Monday, September 29, 2014

Whitework Inspirations

Are you deciding which technique to use for our Old Stitches New Tricks Competition? Here is a look at how some stitchers have taken the traditional technique of whitework and given it a modern twist. Whitework (as the name suggests) uses stitches worked in white thread on white fabric. The design is created by the use of cutwork and different stitches. Satin stitch often features prominently in the designs.
Let me tempt you to try some "new tricks' with whitework!

By far the most exciting use of whitework i could find is this jellyfish.The detail on this piece by Lucy Reed (RSN) is just incredible. The texture created in the negative spaces is so subtle and so beautiful. It is full of different dimensional stitches which might look too fussy in a coloured piece but looks calm and pared down here.

How about this modern whitework design by Trish Burr? The graphic style here is really striking and unlike any other whitework desgins I have seen. Trish has used whitework techniques with a limited colour palette. It proves that you can bend the rules to great effect- this grayscale whitework looks fantastic.

Finally Sister Twisty's sloth is a fun take on this technique. The all white palette means the sloth hides in what at first glance looks like a quite traditional whitework design- Peekaboo!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Found on Flickr: Fabulous!

Found on Flickr

A fantastic sentiment to send you smiling into the weekend...this amazing explosion of multi-coloured French knots is by Shiny Fabulous Darling. Reminds us of the negative space embroidery we wrote about last year...And guess what? One lucky person will win this embroidery! Visit here for the shiny fabulous details.

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tutorial: Wired elements

&Stitches tutorials

Today we have a tutorial for you about using wired elements in your stitching. This is a stumpwork technique so would be ideal for our Old stitches, New tricks competition. You will often see this technique used for leaves, petals and wings. wired1

You will need small pieces of fabric to work the wired elements on, florists wire (I prefer to use paper covered wire), sewing thread and embroidery thread. To start draw an outline of one of the shapes you want to make onto a piece of fabric. If possible use fabric in the same colour you are going to embroider the object (eg green fabric for a leaf). You then need to couch your wire around this outline using sewing thread- use matching thread if you can.
For a petal both ends of the wire will end at the same place, creating a complete loop of wire. In this photo, because I am making a bat wing, I have started and finished the wire at the points where the wing meets the body. Trim the wire ends leaving a short length of 1-2cm to attach it to your embroidery.


Next we need to hide that wire. Make tiny stitches over the wire all the way round- this is called 'trailing'. keep them as close as possible to the wire- you don't want to cut through them when you cut out the shape!
Embroider your wired element as desired.


This next step is probably the trickiest. Using your smallest, sharpest scissors cut out the shape as close as possible to your stitching. You probably will have some fabric showing, thats why it helps to work on matching coloured fabric. If it bothers you you can use a paintbrush with a little fabric glue to smooth these little bits towards the back or you can work buttonhole stitch around the outside of the piece to hide the edge.
You can now attach the finished wired piece to your main embroidery- carefully poke the wires through the fabric of your main embroidery and secure with a few stitches to the back of your work. Don't worry- this will be hidden by the stitching on the front. If you are making a petal or a leaf both wires will go through the same hole. I have attached my bat wing early on in the embroidery so that it is easier to see but I would usually do it once the embroidery is nearly finished. This is because it's a pain working around a wired bit sticking up from your embroidery surface!


Finally cover any raw edges with stitching- in this piece the edge of the wing that meets the body will be completely covered with stitching. You can also gently bend your wired piece into shape.

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Old Tricks, New Stitches competition starts today!

OldStitches New Tricks competition on &Stitches blog
Are you ready? Are you excited? Have you wondered what the theme of the competition could be? Well, wonder no more, we'll tell you all about it right now!

The theme of the competition is Old Stitches, New Tricks. We want to see where you will take something old and make it contemporary.

The 'Old' part can be anything: a pattern, a technique or stitch that isn't used much any more. Maybe some ancient materials.

The 'New' means it must be used in a way that is quite different from the Old's traditional use. The more imaginative the better. Go crazy!

Here's a few examples: cross stitch made with chicken wire, an all neon version of a vintage embroidery pattern, oversized crewelwork. Anything goes as long as it will blow our minds. ;-)

You are very welcome to share sneaky peeks at your project(s). If  you do, please use the tag #andstitchesnewtricks. We are so excited and can't wait to see what you guys make!

Competition rules
• You can enter up to 3 projects, but they must be different.

• The competition starts today and will end on November 16th.

• On November 10th, we will put a post on the blog where you can submit your entry/ies.

• Entries will be accepted until noon UK time on November 17th, that should cover all time zones. ;-)

• You will need to write a blog post about your project, or have it on a Flickr page or somewhere else that can be publicly linked to. In your blog post (or other link), you must tell us about it, not just post a couple of pictures. What is the idea behind your project? What materials did you use? How long did it take? Were there any challenges along the way? Why did you make this particular project?

• The winners will be chosen by Carina, Julie and Nicole.

Dates to remember
Competition start: September 22.
Add your entries: November 10-16.
Winners will be announced: November 23.

There will be three winners and they will get some lovely stuff (We wish we could enter!)

&Stitches competition 1st prize
1st prize:
Stitch the Halls by Sophie Simpson (aka What Delilah Did)
Kit of their choice from Fiddlesticks AU
PDF pattern of their choice from Satsuma Street
Set of  Kreinik threads in Christmas colours
A copy of Hoopla magazine, issue 2.

&Stitches competition 2nd prize
2nd prize:
Set of  Kreinik threads in Christmas colours
A copy of Hoopla magazine, issue 2.

&Stitches competition 3rd prize
3rd prize:
Set of  Kreinik threads in Christmas colours
A copy of Hoopla magazine, issue 2.

A big thank you to our prize sponsors, you guys are awesome!

What Delilah Did 's publisher Pavilion

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eye of the Needle Exhibition & chance to win tickets

The Judgement of Solomon Mid 17th century. Needlepoint lace, materials include glass beads and pearls.
© M & E Feller. Photography by R Holdsworth FRPS

This fabulous, delicate mid 17th century White work piece, depicting the Judgement of Solomon is one of the examples on show in The Eye of the Needle, a current exhibition in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK). The Eye of the Needle highlights 17th century embroideries from the Feller Collection and the museum's own collection. Objects include samplers, panels but also household items and clothing.

Lady’s cap. Early 17th century. Materials include linen threads, wrapped metal threads, silk floss, sequins on plain weave linen
© M & E Feller. Photography by R Holdsworth FRPS

England in the 17th century was a restless mix of religious and political differences, which were often at the root of radical events (the beheading of King Charles is a grim example). Against a turbulent backdrop of wars, revolution and the start of colonisation, 17th-century women and girls made embroideries. The needlework reflects their feminist perspective on these tumultuous events and their place in society.

Esther and Ahasuerus Mid to late 17th century. Silk floss on plain weave linen. 
© M & E Feller. Photography by R Holdsworth FRPS

You can visit the Eye of the Needle until the 12th of October and we have two tickets to give away for this wonderful exhibition! So if you are interested, leave a comment (and indicate you want to go) before the 27th of September 2014. Make sure you leave your e-mail or twitter name so we can trace you easily. 

Frog Purse 17th century. Materials include leather, silk, metal thread on silk
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 

And if you are lucky enough to live close to Oxford: on Saturday the fourth of October the Ashmolean Museum hosts a special event in partnership with the Embroiderers Guild. It's called The Big Stitch and you can expect a day full of embroidery related activities such as tours, talks (Karen Nicol is one of the speakers) and workshops. All events are free.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Win tickets to Thread Festival!

&Stitches give aways

Fancy a pair of tickets to an exhibition devoted to all things needlework and fabric?

The good people behind the Thread festival of textiles are offering a pair of tickets to the two-day show, taking place Friday and Saturday 26-27 September at the Farnham Maltings, in Farnham, Surrey. The tickets allow entry to both days of the event.

Returning for the second year, Thread aims to showcase the diversity of textiles, from needlework to dressmaking, quilting to fibre art. The two-day festival includes a marketplace featuring suppliers of hand-dyed embroidery floss, vintage haberdashery supplies, and contemporary kits, fabrics and tools. Professional textile artists will feature alongside needlework designers.

I made this cross-stitch dragonfly from an awesome kit I bought from Floss & Mischief at Thread last year.

Carina reviewed last year’s exhibition here. This year promises to be bigger and better, with the likes of What Delilah Did and Tilly & the Buttons on hand. I’ll be there; fancy meeting up?

More details, including tickets, directions and a list of workshops and talks, can be found at the Thread web site, here.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post, and tell us your favourite style of needlework...

The nitty gritty: 
- there must be a way to contact you, so make sure to either leave an email address, a link to your blog or somewhere else where an email can be found. We will not notify the winner by leaving a comment on your blog. You can also leave your Flickr name or Twitter @
- the giveaway is open to anyone anywhere
- the giveaway ends on Saturday, 20 September, at 7 p.m. UK time (GMT). We will announce the winner on Sunday, 21 September.

Good luck, everyone! :-)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Presenting.... a new competition!

Old Stitches New Tricks - &Stitches competition
Hello! We're super excited to tell you that we're going to have a new competition here on &Stitches. But that's really all we're going to tell you right now. So sneaky. ;-)

Although maybe the image there may give the theme away a little bit.

Next week we'll tell you all about it! :-D

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!