Skinny Fish and a new stitch

This one's a bit of an embroidery sampler, with 22 different surface embroidery stitches - including one new to me that I've not used in a pattern before.

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Skinny Fish uses quite a few of DMC's new thread colours, from eggplant to alizarin to apple green. The lighter, brighter greens among these new colours are particularly nice to work with as there aren't actually all that many vibrant greens in the DMC range, so a few new ones have been a welcome addition to my floss box.

The design offered a good opportunity to play around with different stitches. It's a small thing, but changing the size of the fly stitches in a row, from big to small to big to small again and so on down the row, gives a really nice effect. I flipped a blanket stitch variation upside down, basically doing it as a left-handed embroiderer would, and so that was an interesting experiment. And then there's a new stitch in there as well: fly stitch filling.

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Technically, I used a variation of fly stitch filling. The traditional and variation are new to me, so not included in 120 Embroidery Stitches (I can see the need for a follow-up stitch ebook already...). So the instructions for that one are included in the pattern.

The Skinny Fish PDF pattern is available as an instant download from Etsy and Craftsy. It's a fun project that doesn't take all that long to embroider, especially if you split the fish up and do just one at a time. And it works really well as a sampler with all the different stitches used, if you're keen to add some new ones to your stitch arsenal.

 

 

Dogs in a Park, if you like dogs and embroidery...

We walk in our local park at least once a week and some of the dogs and their owners have become familiar to us, if only by sight. It was just a matter of time before I embroidered them.

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There's the border collie who runs up and down alongside his walkers, crouching with frisbee in mouth, waiting for a throw, which comes when they hit the big open field. I love watching him at full speed, racing low to the ground, and the effortlessly graceful way he jumps and catches that frisbee every time. 

The English bulldog makes me laugh, with his snuffling heavy breathing. I can almost see him rolling his eyes and sighing as his owners cajole him around the park when he'd probably rather be snoozing.

The French bulldogs are a bit more sprightly and inquisitive, with their scrunched-up faces. And the Scottie dogs will always be among my favourites with that distinctive shape and those long "eyebrows" - there are a few that trot around on their short little legs.

We often end up grabbing a bench near or en route to the dog park for a bit, to enjoy the outdoors and watch the antics. This is the view from the bench under the oak tree:

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Dogs in a Park is similar in style to Birds on a Wire, Cats on a Wall and Succulents on a Sill. And it can easily be split up into individual dogs as well.

The PDF pattern is available on Etsy and Craftsy.

Hearts, embroidered and sewn

I've given a few of my older designs some love, re-releasing three heart designs with new improved patterns.

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The heart gift bag is a special way to wrap smaller gifts and I like that it can be reused, to wrap another gift or to store jewellery and other smalls, rather than thrown away like paper wrapping. The pattern includes instructions on how to make the twisted cord, which is quite fun and could be delegated to family members or friends so they feel part of the making process. Sewing instructions are included and the bag can just as easily be made out of smaller pieces of fabric in your stash without the embroidery, and using ready-made cord or a length of ribbon, to cut down on the making time. There's also a variation for if you don't have a sewing machine. So lots of options with this one in terms of making it up and beyond the obvious heart connotations.

Patchworkers and quilters will enjoy the smaller scale of the heart cushion, with the embroidery adding another level to traditional piecing. The pattern is for a 40cm scatter cushion with a flange, which is optional and could be left off. It includes the designs with cutting lines for 18 embroidered heart blocks that use a variety of stitches, as well as instructions on how to piece the cushion front and then make up the cover. You'll likely want to match your thread colours to your fabric so there's a tip on how to do that, too.

The hanging hearts are decorative, adding a 3D element to a collection of wall art or hanging off a doorknob, drawer handle or dressing table mirror. The pattern includes instructions on how to make up the hearts in addition to the embroidery instructions. And the embroidery designs could also be used independently, to embellish tea or hand towels, or anything else really. Like the gift bag, the hearts can be made without the embroidery, perhaps as a way to display favourite scraps of fabric. And there's an alternative option for making the hearts if you don't have a sewing machine.

All three patterns are available on Etsy (links above) as well as from Craftsy.

Three more fruit patterns, a pineapple, kiwi and pomegranate + a 10-pattern bundle

A summery pineapple, fresh kiwi fruit and ruby pomegranate follow on from my strawberry and peach embroidery patterns earlier this month, completing the set of 10.

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I was able to incorporate four of DMC's new thread colours into the kiwi, use some yellows that I'd not used before for the pineapple and try a new colour combination for the pomegranate. I'm sure it's evident from the finished embroideries that I had fun with these. They have a distinctly summery feel to them, which has been perfect for the hot weather.

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As with the previous two, these three are in line with the size, look and feel of the other fruit designs. They're probably the quickest of my patterns to embroider and there are now 10 altogether:

I've also bundled all 10 fruit patterns into one, Chopped Fruit, at a reduced price. Basically, you get 10 for the price of eight. They make lovely gifts embroidered on to tea towels (as many of you have already done) and work well as kitchen wall art or quilt blocks, being a complete set. 

In addition to my Etsy store, the PDF patterns are available individually as well as together in the single bundled pattern from my Craftsy store.

Two new fruit patterns, a strawberry and a peach

First up, Happy New Year! Here in South Africa, 2018 has kicked off with a heatwave, making fruit salad and ice cream count as a meal. So it's apt to start the embroidery year with two new fruit patterns - a strawberry and a peach.

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The idea came about towards the end of last year, though, when I started making fruit smoothies using big yellow cling peaches. After cutting up so many peaches, it was only natural to want to embroider one! A strawberry came next, and there are three more fruits in the works.

I stuck with the size, look and feel of my previous fruit patterns - Axed Fig, Apple Slice, Cleaver Pear, Hatchet Orange and Lemon Split - so they all go together and can be mixed and matched. They're friendly on January pockets, too.

I bought some of DMC's new thread colours in December and was able to use two of them in the peach design. So nice having new colours to work with.

Strawberry Slash is available on Etsy and Craftsy, and Lacerated Peach is also available on Etsy and Craftsy.