Last year for my birthday I was a very lucky girl, I got an iPad Pro and pencil. I very quickly bought Procreate too and have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to use it to create digital designs. I’ve had some of these printed onto fabric and have tried some embroidery over the top. I used Prinfab to do the digital prints, I was really pleased with the quality.
This is the first sample I did, using wool embroidery yarn, and I’ve kept this for myself!
Two of my designs are now available in my Folksy shop.
I’ve used DMC embroidery threads to add the details and it gives a nice texture to the finished piece.
I also created a repeat pattern printed fabric, although I’m still too scared to cut into it! It was inspired by the badges I make, and the tiny bits of embroidery they feature.
Other new products that I’ve recently added to my shop are these Lavender Bags. I’ve made them using off cuts of felt and fabric from other embroidery projects, so they are reducing waste as well as being fun to make, and even though I say it myself, rather cute. I’ll be making more for definite! The lavender used for stuffing is grown in my own garden, and most of the ribbons used are recycled too, from gift wrap and clothing.
And finally, a new craft magazine arrived on the shelves of all good newsagents this week! It’s from the Take a Break family and is full of simple craft projects, including one from me! I designed a pattern for some crochet coasters which work up quickly in Aran yarn. The magazine is only £1.99, a bargain I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m also in there giving advice about keeping your embroidery and cross stitch projects neat!
I am celebrating my 5th year of Shirley Rainbow! I can’t quite believe I’ve been doing this for 5 years. The first item I listed in my Folksy shop was this card, and off I went! I’ve learned all sorts of things- from how to set up and build my own website (I embedded code…. never thought I’d say that or even know what it meant), to how to organise myself and stock for craft fairs and an exhibition, and how to take reasonable photos. I’ve done wholesale orders and commissions and learned how to crochet too along the way. Folksy has been a great platform to sell with and the support I’ve received via their blog, chat forums and Facebook groups has been fabulous.
So to celebrate and say thanks for everyone’s ongoing support for Shirley Rainbow I thought I’d do a giveaway.
The first giveaway prize is this embroidered bird. It’s part of my new digital print collection. It is hand embroidered with DMC thread on cotton and measures 6” across. I’ll do three runner up prizes of these badges, made of hand embroidered wool felt and faux leather.
Soooo…. to enter: follow my blog, like this post and leave a comment! Open worldwide. This giveaway will also run from my Instagram. I’ll put all the names in a hat and draw a winner on Tuesday 18th Feb (my actual Shirley Rainbow Birthday) at 8pm, and I will notify the winners. Good luck!
** This giveaway is not affiliated with WordPress or Instagram in any way.**
How is January going? I hope you’ve had a good start to the year. It’s been quite busy here. There’s been quite a lot going on behind the scenes: I’m working on a commission that I can’t share yet, and some other exciting stuff I can’t share yet either! However in between all that I’ve been doing a bit of embroidery and I think that 2019 should be the year I learn more about, and practice, embroidery!
I started the year with these little Drop Cloth samplers that were so much fun to do. So far I’ve only sewn one up into a pincushion. Will I ever dare stick a pin in it though?Embroidery kits are a great way to try out new stitches, and I’ve been having a look at what I might try next…
In the mean time I’ve dug out my embroidery books and have designed a simple layout to try new stitches, and also some I’ve not used for a while, in a sampler. There are so many embroidery stitches to do but it’s difficult to work out how to utilise them sometimes, so I find I use the same stitches over and over. Even if I don’t find a way to use them in other embroidery I’m enjoying giving new techniques a try. I’ve also decided, inspired by my Instagram friend Alison Sye, to time how long I spend on the embroidery. So far it’s 10 hours.
Clockwise the stitches I’ve used are
Whipped running stitch
Laced back stitch
Running stitch with lazy daisy
Basket Weave Stitch
Cloud filling stitch
Lazy daisy stitch worked in a grid with french knots
Laid trellis work.
I’m drawing the lines with an erasable pen so that it doesn’t get too chaotic ( I’d still like the sampler to look good!) and I will do some more blog updates on what I’ve stitched. And maybe at some point I will incorporate the lovely new stitches into some pieces for my Folksy shop!
Hello everyone and a very Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a good festive break. I’ve enjoyed a bit of time offline, doing some embroidery and a bit of crochet too.
The embroidery is a drop cloth sampler pincushion kit. It’s totally different to any embroidery I’ve done before and it’s really fun making it. It’s from Beyond Measure which is a gorgeous online shop selling highly desirable haberdashery and more.
I’ve started a new cleckheaton jumper in style craft life DK in Silver Nepp which is a gorgeous yarn with multicoloured slubs throughout. However I might have made it a bit small so I might be pulling it out and starting again!
I want to share a few of the handmade gifts I made for Christmas this year; I didn’t make many as the three weeks before Christmas I’d put aside for making got ridiculously hectic with some other projects.
I knew my parents were getting a slow cooker for Christmas so I made my mum a crocheted pot holder for it. The pattern is from Emma Lamb’s book Crochet Home. I made it using DK cotton yarn which worked out to be just the right size. For some reason I didn’t take a finished picture before it I wrapped it. Here’s a work in progress photo, it was finished with a scalloped border. I then went on to make another of the pot holder patterns in Crochet Home for my godmother. I used the same DK yarn but this one came out rather on the large size! I still liked it though, so off it went!
I designed and made an embroidered tree for my sister which I loved doing. She has a beautiful collection of Christmas decorations so I hoped this would fit in well! I enjoyed it so much that you might see a limited collection of them in my shop next winter…
During a browse on Pinterest a few months ago I’d come across some little tiny dolls made from scrap fabric which were super cute, and I thought I’d like to have a go at making some as a gift. After doodling a few ideas I made a little pattern and thoroughly enjoyed making a little lady, a cat and a fish with two tiny blankets. I used some scraps of Liberty cotton, wool felt and some vintage pearl beads. The cat and lady are filled with lavender so they can be popped in a drawer with your clothes. I gave them to a friend in a little tin and I will definitely be making more of these!
One of my commissions before Christmas was to make a Christmas card with the three kings on, I’ve not made any cards for a while now so it was a nice change.
This Christmas I managed not to have too much of a melt down about actually giving people the gifts I’d made them. It seems silly when I make stuff to sell to complete strangers that giving something to someone I know well (and who usually likes me!) is so hard, but there you go! I can’t help being a bit daft.
June is a lovely busy month here at Shirley Rainbow HQ. I’ve just finished my time as Folksy Featured Maker, which was really fun. You can read my interview here. I was also asked to write a short piece for their blog about Hoop Art, which you can read here, which shares some of the wonderful embroidery available from Folksy.
Today I set up my display for Art in Shops which is part of Sherwood Art Week. Lots of shops let local artists and crafts people use their shop windows to display their work for a week. My textile and embroidery hoop art (above) is on display (and available to buy!!) at TSB and Sherwood News at 656 Mansfield Road. I’m looking forward to the Secret Garden Craft Fair tomorrow, and seeing all the yarn bombing. The exhibition I’m taking part in starts next Friday, at Sherwood Methodist Church, Mansfield Road, Nottingham; I’ll be there to help with invigilating the exhibition on Friday lunch time. I’ll do a blog next week with all the fun stuff that went on. If you’re in the area though, Sherwood Art week is a great event with lots to do and see, check their website for all the details.
It’s also Just A Card week next week, which is an online campaign to support all designers and makers, encouraging people to buy from and support independent shops as every sale counts, even ‘just a card’! I’ll be taking part in their Instagram challenge next week.
Images courtesy of Just A Card.
I’ve also got both of my children’s birthdays in the next two weeks, and I’m making a dress for a wedding I’m going to on the 30th June! Yikes! I’d better crack on with it…
Back in January I signed up to take part in the Very Berry mini hoop swap, organised by Ali Burdon. I thought it would be good as it had been a while since I had done any embroidery and I felt like I needed something to kick start me back into it. The swap involved creating a piece of embroidery in a Dandelyne mini hoop 5.5cm wide. We were given the details of our swap partner and some of their likes and dislikes to get us started.
So here’s my hoop, a very very literal interpretation of my swap partner Julie’s likes- purple and flowers! I really enjoyed making this, and it really did reignite my love of embroidery. For those of you who are new followers, I studied Textile Design and specialised in embroidery at university. Crochet (and dressmaking) has kind of taken over in the last few years though. I’ve been feeling like I needed to combine these two techniques, somehow, and since the swap I’ve gone on to make these two little wall decorations for my Folksy shop.
I used some lovely hand dyed crewel wool from Paivatar Yarns, a fellow Folksy seller and I’m really happy with the effect. I think all the spring flowers popping up everywhere have inspired me!
I’m thinking of other embroidery designs I can finish with crocheted frames at the moment, as I’m taking part in an Art and Crafts week, in Sherwood, an area of Nottingham near where I live. I’m going to have my work on display in a shop window for a week in June! Sherwood Art Week is great, the whole area gets yarn bombed, there is a fabulous craft fair, and most of the shops in the area let artists and craftspeople use their shop windows for display, it’s one big art gallery! I’ve bought some lovely stuff from the craft fair before, and my kids love to go and look at the yarn bombing.
And before I forget, this is the hoop I received from Lucy Brennan of Charm About You for the swap. She’s used my favourite colours and her favourite fabrics, I love it!
Recently I’ve had an embroidery commission and a custom card request, so now that they are safely with my customers I thought I’d share them with you.
My aunty commissioned me to embroider some handkerchiefs for her. I doodled some designs for her, following some suggestions from her, and I got the go ahead! I got to hone my embroidery skills a bit more, especially with silk shading which I haven’t done since studying embroidery at university.
I presented them in a little box, and was really happy she liked them.
My cousin requested a custom Valentines Day card for his wife, inspired by my Beautiful Carrot card, and a poster his wife used to have with a cabbage on! I was very pleased to hear they both liked the card.
I’m always open to custom requests, or commissions, so please get in touch if you are interested, and I can give you some more information.
Have a great weekend,