I've really been enjoying my embroidery this year, after not doing very much last year. One of the challenges I set myself at the start of the year was to learn to colour tint my fabric before adding the embroidery - I love buying the pre-printed panels, but I'd like to do this myself as well. And the opportunity to learn this arose in February. Meg Hawkey of Crab Apple Hill Studio hosted a stitchalong to celebrate National Embroidery Month, and the first step was colour your fabric.
I bought the pencils she advises, the blending stumps, something called fabric extender and the pigma pen. And I gave it a go. My first attempt ended badly. Because the one thing I didn't buy was a new, clean paintbrush. So when I came to add the fabric extended, it went all bleary and muddy as, despite cleaning the paintbrush thoroughly, it obviously wasn't clean enough. It was unsalvageable so I started again, and I was so much happier with the results. The practice piece was, in the end, worthwhile! The colouring pencils I used are Prismacolor, and I bought just the few I needed from the The Coloured Pencil Shop in the UK.
Once coloured in, it was time to add the embroidery. Each little square is just an inch, and the idea was you stitched one a day. Needless to say, that's not quite how I did it, as the colouring in issue had already put me a week behind... I was amazed at how adding the embroidery really lifted the colouring! Here are some of my favourite blocks.
This is my favourite block: I had a bit of a whoopsie with the pigma pen when I was tracing the bobbin and it looked awful and really annoye dme every time I looked at the piece. So I added the yellow roses and leaves to hide it, and it's now my favourite part. The rose stitch wasn't featured in the original pattern at all, so to make it look more in keeping, I then did the same stitch further on, replacing a rose made from cast-on stitch.
Speaking of cast-on stitch... this was new one on me. I found it to be a bit fiddly and the finished stitches didn't alway lie how I wanted them to. But in a popularity contest between cast-on stitch and bullion knots, cast-on stitch wins hands down. I do NOT like bullion knots. It took me an hour to do four on my first attempt. Whilst later attempts were more successful I didn't enjoy doing them and I'm not keen on how they look. So I won't be adding bullion knots to my list of favourite stitches!
The final block was a bit different: you added a button using embroidery. Something else I'd never done before. But this I enjoyed. It adds something a bit different. And to finish it all, there are a couple of applique blocks. I've mounted it in a white frame I got from Amazon and I actually laced the back - I haven't laced a picture since my cross-stitching years, and even then only rarely!
I'm so pleased with the result. I'm pleased with what I learned, and it's so very pretty - much "prettier" than anything I would normally make! Sometimes it's nice to make something a bit different: the finished pieced is just shy of 7" x 9". I used Primacolor Pencils, and DMC threads throughout and Kona cotton in white as my basecloth.
And this is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.