Thursday, November 28, 2013

Auckland Art and Craft Fair

It's time for the wonderful Auckland Art and Craft Fair again this Saturday and I've been so busy getting ready for it that I've forgotten to blog about it! I'll be there with a full table loaded up with my new Felt Bird Kits, Hoop Wall Art Kits, a range of new pouches and something else that's new and exciting: my Embroidered Card Kits.  It's been all over my Facebook page this week, but for the non-FBers, here's an example of the Snowflake card:

The kits come with a heavy kraft card and envelope, plus a punched card to embroider, a needle and thread. Have a look over on Etsy for more information and to see the range. I'm so happy with these geometric cards and I hope shoppers will be too...

I finally got myself a smartphone and the first thing I did was join Instagram.  Here's my page; feel free to follow me to see what I get up to at the studio and around the house.  I'm still in the experimental phase with all the filters, so it's all over the place while I'm like a kid in a candy store. Here are a couple of of my stock-taking pics from today.

I'll be sure to post photos of the fair on Saturday, but it's really much better to be there in person.  It's at the Aotea Centre (inside, not on the square, so come regardless of weather) between 11 and 3.  I'd love to meet you, so remember to say hi if you come past my table :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whipstitch tutorial

Whipstitch is so easy, it doesn't really need a tutorial.  Just pass your needle and thread around the edge of your fabric and you will have done whipstitch. My favourite example of this stitch is around Jessie's hat (from Toy Story, of course).  Except this is what whipstitch looks like when it's animated; just a bit cuter than in real life.

Here's some whipstitch in the real world, warts and all.  

And here is how to do it.  On the front: 

 And the back:

My stitches are quite vertical on the first photo, with the stitches on the back being diagonal.  If you would like both sides to be diagonal (like on the double-sided edge of the felt birds), insert your needle at the top of the zig-zag, a bit further away from where it came up at the bottom of the zig-zag, like in this photo.  

You can also see my whip- and blanket stitch video over here, and read more about the felt bird kits here

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blanket stitch tutorial

As promised, I'd like to show you a few embroidery stitches.  I'll start with blanket stitch.  For my felt bird kits, I used this stitch mainly around the outer edge of the bird, but it can also be used to decorate or attach the breast and wing like here:  

Here's a detail of the tail with blanket stitch used around the edge. Notice how I treated the corners.  You might also see where I started a new thread on the bottom left side of the tail.  I've explained a bit more about that in my tips below. 

If you're really new to working with embroidery thread, watch this sweet little video of Embroidery 101 by Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching.  

In fact, you can just spend time watching all the amazing videos over on her site and ignore this B-grade attempt I made below! But it's out there now and even on my own channel, so you can watch it if you like and see how I do blanket and whipstitch.  

There are a few tricks to getting blanket stitch looking great on an exposed, double-sided edge. My tips are:
  • Start with a small stitch on the back (or inside in this case), run your needle through it and then start making the loops.  You will see in the video that I run the needle to the right, underneath the thread, in the opposite direction to where I actually want to stitch. This is so that the first stitch looks just like a real blanket stitch with right angles, not an odd little diagonal stitch in the middle of all that straightness. 
  • Make all your stitches the same length and width apart.  Your work might look even from the front, but also check to see what your needle is doing in the back.  You might bring it up at an angle, which will create shorter or longer stitches than on the front. 
  • You'll need to finish off a piece of thread and start a new one more than once if you're going right around the bird. I like to hide the starting knot on the inside of the bird. When I finish the thread, I make a tiny knot into my last stitch, push the needle down into the body and hide the thread tail on the inside of the bird.

I don't think I gave the whipstitch enough attention in my video, so in the next post I'll talk you through it (with photos this time). It's pretty late at night, so I'm not sure this all makes sense. I hope my instructions and video will help somebody, and as always I'd love to hear from you if you have any questions or feedback. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Felt Birds

If you follow me on Facebook, you might know my badly-kept secret already, but here it is: I've got a new craft kit! It's something I've been thinking about for a long time, and I'm very happy it's finally done. It's been a long road, but here is the story of my new Felt Bird Kits.

It started a few years ago, so long ago that mine were the first kits on Felt and there was no category for it. I put together a Felt Bird kit and when they did quite well and I finally ran out of felt, boxes, and other bits, I thought about repackaging it and making a bit more 'now'.

My colour scheme was inspired by this rug I found on Pinterest.  The colours were so unexpected; I particularly loved the minty blue and fuchsia combo, so I chose those two and toned it down a bit with a rich dark blue.  My accent colours for thread are orange, yellow and purple.

I found the most divine sequins and they also add to the fun: 

Then the big job of cutting, collating and stuffing began.  This is what my production line looked like last week: 

And this is what the finished product looks like in a bird cage.  They also look pretty cute on a Christmas tree, on a wall or in a window.

Every kit contains everything you need to make 3 birds (felt, stuffing, needle, DMC thread, sequins and illustrated instructions) and as usual, it comes in beautiful packaging, ready to give as a gift.  I also have a refill kit to make 3 more, because you will have thread left over and I hope you'll want to make more! If you really want to save money though, especially on postage, get the Combo.  The kits are aimed at all ages, and as with my Hoop Wall Art kits, you can decorate them as much as you like, according to your ability.  

To make it more affordable, I've made the decision not to wholesale these kits through other stores. That means you can only buy them through my online shops or at the few markets I'm doing these next few weeks. 

You can get yours on Etsy and Felt .  Use this code in both shops for a 10% discount until Wednesday: FBK10. 

I'll be doing a couple of video tutorials this week to show you how easy it is to do the stitches you need for these birds.  Here are the links to blanket stitch and whipstitch, and a video tutorial for French Knots.