What are you doing on Saturday?

Due to pressure of work and family committments there will be no Be Creative in July. However, here is a chance to be as creative as you like and be rewarded for your efforts with an exchange!

Saturday August 2nd has been designated the National Celebration of Stitch. Various UK branches of the Embroiderers’Guild have organised venues for stitching, but what about those who are not members of a branch – or who can’t get to a venue – or just want to stitch where they are ……. Well, here is an event for you!

Artist Trading Cards are small works of art that can be made using any technique, but in celebration of Stitch this post is to announce an exchange of the little stitched cards. There is no specific theme, the only criteria is that some stitch must be included somewhere – hand stitching, machine stitching – your choice. ALL STANDARDS ARE WELCOME – YOU ONLY NEED AN INTEREST IN STITCHING TO TAKE PART.

If you would like to take part please complete the form below with your name and address. By completing the form you are committing to making an ATC and sending it to the participant whose name you will be given. This form goes directly to me – you will receive details from ATCexchange (at) gmail.com – you can also email directly if you prefer. Please pass the word too.

The old techniques are still fun

Painted Bondaweb has been a favourite technique for many for almost as long as I can remember. I first saw it demonstrated about 30 ago (goodness, that’s a bit scary) but there are still occasions when nothing else will do. Another technique from about the same time is one that uses up scraps of threads, and I recently found myself returning to it to make some quick cards. I actually remembered to take some photographs, so I thought I’d share them with you to either bring back memories – or show you something new. It’s quickly started on the sewing machine.

You need:

A backing fabric (I used a space dyed one, but almost anything will do), hand threads of almost any description (maybe this is an ideal opportunity to use all those odd ends that you can’t bear to throw away), a chiffon scarf in a suitable colour, an embroidery hoop and a toning multicoloured machine embroidery thread

stitched chiffon

I’ve already started to prepare in the above picture. I’ve chopped up a mix of hand threads and scraps of machine embroidery thread. You can see them on my background fabric. A red chiffon seemed the best for this mix, but always audition several to make sure you are achieving the right effect.


Spread the chopped bits out onto your backing. If it’s space dyed you can leave a few small gaps, but you will probably want to covei the whole area. Next cover with a single layer of chiffon and place into the embroidery hoop.

I dropped the feed dogs of my machine, set it for the widest zigzag but made sure that the stitch length was zero. It isn’t essential to use free machine stitching, you could always stitch a grid using ordinary straight stitch.

Stitch at random, moving the hoop fairly quickly. The idea is to secure the edge and the threads so that they don’t escape during the next step.

Once everything is safe you can remove the fabric from the hoop and trim it. I used a Madeira Polyneon, it’s ideal for something like this. This is just one of the colours available – and they are all yummy.


Now audition some hand threads

Mix and match. Your choice will change the character of the finished item.

Cover the surface with areas of stitching. French knots, seeding, little woven wheels, they are all good – and create very interesting effects

Add beads, cords, whatever takes your fancy. I can’t show you the finished item yet as it’s for a special card that’s still a secret. The technique, however, is suitable for a number of other items including little bags or book covers. Let me know if you give it a try – sometimes the ‘old’ techniques are worth remembering!

Subtle Neutrals and more

Introducing new colours in my favourite machine thread!

If you have spoken to me about machine embroidery threads at a show, or been to one of my machine embroidery workshops, you will know that my favourite thread is Polyneon by Madeira. It has a strength and sheen that makes it perfect for all techniques, and is especially good for beginners. This week we received our first delivery of a new range of multicolours. Pictured above you will see that they are all beautiful combinations and I can already see many uses for them in my own work. One of the best things about this thread is that it is also ideal for DECORATIVE SEAMS. In other words – it is strong enough to hold a garment together AND to decorate it too, so once again it will be perfect for a project that I have in mind. They were viewed by the public this week for the first time, and the concensus of opinion was that they are BEAUTIFUL! The photographs don’t fully show the subtelties of the colourways – but if you click them you will start a slideshow that will better illustrate the variation.

I have photographed them in no particular order, but the colour numbers are underneath. They retail at £5.50 each for 1000m.

Next weekend, 28th, 29th and 30th of March, will be the third Be Creative Weekend. Initial details are here, and if you subscribe to that blog you will receive each prompt as it is published. The community on Facebook has grown and we have seen some lovely creations both as a result of the prompts (which are optional) and also of ongoing work. The emphasis is on doing SOMETHING each day. On many days I can manage no more than 15 minutes – but it is surprising what you can achieve if you just get on with it. No excuses – just DO IT!

Finally, the next online workshop is due to begin on 1st April. Details are here, but I can assure you that it will cover far more than just the basics outlined in the description. It even contains more than I have been able to share over a week’s residential course, so as you can see, £75 is actually very good value.

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