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Friday, 12 October 2012

A Rather Late September Round Up!

I really am rubbish at remembering to update this!! I blame this on working loads and doing crazy amounts of sewing!!

September was a pretty hectic month to be honest with lots of sewing being done!! I also finally gave in and went to the Doctor's to find out what was wrong with my hand. Turns out I had Tendonitis again, so that put a stopper on the sewing on for a while, and pretty much doing anything at all with my hand! Thankfully it does now seem to be on the mend, and normality has resumed, so to speak!

The main work in progress in September was the Blackwork cuff commission I mentioned in my previous blog update! 60 hours, 1 spool of silk thread, and 28 inches of linen later the first cuff is complete :)

The pattern is a simplified version of Jane Seymour's cuffs in the Holbein painting.

This complete pattern on the cuffs was the first piece of blackwork I ever worked, and it has been nice to re-visit the pattern.

Here's a close up of the stitching -

Now too start work on the second cuff :)

I also made a couple of birthday cards in September. Can't post all of them yet, but I made this one for my Aunt's 60th birthday.

It's a Joan Elliott pattern from her Oriental collection booklet.

I've also been on a phone case making mission recently! My cousin commissioned me to make a Twilight themed one for her Galaxy Note! This was so much fun to make!!! I found some amazing sparkly glitter felt in my local craft shop, and got very over excited about it!!

^^ Is the front of the case! The design is based on the front cover of the first Twilight book. Pretty much all made from the sparkly felt I found. Stitching the hands was an almost nightmare. Was unpicked and re-stitched many times before I was finally happy with how it looked.

I free hand embroidered the 'Twilight' logo onto the closing flap. The case closes with two press studs.

For the back of the case I combined the book covers from Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. The chess pieces are made from the sparkly felt and free hand embroidered, and I then appliqued some red ribbon around them.

The inside of the case is lined with red felt, to make the case nice and safe for your phone!!

Not much more been crossed off my actual 50 Projects list but lots of sewing has been whilst my hand has been co-=operating!

Vicki x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

August Round Up

Time for another monthly blog round up!

24. Improve the underside of my blackwork

I have just started working on a new blackwork commission that I am very excited about :D :D I absolutely love the pattern that has been chosen! One of the things I have been working hard at on this project is keeping the back as neat and tidy as possible. I use back stitch, rather than Holbein stitch for my blackwork, as I find I get better tension in the thread, so the back does not look the same as the front. As such I have been making sure that even though the back looks slightly different it is still very neat. At the start of the project it did make the stitching noticeably slower going, but now that I've memorised the pattern and the best ways to keep the back neat it is going pretty fast, and I'm half way through the first part.

32. Read more books on historical embroidery techniques.

I've finally gotten around to having a proper read of some of the many embroidery books that I own.

This one is by far my favourite - Embroiderers (Medieval Craftsmen) by Kay Staniland.

The book is full of some amazing photographs of medieval embroidery, and is a very interesting read!

I've also read a couple of books on Goldwork, and have been experimenting with some of the many blackwork pattern's from the Royal School of Needlework Essential Stitch Guides: Blackwork - by Becky Hogg. I've had to put the piece aside at the moment to work on commissions but here is what I have so far -

The 'V' outline has been done in 3 strands of dark purple thread. The blackwork nearest the 'V' is done in 1 strand of thread, and it then moves up to 2 strands of thread nearer the edge of the hoop. I have used 4 different shades of purple for the different blackwork quarters, and by varying the number of threads used, hope to create a more textured look.

50. Make more of my own patterns.

This year I have made and designed many patterns myself, which I am very proud of! Until recently I always thought that patterns from kits and magazines would be better than my own ever could, and it has been nice to move away from the mentality. A lot of my hoops have had patterned I have designed myself. One of my own patterns that I am most pleased with, is the Japanese Wedding sampler I made earlier in the year. The wedding has now been so I can finally post of picture of the finished design :)

Until I get around to giving this piece a blog of it's own, please check out my facebook page where there are more pictures and details for it :) -

As well as this I have been working on a couple of special birthday cards for some family members, organising the start of another commission, another felt phone case and plotting many more hoop designs!

One of my final finishes of last month was this adorable baby sampler from Nia designs -

My cousin gave birth to her second son a few weeks ago, and I made this a gift for her and her husband. When I started this she did not know the sex of the baby so I had to change the colours around a bit from the original pattern, but I love how it turned out. Here's a shot of it framed -

Vicki xx

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

July Round Up

I'm a bit late with my monthly round up this time, and to be honest, although I've been really busy making stuff only one more thing has been crossed off my 50 Projects list!

20. Learn to knit.

So I finally learnt how to knit!! I had a week off work so went back to Wales to visit my family, and whilst I was there my Auntie was lovely enough to teach me how to knit! I've wanted to learn for ages and very pleased to have finally gotten around to it!! It was actually much easier than expected once I'd gotten the hang of it.

I was unsure what to do with the first piece of knitting I finished, as it was too small to do anything really useful with, so I decided to stitch the two ends together and turn it into a hoop cosy!

This meant that I had to come up with a new hoopla design!! I wanted one that sort of incorporated knitting, and I found this pattern on Urban Threads and had to make :) I drew the pattern onto the fabric and crayon tinted the design before I started stitching. The embroidery has been done using back stitch and some satin stitch on the font.

Pretty much as soon as I got home from Wales I went a bit mad with eBay shopping and bought several job lots of wool!! I then tasked myself with making several different things with this wool - a patchwork cushion for my craft room, a patch work blanket, and a scarf. Once I've improved my knitting I'm aiming to make my own Harry Potter scarf, something I've wanted to do forever!!! Anyway, here's my knitting progress so far :)

Also this month I finally got around to finishing both my Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts themed hoop and the finally part of my Hunger Games cross stitch. AS well as this I have a mostly finished baby sampler,another completed Harry Potter themed hoop for my hoopla wall and finished a gothic/vampire themed commissioned phone case.

I was also able to frame the wedding sampler that I finished last month -

It was for the wedding of a son of a family friend. The pattern was from Nia Cross Stitch - , and was such a fun pattern to stitch up. I love the fact she makes her pattern in Welsh as well as English!

Here's a close up so you can see some of the detail -

Vicki x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Avengers Assemble!!

After being too apprehensive to join a Craftster swap for many years, I am now hooked after participating in my first swap (the UK Only Swap) last month. So as soon as I saw they were doing an Avenger's swap I absolutely had to sign up for it, because the Avenger's are just awesome!! The swap organiser was brilliant, and managed to pair me up with someone else who was in the UK, so I was able to avoid posting my parcel abroad which I was very grateful for.

I was so excited about this swap!! As soon as I received my partner's questionnaire I immediately started to brain storm ideas. Her favourite character's were Iron Man and Thor, who also happen to be my favourite Avenger's characters too :D She also said she didn't have a phone case, and that she liked hoopla's, which made my choices of what to make pretty easy :D

I give you, the Iron Man phone case!!

I had so much fun making this and it was so hard to part with!! This is the back of the case. The case is made entirely from felt, and the features on the Iron Man face have been embroidered. I also embroidered the ribbon strap.

The front of the case has the Avenger's logo appliqued on. This was stitch a mission to cut out in such a small size! Was definitely worth it though. I then stitched a mini arc reactor onto the closing flap. Again, the arc reactor is made from felt, and it has been embroidered in a strand of grey, and a strand of silver metallic thread.

The flap closes with two press studs, and the case is lined with yellow felt to make it nice and strong. The top of the case is blanket stitched together in contrasted thread. I am totally going to have to make myself one of these cases :D And I am very tempted to try and make a version for each of the Avenger's characters.

This was the first hoop I made for my partner. I downloaded the pattern, which has most of the Avenger's characters on it, off the Wee Little Stitches blog. It is free to download, and was great fun to stitch up.

I changed some of colours on the Thor pattern, and used metallic thread to make it shiny. For the wording I mixed together letters from several other Wee Little Stitches patterns I have, to create the phrases that I wanted on the hoop.

As my partner said that she loved Thor, I stitched up this little version of Thor's hammer/mjolner. It was a really quick hoop to stitch up, think it took just over an hour to complete. The hammer is made from felt and stitched onto black linen. I embroidered some details onto the hammer with metallic silver thread, and then wrapped the hoop in some sparkly silver ribbon.

To finish both the hoops off I cut out a circle of felt, and stitched it to the back of the hoop, to cover the lacing. I also stitched a little card onto the back, with the information of the swap on it.

The final item I made for my partner was this Hulk inspired keyring. I am forever loosing my keys in my Tardis of a bag, so always use a really big keyring, which in theory, makes the keys easier to fish out. I designed the pattern for this myself. It is done on aida and then stitched onto some black felt which I blanket stitched together.

I was so happy with how all these item's turned out, and thankfully, my partner loved them all, so I was uber pleased :D

I wrapped all the items in tissue paper and added some little labels to each one before I packed them all up and sent them off!

I think I have definitely caught the Craftster swapping bug now!! And am already looking for another swap to join :)

Vicki x

Hoop Bonanza!

I am totally obsessed with making hoops to go up on my hoopla wall at the moment!! Since I've moved house my hoopla wall has definitely expanded :D :D Here are the latest additions to the wall.

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

I have nearly really grown out of my love of the Pokemon games/world, and still spend far too much of my time playing the games on my DS. I bought a job lot of hoops from eBay a while ago, and in the set I has some some red plastic hoops, and immediately thought they would make a good Pokeball hoop! Mostly made from felt with a black band of ribbon running through the centre. I wrapped the bottom half of the hoop in white felt, to finish off the pokeball!

I am loving all things Viking themed at the moment, so when I saw this pattern on Urban Threads I knew I had to make it :D The Viking face is stitched up in mix of one strand brown and one strand of green thread. I then free hand stitched some runes around the edge of the hoop and added some bright green seed beads for some more colour.

This was another awesome Urban Threads pattern. I'd been meaning to make a pagan themed hoop for my hoopla and I loved this pattern. It was a pretty quick hoop to stitch up, and was done using back stitch. I then crayon tinted the pattern to make it more colourful.

And here's what my hoopla wall currently looks like!! :D :D

June Round Up

So it's been another productive month at Embroidery Emporium HQ! Lots more hoopla's made for my hoopla wall, another Craftster swap completed, and due to too much sewing I ended up having to take over a week off from stitching due to my hand being incredible painful and annoying! Anyway, here's what I have been up to.

5. Finish Jack Sparrow WIP.

Well, after sorting out my craft room and trying to tidy and organise everything, I finally find material and thread for this. Now just to find the magazine with the pattern!!

39. Expand the range of embroidery stitches that I feel confident with. (Currently only really happy with back stitch and satin stitch)

I've been working really hard to try out and experiment with other stitches that don't feel as comfortable with. I've been working on my French knots, long and short stitch, speckling, stem stitch and been using surface couching. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with French knots now, and am no longer scared to use them in my work!

41. Take better photographs of my work.

I bought one of these awesome light boxes after Christmas, and now that we are finally all settled into our new house, I finally have the space to set it up properly and use it more for taking photo's of my work.

43. Be more active on my facebook page -

My Facebook page is definitely the best place to keep up to date with projects that I am currently working on. It gets checked and used everyday and is usually the first place I upload finished project's to.

So I successfully managed to cross off a few more things from my 50 Projects list, so slowly getting through that at last, as well as completed lots of crafty projects not on the list, which will all get there own blog as soon as I can organise myself

Vicki x

Friday, 22 June 2012

Blue Geisha

Last Christmas I spent ages looking around for the perfect pattern to stitch up for neighbour as a Christmas present. I found this pattern in a magazine full of beautiful Joan Elliott designs, and knew I had to make it.

It is such a beautiful pattern! I think there were about 40 colours in this, and it took around 2 months of on and off stitching to complete. Is mostly all full cross stitch, but with a few quarter stitches around the face and hands.

She was so much fun to stitch and watch come to life. I tended to work through this design one colour at a time, which helped me find the pattern easier to follow. If you can get hold of a copy of the Joan Elliott Ultimate Collection magazine I really recommend you buy it. It is full of absolutely beautiful patterns, and I wish I had the time to make every pattern in it!!

And finally, here's a picture of the finished cross stitched all framed and ready to go.

This has been one of my favourite pieces to make, and I am still so happy with how she turned out :)

Vicki x

Friday, 8 June 2012

My First Craftster Swap

I recently took part my in my first ever swap over on Craftster. I have long admired all the awesome things posted in the swap gallery and have wanted to participate in a swap for ages!

It was the UK Only Swap and I was paired up with an excellent partner, who shared my love of hoops, which was great!! So this became very much a hoopla swap.

Here's the set of hoops that I made -

I came up with these three hoops after reading through my partner's questionnaire. They were great fun to make, even if I probably would never have come up the idea of making them without this swap.

I was given a link to my partner's favourites list on Etsy in her questionnaire. I spent ages looking through the many favourites, and this hoop is based on a lovely art print I saw on there. It is made entirely from felt. I added buttons to the moon as my partner said she loved them. The little stars are french knots done in two strands of thread.

In the questionnaire it said that my partner was going to be volunteering at the Olympics in London this summer, so I thought that it would be nice to make something as a reminder of this. I drew the pattern onto cotton, the hoops are stitched in two strands of thread and the writing in three. It uses mostly back stitch and satin stitch. The satin stitch on this took forever as it was so tiny. I wrapped the hoop in ribbon to make it more colourful.

Here's a close up of the satin stitch on the hoops -

I'm now in the process of making another 2 of these hoops!!! So no escaping the tiny satin stitching just yet!!

This was the third and final hoop that I made for the swap. My partner loved birds and bright colours so thought this would fit that theme. I found the inspiration for this whilst browsing through Etsy. Stitched on yellow linen, with felt applique for the branch and birds eggs and the birds are done using back and satin stitch. I wrapped the hoop in black ribbon as I thought it looked better than leaving it wooden.

Usually when I make hoops for my hoopla wall I don't bother to do anything to the back of them. Seeing as I knew the backs of these would be looked at, I thought I had better make sure that they looked neat and tidy, so I did this -

I was really pleased with how these hoops all turned out, and thankfully my partner loved them too. The package I got from her in return was TOTALLY AWESOME!!!! I absolutely loved all the hoops she made me -

My list of likes and interest was pretty epic. She decided to work with one theme - mermaids, and then run that through several other themes on my list. Those being Harry Potter - one of the mer-people, Disney's Little Mermaid, and a Lady Gaga inspired mermaid. I love them all and they look awesome up on my hoopla wall.

I really loved my first swap and have definitely got the swapping bug - have already signed up for my next one :D

Vicki xx

May Round Up

Once again I'm a bit late in my monthly blog round up, so apologies!! Getting the new house sorted took longer than I thought, and it has been a busy month at Embroidery Emporium HQ!!

I haven't crossed off much more on my 50 Projects list, but it has been a very productive month.

34. Actually get enough courage to do my first swap on Craftster, instead of just reading all of the awesome ideas on the swap board and never entering one.

So I finished my first swap on Craftster and have already signed up for a second one!! I really enjoyed my first swap, and was lucky to be given a fantastic partner to swap with! Here are the hoops I made for my partner -

She loved them so I was really pleased! And I received the most awesome swap package back from her too!! I'll do a separate blog post with more pics and info on the hoops :)

35. Go to more than 2 events this year.

We attended our first event - May Spring Pensthorpe, at the start of the month. The event was great fun, despite the dreadful weather, and I finally got to wear my new Viking outfit which was great!! It was really comfortable to wear and helped keep me warm during the event.

I finished the wedding sampler I mentioned in my last round up and am really pleased with how it turned out. Made a good start on the baby sampler to. The Hunger Games cross stitch is still ongoing, and I've made loads more hoops to go up on my hoopla wall, so much stitching has been done :) Hopefully I'll get a chance to update the blog some more this month :)

Vicki x

Saturday, 12 May 2012

April Round Up


I know this April Round Up is coming a bit late but things have been a bit hectic here at Embroidery Emporium HQ!! I've been moving house - yay!! (I now have my own crafting space and fabric/costume wardrobe - that is once I uncover the floor from more boxes!!), been away at events, and been uber busy with some pretty big commissions and making my Viking garb, which has left very little time for updating my blog!

So here's what I've been up to in April, and how I'm progressing with my 50 projects list!

3. Stitch Japanese wedding sampler.
It's done, it's done, it's done! It was an enormous amount of work, but I am so very pleased with how it turned out. You will have to wait several more months till I can post pictures of it though :) But it couldn't have turned out better!

9. Organise all my silk.
I spent many hours doing this recently! I had a commission which was done with many shades of silk thread so had to organise them to make them easier to use. I got bored and created this silk spool tower :p

10. Sort out Viking outfit.
It's done!! Well mostly! it's still awaiting an embroidered band to around the top of the apron dress, but it is now perfectly wearable and it is awesome!! I wore to an event recently and it was so warm and comfortable. I'll do a proper blog update for it but for now here's a shot of me wearing it at Pensthorpe -

34. Actually get enough courage to do my first swap on Craftster, instead of just reading all of the awesome ideas on the swap board and never entering one.
I finally did it, and am currently participating in the UK Only swap over on Craftster. I've made 2 of my items and the third is currently being worked on :) More info to follow once my swap partner has received them :)

As well as all these I also started a Hunger Games cross stitch project which I made the pattern for myself. Currently stitching the third part so that should be done soon. Made a good start on another wedding sampler for a family friend, and finally found a baby sampler I liked to stitch up for my cousins second baby!

What took up most of my time this month (apart from Viking things) was an embroidery commission I receievd via my website to embroider some artwork. This was a great project to do and it will receive it's own blog very soon, but here's a sneak peak of the finished commission -

Hopefully now that moving and everything is out of the way I should have more time to update this blog :) Thanks for reading, Vicki x

Saturday, 31 March 2012

You're A Wizard Harry!!

Anyone who knows me in "real life" will know that I am a mahousive Harry Potter fan, I even have my very own lightning bolt tattoo, albeit *not* on my forehead :P Therefore my life was always going to be filled with lots of awesome Harry Potter themed crafts!

Wingardium Leviosa

This was the first HP themed hoopla I stitched up! I got a Kindle for Christmas and recently re-read all the books which spurred on this mega HP crafting session!! I free hand stitch the wingardium leviosa, and the feather is made from two layers of felt.


As I just said, I recently re read all the books, and it was the first time I had actually re read the last book, Deathly Hallows, since the day it was released. And boy were there tears! I charted the pattern for the Hallows myself and it is stitched on 14 count white aida in two strands of thread. I then free hand stitched the word 'Always' underneath. I cry so much in the Snape's memory chapter, and right from book one he was always my favourite character. When they got Alan Rickman to play him in the movies I think I actually started to love the character even more haha!! Anyway, it just seemed fitting to stitch that quote underneath :)

The hoop has been wrapped in black ribbon, to make it look a bit nicer.

Open & Close

I am a friend of, and frequent poster over at Craftster. One of the members over on the site posted this awesome HP themed keyring. I absolutely loved the idea of this and so asked permission from the original poster if I could remake a version for myself. She kindly said that was ok, so I give you my versions -

I made one in Slytherin themed colours for myself, being a Snape lover, how could Slytherin not be my choice of house?!! And then a Gryffindor coloured one for my cousin's birthday, as she is also a massive HP fan!

For those not into the HP fandom 'Alohomora' is the spell for open, and 'Colloportus' the spell for close.

The spells are stitched on aida, and then mounted onto felt, with a ribbon tag sewn in so you can attach it to your keyring :)

I have many HP crafts planned, so keep watching for more!!

Vicki x