I am currently taking part in ‘March Meet the Maker’ on Instagram and the prompt for today is ‘process’ … so I though it might be a good opportunity to share how I work.
I lot of the time my approach to design can be quite random. I spend a lot of time looking at things and I guess all the images ferment inside my mind and can sometimes just come to the surface as an idea for a new project. I also find the process of designing can spark new ideas. One of my key tools is to keep notebooks as the ideas tend to come faster than my poor fingers can work … so if there is ever a dry patch I can simply look back to old ideas.
These irises are a project I started earlier in the week and I’m having to be slightly more organised than usual as the size and to a degree the style of the finished chunky cross stitch cushion has to sit comfortably with a nasturtium cushion I stitched last month. I was first drawn to irises after seeing a picture of a six panel screen by the Japanese artist Ohara Korin. I cannot replicate the gold leaf but the colour combinations and abstract shapes are so compelling.
For this project I spent some time simply looking at images of irises simply to get the shapes and colours in my head. I then drew a rough sketch on my iPad. This is such a flexible medium to work on as you can create layers, resize, move and very often delete elements to create the most pleasing composition.
I then overlay a grid at the correct scale and simply draw lots of x x x x … It really is the same as transferring a design to squared paper with coloured pencils. This rough design is then plotted in the computer using Stitch RXP (there are lots of other software options available). At this stage it is really easy to switch different colour combinations in and out of the design – sometimes too many options!
Finally, I’ll start stitching the sample – the canvas for this design is cut and about to be laced on the tapestry frame. Stitching very often involves a lot of unpicking as a pattern on the screen can look very different in tapestry wool, so colours continue to change throughout the process.
In the run up to Valentine’s Day it seems the perfect opportunity to share with you this little cross stitch lobster I designed last year for Lakeside Needlecraft’s Summer Cross Stitch Book.
Stitched in just one colour of embroidery floss over two threads of 28 count Cashel linen or one thread of 14 count Aida this fellow measures approximately 11cm x 11cm when finished and you may already have the materials you need in your stash.
This project is perfect for squeezing into a weekend … In fact, my good friend Lesley, who stitched the sample, managed to fit in 14 miles of Nordic walking and cooked dinner before whipping this critter up in the evening!
I am so fortunate to be part of an International community of needlework designers http://www.ourcommonthread.com and we are celebrating Christmas by each designing a charity Christmas ornament chart.
The simplicity of traditional Scandinavian design lends itself perfectly to the theme so I have designed a cross-stitch ‘Pear in a Partridge’ on perforated paper. However, make the design your own, raid your stash and work in needlepoint, patchwork or intarsia knitting.
The pattern is yours for a small charity donation of £4 and all funds raised will go directly to St Catherine’s Hospice – providing end of life care and support for families in Sussex and Surrey.
To download the pattern head over to http://www.annsorchard.co.uk To see the other designs as they appear over the coming weeks head over to Instagram and use #chartsforcharity
Thank you all for your continued support for my little needlework business in these uncertain times. Normally the cat and I lead rather a solitary lifestyle, working from home in a barn at the end of the garden. So it has been quite a shock that social distancing has meant so much more company at home now that my husband is not longer jetting worldwide, my daughter has returned from University and my son is home schooling. Everyone has found themselves a work space and hooked up to a computer so we seem to be muddling along and I have been able to get on with the new website and a range of new designs.
Fingers crossed the new website will go live towards the end of the month. There may be a few glitches but once they are ironed out I hope to be able to offer a much wider range of products as well as instant PDF downloads and possibly, if I pluck up enough courage, some instruction videos.
In the meantime I have designed an Easter bunny basket to keep you busy. It is a relatively simple pattern if you have some experience of the basic crochet stitches, but if not what a great opportunity to learn! There are some fantastic kids’ books on the subject and a whole selection of YouTube videos which are perfect for winding back and forth to see exactly what to do with your fingers, hook and yarn. Start with a granny square and you will soon be hooked!
Huge congratulations to Jo Jo and Lynne, winners of the Stitch Festival tickets. Please contact me directly to arrange your prizes and have a fantastic day out.
Thank you for all your entries, the show certainly seems popular and I’m sorry I didn’t have tickets for everyone! However, if you are planning on coming along please take advantage of discount code STITCH13 to get advanced tickets for £12.50. There is a small booking fee so it is well worth making a group booking.
If you are coming along please give us a wave on H94 and if we are not too busy head over for a chat, we are always happy to discuss sewing!
Look what I have to give away ….. Tickets to the Stitch Festival
Business Design Centre, Islington, London, 27th February – 1st March 2020
If you would like the chance to win a pair of these tickets as well as a needlework kit please drop me a line by midnight Friday 31st January and two lucky winners will be drawn at random on Saturday 1st March 2020.
It should be a fantastic day out in this new venue and plenty of inspiration including; Kaffe Fassett’s Quits in America, Esme Young’s costume collection as well as an opportunity to stock up on yarns, fabrics and haberdashery for the coming year.
Please note there is a small surcharge to use the tickets on Saturday and all tickets need to be registered before use, instructions on how to do this are given on the back.
Best of luck and if you are passing H94 give us a wave!
My favourite present is a bag of yarn and my husband came up trumps for my birthday delivering both a book by Vanessa Moochie, ‘Trophy Heads to Crochet’ and the wool to make the bear and lion. I adore this book, it is so creative and the patterns are reliable, both written clearly and drawn out as diagrams. It is such a treat to be able to simply relax and enjoy the process of crochet, following rather than trying to simultaneously design and write a pattern myself. However, it has taken me an age to complete the bear. He has sat in pieces on the desk in the living room for almost a year until this Christmas when I finally thought I should stitch him together. For someone who loves sewing I always seem to put off sewing up knitting and crochet projects….it makes no sense! Anyway the bear is finished and I love him, the yarn is perfect for giving just the right amount of fluff to the fur and the eyes are so clever. Now I need to find a spot to display him and possibly make a start on my lion head.
Only once the final show of the year, Knitting and Stitching in Harrogate, is finished do I start thinking about Christmas and it is the perfect time to say a little thank you to everyone who has supported my tiny needlework business over the past year.
This year I have been inspired to design some Christmas baubles on perforated paper stitched in a combination of cross stitch and seed beads. If I had been a little more organised I would have started work on these back in the summer but as it turns out I began stitching about two weeks ago! By some miracle my mother and I have managed to get a few finished and although there are no kits yet I would love to share one of the patterns with you and hope you have some bits and bobs in your stash that you can put to good use.
The sample shown was stitched on 14count, the finished size is approximately 9cm x 7cm and can be stitched in about four hours, so you should be able to make it in time for Christmas….. and if you are a particularly speedy stitcher then why not make a few in different colours to create a garland?
If you would like a copy of the free pattern and instructions please click on the link below.
Many congratulations to Mihail and hwroe_floslittleflower winners of the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching tickets. Please drop me a line to let me know which needlework kit you would like as part of your prize and I will get everything in the post as soon as possible. Have a fantastic day out and give us a wave on C550 as you are passing x
I am not a great fan of shopping on the high street as everything is so generic, you know exactly what you are going to get before you even leave the house. Of course it is fantastic if you need those everyday items such as a washing machine or bedsheets but it doesn’t really fulfil the ‘hunter gatherer’ instinct.
However, the great joy of visiting an art exhibition, craft or antiques fair is that you can never anticipate what treasure might catch your eye. Occasionally I will visit my local antiques fair at Ardingly with a vague list of what I might need. Today I was looking for a floor lamp and a sideboard for the hallway. Needless to say I found neither but I did come away with some beautiful linen to make some new blinds for the study and this fabulous embroidered bird.
He is not very big, only about the same size as a sheet of A4 paper but he is so quirky and the stitching is exquisite. It is worked in silk embroidery thread with a very high sheen so they almost look metallic. Each stitch lies perfectly flat against its neighbours further enhancing the shine. The colours are not an obvious choice for the design but they work so well together and complement the black frame.
How much did I pay for this thing of beauty ….. just £12 – perfect!