Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Embroidered Circles #25 – White on white circles

embroiderd felt circles 25 Embroidered Circles #25   White on white circles


The big challenge with this color scheme is that it is white on white on white on white! Needless to say I didn’t pick the colors – someone else did for me. I always get a challenge when someone else picks the colors and this was a big one. I wanted to use edge stitching that drew attention to the edges because precious else would.

Row 1: Blanket Stitch – the outside edge is along the felt edge.

Row 2: A mini sort of edging stitch started out being scroll stitch but ended up being a small blanket stitch. There are limits to just how close you can get to the edge of a circle of felt even when it is wool blend! Looped around the outside of this is a set of loop stitches.

The filler stitch is alternating colored french knots.

Row 3: Cross stitch – each stitch is bumped up against the next.

The center is my floral stitch – lines of stitches pulled into a flower shape.

Dare I say it, I think I’ll be cutting out another set of white circles later on and trying this again. It was a great challenge and I think I can  do better still.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Felt embroidered circles #24 – Raised Edge Embroidery

embroiderd felt circles 241 Felt embroidered circles #24   Raised Edge Embroidery
This is my newest felt circle project and it is so amazingly beautiful. I’ve been experimenting with stitches again and this has a Double Knot stitch and a Rosette Chain stitch. The Rosette Chain stitch is such a cute and lumpy edge  stitch and it gives the pink layer the look of a raised edge. It is, however an unforgiving stitch and it’s not easy to get it looking beautiful – I found I had to make each stitch very carefully – tweaking it into place with the needle. The result is great and worth the effort but it is that – quite a bit of effort because it really doesn’t want to form that nice loopy look!

The color scheme here is lovely – soft pinks, light tan and a dark olive green. The pink felt is quite bright but it gets tempered by the other colors so it doesn’t look so over the top.

Row 1: A sort of triangle stitch – just straight stitches make into a triangle shape. Interestingly I can’t find this stitch in any reference book – I’ll have to do a  how to for it.

Row 2: Double Knot stitch – this is a stitch with a knot on one end and then another small stitch added to it to make it balanced. It’s quaint.

Between this row and the next is seedling stitch – I usually make it with one stitch at a time but this is two side by side – it’s very pretty and you need less of them to make them look right.

Row 3: Rosette Chain stitch – a wonderful stitch with a raised look to it.

The bead is held on with one of my new flower stitches. I did this in two colors – you can see the green stitches are the ones which hold the bead on and the tan ones are the loops that make the flower.

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Way Too Cool – Make your own fractal trees

context free art trees Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

Download this app and make  fractal trees to use in your art

I’ve been designing some how to draw features for the blog. While I was doing some research for one of the  posts which is on  creating fractal trees, I found this absolutely wonderful app. What it does is to make your trees for you.

It is called Context Free and it is open source, you can download the Windows installer here:  http://www.contextfreeart.org/mediawiki/index.php/Download_page


fractal trees with context free art 1 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees
Download the program and install it and run it. When you do, choose Examples and select Demo1. Immediately a set of trees will be drawn for you.


fractal trees with context free art 2 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

If you click Render on the toolbar each time you do so a new set of trees will be rendered for you.


fractal trees with context free art 3 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees


You can vary the trees by altering the code. It doesn’t matter too much that you don’t know what’s happening just try some other values in the lines such as those that say rule4 and so on. You can’t break the program. Well actually you can but you just start over and it’s all fine.

fractal trees with context free art 4 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

If you like the look of a tree, note the letters on the toolbar – they are the randomization letters that let you render the tree again in future – though you’ll also have to re-enter any of your changes or save the new code!

fractal trees with context free art 5 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

If you want a transparent background – and you probably will – here’s how to make the background transparent in Context Free Art:

In the top of the code, just after the startshape FOREST line type this:

CF::Background = [hue 120 sat 1 b -0.5 a -1]

You have to set a background color to something – here it is green, but the a -1 bit sets it to transparent.

fractal trees with context free art 7 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

So now your trees look like this:

fractal trees with context free art 8 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

You can also choose Render > Render to Size to choose a size to render the trees to – so you can make the final image larger.


fractal trees with context free art 9 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees



When you want to save a tree design choose Render > Save Image and you can save it as a png file as this saves transparency – which is something that the JPG format will not do.

fractal trees with context free art 10 Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees

This allows you to do all sorts of things with the tree later on in other software such as Photoshop:

context free art trees Way Too Cool    Make your own fractal trees


Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Felt embroidered circles #23 – more flower stitch goodness

embroiderd felt circles 23 Felt embroidered circles #23   more flower stitch goodnessThis is another of the felt circle projects that incorporates a flower center used to sew on the bead. I also used a whipped running stitch all around the larger circle in brown and tan cotton that looks just so amazing and is so simple to do.

The color scheme is an old favorite you just cannot go wrong with brown and blue – or pink and brown for that matter, they were made for each other. This scheme is brown and tan and two blues – one light and bright one and one sort of dusty turquoise. The thread are, as always, DMC #5 pearlized cotton – it is a treat to sew with and way worth the price.

Row 1: Blanket stitch – the edge of the stitch is on the outside here. The uprights for the stitch have been used to help anchor the stitches which attach the bead in this amazing flower shape.

Row 2: Chain stitch. Another simple stitch that looks great in a contrasting color.

Row 3: Lots of rows of whipped running stitch – first sew the running stitch then whip it by looping a thread in and out of it as required. The whipped effect lifts the running stitches and gives the project some extra dimension.




Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Felt circles #22 – Easter Theme and a flower center

embroidered felt circle with flower attachment for bead Felt circles #22   Easter Theme and a flower center


This is the latest in my felt circles project. If you’ve been following my blog you will know that I have been embroidering felt circles for some time now. This one marks a slight change in direction. With this one I discovered that I could make flowers on the bead by stitching the bead on using pairs of stitches all around. Then between the pairs I looped some thread around the stitches and pulled it a little bit and voila! a flower – it is totally awesome. I plan to do a post on this process but for now, here is this project.

I didn’t pick the colors for this – someone else did but I really like them. They are bright without being over the top and the stitching came out looking great.

Row 1: Trusty blanket stitch. Depending how you start it the line can be on the outside or inside edge of the stitches. Here it is  on the inside and I used it to catch the stitches anchoring the bead to make the flower.

Row 2: Double chain stitch. This is a good stitch for going over the border of two pieces of fabric and, when you look at it you can see the double chain bit – the chains are laid down almost side by side instead of one in front of the other.

Row 3: Love this. It is a filling stitch called Cloud Filling. You make a set of offset very small straight stitches in two rows and then loop a thread through them – I used a contrasting thread and the effect is a sort of curvy stitch. These filling stitches that have multiple colors aren’t much more effort than a regular stitch but they look great and they are well worth the effort of making them.



Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Felt circle embroidery #21 – Oranges in Summer color scheme

felt embroidered circle Felt circle embroidery #21   Oranges in Summer color scheme

This luscious felt embroidered circles project incorporates one of my favourite color schemes – orange, brown and blue – it reminds me of oranges ripening on the trees in the summer sun.

The stitches are probably the easiest to do and practically everyone will have these in their repertoire.

Row 1: Straight stitch in yellow – only trick is that you’re sewing in a circle so you have to make the stitches go out like spokes on a bike.

Row 2: Cross stitch. Always a winner this stitch is simple but it looks great.

Row 3: Plain old running stitch – the trick is to get nice evenly spaced stitches and all the same length (and not end up with a short or long stitch at the end!) – ok not so easy perhaps.

The space in the larger orange area on the circle is filled with french knots of alternating colors. The trick to getting French Knots right is to hold the loops of thread around the needle and over the stitch  as you pull the needle through – provided  you hold the wrapped loops firmly they run off the needle and right into place – if not – disaster!

I now have a  plan for these circles – they are going to be on display at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim in January, as part of a Crea8time display – the theme of which is making time to craft.



Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Felt circle embroidery #20 – Tan and Blue

embroidery on felt stitches wool DMC 20 Felt circle embroidery #20   Tan and Blue

My commitment to new color schemes begins – here I have a combination of tans and blues – mainly tan but the blue balances it out. Here too I am trying to use some detached stitches as filling stitches and to work out how to space them around the piece. This wasn’t a very scientific process but it worked out quite well I thought.

Row 1: Running Stitch – the stitches that affix the bead are stitched into this Running Stitch so it all looks way more difficult than it really is.

Row 2: Chain stitch – this is a lovely stitch to make – there is a certain pleasure in loopy stitches like this and the tan thread on the blue looks great.

Row 3: Knotted Button Hole Stitch – this is unpleasantly hard to do – you have to nurse each knot in place – probably won’t bother doing this one again!

Between rows 2 & 3 are some detached Lazy Daisy stitches and some small straight stitches in a pattern used as a filling stitch.



Monday, January 21st, 2013

Felt circle embroidery #19 – I gotta stop using gray felt

embroidery on felt stitches wool DMC 19 Felt circle embroidery #19   I gotta stop using gray felt

Ok, so the gray wool felt supply is running a bit low so as of now I think I need to find some new colors to use! Today is one I got to celebrate using one of the red beads – they are getting low in my stash but this one looks great if I say so myself.

Row 1: Herringbone Stitch – always looks good in a circle but this circle is so small that you really have to place each stitch carefully to get around it neatly.

The bead is stitched using long stitches finished with French Knots.

Row 2: This row is detached Cross Stitches – they are a cute and pretty easy stitch to do and work well spaced around the edge of the circle.

Outside the edge of row 2 is a row of Long and Short Blanket stitch – I am still struggling a bit to get this really neat – it’s better than my previous effort but still far from what I want it to look like.

There are also some French Knots scattered here to fill the area.

Row 3: A sort of incomplete Fern Stitch – this is a two part stitch one part of which is made inside the border and the other outside it – it makes a small “V” shape – a fern stitch would have 3 pieces to it but I left the middle bit out. I wish I knew the real name for this stitch, I can’t believe it doesn’t have a name?


Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Embroidery 101 – Chain stitch

Embroidery chain stitch step1 Embroidery 101   Chain stitch

Chain stitch is a simple stitch to make and it can be  used to join pieces and as a filling stitch.

To make it, come up through the fabric and then make a stitch that starts  in the same place or very close to where you came up and comes out a short distance forward. Leave the needle in place while you wrap the thread around the needle as shown in the picture. Then pull through and ease the loop so it looks nice.

Continue  to do this until you are done.

Here is a piece that features chain stitch as a filling stitch:

Embroidery chain stitch example Embroidery 101   Chain stitch

It looks good in multiple colors and in a single color.



Thursday, January 10th, 2013

More mini felt house goodness

felt covered jar mini house 21 More mini felt house goodness

Simple to make and generally awesome are these mini felt houses

Building these felt houses is a fun project – they are small enough to look so cute and there is just enough room to enjoy stitching without getting bored by the repetitiveness of it all. Better still they are a great project for recycling small jars such as jam jars or condiments.

This house is built on a really small jar. It was actually funny, I put the paper mâché cone on top of it and it practically disappeared inside it. It was so freaking cute.

Here’s what you need:

Tiny recycled jar with lid

Paper mâché cone

Felt in assorted colors

DMC #5 Pearl Cotton embroidery thread – assorted colors

Fabric glue stick

Scissors, pen, pencil, paper, embroidery needles

Draw a smallish circle (around 2″ diameter) on a piece of paper, cut it out and fold it in two. Hold it against the bottom edge of the cone as a  template for the half circle cut out. Draw the shape on both sides of the cone so you have a front and back door for the house. You need to make sure that you have a good size cutout so you can see the jar but not so big that you will see the jar lid – the lid has to be well inside the cone.

Once you’re sure it will all work, cut out the two half circles – regular scissors work fine – it is just paper mâché!

From here you can do pretty much as for the earlier house. I made a template for the roof in paper, cut it out in felt and sewed the main seam. Then I trimmed the bottom edge of the felt to around 1/4 inch beyond the edge of the cone. I cut small scallops into the edge and hemmed them with a buttonhole stitch.

I cut small circles of white felt and sewed them onto the roof with chain stitch. When the roof was done I used some fabric glue on the cone and glued the roof in place.

In this case the house was a little easier to do as the jar is round. I still make a pattern from paper and work out where everything will go and test it with the roof in place before doing any sewing. I then cut out the felt leaving a small extra seam allowance, then embroider and appliqué it.

I pin the felt to the jar, trim any excess and sew the seam. Then I cut a piece of felt the size of the base of the jar plus 1/8 in and sew it  to the sides.

When I am done, I glue the felt to the jar, glue the lid inside the cone and it’s all done.

I am imagining a small cluster of these houses – and perhaps some trees to go around them… right now … all in the planning stage.

felt covered jar mini house 11 More mini felt house goodness