Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A new sketchbook

I may have mentioned before that I love, love sketchbooks. Oh and notebooks...oh and cards, and well...okay stationary. Stationary is a big thing for me. The fact that they've opened a Paperchase near my work is both a good and bad thing.

I've featured some pages from my sketchbooks before but I decided that since I am heading down a very addictive embroidery path, that I should start to plan some of it, rather than just always let it grow organically (organic growth is good too, but sometimes it leads me up the garden path as well as to the wonderful forests and mountains). I'm really enjoying doing little snapshot embroideries in hoops and loving some of the inspiring hoop art I'm finding on the web. So I took down a fresh, new hardback A4 sketckbook from the shelf and decided it would be my embroidery hoop sketchbook. I even drew round some hoops on the first three pages, and noted some categories to fill in on each page to give it some organisation and to capture any relevant data. For each sketch I wanted to record the following. 

Title: self explanatory really!
Idea: a little bit of blurb about where the design sprang from, any inspiration etc.
Thoughts: what I think of the finished design, and what could be done to improve it.

I wanted to test it out right away so I sat down, and in about ten minutes I had three sketches for embroidery patterns that I love! Isn't it great when you find a creative method for you that just works? Now I can keep all my designs in one place and also use it to inspire me. What creative methods work for you? Of course I'm also thinking that the sketchbook could also do with a lovely embroidered fabric slipcover...Ooooooo (starts on another sketch).
 This is called 'monster love', and I'm thinking that a series of cute applique and embroidery monsters holding hearts would be quite sweet. I've just missed valentines but who doesn't need both monsters and love all year round?
 My daughter loves to pretend to be animals, and one day she said she was a 'big stompy fox'. I loved those words so much I decided they needed to be brought to stitchy life. This time I wanted to do something less realistic and more stylised, and this pattern was born. It needs tweaking, but I can't wait to try lots of new stitches bringing this fella to life!
And a more realistic one. I wanted to plan some backgrounds for my animals, and I liked the moodiness of this. It's supposed to be on snow, but at the moment I have no idea how to do snow so I might need to do some testers and work on it some more. I do feel very inspired though!

I've been working hard preparing for my first embroidery workshop too. Don't these bundles of ready-to-sew calico templates look so neat and nice?
I hand drew every pattern with my trusty light box and frixion pen. I also decided that I would whip up a quick little sampler. If you've never sewn a stitch in your life before, you don't want to try out stitches on your final piece do you? So I came up with this simple sampler. 

Thought I'd sew one up and I think it looks fab!
I've chosen four stitches to include in my workshop, and I think that four is enough to master in one evening! I thought the sample even looked nice enough to hang up and keep! I think it's nice to have a physical reminder of what the stitches look and feel like. Looking at pictures and photographs is fine, but it's nice to see them in the flesh as it were.

WIPS section
I took a little break from my sewing machine WIPs this week, as hand stitching was all I wanted to do. Still, the little quilted blanket is progressing. I did a quick and nasty stitch in the ditch (and it was quite nasty and innacurate), but afterall this is a first quilting tryout, and is for a doll's bed so don't feel too precious about it and I know my daughter and her toys won't.  

However, I left the back piece of the quilt large thinking I'd simply fold it over and bind it to the front, but some fumbling while moving piles and cutting fabric at my desk resulted in me knicking the fabric close to the front and batting. Booo. 
Now I need to add full binding. This is always kind of how I approach any new technique or way of working. I like to blast through it, get a feel for it, and also, usually muck it up a bit. For some reason this seems to help me learn. Embrace those mistakes people! Learning is a journey!



  1. Love the stompy fox sketch, I do love all your animal creations! I'm also a lover of stationary and love notebooks, most contain lists and ideas, some doodles too, not as nice as your sketches though! I also love boxes, all kinds, which may be a bit strange...
    Good luck with the workshop, everything looks fab and so organised! :) x

  2. Try an appliqued ladybird on the cut. I always think it's nice to pop things on the back. Just an added extra, not that I make quilts! :o) Moira.x

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