Welcome back, it's been awhile, lots been happening, and I do promise to tell all and get you up to date with life here at Wildcraft Farm over the next few weeks.
But here at Wildcraft Farm we're currently enjoying the Australia Day long weekend. We've recently added a rather large timber deck on the back of our home, so our family of 3 (plus Abby the kelpie and Bubs and Delta the horses) had a lovely BBQ with a variety of salads and a glass of good Aussie Red, relaxing as the sun set on a lovely mild day. For dessert we enjoyed a Drumstick Icecream, so creamy and yummy.
So this Irish girl, who's been living "Down Under" for most of her life, thought she'd celebrate our 12th year of providing Stitchers around the world with stitching projects, with a rather unique Gift to celebrate this weekend.
If you are Australian, are an ex-pat, have a special Aussie friend, or like so many others, have a great love for this wonderful country ... I hope you enjoy this fun stitchery, with a twist.
I originally designed an Australia Flag stitchery about 12 years ago, it was one of my first "Kit In A Cards", it was coloured in the crayon colouring method and looked like this ...
So I thought I'd give it a bit of a face lift, and add some great fabrics. Of course being Australia Day, I had to go with a great Australian Designer's new fabric range.
I've known Helen Stubbings of Hugs 'n Kisses fame for quite a few years, we both taught at a retreat a few years ago up in Townsville, and I had a lot of fun supplying her with a block for her Quiltaid project in 2011/2012. Emails and text messages are a quick method of communicating, but when we get on the phone together, it never seems to be a quick chat!
So late last year Helen gave me some fabric from her range "Life Is Beautiful". Some great patterns, gorgeous panel prints, but I especially fell in love with the dark reds. After fondling the fabric for awhile I picked up my Derwent Artists Pencils and started doodling. I know Helen teaches a great method of colouring with Derwents (I must confess I had to ring her for a quick update on the phone last week), and this is what I came up with ...
Following is a Tutorial to produce this project yourself, its my first heavily detailed Tutorial, so of course its not going to be full of "bullet" form instructions - actually Helen once told me "Janet, you can always find 10 words, when others only use 2, ... hey!!! I'm known as a Chatterbox for a reason!!! ...
SO .... YOU WILL NEED:
- White Homespun 10" x 8"
- Brown .01 Pigma Permanent Pen
- Light Source For Tracing
- Iron On Interfacing 10"cm x 8"
- DMC Stranded Thread Red 815, Blue 3760 and White
- Derwent Artist Pencils in Red and Blue to match your fabric
- 4 small white buttons 3/8"
- 1 large red button 3/4"
- 2 x Strips Red Print "Life Is Beautiful" Style A 1 1/4" x 6 1/2" and same for Style B
- 4 x Strips of Large Daisy Print "Life Is Beautiful" each is 4" wide
- Old Frame (my interior measurement is 29.5cm x 24.5cm)
- Enough thin card (taped together, greeting card weight) to fit interior of frame
- Scrap of wool batting or white felt, size of cardboard
- Fabric glue
- 2 paint brushes, small and medium
- Textile Medium
- Scissors, Sewing Machine, Embroidery needle
Put the pattern on a window (or other light source), tape to steady it, then cover with the Homespun and tape in place. Carefully trace using the Brown .01 Pigma Pen (of course any other colour can be used, or pencil, but I prefer the Brown). If you found that quite quick and easy, then why not trace off a few more to give to your stitching friends to have a go too.
For me, this is the fun part. I already have my fabric prints chosen, so next I dive into my very large box of DMC and Cosmo Skeins of thread and select one red and one blue to match, because I don't want the blue to be too dark, I selected a colour from the lighter part of the print (FYI at this stage of the design process I wasn't sure if I would use the red or the blue prints for the borders, but I knew both would match the outer daisy print).
Then to choose the Derwent Artist Pencils .... a while ago I made up 2 colour charts for myself, these come in very handy, I think I'll put up a Tutorial for these very soon.
Grab a handful of red and blue pencils, have a bit of a scribble on some scrap white Homespun (the same pressure as you plan on colouring the "real thing"), when you find one from each colour that you believe tones well with your fabric and thread choices, quickly write down the numbers, even before you set them aside!!! Take it from me, it's easy for these pencils to roll back into a little stack, and you're back to square one trying to find the colour again.
And at this point I reach for some of my most favorite things .... the little wooden spools :0) I can easily roll an 8metre skein onto one spool, saves tangled messes, loosing strands of precut thread, or more embarrassingly, unknowingly wearing loose strands of thread and having other people point it out to me! After winding on the thread, use a grey lead pencil and write the brand/colour/number on the end of the spools - just a tip here, when you cut off a length and take apart 2 strands, you just wind the leftovers back onto the spool (so you won't loose), and when you have finished with all the thread just throw in your bag and the next time you are visiting your favourite store, or ordering supplies on-line, you have the brand and number at the ready.
Now it's really just like colouring in like when you were a kid. But I do find it helpful to have another piece of fabric underneath, it prevents pulling, and more importantly it provides a constant surface to draw on to.
Okay, another fun part .... when I was a kid my Dad would call this "skiddling", I think it was meant to mean I was getting messy, having fun, and disaster was only a tiny slip up away. Put a little Textile Medium on an old plate (I have a saucer that I use for all my painting) and then carefully load up a medium brush and start to paint over the top of the pencilling. I only put a little Textile Medium out at a time, I was doing this on a particularly hot day and I found it didn't stay "runny" for long, also if you get called away by the phone, hungry child, or maybe an amorous husband!!! you won't have wasted too much if it goes "off".
BUT .... I must tell you this before I forget, or before you get too far ahead of me .... the Textile Medium (when I apply it) does soak through, so you will need something underneath (or it will smudge from the back through to the front), but if it's fabric it will stick unless you get it off quickly, and if it's paper it will stick to the back and be harder to take off (this time I did so well, I did half on fabric and half on paper .... I know I do tend to challenge myself sometimes), maybe I might try baking paper (grease proof) next time.
Now it's time to show you something I do with all my projects. I make up a zip lock bag full of everything I need to stitch on the go. I've spent a lot of the past year in various waiting rooms, and I curse myself when I've not got something to do to keep my mind and fingers occupied. So by putting this bag together straight away, you know you'll never be without something to grab as you race out the door to watch footy training, tennis lessons, wait in dentist waiting rooms etc. I even put in a spare pair of "cheap" glasses I use for stitching. They are pretty strong and I have accumulated quite a few pairs over the years, so I can afford to throw one in each bag I make up (there is nothing worse than having stitching to do and your only excuse is no glasses). I have also added to my collection my favourite type of embroidery hoop, a few months ago I was upset and frustrated to think I'd lost my small pink hoop (just before a 10 day trip away to a Ski Resort, where I'd planned on LOTS of stitching), and of course when I bought a new one, I then found the original ... but they're cheap as chips, so now I have no reason to be without one.
Crikey .... did you ever think the stitching was going to start??? I used backstitch throughout, using 2 strands, but of course you can do a stem stitch. The only time I changed the rule was when I realised the red "cross" needed to be thicker than a single backstitch line, so I did a small chain stitch, super easy and it gives the project a bit more dimension. Follow the final colour photo to see where I've used the 2 different colours.
Then it was time to audition my border fabrics ... don't you just love the depth of this red, well done Helen!
Use a quarter inch foot on your sewing machine (if you are lucky enough to have one) and after fussy cutting the prints, stitch the two side borders, press, trim, then stitch the bottom and top. It may not look much, but I also fussy cut these two pieces so I made good use of the gorgeous hearts and flowers print. Press and trim back, then sew on the 4 final border pieces. Sew on some buttons for extra embellishment.
When you are totally finished, measure the inside measurement of your frame, take a few pieces of card and make up one solid piece to fit on the "shelf". Then cut a piece of left over wool batting or felt, about 1" larger all around. Smear some Fabric Glue around the edges of the cardboard and a squiggle in the middle, then carefully place the batting on top, smooth down and leave to dry. Once fully dry, cut around so you are "flush" with the cardboard edge.
Position the finished stitchery on top of the batting and use a little tape to position in place. Once you are happy with the look, use more tape to secure, then pop into frame. I put a little tape along each edge, then cover with some brown paper (or similar) and neatly tape around the back so it looks professional.
And you are finished! Well Done, I hope you enjoy, no reason to just have this on display on Australia Day. Over the past 12 months there has been a huge influx of flag inspired craft projects from the UK, you can find the Union Jack on many pillows, framed art, quilts - and of course the Americans and Canadians have been making beautiful pieces with their flags for years .... about time we joined the band wagon.
Download your Australia Day pattern here >> WCF - Australian Flag Pattern
I hope you enjoy. Check back in as I regularly blog about life here at Wildcraft Farm, new products we've launched (I think I have about 6 Quilt Card designs to share), more farm/family proof recipes, tips and of course more bonus patterns to share with my blogland friends.
It goes without saying that this design is a copyright product of Wildcraft Farm (not the flag, just my drawn version of it), so feel free to share, but remember to acknowledge the original designer :0) Over the years I've seen too many people rip off others, not sure how they can take credit for other peoples work .... oh well, Karma's a bitch!
Talk to you soon,
PS - As if I'd forget a PS .... if you would like some of the spools, they are made for us at Wildcraft Farm, and we have them available in packs of 5 or starter boxes of 20. We have a range of stockists, contact us for details. Or for something a little different, check out >> QFD's Spool Club, where you get monthly packages of spools and threads to add to your collection.
PPS ... Helen's fabric range is currently available in stores, there are more colours in this collection, along with a gorgeous panel print - produced by Red Rooster Fabrics.
PPPS ... I've just reread my instructions and I think I should explain, when I was a young girl I ALWAYS wanted a box of 72 Derwent Pencils, so when I could finally afford to buy my own I bought 72s of all my favourites - I know they aren't cheap, but to get a good selection of colours it is best to go for a big box. I remember my first Easter as a Mum I asked my husband for a box of 72 Derwents instead of an Easter Egg, I coloured like a kid all day :0)