Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Embroidery Ideas magazine : the digital version

The digital version of Embroidery Ideas is now available and you can buy a copy no matter where in the world you live. Or drop some heavy Christmas hints.

All you have to do is log on to South African digital magazine portal Flipsubs - click on the link to go straight to the edition or search for "embroidery" on www.flipsubs.com. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It's out! Embroidery Ideas on shelves now

Remember I told you about having spent a few months earlier this year designing and making projects for Ideas magazine? For their standalone embroidery edition? Well, it's finally out and on sale and it's gorgeous and you absolutely must get yourself a copy.

The styling is amazing, the design is light and fresh, it includes stitch instructions and all the other bits and pieces of information you need to get going, and hopefully the projects will inspire you to pick up a needle over the holidays. It'd also make a great Christmas stocking filler.

It's available from most places you'd find magazines: Exclusive Books, CNA, Spar and the like.

But you can get your hands on a copy no matter where in the world you live, just email Online@ideasmag.co.za if you want a print copy, otherwise the digital version will be available on flipsubs.com from next week.

You know you want it...

A photo posted by Ideas Magazine SA (@ideasmagazine) on

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cyber Monday sale : 25% off all embroidery patterns

Cyber Monday, the day the world is encouraged to shop online, is almost here and once again I’m offering 25% off all my hand embroidery patterns and editions of The Stitch & Thimble. And I’m extending the sale this year to all three of my online shops – on Etsy and Craftsy, and my SA shop for those of you who live in South Africa.

If there’s anything you’ve had your eye on, Monday is the time to buy it. The holiday season is tantalisingly close and there's plenty to choose from, whether you’re looking for festive designs to stitch or an embroidery project to work on over the holidays.

The sale runs from the evening of Sunday, 30 November to the morning of Tuesday, 2 December (SA time, GMT +2). This should give you all a chance to shop on 1 December, irrespective of which time zone you live in. And you can follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page for live updates on the sale.
  • To shop on Etsy, add all the items you’d like to buy to your shopping cart and enter the coupon code KFNDCYBERMONDAY2014 when you check out to get 25% off your total spend. For more info on how to apply the coupon code, read here. Please note that I have to manually relist items on Etsy, so if you find the pattern you’re after is marked as “sold out” you can either hang in there and give me a chance to renew it (bearing in mind that it may well be the middle of the night here in Johannesburg, in which case I’ll be up early to renew items) or try my Craftsy shop, where the items renew automatically.  
  • If you prefer to shop on Craftsy, the price shown will already have 25% taken off with the usual price in the product description for comparison.
  • For South African buyers through my SA shop, the system is the same as usual, but with prices already reduced and the usual prices given for comparison. 
So please diarise Cyber Monday at Kelly Fletcher Needlework Design on 1 December, it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up on patterns and plan new projects.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Six good podcasts to listen to while embroidering

When I go through stages of embroidering for a number of hours every day, I vacillate between listening to music, listening to podcasts, stitching in silence while my thoughts wander and most recently, listening to audio books.

I listened to some entertaining interviews a little while ago in which embroidery and textiles obviously feature. And as I've recently started embroidering again for another big project, I'm catching up on podcasts.

Here are six good ones, in no particular order:

Lotta Jansdotter speaks to Christine Cyr Clisset
Known for her clean style, Lotta Jansdotter was way ahead of her time when it came to the Scandi design trend, so it was interesting to hear about her design process, collaborations and future plans. It was also interesting to hear her take on designing versus production, and on which she felt her time was best spent.

Arianne Foulks and Alicia Paulson speak to Abby Glassenberg
Alicia Paulson of Posy Gets Cozy completely overhauled her online presence recently, including a new logo. And she got Arianne Foulks of web and graphic design studio Aeolidia to do it for her. It's a frank and honest talk about when, how and if a craft business owner should take on a redesign, and what exactly a website will or will not do for your bottom line.

Denyse Schmidt speaks to Christine Cyr Clisset
A maker of modern quilts, Denyse Schmidt has been on my radar for years. I love the simplicity of her quilt designs and am inspired by the way she's gone about creating and sustaining her quilt business.

Claire Danes speaks to Marc Maron
Although this interview with Marc Maron is largely about Claire's upbringing and acting career, there's an unexpected twist in the second half where she speaks about taking up embroidery and getting involved with her make-up artist friend Matin Maulawizada's venture to uplift widows in Afghanistan through embroidery, called Afghan Hands. So even though it's not a needlework or even a craft podcast, it was a nice easy listen to a fellow embroiderer.

Kristin Link and Kathy Mack speak to Abby Glassenberg
Kristin Link is the founder and owner of Sew Mama Sew and Kathy Mack is the owner of Pink Chalk Fabrics. Both of them have had to make tough business decisions involving a fairly radical change in direction. They talk candidly about making financial decisions, the emotions involved in changing tack and the day-to-day of running a craft business.

Spoonflower's Stephen Fraser speaks to Christine Cyr Clisset
If you're not already familiar with Spoonflower, they're digital textile printers from North Carolina that'll print your designs on to as little as a yard of fabric at a time. This is a fascinating listen about how Stephen and his partner, Gart Davis, started the business and what it's done for indie fabric designers since launching.

So there you go, some good listens if you're so inclined.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Stem stitch vs outline stitch

Stem stitch is one of the most basic embroidery stitches and used frequently in different styles of embroidery. Its “sister” stitch, outline stitch, looks extremely similar, but the difference comes in when actually doing these two stitches. 

Stem stitch is worked with your thread falling below your needle at all times.

Outline stitch is done with your thread above your needle at all times.

The end results are remarkably similar; the individual stitches just slant in a different direction: downwards in stem stitch (top) and upwards in outline stitch (bottom).

Even working along a curved line, there isn’t much difference between the two stitches beyond the angles of the individual stitches. Stem on the top, outline on the bottom curve.


Have a go at doing the two and you’ll find stem stitch easier to do than outline stitch – well, I find it much easier at any rate. It feels more natural to me and I can see the line I’m working along more easily. The repeated stitch action of stem seems to have a better flow to it, too.  

If you’re a beginner embroiderer, stem stitch gives a neater end result with less effort. And if you’re using stem stitch to catch down appliqu├ęd fabric, for some reason the end result is neater than if you use outline stitch.

It’s not a scientific fact, just a personal preference, but stem stitch trumps outline stitch any day.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Owls and flowers for a baby girl

Remember the rather ambitious rose and daisy blocks crochet blanket I embarked on two years ago now? It got upscaled by four to an envisioned double-bed blanket and then ... well ... downscaled by four again back to a baby blanket this year. 

There'll be a new addition to the family in the form of my niece in a few short months' time and I'd just finished joining all the blocks when we heard my sister was going to have a girl. While I was crocheting the border, I realised it was perfect for a little girl.

Her room is already filling up with embroidered and crocheted owls and flowers and leaves and bunting in delicate shades of lilac and yellow and hopefully this blanket will not only add extra colour, but see her through quite a few years as it's a fairly decent size.

My mom's been hard at work on the cot bumper, which is filled with appliqued and embroidered owls, flowers and leaves:

And she crocheted this stuffed owl off the top of her head, no pattern! Just a line drawing that she used as a rough guide for the general shape of the body.

There's also an embroidered owl clock in the making (my mom), so plenty of "made with love" for this new little one. And maybe being surrounded by all this hand stitching will get her wanting to pick up a needle or crochet hook herself one day. One can always hope.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Standalone embroidery edition for Ideas magazine

This week saw the culmination of a big project I've been working on for the past few months - a standalone embroidery supplement for Ideas magazine, here in South Africa.

Ideas is a monthly publication packed with, well, ideas for everything from craft to food to life. And this year they decided to bring out four special standalone editions: Ideas Knitting, Ideas Crochet, Party Ideas for Kids and Ideas Embroidery.

The first three are already out and Ideas Embroidery, which is where I come in, comes out in early December. There'll be print and digital editions, so I'll keep you posted. And you can pre-order your copy by calling Lucille van der Berg on 021 408 3038 (0027 21 408 3038 from outside SA) or sending Lucille an email: Lucille.vanderBerg@media24.com.

Ideas Embroidery will be jam-packed with fresh, modern embroidery and sewists will benefit too, as full sewing instructions are included for the various items that I've embroidered. Obviously though, I can't show any photos yet as that would ruin the surprise!

But my box of embroidered goods made it safely to the Ideas office in Cape Town this week and the talented, anything-is-possible ladies who run the show down there have now taken over.

Judging by the previous three standalones they've put together, this one should be good!