Tuesday, April 22, 2014

moms know to expect the unexpected

So, say you were in the kitchen loading the dishwasher when one of your kids sneaks up, slaps something on your back then starts giggling...
What kind of silliness would you expect from a sneak attack like that one?
 
Would it be this?
 
I certainly got a shock when I pulled this post-it off my back and read it. Let me clarify, I'm not shocked that I have sweet kids - I knew that about them. I guess I am just consistently amazed at the creative ways they use to express that. I should take a lesson from them and delight someone unexpectedly like that!
 
Now I'm off to take this post-it out of the scanner and put it back on the fridge where it belongs. May unexpected delight come your way today too!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

tiny green worlds

 
terrarium embroidery hand embroidery patterns wardian case greenhouse embroidery by septemberhouse
One good thing about a long winter is that it can inspire some 'hopeful' projects. This was one of many that I worked my way through as the flakes flew outside.
terrarium embroidery hand embroidery stitches DIY embroidery by septemberhouse
I could not decide if I wanted to try out a design that incorporated a glass container terrarium or an old-style Wardian case so I just did both. Plus, with so many plant shapes and sizes that I wanted to try I knew I would need more than one design.
terrarium embroidery hand embroidery patterns wardian case greenhouse embroidery by septemberhouse
Using as many textures as I could dream up was another priority for this project. That meant using a huge variety of embroidery stitches and even learning some new ones.

Another perk of taking on a subject matter like this was that I had a chance to learn a bit about the history of the Wardian case. To be honest, I didn't even know they were called that until I started working on these! They were the precursor to the modern terrarium.

terrarium embroidery hand embroidery patterns glass terrarium DIY embroidery by septemberhouse

What was fascinating to me was how much we actually take for granted now. Wardian cases were used to transport plants over oceans by boat so they could be studied halfway around the world. Once they arrived at the their destination a Wardian case could protect that precious cargo from heavy pollution, temperature variances (imagine how difficult it would be to maintain your houseplants without central air or heat!). Just acquiring a plant that had survived a treacherous journey was a success but to be able to keep it alive as well - now that was pretty remarkable - you can bet I would have put that sucker in the fanciest case I could find. Today I can drive for less than ten minutes and choose from a variety of plants that I could purchase for as low as $2.99.  I could bring one of those plants home and plop it on a shelf for years and think nothing of it. How very different something as simple as keeping houseplants used to be!
That was just something I had never really thought about and it made me thankful for the heat, light, clean air and water that protect me and my plants - especially through the long winter. Ah, the things that go through your head as you embroider!

Friday, March 28, 2014

itty knitty goes mobile

Knitting Necklace Handmade by SeptemberHouse Ball of Yarn necklace

Not long ago an unexpected email arrived inviting my itty knitty necklaces to make an appearance in the latest issue of knitsy. What a happy opportunity and what lovely people to work with! As someone who a) doesn't knit and b) is a total smartphone newbie - seriously folks, I've got like one month under my belt - I felt a bit like I was entering into a new world. But, I am very glad to be there!

Knitsy is a really fun publication with a modern style and if you are a knitter I think you will really love this app. You can check it out here:

google play 

itunes

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

but wait... there's more. embroidery tutorial part two

 
                         hand embroidery tutorial embroidered embellishing with rick rack DIY embroidery
 
I'm back with another installment today - I hope you had a chance to take a peek at part one and perhaps even looked at your ribbon stash in a whole new light. For part two I decided to play around with another favorite trim- rick rack! It's so tempting looking through the colors and sizes that are available. I just want to buy one of every kind.
 
My local fabric stores carry a really nice selection but I am amazed at what else can be found online. As a side note I have to add that I found that 'rick rack' was spelled different ways on different sites so I suggest typing it in different ways to see more results. I decided to go with how it is spelled on the Wrights brand packaging but I honestly do not know who is the authority on this matter.

Again, I stitched up some short lengths just to serve as examples and I created a basic option first and then added additional stitching as a dressed-up alternative. Who is ready to play? Here we go...

hand embroidery tutorial embroidered embellishing with rick rack blanket stitch ideas
 
I started off stitching up not the rick rack itself but rather the space between two lengths of rick rack. I used a blanket stitch (although it was not easy maneuvering around those curves). It's not impossible though, I promise.

hand embroidery tutorial embroidered embellishing with rick rack blanket stitch ideas
 
Next I added a little punch of color with this bright orange. It's a subtle look but still unexpected and  I like that about it.
 
hand embroidery tutorial embroidered embellishing with rick rack chain stitch how-to
 
Rick Rack does not have to mean zig-zag. Just folding one side up or down gives you a whole new look. I used chain stitches to keep the folded rick rack in place here. On the bottom I used a running stitch right through the middle of my trim and then added some partial blanket stitch pinwheels - a stitch I am particularly fond of I might add.
 
DIY embroidery tutorial hand embroidery stitches embroidered embellishing with rick rack chain stitch how-to
 
I was pretty happy with these as they were but wanted to at least see what else could be done. I added some French knots and straight stitches on the top and just some short lengths of chain stitch on the bottom. I think it added a slightly lacy look to this one and I like that.

DIY embroidery tutorial hand embroidery stitches embroidered embellishing with rick rack cross stitch how-to

For my last examples I wanted to experiment with the thinnest of the rick racks. It turned out to be the trickiest of the bunch because I did not want the rick rack to get swallowed up by a lot of stitching. I tried to keep it pretty simple through the whole process and just used some straight stitches for the first part. On the white I just followed the line of the rick rack and used that as my guide. On the green though, I made my stitches cris-cross over the rick rack in the opposing direction.

DIY embroidery tutorial hand embroidery stitches embroidered embellishing with rick rack cross stitch how-to

To add a little something extra to these I tucked in some French knots along the edges of the white rick rack. I am really loving the tidy look of that one! For the green I started with two rows of running stitch along the sides then decided to make it a whipped running stitch to give it a more solid look. Finally, I added some fly stitches to pull it all together. I admit to being a little on the fence about that one but  I think if I had perhaps used some different colors I might like it more. I think this one would look good in a monochrome color scheme like the grosgrain example from part one. Oh well, the point is to experiment with these techniques and to have fun. There is no right or wrong here.

One more thing I have to add about these embroidery + trim inspirations - these can be a great way to just practice stitches or to learn new stitches. If you are like me, you sometimes want to embroider something but not neccesarily a pattern. OR you might want to add some sort of accent to a fabric item but, without a pattern, you just are not sure what to stitch. Trying out these techniques could be just the ticket.
 
I am excited about trying these out on some new projects and I hope you are too!
 
If you are unfamiliar with some of the stitches used here there are some wonderful tutorials online to help get you started:
 


Monday, March 3, 2014

embroidery + ribbon = fun - a ribbon couching tutorial from septemberhouse


Hand Embroidery Tutorial embellishing with ribbon and embroidery by SeptemberHouse

I'm so happy to share the first half of a brand new two-part tutorial with you all today! I know it has been ages since I have pulled together a tutorial. This one has been kicking around in my head for awhile and I finally decided to give it a go.
 
This one was so much fun in fact, that I had to make the call to split it into two parts. As I was working on it because I just had too many ideas to share in one gigantic rambling post.

So, here is part one. In this tutorial I have some fun ideas and inspiration for incorporating ribbon into your hand embroidery projects. This process is often referred to as 'ribbon couching'. If you have ever laid thread, yarn, floss or ribbon over your foundation fabric and have stitched over it to keep it in place then you have couched!

I have to confess a selfish motivation here as well. Here goes: I LOVE ribbon! I can't help browsing through it at the fabric store or online but sadly, I don't often have much use for it. This project gives me reason to play with all the fun textures, colors and patterns that ribbon has to offer and I could not be happier to do it.
Hand Embroidery Stitches with Ribbon DIY tutorial by SeptemberHouse
 
So, let's get started. First raid your ribbon stash and choose some ribbons you would like to use. I wanted to try a wide variety so I picked a sheer navy blue, some gorgeous green velvet and two kinds of grosgrain. The royal blue grosgrain already had stitches along the side so I thought it would be fun to use that as a starting place.
 
I decided to embroider these in two phases. I started basic with stitches that can be used as-is with no other embellishment needed. Then I stepped it up a notch - added even more embroidery - and dressed them up even more. Either way is fine - it just depends on what look you are going for and how much time you want to invest of course. Also, I just stitched up a few inches of each example so you have to use your imagination a bit to envision these as a part of a larger project.
 
Ribbon Couching Hand Embroidery Tutorial embroidery DIY projects
 
For starters here I used a closed feather stitch on the sheer and a herringbone stitch on the other. Using the width of the ribbon as a guide makes these stitches a breeze. I love the clean and modern geometric look of these, don't you?

Ribbon Couching Hand Embroidery Tutorial blanket stitch and closed feather stitch
 
The second, jazzier version incorporates some blanket stitching along the edges of the sheer ribbon and some tiny clusters of detached chain stitches on the velvet ribbon with some French knots thrown in for good measure.
 
Ribbon Hand Embroidery Tutorial blanket stitch and double cross stitch
 
With my grosgrains I kept it pretty simple and just added some single stitches along the edges on the blue and added a double cross stitch to the ivory. I actually tried that one in a royal blue floss and wasn't crazy about it. I tried again with a monochrome look and fell in love after the first stitch.
 
One more thing about using grosgrain ribbon - because it has a ribbed texture it is easy to space stitches evenly - just use the ribs as a guide! 
 
Embroidered borders and ribbon embellishing DIY tutorial by septemberhouse

I didn't have to add much more to these to give them a real feminine flair. Just some fly stitches along the edges seemed to be enough I thought. The delicate sweetness here is irresistible. (and so easy!)

You can see the potential fun here, right? I knew you could. We're talkin' trimming up aprons, tea towels, totebags, placemats and pillows. Just adding an accent like this to a piece of embroidered wall art you are stitching can add a pop of color and unexpected detail. Experiment with your favorite colors, ribbons and embroidery stitches and see what exciting combinations you can create!
 
If you are not familiar with the stitches mentioned here check out these links:

Closed Feather Stitch
Herringbone Stitch
Cross stitch - double
Blanket stitch
French Knot
Fly Stitch

Part Two is here - click to check it out


Monday, February 24, 2014

i just gotta say

... a quick but HUGE "Thank You!" to the lovely folks over at Cotton Blossom Farm Fabric store! Due to my own poor planning I ran into a bit of a fabric emergency and when the local fabric stores could not help I turned to the internet with little hope of a timely rescue. But, as fate would have it I ran into a site I had never heard of and took a chance.

Boy am I glad I did. Cotton Blossom Farm swooped in and saved the day - even though my order was small, I was a new customer and I was asking for a small miracle ;). I will be shopping there again without a doubt and I HIGHLY recommend them to you too!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

my initial reaction


One of the things I like about the dead winter (and there aren't many!) is the stretches of time you find yourself with. You can try out ideas that have been pushed to the back of your brain during more hectic months and you can explore new mediums and tools without feeling guilty about having other more pressing matters that you 'should be' tending to. I am trying to take advantage of that as much as I can in these dark weeks and one new thing that has come out of it are these new embroidered monograms.
Hand Embroidered Monogram with reverse applique by SeptemberHouse
 
These are made to fit in a five inch round hoop and have a happy mix of reverse applique and hand embroidery. They actually have a bot more of an art deco-y feel than I anticipated. I honestly didn't even realize it until I stepped back from them when they were complete.

Hand Embroidered Initials with floral motif by SeptemberHouse
These also gave me a chance to use one of my favorite fabrics: corduroy! I am really happy with the extra texture it gives these and the softness it adds as well. I think a lovely printed cotton - or even solid cotton - would work too so hopefully I will have a chance to try that out as well.
 
Aside from those there has been a lot of sketching, some really hideous pendant necklace designs - nearly all of which ended up in the trash can, some playtime with paperclay, and even a wee bit of sewing!
 
What have you been exploring this winter? (Or summer depending on where you are).