Friday, March 28, 2014
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:
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
Cross stitch - double
Part Two is here - click to check it out