline colour will still be blue and I might add a little purple if I can find the right one.  Choosing the colours is always my favourite part, although I do sometimes change or add to them as I go along if something isn't working or something else is needed.  I have been known to unpick a lot of stitching because a colour that looks beautiful on the bobbin simply doesn't work in the embroidery.

Details

I'm also having a bit of fun with stitches in this pattern, trying to fit a few more in.  I love couching and am really happy with the way the knots turned out at the end, there's also a bit of satin stitch using quite long stitches.  Satin stitch is not a stitch I use very much so I'm challenging myself to include it more as it's a great filler for certain kinds of areas.  I will be adding some stitch tutorials to the blog as I go along over the next month or two.

I also have a winter sampler plan in my head but at the moment it is only in my head!  I'm feeling quite excited about the idea of working with more stitches and I love old samplers so hopefully more of that to come.

Finally I have a couple of fab resources for you.  

Marna Lunt is an English embroiderer and tutor (as well as a snow globe collector)  I love her style of stitching and she has the most fabulous free introduction to stitching course.  It is packed with videos of lots of stitches and she is just lovely.  You just need to sign up to her newsletter to have access to the course.  She also has more advanced courses that you can pay for and she does workshops.

The other thing I have been having some fun with is Creative Bug I think you can try it for free for a couple of weeks then it costs about £3.50 (it's in dollars so it changes) a month and there are just so many art and craft videos.  There is a lovely embroidery sampler tutorial by Rebecca Ringquist that is lots of fun to do.  I particularly love all the 31 day drawing challenges as I am not particularly good at making sure I draw every day but there are all sorts of classes on there.

Now I'm going to plan a party to celebrate my and my friends big birthday.  We are having a Hawaii theme due to the particular age that we have reached...  I will leave you to work it out!

Have a fabulous weekend

x


How many strands?

How many strands title

One of the questions I get asked the most about embroidery is 'how many strands?'.  I use stranded embroidery thread for all my patterns, mainly DMC but sometimes a little bit of Anchor.  The only reason I try to focus on DMC threads is that they are more widely available globally, I love Anchor threads too.  The patterns do contain notes on the number of threads I've used in various areas of the stitching but it's not necessary to follow them exactly depending on the effect you want to create.

Pen drawing

when I draw with micron pens I have a range of different nib sizes and I swap pens according to the thickness of line that I want.  I do exactly the same thing with embroidery threads.   However I do have a go to number of threads, if in doubt I will automatically stitch with 2 strands.  A lot of the pattern stitching will use 2 strands of threads.

Back stitch strands

Above you can see backstitch created using varying numbers of threads.  As a rule I don't go above three strands for backstitch.  This is mainly because a lot of my designs are quite delicate and anything thicker can look a little heavy.  But I will occasionally couch six strands of thread with two strands of another colour, this makes a nice outline or decorative effect.  I especially love the effect of a single strand of thread

Catching wishes detail1

my 'catching wishes' design was stitched using a single strand because I really wanted to keep the sketchy ethereal feeling of the original drawing which was done in pen and ink, so quite scratchy and fine.  It helps to have a magnifying lamp (or very good eyesight) for stitching with a single thread.

Long socks tut 3

another place I almost always use a single strand is for stripes on socks, sleeves etc.  It stops the legs looking too heavy and the tights or socks from looking too thick

Stripes different strands

Stripes to fill a larger area are a perfect place to play around with numbers of strands.  In the image above I used 4 strands of blue and 2 strands of green.  I find it more interesting to look at than even stripes of two strands each.  If I use an even number of strands I will often use three colours rather than two (for example I would use blue green and perhaps an orange if I were using two strands for each of the colours) which again makes it more interesting.

French knots strands

Another place where the number of strands you use can make all the difference is in french knots.  In the past I would wrap the thread around twice if I wanted a bigger knot but a lovely embroiderer told me that she had been taught to increase the number of threads rather than the number of wraps to create a larger knot.  This method is much more satisfying and keeps the knot clearer.  So above you can see a range of knots from two strands to six strands.  It's worth just messing around with numbers of strands to see which you like the best.  I do love three strands personally.

Chain stitch strands

In the past I haven't used a lot of chain stitch but recently I've been quite drawn to it.  It's a little more involved than backstitch and I find I have to concentrate more,  I don't find it as easy to get into a rhythm but it creates beautiful hair and chains for bunting.  I tend to use 2 strands, I find 3 strands is a little too bulky and needs a bigger stitch but it would make a great outline stitch if you wanted a bold slightly frilled edge.  I do like the delicacy of the single strand chain, it feels loose and would make a great chain for your bunting.

Stitching up little samples of basic stitches using different numbers of strands of threads is a fun thing to do.  You could keep it in a stitch notebook or file for future reference, noting the numbers of threads that you used.

Now back to stitching up my new caravan embroidery design (designed to fit inside a hoop) ready for the end of the month.

I hope you are managing to find little pockets of time to do a little stitching in the summer months (unless of course you are in the depths of winter and cosy by the fire)

x


peaceful stitching

Blues

I have been working on this meditation design over the last month and doing very little other work except what was necessary.  The reason for this is a shoulder that won't work properly, it's been months!  But this week I think the cause of the problem has been found and I can, very slowly, start to get the full use of my arm back and (more importantly) lose the pain!

So a calm meditative embroidery design seemed very fitting, especially coupled with everything else that is going on in the world right now.  

I can't help feeling that this quote from the Dalai Llama could be true

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Dalai Lama

Perhaps we could teach them all quiet stitching at the same time.

My own meditation practice is taking place in a chair or lying down at the moment but I'm hoping to get back to cross legged soon.

Meditation main pic

And this is the finished pattern.  I've loved drawing and stitching this one, I've already made three versions I think I'm going to make a small buckwheat and lavender cushion with one which I will share here when I do it.  One of the others is going onto a tote bag (we never have enough shopping bags!!) and the last one will stay framed in the hoop I think.

I have included detailed notes for this colour way and then additional lists of colours for the other two.

It uses quite a few stitches but they are all simple ones.  You can get hold of my basic stitch guide here but it does also come with the pattern (or any of my patterns).

I will be listing a sampler for this one next month when print me pretty are back to print them.  I think I will also have kits in the autumn.

Natural colourway

This is the third colourway (with strange bendy flowers at the side (I think I stretched the fabric when I was tracing!) but I love these natural colours so I've included the colours in the pattern.

I used chain stitch for her hair.  It's not a stitch I use very often but I like the effect, a bit like braiding.

The pattern is available over in my Etsy shop

Meditation with instructions

I am hoping to be able to get back to more stitching and experimenting in July so that I have more to write about here but it's also a month of BIG birthdays and WOMAD and summer holidays with the whole family at home for a little while (even our recently graduated son before he goes out into the world!) so I will try but if the sun comes out and the sea looks inviting we may be on the beach!

I hope you are having a beautiful summer (or winter if you are in opposite lands) with lots of stitching

x

 


Stitching printed fabric panels

Flower gardener

Last week I finally managed to stock up on all of the printed fabric panels!  These panels are printed in light grey onto a white 195gsm (medium) weight cotton.  And at the moment I am stitching a flower gardener panel in soft peaches and pinks.

The panels that are available in my shop are

wonky shed

friends

in the garden

night night

unicorn

winter dream

flower gardener

Unicorn

I also have the unicorn panel hooped up ready for stitching.  I quite like flitting between projects sometimes for a change of colour.  I'm going to use this as a cushion panel and so I thought it might be nice to back it with something

Batting

I searched through my fabric stash and found some cotton batting for quilting which I thought would pad it out nicely.  I've been stitching since the photo above and it stitches nicely and gives a nice backing, especially for those naughty moments when a thread might get carried across the back because I'm feeling a little lazy!

Unicorn close up

This is the print for the panels, a nice fine line that is easy to see but also easy to cover with 2 strands of thread.

I do also have some lavender girl kits and friends kits in stock in the shop at the moment.

My own stitching is still limited due to this pesky shoulder!  but I have started working on a new design, and I may be able to show a sneaky peak next week...

Have a lovely stitchy weekend

x

 


a little catch up

 

Workspace lilipopo smaller

The clutter I normally work in!  But the past few weeks have been much tidier.  Tax time of year is not nearly as pretty as stitching and sketching time.  Unfortunately my work has been a lot slower this month due to a pesky shoulder bursitis that just does not want to leave.  Staying in one position for too long is really not comfortable.  But I have managed to get a lot of sunny walks in watching the heron chicks and super aggressive swan at Marazion marshes with my son.

Embroidery tools

You may have noticed a box at the side of my blog for signing up for a newsletter!  I am shortly going to produce and send out my first ever newsletter.  I receive a lot of messages asking when certain items are going to be in stock and some of the kits do sell out very quickly so... I will be sending out a newsletter whenever I have new stock of kits and samplers or a new pattern.  This means that newsletter subscribers will hear about new stock first.  

Photo 1

I will have 'night night' printed on fabric and also 'unicorn' along with a caravan.  Also there will be more lavender girl kits.  I was planning for the newsletter to go out in mid May but it may be a week later.

I will pop the new 'night night' colourway on the blog next week for anyone who has the pattern and would like the colour list.

Now for shopping and cooking and all of those things

Have a lovely weekend

x

 


in the garden - in the pink

Full warmer

I really don't know what happened to last week's post!  One minute it was Monday and then the next minute it seemed to be a week later with no blog post!  I think the sun coming out must have addled my brain a little.  But I'm here now (having got used to seeing sun again!)

Recently a customer pointed out that I didn't have an image of the actual sampler of 'in the garden' stitched up.  I realized she was right!  The samples in my images were stitched up on linen so I decided it was a good excuse to stitch up another one in pinks!

So this 'in the garden' is the actual sampler stitched up all in pinks with a touch of purple and red.  Anyone who buys the sampler or pattern will receive the pinks colour guide along with the original guides but for anyone who has bought the pattern before I thought I would pop the list of colours that I used here on my blog.

Hair stitching warmer

 

DMC 779 dark brown

DMC 451 mid brown

DMC 326 red

DMC 961 bright pink

DMC 761 paler pink

DMC 754 peach

DMC 3042 purple

The garland is pale pink and the hearts are peach

Dress stitching

The sleeves of the dress and the underskirt are outlined in peach.  The sleeves are striped with peach and pale pink.  The fern stitch and the petals on the underskirt are pale pink.  The back stitch stripes are peach.  The outline of the overdress is bright pink.

Lower dress and plants

The boots are red and the plants are purple and pink with peach butterflies

I think this is my favourite colour version of my 'in the garden' pattern so far!  I think the Spring is making me a little pink happy

Ballet dancer

This week I also got my dancer pattern into my Etsy shop.  I have stitched quite a few versions of this dancing girl and finally decided on one girl with a longer dress and ribbon shoes

Short dress dancers cover

and a second girl with the same hair but with a shorter dress, stripy stockings and plain pumps.  I've given instructions for her to have an embroidered dress or an appliqued dress.  You could easily applique the longer dress too if you wished.

I've really enjoyed stitching lots of versions of her and I think I will be stitching some to sell in the shop as well.

I hope you are enjoying all your stitching and (at least in the UK) enjoying the spring sunshine 

x

 

 


on my work table

Spring bunnies small

Earlier this week it was actually sunny!  And to top that I saw my first mini eggs in the shop.  So I have been practicing my photography with eastery goodness and pretty flowers.  What a perfect excuse to buy lovely local spring flowers and to eat all of the mini eggs (after the photographs of course).

Pink and blue lavender girl kits

I have been packing kits so I took advantage of the sunshine to photograph the girls with the mini eggs (I think everything goes with mini eggs really!)  I do have some kits over in the shop now 

Red girl

and then the mini eggs were gone but the flowers remained (and still remain looking beautiful in jam jars around the house)

Ballet shoes blog

I do get quite a lot of requests for a dancer embroidery pattern.  I have stitched dancers for people in the past but somehow a pattern has never materialized.  But now that is being rectified.  This week I have been doing the first stitchings based on my dancer sketch.  One dancer has a longer dress with ballet shoes.  I've been stitching her in two beautiful soft colours DMC 950 which is a blush colour and DMC 224 which is a dusky pink.

Red ballet pumps blog

The second dancer is (as you can see) much brighter!  And has a shorter dress and  back stitched pumps

Dancer head blog

I normally stitch hair using backstitch but I thought stem stitch might give a nice twisted effect and I'm really pleased with the results.  Just rows of stem stitch following the line of her hair and placed very close together.  Then, of course, all of the french knots!

I'm going to be working on this pattern all next week so I'm hoping to have it finished for the beginning of April.  I want to add a few optional flowers around her I think and maybe try one of them with an appliqued dress.

And now for a lovely weekend off with hopes of sunshine tomorrow!

Happy UK mother's day to all of the mothers out there  I hope you have a beautiful day

x


A simple stitch guide

 

Free stitch guide

I have created a simple stitch guide that will be sent out with all my patterns.  It contains the main stitches that I use in the patterns and drawn diagrams of the stitches.

I have added this stitch guide to all my patterns on Etsy but you can grab it for free here 

The guide is a basic stitch guide to the stitches I use most often in the patterns.  For some of the stitches (such as french knots!) it might still be useful to look at video tutorials on youtube and to use the guide as a reminder. 

I hope you find the stitch guide useful


spring stitching on grey days

New cover

Earlier this week I decided to spruce up my spring bunny girl pattern and restitch her.  I've changed the pattern ever so slightly and added extra photos and more instructions.  She really is very simple to stitch, almost completely back stitch with just one thread.

Outlined in grey

in fact I rather liked her at this stage just outlined in grey.  I think you could quite happily just stitch her like this or go in the opposite direction and add an appliqued dress.

So, with Easter on the way and beautiful pink tulips in my workspace (and an awful lot of grey outside!) I decided to do a little spring stitching

Spring stitching

I dived right into pinterest and looked for cute tutorials for my stitchy project.  Needless to say this whiled away quite a bit of time.  I looked at book covers and drawstring bags (all added to my cute tutorials board) and decided on this lovely simple drawstring bag tutorial by S.O.T.A.K handmade  (She also has some beautiful patterns in her shop).

The tutorial was beautifully simple to follow, I made a couple of small changes simply because I wanted a smaller bag.  So my  measurements for the main fabric and the lining pieces were 6" x 7" and my measurements for the casing were 6" x 4".

I used a 1 cm seam allowance (just under half an inch) because it's clearly marked on my sewing machine and I like to make things easy for myself.  I didn't make the tag and just used my embroidered piece (centred and cut down to 6" x 7") as the front of the bag.

Spring stitching bag

and I now have a lovely little drawstring bag to pop mini Easter eggs into or perhaps a cute little sewing bag for my summery outdoor stitching?  

Bunny main pic

after all I could always make another little bag with these little bunnies on for the Easter eggs...

I hope you're enjoying some spring weather and spring stitching

x