Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

10 December 2019

A Garden for my Scissors

About a month ago, Lorna Bateman came to town to teach a couple of classes for my local chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA). She brought a lot of gorgeous threads with her!

Assortment of hand-dyed threads in garden colours

09 November 2019

06 November 2019

Looking Back at Spring

It's autumn where I live in Southern California, although it feels like summer sometimes! Much as I like the fall, I can't wait for spring. Several years ago, I bought the kits for Helen M. Stevens' designs for the four seasons. I started with Spring.

Detail from Helen M. Stevens' design Spring

16 October 2019

Thread Painted Royal Blue Bird: Lots of Progress!

I have made some needed fixes and quite a bit of progress on Royal Blue, the thread painted blue bird designed by Trish Burr for Inspirations. I corrected the direction of the feathers under the head (and found some better lighting for taking photos). I hope it's obvious that before is on the left and after is on the right!

Embroidery under the head of a blue thread painted bird has been corrected to fix the direction of the stitching.

03 October 2019

Blame the Cat

The shadows and leaf veins are in on Royal Blue's branch and it's looking better. I'm almost to the part where I get to stitch with bright pretty blues!

Thread painted branch and leaves mostly complete

23 September 2019

Royal Blue Burr-dy Time

I need some mindless, relaxing embroidery and I have a burr-ning desire to stitch a Trish Burr-d. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

A pile of embroidery floss ready to stitch a blue thread painted bird designed by Trish Burr

14 September 2019

A Fan-tastic Old Kit

I learned to embroider by working commercial kits. I have a few favourites and I recently saw one of them come up for sale on ebay.

Close-up of one of the fans from an old commercial crewel kit

30 August 2019

The Chocolate Trellis

There are three main elements left to stitch on Melbury Hill's Galanthus Collector: two 'caps' (sepals?) on the flower tops and the bulb at the bottom. They will all involve trellises. I don't have a lot of experience stitching freehand trellises. I prefer having helper marks along the sides of a trellised area so there's no guesswork. However, the three elements will all be filled, so there's no place for helper marks. It'll be good experience to work the trellises freehand.

Crewel embroidery of snowdrops in progress. Ready to add trellises to flower tops and bulb at the bottom.

18 August 2019

A Whiter White

It's snowdrop flower time on Melbury Hill's Galanthus Collector. The Heathway crewel white isn't white enough for a good contrast with the linen twill ground fabric. That means all the embroidery on the bud has to come out with the help of a laying tool and scissors.

Preparing to remove some embroidery with a laying tool and some scissors

09 August 2019

Dragonfly with Underside Couching

When I stitched the Opus Anglicanum Little Man, I became intrigued with the background that was created with underside couching in gold metallic thread. I was fascinated with the patterning that appeared to be etched into the gold.

Close-up of underside couching in gold metallic thread from previous Opus Anglicanum project

My first attempt at this technique was quite rough, so I definitely wanted to try it again.

24 July 2019

A Solution in Search of a Problem

I've worked in the technology field for several years and we are always trying not to have a solution in search of a problem. You're supposed to have a problem to solve first! Then you look for an appropriate solution and not the other way around.

I am currently faced with the embroidery equivalent of a solution in search of a problem. I have a beautiful set of Heathway crewel wool and I need a problem, I mean a project, on which to use it.

A set of thread cards made with Heathway crewel wool

14 May 2019

Wild Child: Mostly Tamed

I have finished the embroidered part of Wild Child. It's taken longer than I thought, but due to other restrictions on my time I haven't had a lot of opportunities to stitch over the last year.

In the last episode, there were just a few outlines and a bit of green filling left. The majority of the remaining work was the black beaded filling throughout the entire piece, lots and lots of filling!

Embroidering the black beaded background with black beads and also showing the bead holder with the beads. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

30 April 2019

Sweet Violas in Thread Painting

As I'm nearing completion of the embroidered part of Wild Child, I'm contemplating what to work on next. I have two other large pieces to finish (Summer of Love Challenge and Antique Society Silk Violets), but I need to do some relaxing stitching for a bit. I think I'm going to find a small thread painting project in order to give my brain a rest.

One of my favourite sources for easy, but gratifying shaded embroidery projects is Trish Burr's book Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas for Beginners. While it's a wonderful book for beginners, there's enough detail to interest more advanced needlepainters.

Several years ago, I embroidered Wild Pansy.

Close-up of needlepainted viola from Trish Burr's beginner book

04 March 2019

Loop de Loop de Loop

The procrastinating is over and the loops (aka, Curly) on Wild Child have been tackled.

The plan was to use surface embroidery to enhance Curly with the look of coloured pencil. My goal was to have the shaded loops appear as if they had been printed on the fabric, and only by looking closely would you know that they were stitched.

To begin, I selected a lot of potential colours!

A selecting of thread colours to use in shading loops on Japanese bead embroidery project 'Wild Child'. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

02 February 2019

Little Man in Opus Anglicanum

For many reasons, I've had Medieval embroidery on the brain lately. Several years ago, I had the  good fortune to be invited to a symposium put on by a Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) group. They taught four embroidery classes over two days, and it was an incredibly valuable experience.

One of the classes was Opus Anglicanum (translation: English Work) which I don't think I'd even heard of at the time! We worked a traditional Medieval character in silk and gold threads.

Partial image of medieval face in opus anglicanum

21 January 2019

Fiddly Beadily Bits

I'm procrastinating. I haven't had time to focus on how to stitch the golden curly bit at the top of Wild Child. I know I'm going to embroider it with some sort of shading, but I haven't figured out a plan.

Procrastinating on stitching the golden curly element at the top of Japanese bead embroidered purse Wild Child. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)