A Hearty Hello x

Last January I grabbed the Cross-Sticher issue on the spot as the free gift included caught my eye instantly! I thought the wooden shaped heart to be stitched would be a romantic key-ring and a very original gift to make. The motif and the colours used for the design were pretty and fresh. Besides, since the whole kit was supplied, it would have been foolish of me to walk away!!

2. Hearty Hello 1

En Janvier dernier,  j’ai achete le numero de Janvier de Cross-Stitcher car je suis tombee sous le charme du petit cadeau offert avec le magasine. L’idee de broder un petit Coeur en bois pour en faire un porte-cle m’a tout de suite seduit car j’ai trouve que c’etait original. Le motif et les couleurs utilises etaient de nature romantique pour ce mois de Fevrier 🙂 De plus, tout etait inclus dans le cadeau; le Coeur, les fils, l’attache porte-cles etc.. Cela aurait ete vraiment dommage de ne pas saisir cette occasion!!

About the Stitching:

Technically there was no great challenge into making it. I found that all the rules applying to stitching on aida, evenweave or linen applied here as well. Despite the recommendation section allowing for knots to be made to secure the threads; I decided to go ‘old school’ and to fasten my threads as one does on fabric.

The way stitching on wood differed from stitching on fabric was in the feel of it. The wood had absolutely no ‘give-in’ compared with fabric, which is soft and flexible. Hence, it did take a little while to get used to it as it felt rather foreign to handle.

As I went along, I came to the realisation that I would need to cover the back of my work with a piece of soft fabric. My main reasons for doing so were :

  1. to protect my work. Left uncovered my threads were running more risk to get damaged more easily once in use in my purse or in my pocket
  2. to provide a better finish to my product. Aesthetically speaking, it just looked much nicer.

2. Hearty Hello 6

C’etait la premiere fois que je brodais sur un support en bois. Techniquement parlant, il n’y avait rien de difficile. D’ailleurs malgre le conseil du magasine qui indiquait que je pouvais faire des noeuds pour attacher mes fils;  j’ai decide d’utiliser la regle de base de broderie qui refute les noeuds pour securiser les fils.

La grande difference entre broder sur un support bois et un tissu  fut dans les sensations obtenues.  Le bois etant rigide et dur n’etait pas malleable et m’a donne une sensation presque mecanique. Il m’a fallut un peu de temps pour m’y habituer et apprecier mes gestes.

 

About the Finishing Touch:

First of all, I went to paint the heart contour in Blue to compliment my stitching.

  1. In order to make sure that I would not apply any paint on my stitching, I went to run a line of backstitch along the edge of my stitching.
  2. I have applied three coats of paint to get the results I wanted; working from my darker shade of blue to a brighter one.
  3. Obviously I  also painted the back of my heart as well
2. Hearty Hello 2

you can see the line of backstitich in blue along the heart edges

Lors de la confection de mon porte-cle,  j’ai pris le decision que j’allais couvrir avec du tissu le verso de mon Coeur afin de proteger mes fils et de donner un plus joli rendu a l’objet. J ai aussi realise que la couleur Bleu faisait ressortir la broderie.

  1. Avant de peindre le Coeur et afin de proteger mes points; j’ai brode une serie de points arrieres  tout au long du contour du Coeur.
  2. Cette serie de point m’a permis d’attacher un premier tissu (voir photoci-dessous)
  3. J’ai ensuite recouvert ce premier tissu de deux autres pour une belle finition. J’ai utilse un thermocollant et de la colle pour textile pour attacher ces tissus les uns aux autres.

Then, for a nice finish on the back of the heart, I had to undertake a few more steps:

  1. I cut a piece of blue fabric in a heart shape, which I secured by sticking pieces of double-sided tape. To be on the safe side I made sure that my backstitches were also holding the fabric in place.
2. Hearty Hello 4

Step 1 of 4 to finish the back of the Heart

  1. I then went to cut a thin piece of lining fabric to create a bit of a padded effect as well as another fabric in a colour scheme matching my stitches to use it as my top fabric
  2. I secured then to each other with an iron on transfer and eventually I  glued them onto the first fabric with some textile glue ..

2. Hearty Hello 5

So many little steps but as the L’Oreal ad says ‘It s Worth It’  :)) I do value the little details :))

Hearty feel to All , from Flore x

Advertisements

HaPpY 2014 to Lenny & Cie

   Here I am left with only a handful of days in January to send you all my Best Wishes for the New Year.

Et voila qu’il ne me reste que peu de temps pour vous souhaiter a tous une belle et heureuse annee.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holiday season. I am sure that with the hectic lifestyle most of us live; the festivities already feel like miles behind. Only the few pounds accumulated -and which need to be burnt off- are a reminder of our festive gluttony !!

I did a bit of work myself during the Xmas/ New Year break as I completed my old reliable Lilipoint pattern, best known to me as my’ Nino project’. This time around though I have made it for a wee lad of 16 month-old, who came all the way from Perth, Australia to spend his Xmas holidays with his grand-parents on his daddy’s side. I got the chance to meet Lenny and spent a bit of time with his lovely mam Rachel when they came to visit my in-laws during their stay in Windy & Stormy Ireland!

1. LENNY 1

J’espere que les fetes de fin d’annee se sont bien deroulees pour tout le monde. En tout cas si vous etes comme moi, je me doute bien qu’elles vous semblent bien loin avec le rythme de nos vies. Seuls les quelques kilos accumules par nos decadences gargentuesques temoignent de nos festivitees passees!!
J’ai brode durant ces fetes car je souhaitais finir mon grand classique Lilipoint que j’ai surnomme ‘projet Nino’. Cette fois-ci je l’ai realise pour un petit loulou qui repond au surnom de Lenny. Un petit bout de chou de 16 mois qui est venu rendre visite a ses grand-parents Irlandais depuis Perth en Australie! J’ai eu la chance de le rencontrer ainsi que sa maman Rachel lors de leur visite chez Gran.

About the Stitching:

Being the fourth time doing my ‘Nino project’, I have grown used to making it and thus there was no major mishap. As usual I started to stitch the writing first: the main letter and the rest ( L for Lenny)

The letter L, to my great delight, turned out to have only 755 cross-stitches. It really makes the letter ‘L’ far less consuming to stitch when you compare it with the previous projects. The ‘M’ for Michelle had a mad count of 1899 stitches hence over 20 hours of work!

The fun twist of this project was actually the colour scheme. Although I kept a blue and a green scheme with a dark neutral tone, I changed all my threads to compliment the dark brown. I find it quite neat that different colour schemes can be created for the sake of variety and taste obviously !!

1. LENNY 3

For reference, I used for this project all DMC threads. DMC 794 for the Blue / DMC 372 for the Green and DMC 433 for the Brown.

C’etait mon quatrieme ouvrage avec le ‘projet Nino’ et j’ai donc voulu innover une fois de plus. Apres avoir cree la version fille et en coussin, j’ai cette fois joue avec les couleurs de mes fils. Tout en restant sur la meme idee d’utilisation d’un fil bleu et d’un vert, j’ai fait en sorte qu’ils se marrient bien avec le marron fonce – a la place du gris fonce utilise par le passe. Bien que subtil, le resultat n’est pas le meme et reste tout aussi agreable a l’oeil. Cependant comme on le sait tous les gouts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!

About the Framing:

I usually split the comment of my post in two sections. 1. about the stitching; 2. about the sewing. This time around though I have changed my technique a little as there is no sewing involved in mounting my project.

I knew that Lenny and his family were flying back home around the 10th of January and I wished for them to have the gift with them.  By the way that did not happen ! Colm & Max were meant to go and visit them and bring the gift along but they had to change their plan as well.

Anyhow, out of concern to deliver my work on time, I changed my strategy and instead of using a piece of fabric for my backing I purchased a piece of brown paper card that matched the colour scheme and with the use of double sided tape I went to secure and mount my project in its frame.

1. LENNY 2

Below my aida fabric, I went to fix a piece of white backing fabric so that the colours could stand out even more

Que me reste-t-il a vous dire a propos de ce projet?
Par souci de gain de temps, j’ai change ma facon de faire pour monter mon projet en cadre. Je souhaitais que ce present reparte dans les valises de Lenny. Au lieu d’utiliser du tissus comme fond pour le cadre, j’ai opte cette fois-ci pour un papier cartonne, qui de par sa couleur se coordonne bien aux couleurs de mes fils. Ce fut tres efficace et le gain de temps incroyable car je nai pas eu a preparer mon tissu,  a le lacer pour le tendre, ou bien encore a fixer le tout avec des points de couture
Et Voila !

By the way, for anyone interested in checking out the colour scheme, you can click below to be directed to the previous posts:

Nino & Michelle    xx Flore

Project: Dalahast

Last April, my friend Siobhan asked me if I could think of a lovely personalised gift for the 50th birthday of a relative on her husband’s side.  A new project, I was thrilled!! I really enjoy every part of my embroidery but the initial phase of every project is without a doubt the most exciting and creative part of it. I picked Siobhan’s brain on the character of the xday gal: what she likes and dislikes as well as her hobby, the style of her home and her own sense of style.. Quickly enough we settled on a folk-inspired design, which I really wanted to make since seeing it in the Cross-Stitcher issue of October 2012. The Dalahast, which means ‘Horseplay’ in Sweedish according to the magasine, is a Felecity Hall’s design. They are originally wooden toys painted in bright and bold colours.

Although a Felicity Hall design, I have altered it to suit my liking and requirements

Although a Felicity Hall design, I have altered it to suit my liking and requirements

En Avril dernier, ma copine Siobhan m’a demande si je pouvais lui confectionner un present pour les 50 ans d’une cousine du cote de son mari. J’etais aux anges!! J’affectione chaque etape de ma broderie mais le point de depart d’un projet est sans aucun doute l’etape la plus stimulante que ce soit creativement ou emotionellement parlant. La 1ere chose a faire pour creer un present pour une totale inconnue est d’obtenir assez d’infos pour avoir un sens de la personne. Autour d’un café avec Siobhan nous avons donc discute cette cousine (ce qu’elle aime, ses loisirs, son chez-elle et son style). Tres rapidement, nous avons conclu qu’un motif d’inspiration folkorique Suedois que j’avais vu dans le magazine Cross-Stitcher paru en Octobre 2012 etait un bon choix et une jolie symbolique pour cette passionnee d’equitation et proprietaire d’un cheval. Ce petit cheval brode aux points de Croix cree par Felicity Hall est a l’origine un jouet en bois peint avec des couleurs primaires et gaies.

About the Stitching:

The big challenge for me on this project was actually TIME!! I had a 3 weeks deadline to make it all happen! There was thus very little time for procrastination. I picked up my sketch book and off I went.

  1. My Fabric: 30x30cm of a DMC 28ct Evenweave in ecru
  2. Design Size: about 10x11cm
  3. Colour Threads needed: I simplified the colour scheme.I also changed the colour combination around the saddle area as well as the stitching pattern for the horse’s mane. By making some changes to the original design, I make the design a bit of my own as it suits better my taste and requirements then!
    • In my opinion, given the size of the design, there was no need to have so many shades of each hue except for the red colour. Hence I came to select 2 Reds, 1 Green, 1 Blue and 1 Yellow. Respectively DMC # 666; 3705; 702; 995; 725 & White B5 200
  4. I also changed the colour combination as well as the stitching pattern around the saddle area and the horse’s mane. I like bringing these small changes to a design I work on as by doing so I feel like the design become a bit mine.
A real splash of colours to brighten up the neutral ivory tones of  kitchen cabinets and walls

A real splash of colours to brighten up the neutral ivory tones of kitchen cabinets and walls

La grande difficulte de ce projet fut le Temps. Je n’avais que 3 semaines pour y travailler. Je me suis donc mis a la tache rapidement.

  1. Tissus: 30×30 cm de toile DMC en couleur ecru
  2. Taille Reelle du projet: 10x 11 cm
  3. Couleurs des fils: Mon projet etant de petite taille, j’ai simplifie mon eventail de couleurs au maximum en utilisant seulement 2 Rouges DMC 666 & 3705 , 1 Vert  DMC 702, 1 Bleu DMC 995 et 1 Jaune  DMC 725  ainsi que le Blanc B5 200 afin d’alleger l’ensemble.
  4. J’ai aussi modifie mes points autour de la criniere et de la selle. En apportant des modifications, j’ai le sentiment de m’approprier le design et d’en faire quelque chose plus a mon image.
The Dalahast are originally wooden toys painted in bright& bold colours

The Dalahast are originally wooden toys painted in bright& bold colours

I also love to add on an extra touch to make a handmade gift unique. This time I went to make a label by cutting a little piece of my evenweave fabric and stitched the title ‘Dalahast’ on it which I surrounded by a couple of little flowers to match the design.

To secure my label on the mount of my frame I used a piece of double-sided tape. It was an easy add-on and my main concern for presentation was to cover the piece of tape. I fray the surrounding of the label to give more of the rustic look and also bring a bit of texture onto the clean line of the mount and frame.

Speaking of the rustic feel in order to enhance it, I follow the recommendation of the magazine which was to stitch in 3 strands. It truly was a great tip!!

Understated and yet a lovely touch

Understated and yet a lovely touch

J’aime aussi quand je confectionne un present faire en sorte d’individualiser encore plus le present et le cote ‘fait-main’ en ajoutant un petit je ne sais quoi. Ici j’ai eu l’idee de creer la petite etiquette intitulee ‘Dalahast’ et de la coller sur la monture afin de creer un peu de texture sur l’aspect lisse et blanc du cadre.

Pour ce souci de texture que je souhaitais creer afin de garder une sensation de folklore, j’ai tire mes fils tout autour de la petite etiquette pour lui donner un aspect plus grossier.  J’ai aussi suivi les conseils du magazine et j’ai travaille mes point avec 3 fils au lieu de 2.

Last but not least I was left with putting my card in the back of the gift:)

xxx Flore

Flodonnell1408@gmail.com
floreodonnell.wordpress.com

Technical Blip

Hi All

Discussing with James last night, he told me he was getting my post via email. Unfortunately, the formatting of my text and pictures do change in the process. So for a better viewing/ reading of my posts, do click on the post title next time.

Love,

Bonjour tout le Monde,

James m’a dit hier au soir qu’il lisait mon blog directement de sa page interne. Pour une meilleure lecture cependant, il vous serait plus agreable de cliquer sur le titre de mon article. Essayez, c’est beaucoup mieux

Bises,

Flore

Project: Neva 1835

I went down to Cobh a couple of week ends ago for a bit of a historical visit.

Le week end du 19 et 20 Octobre, je suis allee a Cobh dans la province de Cork

Cobh is a beautiful little spot, quaint and charming with its steep streets and its colourful terrace houses and its gorgeous cathedral, which looks quite disproportionate compared with the size of the actual town. It stands there as a reminder that Cobh once in the 19th century was a busy place/ crossroad and the second port of Ireland.

Je n’avais jamais visite ce coin d’Irlande et je l’ai trouve bien joli avec ses maisons accolees et colorees ainsi qu’avec sa belle Cathedrale construite sur les hauteurs de la petite ville. La cathedrale est tres imposante pour un si petit endroit et temoigne donc d’un passé prestigieux. Cobh, en effet, de par sa situation geographique et ses eaux profondes  permettant la venue de gros navires connu un bel essor.

  • During the famine, many ships departed from Cobh. The Titanic itself made a stop in Cobh. Ships to Australia also departed from Cobh. This was the case of the NEVA in 1835, which left Cobh with on-board 500 women -of which 150 women were convicts.
  • A l’epoque de la famine, beaucoup de bateaux partirent de Cobh. Le Titanic lui meme y fit escale. Les navires pour l’Australie quittaient aussi l’Ile d’Emeraude par ce port. Ce fut le cas du NEVA qui en 1835 prit la mer avec a son bord 500 femmes -150 d’entre ells etaient des prisonniers.
  • The women were deliberately sent to populate Australia as it was custom at that time and were nicknamed later Mothers of Australia.
  • Ces femmes furent surnommees les Meres de l’Australie car ells etaient envoyees pour peupler ce grand continent bien vide
  • The NEVA never made it to its final destination as it sank off the coast of Tasmania leaving only 6 survivors from this tragedy.
  • Le Neva n’arriva pas a destination. Il coula non loin des cotes de Tasmanie et seulement 6 femmes furent rescapees de ce naufrage.

Thanks to the work of Cristina Henri from Tasmania, I was fortunate enough to attend a Commemoration event to honour and remember the Neva and the sad fates of these women.150 bonnets that were embroidered by the Dublin branch of the Guild of Embroiders found their place -after being blessed in the Cathedral- in the Heritage Centre of Cobh .

Grace a l’initiative de Cristina Henri et son travail de longue haleine qui dura 6 ans, j’ai pu participer a une ceremonie commemorant le terrible destin de ces femmes et plus particulierement celle du Neva. 150 bonnets en calico furent brodes a la main, benis a la Cathedrale de Cobh et places au Heritage Centre de Cobh

To see more of the Commemoration, go to  http://rosesfromtheheart.tumblr.com

Thanks to Catherine, the President of my ICA branch, I was fortunate to embroider two of the bonnets. I was well pleased when I saw them again on that Sunday. I took then the opportunity to take a few pics of them!

Grace a Catherine, le Presidente de mon ICA, J’ai pu a mon retour de France broder deux de ces bonnets. Je fus emue de les revoir lors de la ceremonie 🙂

  • On each bonnet is embroidered a woman’s name with a shamrock on the right hand side
  • Sur chaque bonnet est inscrit a droite le nom d’une femme et un trefle Irlandais
Johanna's name was embroidered using the Couching stitch

Johanna’s name was embroidered using the Couching stitch

Margaret's name was embroidered with back stitch

Margaret’s name was embroidered with back stitches

  • The name of the Ship and its sailing date on the left corner
  • A gauche le nom du bateau et l’annee d’embarcation sont brodees
Here I used the Chain stitch to write Neva and a running front stitch in two colours for the date

Here I used the Chain stitch to write Neva and a running front stitch in two colours for the date

Neva was embroidered with a Stem stitch & 1835 was worked with a running stitch and 2 colours

Neva was embroidered with a Stem stitch & 1835 was worked with a running stitch and 2 colour

  • A central motif was added as well as ribbons and ties
  • Au centre un motif decoratif de notre choix est brode. J’ai choisi de broder une scene pastorale pour symboliser l’Irlande rurale puisqu’on les arrachaient a leur pays. Sur l’autre j’ai brode des papillons pour symboliser la Liberte dont elles fut privee.
I wish to embroider a motif that resembles an Irish pastoral scene

I wish to embroider a motif that resembles an Irish pastoral scene

With the use of butterflies here I wish to embody the Freedom those women were denied

With the use of butterflies here I wish to embody the Freedom those women were denied

Much more could be said about the Neva and Cristina Henri’s initiative to bring it all to life, for anyone interested please follow the link of the RTE player as she was broadcasted in Nationwide http://rte.ie/player/ie/show/10216290

Love to all,

Flore

Project: Michelle’s Gift:

Early in 2012, I made a gift to celebrate the birth of my first nephew on my side of the family, the ever cheeky and charming Nino!!

The pattern was really a great buy and I have had plenty use of it since purchasing it. I have grown fond of it and I have received enthusiastic and encouraging feed-back from making Nino’s gift. As a testimony of this positive enthusiasm for it, I was asked to make the same gift for a little lad ‘Oisin’ as well as for a young ‘Conor’ born this year in Australia and coming over to meet the relatives in Ireland next Christmas.

 FLORENCE-79

With Michelle’s arrival a year ago, my beloved pattern came out again from its drawer and it was given this time a couple of new twists as I was making a ‘ girl’ version ! Thanks to my new-born niece, I was able to experiment and have fun. As you can imagine the first exciting bit was to choose the colour of threads.

Obviously, I wanted it to be pretty and a bit ‘girly’ but without falling into the trap of the overdone and very predictable Pink. Such a terrible statement really as I do love my pinks. They come in such a wide variety between the cold and warm hues; as well as between the pastels and more vivid ones. Ultimately you are bound to find what you are looking for.

Eventually I settled for a soft pink DMC #3727, which I combined with a warm and dark enough purple DMC # 3740  for a nice contrast. For my third colour thread, I took the decision to keep the same green as in the original pattern DMC #734 as I thought it would be nice to keep a bond between all of them. Besides I had some threads left and I am fond of using my stock of threads as I go along.

FLORENCE_CUSHION_BLANKET-2

About the Stitching:

I was to make the capital letter M for the first time and it turned out to be a very intensive letter with about 23h00 of stitching on it!! Don’t let the hours spent on a single letter deter you from stitching it as the result is really rewarding!! Besides the other parts of the design require much less labour time and the borders are really cool and pleasant to stitch. My estimated total stitching time is about 38h00.

For this design, I always work in the same order which is to find the centre of the fabric first and then to find the centre of the Initial I am going to stitch. Hence, it means that in this case the first thing I stitched was the letter M, followed by the stitching of ‘for Michelle’. My next step was to stitch the checked border surrounding the word ‘for’. Finally I stitched the surrounding borders which acts as a frame. By the by, I have always used a clear glass frame with no border of its own  to frame my gifts so that it would not take away from the beautifully stitched border.

As usual I have counted and re-counted my stitches while working but despite my best efforts, I keep making mistakes!! Tiny little ones, nothing dramatic but still frustrating as I keep telling myself ‘Oh come on now you know the design, what are you like !’.

Once I realise the error of my way in my counting I always make the point to alter my design instead of undoing my work. My reason for doing so is that while undoing your work, you are more likely to damage the fabric and the threads. Besides since I stitch my design in both English and French, I need to be able make minor modifications.

About the Sewing:

The other creative twist of my gift for Michelle was to actually change the nature of the gift. I felt like since I was making a gift for a little girl a lovely cushion with her name stitched on it could be a lovely, personal gift and may find room on her bed for a long time 🙂

I love the idea that I can make a frame or a  cushion out of my pattern. You know me I love changes and versatility as it makes life more interesting!

1. Michelle's Gift2

The choice of my fabric made my sewing so much easier as the square pattern is very regular. It was thus easy to cut it, to sew almost straight stitches for hems :)) I made the cushion and the cushion cover of the same fabric for a nice professional handmade finish. I could afford it as I paid € 8  a metre for my fabric in Ikea.

The  size of my cover and my cushion is 14×14 for both of them. A trick of the trade apparently : ‘ Don t make the cover bigger than the cushion size!’ I was told by one of my ICA ladies!

      • The front cover of my cover was pretty straightforward to sew and the wooden heart shape buttons were added for a decorative purpose only.
      • As for the back panel, it is made of two pieces of fabric overlapping and being secured by two ties made of the same gingham fabric.

1. Michelle's Gift3Et voila, a pretty cushion that can be hand washed and taken care of when needed!

Much love and Thanks for reading,

Flore

Chicken Scratching

Last Saturday I went to attend a day-course to learn another technique of embroidery ” Chicken Scratching”. I had seen some examples of it in my Monday night craft group and I really wanted to have a go at it. Chicken scratching is surely an odd name for embroidery and you are really entitled to wonder what one has to do to produce such a type of embroidery!! Truth be told, it is not the right side of your fabric that has inspired the name but the back of it. Indeed, some basic rules of embroidery are simply dismissed when you ‘chicken scratch’ as knots are permitted and threads are covering the back of your work.

Despite of what I have just written above, I really like Chicken scratching and it has a nice rustic look. The use of white threads on the chequered pattern of the gingham fabric is quite attractive and it is  very eye catching. It actually looks like applique lace.

2013-06-16 15.37.11

Three simple stitches are used in Chicken Embroidery: working in chronological order they appear as such: the double cross-stitch -used to outline your design first and then to fill up your design. Here the use of two different colour threads is what creates the contrast. Then you create your running stitch followed by the woven circle stitch which complete your work.

Lastly  it is worth mentionning that depending on whether you use the dark or medium shade of  your gingham fabric you decide to start your work, you will obtain different effects. Imagine thus how much variation you could obtain  if you would play with your thread colours as well!!!

I got myself a second kit to re-work my technique but with the hope to do a heart shape for my next attempt. It might take some time though since I am finising a lovely bicycle at the moment and I am still working on  my online course ‘un travail d’ecoliere’… Wishing you a good day  and much love,    Flore

Project: Conor’s Gift

2012 was the year of little ones being born in my entourage; hence a year of babies gift- making. After Nino  born in the spring, Conor and Michelle came in turn to bless their respective parents’ lives in the Fall 2012.

In my search for babies clothing and accessories for these two little ones (and my oh my, there are so many pretty things out there!!), I found a cute, soft fleece blanket in an off-white colour lined with a cotton material on which were printed some cartoon-like characters. The main protagonist, a little bear with the most adorable face, could be found on many articles of clothing such as hats, scarves, all-in-one and bodysuit.

Isn't he adorable ?

Isn’t he adorable ? Simple and Understated

  

Completely under the charm of the cutie bear and with the blanket already in my basket, an idea hit me. Conor’s gift came to life: I could see it with my mind’s eye… I was left to make it … Hence along with the blanket, I picked up a 6 to 9 month-old pack of bodysuit. I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that one never has enough of blankets and bodysuit with our little cherubs!

Soon after my purchase I started gathering my threads and needles to prep my work and picked up my notebook where I keep all my designs and faux-pas of everything I make. For making Conor’s gift I gathered together:

  • The blanket and one of the bodysuit of the pack
  • DMC threads complementing the colouring of the items above (DMC #839, 841 & 597)
  • DMC Water Soluble Canvas 

   Although I am very practical, I am more often than not driven by another agenda in parallel to my need for practicality. In this case, I wished to make for Conor a gift that would be his very own by embroidering his name and birth date; and  by then patching his precious details onto the soft and warm blanket.

 2. Conor's Gift1

About the STITCHING:

The design of Conor’s lettering was pretty straightforward since I used the alphabet Lilipoint ref PC005, which I previously used for  Nino’s gift. For the birthdate details though I did not find any suitable models. Everything I found somehow was in back-stitch and I wished to cross-stitch the numbers. To me, the date of Conor’s birth seem to be as important as his name. I  ended up designing my own.

I paid great care to the size of my design for a couple of reasons. On one hand, it was important to maintain a sense of proportion between the different elements that would constitute my patch as well as the overall size of the patch once sewn onto the blanket. On the other, my counting and re-counting of my design was also driven by the wish not to waste my material, especially my DMC water-soluble canvas which is costly enough.

My second step was to cut a piece of one of the bodysuit and secure the Water-soluble canvas on the jersey fabric centering it to complement the little bear. There was no technical challenges in  the cross-stitching. The nice stitching touch came later on once the patch was securely attached to the blanket with a blind hem. I chose then to have a herringbone stitch to soften the edges of all my fabric and enhance the design (see picture below).

Herringbone wrdpress

Once my cross-stitching completed, it was time to remove the water-soluble canvas by soaking my material in lukewarm water. It dissolved itself quite well. I can only recommend not to be shy with giving a bit of time for the water-soluble to disintegrate; otherwise you may have some left over of a gooey texture that will stiffen your fabric and spoil your work.  Once my work had dried, I was left to press it and to move it forward to the next stage, which was to shape my patch and sewing it.

While stitching my main concern was the colour distribution with 2 neural tones (beige & brown) and  an accent colour (blue). In order to have Conor’s name standing out I used DMC 839 for C-N-R to make a bold statement. However, in order to soften the effect and to guarantee that the writing would not be too austere I introduced  DMC 841 for the O & R with a hint of 597 blue to brighten it all up! I used and trusted my eyes all along to figure it all out. A plain soft and warm brown remnant dating from a prior project complimented my patch and gave the opportunity for my patch to stand out against the backdrop of  the off-white blanket.

About the SEWING:

Originally I had wished for my patch to have a more organic shape than a clean-cut rectangular -or square- shape. Undeniably though such shapes are more awkward to sew on. I did not feel confident enough to trying it and time was pressing. Instead, I settled for a nice compromise where I kept the overall rectangular shape but truncated each corner to soften the effect. It’s an old and odd habit of mine and I do the same in my home!!! I dislike corners and angles; therefore my plants, mirrors or furniture are always thrown in front of them to block them from my sight! 

I tacked my jersey onto my cotton and secured it with my first herringbone stitch serving two purposes at once by being highly decorative as well. I repeated then the same operation by fastening the whole patch onto the fleece with a blind hem at once, which was followed some more herringbone stitches.

The outer line of herrinbone stitches is in DMC 841 but whipped then with DMC 597

The outer line of herringbone stitches is DMC 841 but whipped then with DMC 597

Happy with the design and the overall patch, I eventually gave it to Conor. I hope that he has a good use of it!!

Love, Flore

Project: In the Bag !!

Last Autumn, I completed my second sampler in embroidery. This time though, it took the shape of a pretty bag. As you may notice down below, it bears a lot of similarites with my first embroidery work: Un Coeur de Broderie .

The most striking similarity between both samplers is the predominant use of Red hues on both works. In fact, it seems that many of us are very fond of this colour combination marrying the neutral beige and cream to the more vivid red and deep burgundy.

Both samplers were created by C. Elbaz from un Chat dans l'Aiguille.

Both samplers were created by C. Elbaz
from un Chat dans l’Aiguille.

It seems that , according to what I have been reading, there is nothing new nor tendance about stitching Red on white.

It can actually be traced back all the way to the start of the Middle Ages in the Western world -and even then it is known that the Roman Senators would have their gowns embroidered in red.

In Dictionary of Colours1, one can read that very early on the bright, powerful  Reds, which symbolise dynamism, wealth and emotions -such as passion and love-,  were placed in contrast with the pure, innocent and virgin White. Values, which  for us poor souls in our human shells, are a constant struggle to reach or maintain, if you ask me!!!!

It seems that Red was also contrasting with Black, symbol of dirt at best and of all that is beneath us.

Hence, between the Above and the Below, it seems that Mankind made of the colour red his/her happy medium !!!

Anyhow, let me go back to my Odysseus of a learner and about the trials and tribulations of making this project.

I was really looking forward to making it as I knew it to be technically more advanced, but also because being a real girl, I could not wait to make a really pretty sampler with a functional touch.

I love the romantic, feminine feel it inspires -almost wedding-like!

I love the romantic, feminine feel it inspires -almost wedding-like!

About the Stitching:

From the time I purchased this sampler, I knew my wish was to make a show piece of this work -as girls used to do it in bygone time-. I did keep in mind that every stitch was part of my learning process; hence I tried to be as cool as a cucumber and not to put pressure on me…

I did, however, penelope my work more than once!!

  • What I mean by peneloping my work is that I undid some of my stitches to do them again. You know the way Penelope, Ulysse’s wife, was doing every night while he was gone on his epic journey.

Overall the stitching was challenging enough even on the most simple stitches ( Chain, daisy chain, twisted chain, stem or running stitches).

I  kept in mind the basic principles of embroidery for a neat, beautiful craftmanship, namely:

  • To Maintain a Regular stitch throughout a line.

  • To Maintain a Consistent and Appropriate Pressure in the execution of a stitch.

  • To Keep not only the size of my stitch identical, but to Apply it to the space between the stitches (running stitch).

On a more exciting note, I discovered and practiced new stitches (Chevron & Diable st) and then i stitched beads onto my work. Looooovely it was great to do!

FLORENCE-119

A last thing is that i did not follow the colour guideline. To me, the red was too overpowering  so I replaced some of it with the cream and beige. 

About the Sewing:

All could have been nice and easy if I had just followed the guidelines provided to sew my bag.

I think that by now you know me enough to grab on my independent thinking border-line stubborness!

So, what do you think happened??

I had a lovely gorgeous red satin-like fabric which triggered my bag!!

Don’t you think that the stitching was challenging enough?!

Of course it was!! but “No” I had to travel down another road before being done. I have to say this was a very very long road. Not only I had to do it once, and then twice but then I had to be given proper explaination to actually manage to doing it!

And eventually, I did it !

If anyone is interested in the knowing-how to make a lining for a bag, feel free to contact me and I will pass on the notes I made for it and the tricks of the trade that Leena gave me… 

Although I can write and conclude today by saying that my sampler is in the Bag!!  I can tell you that to make the bag itself was not always a bag to laugh !

As usual though, I enjoy every minute of it:

FLORENCE-125

With Love,

Flore

1Dictionnaire des Couleurs de notre temps, Symbolique et Societe, Michel Pastoureau, Ed. Bonneteau, Paris, 1992.

A ‘skirty’ hello

Just a quick hello to let you know that the busy bee that I am has been even busier of late…

I received my supplies for my online course by Marie Suarez. I have started reading the course and get accustomed with the different fabrics and laces provided. Soon I’ll post a few pictures of my progress … It’s so pretty and delicate and quite floral. I am thrilled to start it.

I am finishing my stitching for my First Ever Order placed by my friend Siobhan. It is the ‘O for Oisin’, which I am left to frame in the same manner  as I did the  ‘N for Nino’

I saw Christine, who so generously gives me some of her time and skills and takes all the pictures posted in this blog. She gave me my latest pics. I could not wait to present them to you so I went to post one of each in my category ‘Coming Soon’. To check some of Christine’s work, go to www.christineburnsphotography.ie

Ok I have to dash but not before leaving you with my skirt.. I have told many of you about my mad skirt which I did last Autumn in my dressmaking class:  ‘Here it is, check out for yourself !!!!!’

FLORENCE_CUSHION_BLANKET-60

Flore