Friday, October 17, 2014

Colorful Stitchery by Kristin Nicholas: A Review

I have been a fan of Kristin Nicholas' and her crewel embroidery work for quite some time, and have been anticipating the second edition of her book, Colorful Stitchery: 65 Embroidery Projects to Personalize Your Home, with much excitement. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and have been enjoying the book since it has arrived.

The book includes amazing projects that are sure to add vibrant hues to different rooms and places throughout your home. Kristin provides a window into her familial and personal history with knitting, sewing, crochet, and embroidery, in addition to great information regarding fabric, tool & thread choices, tips for dyeing fabrics, a stitch guide, and pattern transfer techniques.

Dots and Circles Pillows
The projects included in the book range from small-scale stitching with a page marker/bookmark and graduate to larger items like crewel embroidered pillows or embroidered tablecloths. In between some of the project pages, there are great tips and informational vignettes about fabrics, techniques, sewing traditions, and how to find or maintain inspiration.

Blowin' in the Wind Curtains
As I have been reading Colorful Stitchery, I have found that it really is a comprehensive book about sewing and embroidery with clear directions on how to sew and finish projects neatly - my favorite being the finishing touches like tassels or pom poms for pillows. A highlight of the book are the instructions on how to test vintage fabrics for use with some of the projects, recycling sweaters or fabrics from a prior use into something to be stitched, and enhancing store-bought items with embellishment and embroidery.

Dishtowels  à  la Française  
It was a challenge for me to pick which projects to try from Colorful Stitchery, because I wanted to try them all! I decided on the Overlapping Dots pillow to add some color and stitches to my workspace chair, and the Bistro & Cafe Julia embroidered tea towels. I used materials I already had to try these patterns out, and I am so glad I did, because I adore these patterns!

I fell in love with Kristin's use of the chain stitch for lettering. I can't get enough of it. I continued on with the chain stitching for the Overlapping Dots pillow. The pattern adds some amazing texture to the fabric. 

I have in mind to try some of the projects for gingham fabrics that are included in the book. Some of them are pictured on the book cover. They involve stitching within and using the fabric pattern as a guide for embellishing the fabric. There's even a great piece in the book all about vintage gingham aprons - a definite delight to read!

If you order the book and are itching for it to arrive, I highly recommend Kristin's Stitch it with Wool: Crewel Embroidery class over at Craftsy, to tide you over as you await the postman's arrival. I took the class not too long ago, and I was able to use what I learned to make this wrap skirt with crewel embroidery. You can access that post here.

Colorful Stitchery is such a great book, and is great for beginners or seasoned stitchers. I definitely wouldn't miss out on it. Head over to Kristin's site to get your copy now - you won't be disappointed!

Monday, October 6, 2014


The very cherry swap has come to an end and I'm a little sad about it, because it's been fun working with so many cherry print fabrics, but I definitely lucked out with this swap. I was partnered with the very sweet and talented Kim of Babes and Brides. I stalked her for a good while on Pinterest, Instagram, and her blog before deciding what to make for her.

I wanted to make her something functional and cherry wonderful, so I made her a tote with cherry hexies, a cherry hexie zipper pouch, embroidered hoop art, embroidered brooch, and a pin cushion. I added some cherry print socks, cherry flavored candies, and a cute fruit print basket for her desk. 

I never could have anticipated all the wonderfulness that she sent me. It's all so amazing and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now.

Kim made me the most amazing table top quilt and she hand quilted the whole thing!!!

In addition to this amazing table top quilt, Kim sent me some amazing coasters, a pot holder, tea towel, a mug rug, crochet cherry brooch, mini embroidery of my first initial, and a pin cushion. 

As if all of this wasn't enough, she also sent me the most amazing paper pieced and quilted project book AND... she filled it with embroidery supplies - hoops, patterns, floss, miniature hoops.

In addition to all of this, Kim also sent me cherry themed and/or flavored chapstick, candy, candle, and hand soap. I can't believe the loot I scored. She definitely went above and beyond with all of these items and I couldn't be more thrilled. I am definitely cherry cherry lucky ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dia de los Muertos Embroidery

If you follow me on instagram, you may have already seen these photos. Last week I worked on the Mermaid Muerta pattern available from

These next few photos of my stitching progress were taken using my iPhone. 

I used a stem stitch for the hair and a backstitch for the rest of the mermaid and the anchor. I think the stem stitch captures the waves in her hair really well. 

Here she is complete!

Now I just need to figure out whether or not I want to add her to the front of a tote bag or a pillow/cushion.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Breakfast Club

Yes, I am referring to the movie from 1985. It is one of my favorites, and I tend to put it on when I am sewing or working on embroidery projects.

I have been working on some items for the #verycherryswap that was organized by Debbie of Happy Little Cottage and Christina of Emily Ann's Kloset. I put on The Breakfast Club, because I needed background noise, and I am a teacher so it felt appropriate as a nod to the back-to-school season.

Every time I have seen this movie, I always identified the most with the rebel, Judd Nelson's character. Well, I identified with him until now...

So, there I was stitching and making epp hexagons, The Breakfast Club was on in the background and I hear the school principal complaining about students, when I had to stop myself... I was agreeing with the man... then I realized, I no longer identify with the rebel, I identify with the principal!!!!

Once I recovered from the shock and calmed myself down from the inevitable hyperventilation that occurred, I realized I have been teaching college and university classes for eight years, and dealing with students isn't always easy.

I have been facing a lot of change lately with moving into a new house and taking a new teaching job,  and now a new realization that I am getting older. 

All these new changes and realizations are sort of funny to have as I work on cherry-themed swap items, because sometimes life is like a bowl of cherries - it can be delicious, or it can be the pits. When it's the pits, it makes the times when its delicious that much better. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Calendar Embroidery

My sister gave me this super darling stitchable 2014 calendar for Christmas, and of course, I started it in January, but hadn't finished it. The new school semester begins on Tuesday, which provided me with a few days off, so I decided to stitch it up so that I can actually use the calendar portion of the panel. 

I used a combination of stem stitching and back stitching throughout the whole panel, with a few satin stitches and french knots. 

I am totally in love with the colors, which my sister helped me pick out. I feel like this will really brighten up my office space and be something nice to look at when I am surrounded by stacks of papers to grade. 

Do you have any projects you need to finish before the year ends?