It seems incredible that it is almost two years since we were facing the first lockdown and desperately hoping we would manage to squeeze in exhibiting at the Stitch Festival for the first time. Now we are back preparing for the new show. It will be wonderful to be able to see everyone again and to be inspired by the textile galleries and perhaps stock up on some fabrics, yarns and haberdashery for the coming year.
The organisers have worked so hard to bring you a Covid safe show. The new, improved layout features wider aisles, additional seating, caps on visitor numbers, staggered entry times and plenty of space for social distancing.
We are in full preparation, making up plenty of new designs into kits, restocking firm favourites and sourcing some beautiful haberdashery.
As a valued friend of Ann’s Orchard we would love to see you again and we are fortunate to have two pairs of tickets to give away. To get you in the stitching mood we are also offering a pair of mini beadwork kits or a chunky cross stitch.
The tickets are valid for use on Thursday 3rd to 6th March 2022
The tickets are fully complimentary for use, after 11am, on Sunday 6th March but carry a surcharge of £6 each for the other days of the show. Winners will be sent information to register their e-ticket via email and I will pop your needlework kits in the post.
For a chance to win simply drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org Or head over to my Instagram or Facebook pages and leave a note – tag a friend and both names will go in the draw.
The competition closes at midnight on Monday 14th February 2022. Two winners will be drawn at random on Tuesday 15th February 2022
It should be a fantastic day out, plenty of inspiration and opportunity to stock up on projects and haberdashery for the coming year.
If you are visiting we would love to see you, give us a wave at the far end of the main hall on H94
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 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!
We are planning to take a break for a couple of weeks and enjoy the sunshine with family and friends. I am hoping to use the time for some intensive stitching. There are a lot of projects I have planned for the autumn shows but many have not yet been started!
In the meantime, I was inspired yesterday afternoon by the lovely weather and the glorious show in the garden to design some jewel coloured heleniums in cross stitch. I’ve not yet had time to sew them so the only recommendation as to fabrics and thread is to simply raid your stash!
Please let us know by Friday 5th July if there are any stitching goodies you need so we can get them posted by the weekend otherwise I’m afraid you will need to wait until Monday 22nd July 2019.
Have fun with these cross stitch flowers and please feel free to share with family and friends, Emma x
I made this little snowy owl over the school holiday. It is the first time I have sew with felt in literally decades. I am sure my last attempt was a blanket stitch purse as a Brownie! This wool felt really is a delight to stitch with, so forgiving. I simply sketched a snowy owl, snipped him out and dusted down the blanket stitching. The only tricky part were his legs. I did attempt to fashion my own from wire, they were rather mangled but at least I was able to work out if I could get him to stand up. His new legs were some I found at the Knitting and Stitching Show and after clipping back, painting and wrapping his claws in embroidery thread they worked a treat.
Preparing kits for shows is often the time that my mind wanders to new projects. I have been designing some more traditional cross stitch charts for magazines recently and it occurred to me that greetings cards featuring cross stitch charts could work well.
I am increasingly working in just one or two colours, possibly an influence of all the Japanese embroidery I have been looking at in books and on Pinterest. It really forces you to think about shape and composition. ‘Roses are Red’ is my first offering and the greetings cards have been printed, just in time for the Knitting and Stitching Show.
I have quite a few more designs in mind, all scribbled on scraps of paper dotted about the house, but they will have to wait for the end of March. I am also wondering whether a kit or materials pack would be a good offering alongside the greeting card?
Let me know what you think and whether there are any themes you would like to see.
It is almost a year since I stitched a little hoop embroidery bear as a Valentine’s gift for my husband. This little bear has received a lot of love on social media and at the textile shows so by popular demand I have finally started to create a hoop embroidery kit.
One aspect of a new kit is new packaging and I really wanted to create a bag that would be both appealing and prove useful once the hoop embroidery was finished. I found some soft, white cotton, drawstring bags and plumped for screen printing the design on the front. I am the proud owner of a screen printing jig, emulsions and frames but I have to admit I have not yet plucked up the courage to use them! And I have chickened out yet again, choosing the option of a custom made Thermofax screen. These screens are made using 3M’s photocopying technology from the 1950s. A pure black and white image is exposed to Riso film, a heat sensitive plastic on a polyester mesh, to rapidly create a ‘silkscreen’ without the need for the photosensitive chemicals. The only possible downside is that the technology is not suitable for creating large solid print areas. However, with some clever use of hatching and textured lines it is possible to create areas of light and shade within an image.
Once I had drawn my bear on the computer I simply sent the image as a JPEG file to http://www.thermofaxscreens.co.uk and within 24 hours, and at very reasonable cost, I had my screen. I have to admit it took another day to finally test the screen but what a revelation, with some beautifully coloured textile paints from http://www.pickprettypaints.com I managed to get a perfect image first on paper and then on the cotton bags. It was quite interesting that the image was stronger on paper, possibly because it absorbed the paint more efficiently but two passes with the squeegee seemed to transfer well to the cotton.
Now to create a second screen with a less detailed bear to print on the linen for stitching, write some instructions and fingers crossed this little bear will be able to make his first outing at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia, 1st to 4th March 2018.
There is a real feel of autumn in the air which can only mean there are a few weeks now until the Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London, 11th to 15th October.
This is the most fabulous show, packed full of textiles to spark new ideas, classes to try new crafts and, not least, it is one of the best venues to stock up on really beautiful fabrics, yarns and haberdashery.
If you would like a chance to win a pair of tickets as well as a mini beadwork kit and frame, a new chunky cross stitch or a beaded woodpecker kit simply comment here or drop me a line on the contact page of the website.
Please note the tickets are not valid on Saturday 14th October or before 3:00pm on Thursday 12th October.
All entries need to be in by midnight Friday 15th September and two lucky winners will be drawn on Saturday 16th September – Good Luck x
My husband is the sort of person who, if he needs something, will just pop out and get it, making buying a gift almost impossible. Added to that I haven’t managed to find a Valentines card that I liked this year, so he is getting an embroidered bear. This little fellow will not be a surprise from a mystery admirer as he saw me stitching!
I just sketched the outline using a Frixion pen onto some natural Essex linen and then raided my stash of embroidery thread and beads to stitch this little fellow in a 5″ hoop.
He really didn’t take long at all and once finished I just held him carefully against a hot iron to remove any remaining pen marks left on the linen.