Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's better


Here's a preview of the pattern I'm featuring tomorrow on Feeling Stitchy for Wonderful Wednesday - this lovely free pattern was tweeted to us last week by Modern Folk Embroidery, and to me, it speaks volumes.

I'm going to be totally honest - these past few weeks have been hard. Every day, I find myself re-assessing where I am, and how I am to respond. The acts of hate I have seen out there don't belong in the country I love, and yet, they're there. There is division in families, friendships, workplaces and churches. I find myself asking each day "what can I do?" What can I do to stem the tide of hate, what can I do to protect the people in this country who are afraid, who are being attacked, and who are vulnerable?

It's taken some time, but here's my answer: every day, however I can, I'm going to do what I can do.

Every month, I've decided to donate to a different organization, even if it's just a small amount, to protect the rights of people that are being threatened in this country, and protect the fundamental freedoms of this country which make it truly great. This month, there were quite a few, so I started off with more than one, and I'll continue as my budget allows:

To protect the freedom of the press and ensure that no president may threaten a free press, I subscribed to:

To support publications that write things I am enriched by, write challenging articles that are rigorously fact-checked, and make me want to learn more, I subscribed to:

To hold the governing bodies of this country to their highest standard, I donated to:

These are all small things, the mere lighting of a candle, but each time I can, I will do what I can. Where my budget will not allow, I'll do my best to help with my hands and my feet.

But above all, when I see people being threatened, or who are being hurt or are afraid, I will stand up for them, however I can. As my favorite prayer says, I will do all of this "with God's help."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Vote embroidery for Feeling Stitchy


I had so much fun stitching up this free Vote pattern for Feeling Stitchy. It all started with Twitterfeed shutting down as of today, and me wondering how people find the blog the most.

So I crunched as many numbers as possible, but also thought it would be fun to let everyone "vote" from the particular place they were seeing the blog - Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, and Instagram.



I had 3 designs, that were all only different in terms of the fonts I used, and allowed peeps to vote. Boy, was Twitter quiet - I decided we haven't been using it as well as we could, by simply auto-posting. I'll try to be more diligent about visiting at least once a week with a more substantial presence. Facebook was also rather quiet - it could have just been the time of day. Instagram had the most votes. Honestly, I didn't even try Flickr, because it has been very quiet lately.

Stitching made me a bit nervous, as I wanted to finish on Saturday - so I woke up bright and early and lined up some coffee to get stitching the winning design. I could have added a whole lot more, but I wanted to stay true to the way I originally drew the design. I guess it was a lesson in designing, too!

This project was a lot of fun, for sure, and I followed it up by actually voting yesterday. If you haven't voted yet, please do! And if you'd like a copy of the free pattern, visit Feeling Stitchy! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun vote project on Feeling Stitchy


Let's face it, this voting season in the U.S. has been anything but fun. So I'm doing a fun vote project over on Feeling Stitchy. Vote for your favorite design, and I'll stitch it up and offer it as a free pattern on the blog this weekend. Which should give you all plenty of time to stitch up a little something in time for election day. :) What do you think?

Head on over to Feeling Stitchy and vote if you want your voice to be heard! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Secret embroidery project

Secret project

I'm calling it a secret project because I don't want to reveal too many details in case the receiver of this gift reads this blog! :) I'm working on a beautiful DMC gold mesh for the first time ever (which I received from the lovely people at DMC). It has been a bit of a challenge to stitch on, but remarkably well-suited to stitches like couching and split stitch, with which I worked that nice "L".

Mostly, this transparent surface has taught me the value of keeping the back of my work nice and neat (something I'll admit I've never fussed about before).

Once again, I have found Mary Corbet's Needle n' Thread posts invaluable in learning tips and tricks. This post on lettering in particular helped me moved away from messy knots on the back of my work.

threads for secret project

Here are the threads I've chosen for my secret project - all DMC, with the exception of the one Nun's Boilproof skein (which I haven't used yet, but is there for its vintage prettiness). :)

It's been wonderful fun so far, and I'll reveal the results to you next week! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finished winter wreath

finished

After many hours of stitching and imagining and re-tracing, I am done! This project was one of the most fun I've ever attempted - I think part of it was all the encouragement I received on Instagram that kept me plugging along week after week.

backside

I finished the back as neatly as possible, but I purposely made the stitches a bit long and loose, in case the back ever needs to be removed for repair or to re-stretch the embroidery.

finished center

I won't lie, I struggled a bit with the tiny date - I re-stitched it countless times, but I like this simple, very small, un-fussy version. I used DMC gold thread, just one strand for the date.

more details

Overall, this is one of the projects I am most happy with - a real pleasure to stitch. I expanded my stitch library and used stitches in ways I hadn't before - it was well worth the extra challenge. I'll have a review as soon as possible up on Feeling Stitchy - which I'll link to from here, of course, if you'd like to see it! :)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Winter wreath - almost finished

Almost finished

I'm almost finished and I have to say I am really happy with this project. Up above, you see my progress with adding initials in the center.

Stitching berry stems with rayon floss

I stitched the berries using 1 strand of DMC rayon floss in a shiny copper color - 30434 - Sepia Brown.

Closeup on berry stems

The finished berries - I love the sheen.

finishing the back

Next, I finished up the back - I drew up the excess linen in the back using a loose running stitch. Then I cut a circle of interfacing and stitched some navy linen onto it...

My idea for the finished back

Here's what I hope the finished back will look like - nice and neat!

braiding gold floss

I braided some gold floss together to give the hoop something nice to hang from...

braided floss to hang the hoop with

Apologies for the last few photos, they were taken in the middle of some late-night crafting, and my cell camera is very odd in low light.

But there's my progress so far! I'll get some proper photos before I give the hoop away, and share those and a book review on Feeling Stitchy very soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Winter wreath - tracing paper and pearlescent floss

Using tracing paper and a micron pen

After all the chalk marks on my navy blue linen faded, I decided to try stitching on tracing paper.

I was curious to see how much I'd departed from the original - I'd just been eyeballing everything as I stitched...

Checking my progress

Looks like I make things bigger when eyeballing the pattern... I didn't stress, because I'm not aiming for an exact reproduction.

Stitching over tracing paper

I stitched over the tracing paper on a big french knot dandelion - I was inspired by this great tutorial by Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread. By the way, I'm really enjoying stitching with that Nun's Boilproof vintage floss.

Couching the stems

Next I couched the dandelion stems, using more Nun's Boilproof vintage floss.

finished Dandelion - tracing paper method

Here's the finished Dandelion - the tracing paper did help me stitch those knots more carefully. The only drawback was of course, when I removed the tracing paper, several knots were pulled.

I think I'll do a combination of tracing paper and just eyeballing for the rest of the dandelions.

Trying some Pearlescent Effects floss

I tried some Pearlescent Effects floss on the French knots in the center of that large white flower. The texture is really rough, and it's not French-knot friendly, but it has a nice icy, iridescent look:

Pearlescent floss in the large flower center

Next, I added a line of gold metallic DMC floss, couched around the flower center:

Gold couched threads around the center

Here's all my progress so far - I'm still deciding if I'll add the berries.

Progress so far

Any thoughts on the tracing paper or Pearlescent floss? I'm curious if any of you have tried either!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Winter wreath progress

Add another small woven wheel rose

I'm having a great time progressing on this project - I'm embroidering a version of The Winter Wreath from Kazuko Aoki's book, The Embroidered Garden.

Detail on large white flower

Up above is a closeup of one of the large white flowers. It's all done in split stitch, which is very-time consuming, but I do like the texture. Oh, and tons of little french knots in the center. The stems are two strands of vintage Nun's Boilproof floss, couched with a thin white sewing thread.

Closeup of tiny white rose

Here's a small woven wheel rose, and the round flowers made up of french knots - shall we call them dandelions? I'm least confident about my stitching on those, but we'll see how it progresses...

Closeup on the large white flowers

Another large white flower and a large woven wheel rose. The rose stems are couched gold DMC embroidery floss.

embroidering outdoors

I took this project outside and was delighted by how much better it looks in the light - it really captures the detail more.

I opened an Instagram account of my own this week - follow me @nyfloresita if you like! I also post on the Feeling Stitchy account to promote Feeling Stitchy blog posts, and Amy posts on Fridays.

A photo posted by floresita (@nyfloresita) on


There's such a wonderful community of stitchers on Instagram, and Flickr has really slowed down in terms of finding new stitching online. For now, I'll be maintaining both accounts, and we'll see what the future will bring!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Planning a book review

Planning a book review for Feeling Stitchy

I've been remiss in doing a book review for Feeling Stitchy for a gorgeous book by Kazuko Aoki, The Embroidered Garden. I received the book some time ago from the publisher, and I finally got to work this weekend, gathering materials, and doing some planning and stitching. I chose the "Winter" wreath, which I intend to interpret freely, choosing my own fabrics and threads.

By the way, the book link takes you to Amazon, and contains code for the Feeling Stitchy Amazon account - if you buy a book through that link, we receive money in our account which is used to fund more giveaways and reviews on Feeling Stitchy. If you do buy there, thank you! If not, no worries! :)

Step 1: fabric and hoop

My first step was choosing a fabric - and I was delighted to find a beautiful navy blue linen in my mother's fabric stash. I loved the idea of a strong contrast with the white flowers.

gathering threads

Next, I chose a handful of threads - my goal in this project is to buy nothing new, and use up some of my prodigious thread stash. :)

The final project will be a wedding gift, so I wanted to work in the wedding colors, one of which is gold. I had some beautiful DMC gold thread and gold metallic floss. I also had two skeins of super-shiny DMC rayon floss in a copper and darker brown shade that I wanted to use. Added to that were some off-white shades of 6 strand DMC floss, and some vintage threads I was gifted YEARS ago. :)

pretty texture

I traced the image directly from the photo in the book. I didn't focus on details, but just a general idea, and replaced the large green ivy leaves with circles for white roses.

Next step: using white carbon paper and chalk pencil to transfer

Once I had my finished design, I used white carbon paper to transfer the image. The resulting image was very faint, so I traced over the white lines in a yellow Clover chalk pencil.

re-tracing over pattern

I first stitched the branches with a combination of regular DMC floss, and couched lines of rayon floss, which gave the branches a really pretty sheen in the light.

Interesting vintage thread

I was fascinated by the two Nun's Boilproof skeins I had - they look like a very thin perle cotton, but are SO very soft to the touch. They piqued my curiosity and I found this blog post about them.

After split stitch on large flower

Here it was after at least 12 hours of stitching. The filling for the large white flower was the most time-consuming - tiny split stitch, using 3 strands of floss, but it was worth it - the texture is so nice!

later progress

Next, I added french knots to the center of the large white flower, a large white rose, gold stems for the roses, and couched gold strands throughout the branches.

Here's a sideview of the work so far, which shows off the rayon threads and texture pretty nicely:

detail view of my progress

This project was slow to start, and a little intimidating, but I am enjoying it so far! What do you think?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Photographing Embroidery

closeup on Summer hoop

As much as I love my fancy camera (what I call my Canon DSLR) I struggle when taking photos of embroidery. My first love was point-and-shoot cameras, and I long for them whenever I have a detailed embroidery photo to take.

The photos above and below were taken with my phone camera, which I've found works better for me at times than my DSLR.

All the colors

I recently did a review of Coloris floss for Feeling Stitchy, and the biggest challenge was photographing the beautiful rainbow of shades in the flosses. My DSLR is capable of so much more than a phone camera, but you really have to know what you're doing. It's frustrating not to be able to pop it in "Auto" mode like a point-and-shoot and get lots of crisp, detailed, bright shots without any effort.

Finished hoop

Here is a photo from my DSLR - it has all the detail I want, but it took so much work - I had to put the camera in Manual mode, carefully light the scene, then color-correct in Photoshop, and I'll admit I'm still not 100% happy with it. I feel like it's just... missing something.

Here's another from my DSLR:

Hoop with Coloris colors used

And one more from the phone camera:
closeup on Summer hoop

Does anybody else struggle with photographing their embroidery?