New Monsters - Romance Edition!

New monster accessories have appeared in my shop...

Cutie monster brooch!

Eyeball monster will keep an eye on your keys!

Horny monster (ummm...) will make your hair more monsterlicious!

Adventures In Steamed Shibori

I've been taking a City and Guilds level 3 embroidery course at a local college, and this week we tried steamed shibori which was SUCH FUN!

The basic idea is to create structure in fabric through the use of steam. Synthetic fabrics keep their shape when washed, natural fabrics do not. We used a vegetable steamer for 20-25 minutes at a time, tying or stitching objects and creases in the fabric, steaming them then untying the fabric to see what effects we had created, which were often quite unexpected.

This was satin tied around screws. I realised afterwards that the tying thread should have gone more accurately in the threads of the screws to get a more realistic effect.

This is organza tied around screws then coloured with silk paints (which then bled all over the steamer). This doesn't show the screw effect as well as the silk one but I still quite like it.

Beads gave a much more even effect.

I have no idea what this fabric is, kind of nylon Tyvek? It held the bead shape really well.

I love the organic look of this one, which was the most fiddly with using pearl-sized beads in the middle. The larger beads unexpectedly bled colour - I would rather it was all one colour with just texture differences but I don't hate the effect.

I was really inspired by textile artist Michelle Griffiths - I found a Pinterest board here that has some of her amazing screw pieces. I don't know if this technique will fit in with my plans for the final 3D embroidered piece for the course, but I do really want to try it again.

Have you tried any unusual textile techniques that I should investigate?

Christmas Craftiness Part 2

I completely forgot to take a photo of this before I wrapped it up, luckily Anna Marie was kind enough to send me a photo of it on her wall.

This was made from the weelittlestitches "Pixel People In Love" pattern featuring the Joker and Harley Quinn. It was mostly stitched on the ferry to and from the Isle Of Wight (I'm determined to go looking for red squirrels the next time I'm over there).The strange green Aida was a lucky find at a local charity shop, and I painted the hoop with black acrylic paint. I always forget how long cross stitch takes when there aren't many large blocks of colour - probably why I have so many unfinished projects!

Christmas Craftiness part 1

I hope you had a great Christmas! Mine was full of non-Christmassy films and far too many chocolate oranges. As usual, I'm finding the few days between Christmas and New Year a bit strange - I'm feeling like hiberbating but I need to do some serious tidying and organising.

I made a few presents this year, these ones were using the patterns from the Alphabet Motif Club designed by Carina. The club patterns are still available, but Carina is temporarily shutting her shop from 1 January to deal with the EU VAT changes. There are more details and coupon codes here.

I had to frantically finish this piece, take a photo and wrap it up in the same evening which is why this photo is a bit washed out - it's much prettier in real life! It was the first time I'd used the "yay!" stitch... I wrapped the 4" hoop with dark greeny-blue wool to add to the rustic feel.

This one was finished on Christmas Day in front of Doctor Who (I wasn't that impressed with the Christmas episode, I actually fell asleep at one point. I like the new Doctor but the scripts have been pretty weak for a while). I'd had very little sleep that week so my tracing on a window was a bit wonky - the green lines at the bottom aren't where they're supposed to be, but I think it still works as it's consistent. This hoop is wrapped in brown wool. I prefer the wool wrapping to painting the hoops for these motifs. I want to try more hoop decorations next year, especially using crochet.

I suspect several more of my friends will be getting these alphabet hoops over the next few months and I'll definitely be making one for myself!