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

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: 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.

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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.

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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

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: NINO :)))

On May 1st 2012, I was blessed with the coming to our world of my very first nephew on my own side of the family!! A wondeful little boy who has grown since into a lively and boistrous little lad:

NINO

A few weeks before his birth, as I was browsing the net, I found a great pattern made by lilipoint -ref PC005- and I thought of Nino straight away..  I got carried away with the idea of being able to make a cute handmade gift for him. Something, which hopefully will last a bit, a little something which can let him know how delighted I was and have been to know of his coming in our lives..   I had very little time before going to France and give my gift, so I ordered it straight away and started to work on it as soon as it was in my door:)

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DMC #597/ 734 & 924
Other material used: Aida fabric, tapestry needles, a piece of white card, some double-sided tape, some backing fabric and a frame

About the Stitching:

As you would do for any other work, I first went to look for the centre of my fabric and design. My plan was to first stitch the capital letter  N, then to proceed with the rest of the writing. Hence, straight after marking the centre of fabric, I went to look for the centre of the letter N in relation to my first centre. I started stitching.

Despite my many counting I got it wrong (I used a 21 count Aida).  I realised of the inexactitude of my counting when my stitching of the letter N was well under way. I certainly did not have the heart to undo the many hours of work already in place. I ,therefore, decided that to make it work I would have to extend the design of the frame to suit my need. I did what was necessary and it worked!! Unless you know the original pattern, there is no way to know of my ‘faux pas’ …

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The letter N is labour intensive with 1688 stitches

Despite my brilliant recovery, I encountered another difficulty: my miscounting had pushed the design further up in relation to the centre of the fabric resulting then in a shortage of fabric in the top section. This meant that I had to re-think how I would frame my stitching since lacing it on a board was not possible anymore.

Whoever said: There are no Problems just Solutions was at that moment in time very inspiring and I found my way out!

About the Sewing:

For this project there was very little sewing involved. My concern was to mount my project and frame it. I decided that the best solution was to use my stitched aida as a patch-like onto another fabric..

step by step:

  • I pulled threads on each side of my fabric to recentre my work.
  • I cut a thick enough piece of white card to the dimension of my stitching -not of my aida- to brighten up my work but also to contrast better between the stitched area and the borders with its fringes
  • I placed my project onto my backing fabric and secured it with some back stitches
  • I took a piece of card board the size of the overall project and laced my fabric together in the back to nicely stretch the material.
  • Finally I framed it in a simple glass frame that would not take away from the design.

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Since making my Nino frame, i have re-worked with this design. I have made a girl version on a cushion instead of framing it. I am currently in the process of making anEnglish version of N comme Nino: O for Oisin!

Check out my coming posts for some pictures

Warm regards

Flore

Project: Gran’s Tea Towel

Last february (2012) I was in Swinford, co. Mayo for the week end. As I was shopping in the local supermarket, I came accross a set of tea-towels. Made of 100% cotton in a plain green colour with blue and grey hints, the fabric was very nice. A fine and discrete stitch that resembles a grid covers the fabric -see picture below-.

I thought it to be a great canvas for my next project!

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The price won me over as I paid 60cents of a euro for them. I knew the country to be in a recession; but it seems to me that the price i paid for them was more than a bargain!!

A little bit earlier i had found in The World of Cross Stitching a baby quilt project in patchwork-style animals. Some of the squares pieces were actually a 28-count evenweave on which the cutest geese were stitched on.

My newly purchased tea towels in my hand, I saw how the lovely geese could charmingly adorn a tea towel, which could in turn become a nice feature in a cottage-style kitchen with hand-painted and distressed cabinets…

I was left with one thing to do: To actually Make it!!

About the Stitching:

First thing first, I went to choose my threads. I used my old trick and left behind the classical and pretty white and blue geese for colours complimenting the colour of my fabric. Naturally, I turned towards a panache of grey that would give my classical design a little bit of an edge.  As much as i like pretty and intricate, I love functionality. So, to stitch a gorgeous cottagey tea towel with not a hint of a light colour was a great way to stay away from the white wash at 90 that damages embroidery!!

Each goose with its unique design, which gives them a texture-like finish, was a real pleasure to stitch.

The ref of my threads are DMC # 413/ 414/ 415 as well as # 502 & 3827 for some of the details.

The ref of my threads are DMC # 413/ 414/ 415 as well as # 502 & 3827 for some of the details.

Technically, I learnt so much by making this design -my #2 project-such as:

* The necessity to use a hoop to stretch my material.

* The must do of using water soluble on fabrics which are not made for stitching.

Anyhow i will finish this post on a very positive note by saying that i will definitely work again with this gorgeous design..

So, follow me up!!

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Flore

Project: Love

How well fitted the name of my first project has been!!

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It really was love at first sight when i saw the cover of the Cross-Stitch magazine (issue 249). It triggered so much excitement for me that i decided to start stitching. I read the article, figured out what tapestry needles and aida fabrics were, picked up a video on “How To” on YouTube and off I went  … That was January/ February 2012.

About the Stitching:

I would have loved to stitch the main piece of the project (a gorgeous heart) but i knew it to be too ambitious then. Instead, I picked up the lovely floral border stitched on the pillow case.

The motif was pretty and delicate and i thought it very versatile.

My first personal touch was in the choice of my colour. Instead of following the more conventional approach of the magazine by stitching red on white; I purchased a piece of red aida on which I stitched beige and cream on.

It was a pleasure to stitch and despite my repeated mistakes, i kept going … The rhythm of this first work went like that: “ Do, Undo, Redo / Do, Undo, Redo/ ….”

I decided to duplicate the border on each side of my fabric for the sake of practice and to give a nice symmetry to my design..Later on after finishing both borders, I went on to add a centre piece… Although it is only a variation of the border design, the design for the centre piece is my own idea -and my first design attempt!  

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About the Sewing:

Gosh that was another tricky bits!

I had plenty ideas of what i could do with my stitching but i was completely clueless on how to make it happen!!

I put my stitching on the side, picked up my next stitching project. I did not forget about it though. First I decided what i wanted to do with my project: I would transform my stitching into a soft fabric mat to dress a wicker tray  in my sitting room (see picture above). 

I bought some plain fabric and a piece of felt for the underlay. I could see the finished project in my head but i had the writer block/ the fear to mess it all up and ruin it all. It took a whole summer before i found the courage to tackle my sewing. I soon discovered the capital importance of pressing your fabric to mark it and allow for some clean lines and angles.

With a machine stitch and some red thread I fixed my aida on a piece of fabric. Then I used a blanket stitch (DMC beige) to finish the edges but also to fix my piece of underlay to the top fabric…

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I was moving really slowly as if i was in deep water   but gradually i became a bit more confident and I could then go on with finishing my project.

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I picked up my second piece of plain fabric to make the back of my mat. After pinning it, i went to fasten it to the rest of my fabric by securing it with two blanket stitches alternating the colours  (Dmc Beige & #32) and the sizes of my stitches ..

Et Voila!!

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Flore