Monday, 20 October 2014

Doodle Stitching: The Holiday Motif Collection

Last year I was delighted to be asked to contribute a couple of projects to an embroidery book by Aimee Ray. Aimee is the author of the charming Doodle Stitching series which includes Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection and Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond.

The latest book in the series? Doodle Stitching: The Holiday Motif Collection!

The Holiday Motif Collection includes over 300 embroidery motifs for Christmas and other holidays, with the patterns all included on a CD so you can easily print them at the size you need instead of faffing about resizing them from the book.


As well as Aimee's adorable patterns, the book also includes 21 different projects to stitch using some of the motifs. How cute is that house teapot?? Just adorable.

Those of you with long memories might remember me working with lots of blue supplies last year. Well, I was stitching these Penguin Stocking Ornaments:


I also stitched a pair of Gingerbread Bookmarks:


Stitching Aimee's cute designs was so much fun! It's lovely to have been part of such a sweet book.

Doodle Stitching: The Holiday Motif Collection is published by Lark Books. It's available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK and many other bookshops.

[Please note: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links]

P. S. Before my contributor copy had arrived I was thrilled to get my first look at this book at The Knitting & Stitching Show a couple of weeks ago. It's always exciting to finally see a finished book that you've contributed to - to see how your projects look, and to discover who else made things for the book and what they stitched - but this time round it was extra fun. I was at the show with Carina who also stitched a project for the book, and we got to share our excitement when we stumbled upon some copies while browsing a selection of embroidery books. So nice :)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Knitting & Stitching Show 2014

I had a lovely bit of luck a few weeks ago - I entered a giveaway over at Feeling Stitchy and won a pair of tickets to The Knitting & Stitching Show! Yay!

I visited the show last year and loved it, but am on a tight "crafty treats" budget after splurging on lots of pretty fabric at the Festival of Quilts (and afterwards!) so I'd planned on saving my pennies and giving it a miss this year. But a free crafty day out with a friend? Yes please! :)

So last week I caught a train, the tube, and another train... and eventually arrived at Alexandra Palace station and walked up the hill to the venue.


It was chucking it down with rain that morning, so these are some photos I took on my way home :)

Even on a grey day, the views out over London are pretty fab.


I met up with my crafty chum Carina and we sat and had a pre-show brunch under the trees in the Palm Court, chatting about how it totally didn't seem like a year since we were last there together.


Then it was time to explore the show!

First up was the fabulous knitted pergola - a colourful, joyful community knitting project raising funds for Livability.  

Next up: shopping!

There's such a varied and colourful selection of supplies on offer at a show like this: fabric, yarn, beads, buttons, trims, craft kits, magazines, books and more. We did lots of oohing over all the loveliness, including...

... fabulous hand-dyed yarn from Debonnaire Yarns:

... beautiful beads from Ilona Biggins, bright felt and threads from the Eternal Maker... and a veritable mountain of yarn!

...  and wonderful, colourful trims from Aarti J.

Big shows like these are great for discovering interesting new suppliers, being able to see colours and feel materials in person but also to be able to pick up those little bits and pieces that would be a bit of a faff to order online. 

I was mostly window shopping (thanks to the aforementioned tight budget) but I did buy something for a secret project that I'm working on and it was a pleasure just to wander round and soak up all the delicious crafty goodness on display.

I loved this sheep on the Woolyknit stand!

And these amazing needlefelted creations by Fi Oberon of Alua's Garden.

The organisers had added an extra day to the Ally Pally show this year, and being the first year that extra day was a little quiet so instead of pushing through bustling crowds we enjoyed a quiet stroll round all the stalls and had plenty of time to chat to the stall holders, catch up with crafty folks we knew from blogging, and ooh over all the loveliness.

Of course the Knitting & Stitching Show isn't just about shopping - there are lots of textile-themed exhibitions on display as well. We stopped for a quick cuppa then went to explore...

There was a great mix of knitted and stitched pieces on display as well as work connected to and inspired by textiles. There were fabulous knitted garments, fascinating needlefelted sculptures, banners stitched from textiles washed up on the shores of beaches, intricate embroideries and much more.

It was a pleasure to look at it all and to have a chance to chat to many of the makers and artists about their work. It is always wonderful to be able to tell someone to their face "I love your work!" and always so interesting to hear about peoples inspiration and processes. Photos weren't permitted of many of the displays, but I got permission to take a few snaps to share with you guys.

These fun Hobbit-inspired knitted characters by The Knitting Witch were delightful. (Do visit Carina's blog to see pics of the amazingly intricate knitted coat that's just out of shot in this pic - sadly my photos of it turned out super blurry!)


This installation by Caren Garfen exploring women's relationships with dieting and food was really interesting, and her stitching was so tiny and neat! This kitchen looks like a small model in the photo but it was a full size room...


... with lots of stitched details throughout, like text on the walls and cabinets and quirky objects like these stitched biscuits.


Caren was also exhibiting some other pieces exploring women's experiences - I especially loved these medicine bottles with stitched labels.

I also really enjoyed Prism's coded:decoded exhibition which was exploring "the tension between stitch and artform", especially this fun piece about food labelling by Helen O'Leary...

... and these wonderful sculptures by Jackie Langfeld:

We just managed to get round and see everything before it was time to head home! Phew!

Missed this month's Knitting & Stitching show? Click here for info about the Dublin & Harrogate shows later this autumn and the Olympia show in March 2015.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Crafty Ladies: Meet Genevieve Brading

Time to meet another crafty lady - Genevieve of Floss & Mischief

I first met Genevieve a couple of years ago when we got together at the Renegade Craft Fair for a cuppa and a chat about crafty stuff. Since then I've been seeing her awesome cross-stitch patterns and kits pop up all over the place.

I've got my eye on one of her bug-themed kits as a Christmas treat for myself... once I can decide which one to choose!


Hello, I’m Genevieve. The mere sight of rice pudding makes me feel queasy, I can’t cope without my morning caffeine, oh and I’m the lady behind needlework business Floss & Mischief.

Floss & Mischief happened in late 2011 because of an ongoing argument with my boyfriend about taxidermy: he wanted to buy some, I didn’t (it’s way too creepy), so I designed and cross-stitched some beetles for him as a peace offering. I’ve been creating contemporary cross-stitch patterns and kits ever since.


Recently I’ve been stitching… 

… new products. I stitch every product myself to test if the pattern works, how difficult it is and how much thread it uses.

I’m launching two new cross-stitch kits that I’m super excited about, so I’ve been busy making samples of them. They’re DIY cross-stitched jewellery kits and the patterns are tiny – much smaller than I’m used to. I thought I’d find them easier to design, but in reality I found them much more of a challenge to get right! They were worth the trouble though.

Another of my favourite stitching projects has been to cross-stitch a caterpillar onto a fabric flower for the Craftivists #wellMAKING garden. Crafting and wellbeing go hand in hand, and this research project is trying to prove that link.

I’d encourage everyone to get involved by contributing their own flower to the giant garden installation. You can even buy a kit from the Craftivist Collective to get you going. Plus I’ll be releasing my cross-stitch caterpillar pattern free for anyone who wants to stitch their own. Update: you can download the free caterpillar pattern here.

I’ve been working on…

… getting ready for Christmas. From July onwards, Mischief HQ is a flurry of event applications, stock making and display planning. This year I’ve even had some paint whipped up in my brand colours, to help spruce up a new display. The colours are beautiful, and I confess, I did a little happy dance at the paint counter like a wally!

I’ve already road-tested the new kits and colourful display at the Autumn Crafty Fox Market this month, and both went down really well. I’m also back at Renegade Craft Fair in London on 22-23 November, and the Christmas Crafty Fox Market in Peckham on 13 December. Maybe I’ll have gone paint crazy by then!


I’ve been blogging about…

… why I recently put fabric aside, to instead stitch on paper. In the story behind stitched photos, I talk about what inspired me to create a range of stitched prints. Embroidering photos wasn’t on the business plan, but then inspiration can strike anywhere and at anytime! For anyone wanting to give it a go, you can also glimpse what goes into the making of Thread Art on the Floss & Mischief blog.

I’ve also been super excited to report back on which is cooler – knitting or stitching. Two craft heavyweights, Mr X Stitch and Deadly Knitshade, debated it at The Handmade Fair last month. I won’t give away the winner here, but both sides shared amazing examples of knitting and stitching across all twelve rounds. Truly inspirational stuff.

I’ve been reading…

… old needlework books. I especially love flicking through retro needlepoint books that contain lots of colour patterns and project photography – I think of them as modern classics. The patterns and projects are rarely to my taste, but they’re brilliant examples of how needlework has evolved according to the latest fashion. Just look at those bargello outfits!!

While I work, I’ve been listening to…

… random music from my awful back catalogue. I’ve accumulated an eclectic music collection over the years, and now my iPod is broken I can’t navigate past the songs I hate! It’s been stuck on shuffle for months like the jukebox from hell.

Genevieve’s 3 Top Tips for embroidering onto paper

1. Before stitching your design onto paper, make all the holes. Better yet, practice their spacing on a sample copy first.

2. When poking holes in your paper, pass an unthreaded needle completely through the cardstock from front to back. It’ll make things way neater later.

3. If possible use a milliner’s needle, also known as a ‘straw’. Its eye is practically the same width as the rest of the needle, so it won’t overly enlarge the holes.


Visit the Floss & Mischief shop to see Genevieve's full range of patterns, kits and other stitchy products. 

You can also visit the Floss & Mischief blog or follow Genevieve on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  

Click here to read more posts in the Crafty Ladies series.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Meet My Sponsors: October

Time to meet this month's lovely sponsors!

Blooming Felt sells 100% wool felt sheets, colourful fairtrade felt craft supplies like felt flowers and felt purses, plus other crafty goodness including buttons, ribbons, flat pad findings, glue, embroidery floss and craft books:

Hydrangea Girl is the blog of interior-design addict Alex, here you'll find posts about her adventures in design and lots of DIY projects and tips:

AnnyMay Craft Supplies specialise in eco friendly, natural and colourful supplies, and all their orders are shipped in eco friendly packaging. You can get 10% off your order from AnnyMay's Etsy shop or website with the coupon code BUGSANDFISHES (ends 1st December).

Joe's Toes sells thick wool felt, punched felt shapes, plus kits and supplies for making things like wool felt & leather slippers, iPad cases and luggage tags:

At It's Organised you'll find printable gift boxes for sale, plus lots of free crafty ideas and tutorials.


Asking for Trouble sells illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts featuring cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii:


Big Fish sells lots of colourful buttons and felt balls, as well as other craft supplies like pins, ribbons and mini embroidery hoops:


Illustrator and printmaker Debbie Greenaway creates cards, notebooks and jewellery featuring her drawings:


And Polly Frances Elizabeth is an artist, designer/maker and blogger whose work is themed around nature and fantasy and who blogs about her work, trips to museums and walks in the countryside.

P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? Ad spaces on my blog start from just $5 for 30 days (that's currently about £3.10!) and I offer a 25% discount if you buy 3 consecutive months (90 days) of ad space at once. Your site will feature in a sponsor post like this one and I also give new sponsors a shout out over on my Facebook page.

Click here for more info re: rates and my blog's traffic, and to buy an ad.


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