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Happy Stitchmas!

It was certainly crisp out first thing this morning. Winter is most definitely on it's way and that means the festive season is around the corner, 41 days in fact, sorry if that has put you in a bit of a panic!

Every year I plan to be more organised and timely and every year it creeps up on me, especially as my work takes such a long time to create. Today's blog is about just that, the making of my cards, Shine Brightly, Illumination and Snowflakes which join Holly and Mistletoe.

This year the three new designs celebrate what I love about the festive season. I have left them all blank inside for your personal messages, whether that be Christmas, Diwali, Hanukah or just Happy Holidays!

I love the fairy lights that twinkle in shop windows and adorn trees, the stars and candles that bring light and the hope that Cornwall may just get a little dusting of snow this year; these were my inspiration as I set about sketching my designs.

All of the designs this year used rescued organza, a beautiful sheer fabric which I hooped with offcuts of water soluble stabilizer from previous projects. I was then ready for the free hand machine embroidery and the best way to describe that is painting with my sewing machine. I can freely move the embroidery hoop under the needle to create the image I want.

In the case of the snowflake I was careful how I stitched as I needed the'legs' to remain sturdy whilst still looking fragile and delicate. For the star I wanted to infill without it becoming solid and the tree had to have a look of pine needles sprucing up the branches. In each case I stitched small and large to provide texture and depth. My machine really didn't like the metallic thread, like, REALLY!

After stitching they were all trimmed and carefully soaked to remove the stabiliser. This creates a very fragile piece which easily distorts so needs a patient hand.

Whilst they dried I set about creating my backgrounds. For the snowflake and tree I hand painted upcycled linen fabric which I then backed with quilt wadding. This was machine stitched with snowflakes and trees respectively. The snowflakes were adorned with beads to catch light and the trees varied in shade and detail to give the impression of a forest. For the star I used remnants of silk, organza and satin which I stitched in strips to depict a winter night sky with shades of indigo through to navy and midnight blue.

Once the main pieces were dry I stitched baubles to trees and ice crystals to the snowflakes. Then I'll be honest the next stage took me ages as I fussed and titivated, arranged and rearranged, angled and straightened, layered and separated until I was happy with every placement. I floated the main pieces above the backgrounds to get light under them, not only to illustrate their fragility but to cast shadows and create depth

They were photographed and went off to the local printers to be printed on FSC certified cardstock. The local family business reuse boxes to pack the cards in so no waste there either and certainly no plastic. My cards are sold totally naked, yup, naked! That means they are not put into plastic packaging and are sent out in recyclable cardboard boxes.

If you would like to purchase cards you can find them here where they can be bought singularly, in single design packs or mixed packs, just specify which designs you would like. The original pieces meanwhile have been framed ready to find a forever home and will be going on the website asap.

So that is the process, hope you enjoyed hearing how it all happens. Creating Holly and Mistletoe was slightly different but that will wait for another blog as you have been very patient in reading this far!!

Have a fab week and chat to you soon!


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