Tuesday, 29 May 2012

When Life Gives You Scraps, Make A Cushion!

So today I was sort of clearing out and tidying my sewing stuff, (which is going painfully slow as I got bored after doing a shelf :P), and I came across all these lovely patches I forgot I had.

It made me think of all the embroidered things my gran, great gran used to do.  I wonder if they enjoyed the aspect of creating work with a needle and thread.  If so, then why is telling stories through stitch so important?  You can see how much work has been put into each patch so I wanted to re-use them and make them into something else.

So I just started by playing around with the patches and seeing which ones looked good together.  I was trying to make a large square around 16 inches square so it was easier to stitch this into a cushion.

Once I was happy with the arrangement I pinned it all down and started stitching with the sewing machine.

I used the free machine stitch foot with the feed dog down, as I found it was easier to do the circles.  I was using the zig zag stitch to join the pieces.  I had thought of using blue or pink cotton thread but it might have overpowered the finished design.

This is the finished design! :) On each patch I hand embroidered different sayings - 
  • Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing, the days pass quickly when I am sewing
  • Stitch your stress away
  • A labor of love
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • Cute as a button
  • I would rather be sewing
  • When life throws you scraps, make a cushion
  • I'm a material girl - want to see my fabric collection
  • Memories are stitched with love
  • I cannot count my day complete, Til needle, thread and fabric meet
  • I'm itching to be stitching
  • May your bobbin always be full
I couldn't think of anymore to stitch and I had run out of patches anyway.

I then drew up a basic pattern for a square cushion and cut out my fabric pieces.  I used heavy cotton for the cushion back.  And here it is!!

I think it has turned out really well, and I still have patches left over so I think I might make a smaller one to sell on my Etsy store :)

Dittery Dot

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Give Me A Hug!

It's finally finished! Hooray!!

I think it looks fab!  I am sooo happy that I now have a pair of cushions for the bed.

Again with the "Hug" cushion I used the Feather Company for my cushion pad and had trim from Mandors fabric store.  The kit was purchased from Emily Peacock - http://www.emilypeacock.com  I have just started another cushion, I am becoming a cushion queen!

Dittery Dot

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Eclectic Louise Pringle

Hello everybody!

Hope you're all having a wonderful day.  Today I wanted to show you my lovely necklaces that were made by Louise Pringle.  

I had them made a few years ago when she was exhibiting at the Royal Concert Hall.  In this photograph she used some old odd earings, vintage brooches and some charms.  I think it looks amazing and now I can wear them again.

In this necklace she has used an old buckle, odd earings, some silver brooches, a tiny ladybird badge I've had since I was four, old rings and the odd charm.  I think they all work really well together and look fantastic.

Since I was doing a post on my necklaces, I got in contact with Louise to see if she would be interested in doing a wee mini interview for my blog and she has said yes! 

- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I graduated from Heriot Watt University in 2000.  My necklaces and bracelets appeal to a broad female audience ranging from late teens, early 20's, up to and including retired ladies, who are looking for something completely different, uniquely designed and hand crafted with an emphasis on quality workmanship.  

I spend most weekends at craft, antique fairs and auction houses sourcing individual charms and items.  This is originally where I obtained my inspiration to design and hand craft Re-Invented Fashion Jewellery.

My work can be seen in the British Museum, Russell Square, London, Edinburgh Castle, and the Royal Collection, St James Palace, London.

I live in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland and my greatest satisfaction is the wonderful comments and feedback I get from customers including those whom I create personal jewellery for.

- What made you decide to pursue a career in textiles?

I studied textile design at Galashiels textile College, but evolved into jewellery after doing a lot of constructed wire work.

- Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from my found pieces - I take inspiration from particular pieces then start from there.  Obviously my training in textiles has an influence and as a child I was always taken around car boot fairs and flea markets as my parents collected antiques - this is  probably my main influence.

- Do you have any new projects/exhibitions coming up?

Sat 12th, Funk Fair, Edinburgh, Venue to be confirmed.


Sat 2nd - Tues 5th, Ideal Home Exhibition, SECC Glasgow.
Sun 10th - Tues 12th, Pulse, Earls Court, London.
Thurs 21st - Sun 24th, Royal Highland Show, Ingliston Showground Centre, Edinburgh.


Sat 4th - Sun 26th, 3D2D West End Arts and Crafts Festival, St Johns Church, West End, Princes Street, Edinburgh.


I would just like to thank Louise for taking the time to share her thoughts and work with me.  All of the photographs on this blog are from her lovely website, (apart from the four at the top of the post) so please go and have a look at all her fabulous jewellery - http://www.louisepringle.com/  
 You can also follow her on Facebook -  Eclectic-Shock-Jewellery-by-Louise-Pringle

Dittery Dot

Monday, 14 May 2012

Brother's Commission Piece

Today I thought I'd show you a canvas that I made up specially for my boyfriend's mum for her birthday.  She had been asking me about my canvas work, having seen the ones I had created for my own family and said she would like one.  I love doing personal pieces so if you like what you see then please don't hesitate to get in touch.

I used mainly cotton, with a little silk for the hair and hand and machine embroidery to create the faces and t-shirts.  Although now Ashley doesn't have black hair anymore, (it's back to blonde), and the piercing has gone too, but my Adrian is just the same :)

Here is the original photograph I used, I think I have captured their features quite well.

She was really pleased with it and insisted that a nail was hammered into the wall so she could hang it up :)

Dittery Dot

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Tutti Fruitti Fashion Show

When I was at Cardonald College we had a Fashion Show at the end of second year.  It was held at Glasgow Fruit Market (many years ago now).  It was a lot of fun and really exciting to see all your hard work come together and strut down the catwalk :) 

Before I show you any fashion show pictures I thought I would talk you through my concept for my designs.  So my project was called Tutti Fruitti, which had a lot of fun colours, sweets, presents, medals and patterns.  I used a lot of flower drawings to create one of my final designs.

I also had a look at the colours in medals and had a go at making my own, I think they look really cute.  However I didn't use them in my final design.

I even had a go at making my own fabric using weave.  The results were really beautiful and colourful but it just took far too long to do.  The weave was done on a bit of cardboard then the ends tied together so that it wouldn't unravel.  I used to do it on the bus home, needless to say I got a few funny looks.

After I had chosen my favourite drawings and fabric samples, I started to sketch out lots of different ideas for dresses and coats.

Eventually I decided on a really fancy coat with a intricate collar, with a plain dress underneath and a really fun patterned dress with lots of ribbon and colour.

Eventually I had finished my 2 dresses and fitted them onto my models, who were my sister Dawn and my friend Lianne.

Taa dahhh! Here are my 2 gorgeous models on the catwalk in my designs.  Lianne is on the left and Dawn on the right.  I have a few more pictures of other students designs and more samples of my work in the Gallery section of my blog, so please go and have a look.

Dittery Dot

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Colourful Emily Peacock

Hello everyone, I hope your all having a lovely day.  Today I want to tell you all about Emily Peacock :)

The first time I tried cross stitch was when I was in my teens and got so frustrated with it that I was convinced it was not for me.  However when I saw that Rob Ryan had collaborated with Emily Peacock and come up with a really stunning design I decided it was time to give it another go.  Since then I have become a women obsessed and have a tottering pile of cross stitch, (still to do), to prove it!

I contacted Mrs Peacock to ask if I could post about her, and she was even kind enough to take the time to answer a few of my questions!

- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a needlework designer that sells my work through my website www.emilypeacock.com,   as well as in Liberty of London.  My work has been associated with the resurgence of popularity in craft and I am known for my modern approach, bright colours and use of fonts in needlework.  I work from home with my assistant Katie, who is also my younger sister.  As well as selling my needlepoint kits, I run workshops, have worked with Rob Ryan, the students at RSN and the charity Fine Cell Work.  I am married and have two teenage daughters.

-What made you decide to pursue a career in textiles?

I have always loved textiles - that love was something I believe I was born with.  Over the years I have made my clothes, my wedding dress and soft furnishings and I have knitted and stitched from a very young age.  I worked in graphic design for years where I learnt an eye for layout, colour and font, but my passion was always in the area of textiles.

It took me a long time to find exactly what I wanted to do - I was a bit of a dilettante for years and didn't commit to an idea.  I think I lacked self belief and focus and this made me very frustrated.  I now recognise this in others and encourage people in my workshops to fearlessly express themselves and find their own creative path.  So many people become scared and frustrated but feel they have something to give, but we all have an innate creative ability.  The clues are in the story of who you are and what you have always loved to do, then in piecing those bits together and finding your own wonderful unique style.  I love to help people with that.

- Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ideas just jump into my head and I do not actively seek them out.  It's just a question of Zeitgeist - being original but coming up with ideas that don't look out of place.  I have an idea and execute it in my own way using my own colour taste and influences from my graphics background.  I'm not really into subtlety - I love designs that jump out at you as soon as you enter a room.  It's very important to me to keep original.  I find it very dull when the same trends are rehashed over and over.  It's so disappointing to me when you find a new shop or a new product and once again we are confronted with Union flags, cupcakes, russian dolls, Keep Calm & Carry On, statements about tea... I could go on but I'm sure that's not a popular thing to say, it just frustrates me!  We have a worldwide reputation for being innovators and it's so important to me to keep breaking new ground rather then stick to what everybody's already buying.  I'm a risk taker by nature and will always try out new things.

- Do you have any new projects/exhibitions coming up?

I am running workshops over the summer and then will be at the Knitting & Stitching Show in London and possibly Harrogate too.  I will also be at Vintage in July.  I will always be adding to the designs on my website and I am just starting my second book which I hope will be a very different type of needlework book.


I would just like to thank Mrs Peacock for sharing her work and thoughts with me, all photographs were taken from her website.  Go and have a look at all the gorgeous kits she has for sale at her website and on her Etsy too - http://www.etsy.com.  You can also follow her on her facebook page - Emily-Peacock

Dittery Dot

Friday, 4 May 2012

"Be Wild Like The Flowers..."

"Be wild like the flowers..."  is a project that I started with a very clear image of where I wanted to go with it, but I kind of got lost along the way.  I started by looking at weeds and graffiti.  I noticed that the two always seem to be in the same place so I took a lot of photographs of each.  Gardeners' don't like weeds in their gardens (my dad being one of them).  However I think that some of the weeks are really quite pretty in there own way.  Just like some graffiti is rather striking.  There are more pictures of this work in the Gallery page, please go and have a peek :)

This led me to create some fabric samples where I created my own weeds.  I used a lot of trailing threads and trapped seeds in the fabric. 

I started to incorporate phrases and words into my work - Be wild like the flowers, weeds, get out of my space, alternative.  I wanted to create my own graffiti so used some old wallpaper and covered it in stains and dirt to look like a wall, then used inks, pencil, masking tape to draw on abstract weeds.  There are more pictures in the gallery section of my blog, so please go and have a wee squint.  I even had a go at making some 3d weeds but this wasn't as successful as I had hoped.  That is really as far as I got with this project and I would really like to get back to it one day.

Dittery Dot

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I Am Not A Doll

Cross stitch is kinda known for being stuffy and old fashioned but lots of designers are trying to change this perception.  I was about to give up hope of finding anything modern then I came across these super cute cross stitch geisha dolls.  They were so much fun to stitch up and I was quite sad once I had completed them.

Aren't they just adorable? :)

I got in touch with the designer Meagz from iamnotadoll.  I asked her if she could tell me a bit more about her work and this is what she said - 

"Hello, my name is Meagz and I'm a graphic and web designer from Canberra, Australia.  I started iamnotadoll in 2007, but I've been drawing pixel art for about ten years.  I only became interested in cross-stitch a few years ago, but it's become a bit of an obsession now.

I design my patterns using my pixel art characters as a base, but it's not as simple as running an image through a cross-stitch program - I have the entire range of DMC threads and like to pick my colours by sight.  One of the first rules you learn as a graphic designer is that you can never trust a colour to look the same on screen as it does in real life.  I make all of my pdf patterns in Photoshop, and even draw all the symbols (as pixel art of course).

I take my inspiration from all the awesome things in life - video games, pirates, zombies, ninjas, brightly coloured hair, hanging out playing Nintendo.  My style is heavily influenced by the artwork from Pokemon and Legend of Zelda Gameboy games.

Recently I've been working on a set of 30 pixel art fabric designs through Spoonflower, as well as working on a complete re-design of my website and of course, a never-ending pile of cross-stitch."

On Spoonflower Meagz has really quirky fabric designs featuring her geisha dolls, a very cute angel design among others.  You can see more of her designs at  www.spoonflower.com/profiles/iamnotadoll

She has a facebook page where you can keep up-to-date with her work - www.facebook.com/iamnotadoll

She also has an Etsy shop where you can purchase the cross stitch charts.  I just love the zombie, he is too cute to be scary.


If you go to - www.redbubble.com/people/iamnotadoll/shop/ you can buy stickers, i phone cases, sweat shirts and t-shirts featuring her fun pixel art designs.

Meagz likes to do custom designs too.  I contacted her again asking if she could do a pixel art design of my boyfriend and me.  She was happy too and did a fantastic job, see for yourself - 

Once I had stitched it up I framed it in a wee hoop and I gave it as a anniversary present, (my boyfriend is really difficult to buy for).  But he loved it and thought it was a lovely personal gift.

All the photos in this post were kindly supplied by Meagz :)

Dittery Dot