Saturday, 8 August 2015

More Anatomical embroidery patterns: a moth and a butterfly

I’ve had a rough idea of a moth on the backburner for a few years now – it lends itself really well to surface embroidery stitches and I knew from the start that the thorax had to be fluffy because of their textured, powdery bodies and wings. It gave me a good starting point for the rest of the textured stitching detail on the wings and feelers.

Similarly, I’ve wanted to use this collection of muted, almost antique-looking thread colours in a design for a while now, and they sprang to mind as soon as I started working on the moth. They feel well-suited to the anatomical nature of the design.

The moth was a natural fit with my small collection of existing Anatomical designs and so I though I should add a butterfly to the range at the same time – a duo of winged creatures.

The Brenton Blue butterfly from Knysna along South Africa’s southern coast inspired my thread colour choices and I experienced a small thrill of satisfaction when my idea for stitching the black and white edges of the wings worked out as I’d envisioned on the first try (this definitely isn’t always the case).

There are a nice variety of stitches in both designs and you can see how to do them all in either my Stitch Directory or on my Stitches board on Pinterest.

The two new patterns – as well as my three other Anatomical designs – are available in my online shop on Etsy and Craftsy as instant PDF downloads.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Wild Grass, a modern hand embroidery pattern

My mom and stepdad moved to the country full-time a few months ago, although we’d been visiting the house with them for about two years already. There are lots of walking paths criss-crossing the area, so I’d gathered a collection of shots of the different wild grasses that grow alongside these pathways through the seasons.

While the grasses in this pattern aren’t true to the real-life versions, those photos sparked the sketches that then became the design. As with almost all my ideas, the stitches come first and so the details have been worked out to accommodate a variety of textural hand embroidery stitches – cast-ons, bullions, knots and so on – rather than depict the individual grasses as they appear in nature. The overall effect is remarkably similar though.

Using a variety of stitches helped me steer clear of potential boredom while sticking with just a few thread colours. (In fact, this design was particularly fun to stitch.) And using shades of grey and white rather than traditional browns and greens gives the embroidery a fresh, modern feel.

It’s a classic design that’d work well framed as wall art or sewn up into a rectangular feature cushion for a living or bedroom. And it’d be easy to replace the colours to suit your taste.

You’ll find the pattern as an instant download in my online shop on Etsy and Craftsy.

Monday, 22 June 2015

New pattern: Deco Alphabet

I bought a second-hand book on decorative alphabets a while ago and the Art Deco lettering in particular caught my eye. I liked the ornateness of the letters, which obviously made me think immediately of embroidery stitches. 

The design is more of a nod to this style of early 20th century lettering than a true Art Deco alphabet, as I’ve taken liberties that allowed me to incorporate different stitches to make the embroidery interesting and fun to do. 

Deco Alphabet can be stitched as is – as an alphabet sampler – or split up into individual letters and used as monograms or to create names and words of your choosing. 

The pattern is available in my online shop on Etsy and Craftsy as an instant download.

Monday, 11 May 2015

New embroidery patterns: ABC and 123

I have two new embroidery patterns out that particularly those of you with kids, grandchildren or a baby on the way might like to embroider.

ABC is an alphabet with images of items beginning with their corresponding letter – A is for apple, M is for mushroom and O is for owl. And 123 features the numbers 0 to 9 with the relevant number of items alongside – 1 butterfly, 2 leaves and 7 fish.

The patterns are contemporary in design to fit in with a baby nursery or kids’ bedroom décor, where they have educational value too.

The patterns are available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops as instant downloads. The PDF patterns contain everything you need to know to prepare and complete the embroidery and are set up to print at home, so come and take a look.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Sew Cute Embroidery Kit

Last year I spent a few months working on a hand embroidery kit to be sold in Barnes & Noble stores and after checking the site sporadically for the past few weeks, this morning my search yielded results: it’s out!

Titled Sew Cute Embroidery Kit, the booklet contains instructions for 12 designs as well as step-by-step photo instructions on how to do the embroidery stitches. The kit includes needles, thread, a hoop and fabric.

It’s available in-store, as well as online for $13.45 (save 10%), and is suitable for absolute beginner embroiderers right through to experienced stitchers looking for quick and easy projects.

Many thanks to becker&mayer! and in particular my editor, Leah, for including me in what turned out to be an incredibly fun project to work on.

Sew Cute Embroidery Kit 
by Kelly Fletcher

“Grab the included hoop, needles, and embroidery floss and get ready to stitch a collection of delightful designs that will add a touch of charm to anything. Sew Cute Embroidery Kit contains an illustrated book showing you how to do basic embroidery stitches, along with stitch-by-stitch instructions for creating adorable projects, plus: 3 iron-on transfer sheets,12 patterns to guide your embroidering, 2 stitching needles,  6-inch embroidery hoop, 2 pieces of white fabric, and 10 skeins of 6-stranded of embroidery floss. Seasoned stitchers and crafters new to embroidery alike will love these cute projects, which can be applied to everything from tea towels to T-shirts, tablecloths to tote bags.”

Friday, 16 January 2015

Blackwork: Getting started

I've always liked the monochrome look of traditional blackwork, stitched in black thread on white fabric, but have shied away from it fearing I would find it monotonous.

Sonia Lucano's book, Blackwork: Fifty Simple Embroidery Projects in Traditional Black and White, is inspiring though, with its fresh and modern take on the style – and projects of a manageable size. This and a desire to learn new embroidery styles prompted me to pick a project and find out if blackwork could hold my interest.

White Aida fabric, loosely woven
DMC six-stranded cotton thread: black (310)
Needle: embroidery, size 8
Hoop: 6-inch
Design: Beetle by Sonia Lucano

There's no need to transfer the design on to the fabric, which is a plus. Simply start in the middle of the design and work your way outwards by following the pattern grid. I made a copy of the design from the book so I could draw crosshairs on it...

... and tacked matching crosshairs on to the fabric to make it easier to keep my place.

So that's the prep work done. Next, making a start on the embroidery.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Ahoy! Free vintage embroidery designs

I came across a file of vintage iron-on embroidery transfers at a charity shop towards the end of last year. They were clearly someone's collection: gathered over the years, cut up and piled haphazardly, one on top of the other into plastic sleeves. It saddens me to think of the stitching life discarded, but I can't deny the thrill of coming across a stash like this.

We were experiencing power load shedding every other evening at the time, and I spent these hours sifting through and sorting the transfers by candlelight. I had to toss a lot of them - torn, crumpled, faded - but those that were left quickly worked their way into little piles of commonality and I thought I'd share my good fortune.

They're literally just outlines, though, no instructions or photos of finished embroidery. So you'll have to get creative. But a decent design is a good place to start and I thought these small marine motifs apt with all the nautical themes doing the rounds at the moment.

Suggested stitches: Outline the anchor in back stitch and the rope in stem stitch. Work the border in chain stitch.

Suggested stitches: Outline the hull of the boat in stem stitch and fill the mast in with satin stitch. Embroider the sails and the sea in back stitch, using more strands of thread for the sails than the sea to give a thicker line. You could place a French knot under each wave curl for added detail.

Suggested stitches: Embroider the bubbles in padded satin or outline them in back stitch with two straight stitches in the centre of each. Outline the fish in stem stitch and use a French or colonial knot for the eye. Use the left-hand design for appliqué: embroider or attach a bead for the eye, cut out the fish and notch the fabric where shown, then fold the edges under and hand stitch to another piece of fabric.

Suggested stitches: Fill the sail with blanket filling stitch and outline it in stem stitch. Embroider the hull and mast in thick back stitch and the sea swells in stem stitch using only a few strands of thread. Fly or arrowhead stitch would work well for the birds and satin stitch for the flag.

Download a PDF of the motifs at actual size.