Articles

Breaking the Rules with Embroidery

If you’ve ever set foot in a traditional sewing class or watched The Great British Sewing Bee in any length, you’ll be all too familiar with straight lines, neat curves and clean corners. The manual dexterity earned from years of traditional sewing, is without a doubt, exceptionally valuable. However, free-machine embroidery is here to challenge this completely, asking you to become a rebellious sewist.

A three hour class dedicated to the art of free-machine embroidery, encapsulating all of the creative freedom I could ask for, seemed a perfect way to spend a Saturday. I knew I had to sign up.

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A trip to V V Rouleaux in Bath, aka haberdashery heaven to you and I, provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

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The class itself was held in a perfectly exuberant workroom, adjoined to the haberdashery. All of the tools awaited, as did our lovely workshop facilitator, Poppy.

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After receiving basic, but without a doubt, incredibly useful instructions on how to operate our sewing machines, we stretched calico over our embroidery hoops and began our first practice pieces. The words ‘be careful of your fingers – keep them away from the needle and foot’, and ‘if you ever hurt yourself, seek medical attention,’ may have contributed to a steep blood pressure rise at this point, however, suffice to say, all participants left injury free.

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After a few needle breakages, bobbin adjustments and foot-to-hoop collisions, my confidence grew. I began to find the process of free-machine embroidery highly relaxing, almost meditative. We were given the opportunity of drawing onto the calico with the use of erasable pens prior to stitching, but I quite happily used the sewing needle for mark making throughout this stage.

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After gaining some confidence with the process, the last hour of the workshop focussed on appliqué. This involved cutting shapes from a selection of beautifully patterned fabrics, and free-machining them onto our final piece. After cutting out a variety of shapes, in my case, flowers, we used fusible webbing to fix them on to our fabric.

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Towards the end of the session, we were encouraged to collectively place our work on a nearby table. Everyone present was able to produce something charmingly unique, whilst leaving the workshop with a brand new skill.

Often in my day-to-day work when I am illustrating on Adobe software, I’m focussing on small details, ensuring everything has a smooth, immaculate finish, in keeping with my style. The fluidness of free-motion embroidery, contradictory to this rigid working process, made it even more appealing.

I would definitely recommend this course to any local embroidery enthusiasts, like myself, looking to acquire a new skill in a fabulously creative, vibrant setting. Go on, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

In My Studio · Makers Monday

Behind The Scenes at Rosefinch Studio: My New Craft Room

Hello all! First of all I would just like to apologise for the slightly longer than expected delay in updating my blog. You may have seen my earlier post about the new build house we moved into last August? Anybody who has bought a house will understand the upheaval and its possible effect on day-to-day living. In our case, we’ve had builders in pretty much every day over the course of a year, yes really! Well, that aside… whilst I’ve been trading during this time making beautiful party decorations and stationery for my Etsy and Notonthehighstreet shops, my blog has been somewhat neglected. This is now set to change as I am back in action, yay!

So, I’ve made a few changes to my workspace over the past week. I ran out of space in my original room and we are lucky enough to have a few spare rooms. I thought this post would be the perfect opportunity to give you a little tour of my new craft room, how does that sound?

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My pegboard from Block Design has got to be my most favourite item in the entire room. It’s super handy for storing all of my craft accessories, particularly the ones I use every day. Obviously no peg board is complete without pretty things… You know those things which you don’t actually use on a daily basis but just like to admire?…. (phew, glad I’m not the only one!)

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You can see a close up here. I’ve used blu-tack to display my favourite prints. As it takes centre stage in my room, I wanted it to look vibrant and cheerful and I think it looks just that!

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No craft room is complete without a companion, right? For those of you who don’t know, this is our rather adorable Mabel. Mabel is our 1 year old miniature poodle and is wonderful company. She also has a nephew called Felix, who is our much loved 2 year old miniature poodle. Together they are double the trouble but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Here they are together, striking a pose!

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Luckily, the craft room is big enough to house two ikea desks. The one shown above is for crafting and drawing. I love my trusty desk storage as it keeps everything nice and tidy and very easy to reach. No drawing space would be complete without pretty decorations above it and some gorgeous eye candy in the form of a jug of flowers, would it? The desk to the left of this houses my iMac, printer, scanner, camera and all other technical equipment.

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Opposite my two work desks are a number of trusty ikea shelves which house all of my craft materials, tools and accessories, packaging, books and magazines etc. Even though this is a really functional space, it’s important to me that it remains beautiful, so I like to have lots of handmade touches scattered around that area to cheer me up.

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I love listening to the radio when I’m working. We live in such a peaceful area, it’s nice to have a bit of background noise to keep me inspired. The trolley shown above houses all of my glittered and patterned papers, stationery, scissors and all sorts of other handy bits. As you can probably tell, the shelves have pretty much reached full capacity now and there are still lots of things stored on the floor! Eventually, I’d like to have another form of storage in here, but it feels perfectly workable right now. The large jars you may be able to spot are from our wedding a few years ago, they were used for tasty sweets and have now taken on the role of craft storage!

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Both of my desks face the window and it’s really nice having some green space to look at every now and then. It’s a nice little reminder that I live in Somerset and it’s one of the most beautiful places to live in the country. In the winter I like to light tealight candles whilst I’m working (and I have been known to get the fairy lights out too!) This just makes the room feel extra cosy and perfect for working in whilst sipping a lovely hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows of course!

The memo board opposite my desk is super handy for staying organised. I usually stick floral post it notes to it.  I added my own ribbon to it which seemed a bit more unique than the standard brown twine which it came with. Not that I have anything against twine – I love it, as you can see from the other photos!

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We have the most comfiest crocheting spot upstairs, in what we call the ‘daybed room’ which is located opposite my craft space. Whenever we have visitors, this is where they stay. I have a fair few of my handmade cushions in here and it’s just a really lovely, peaceful space to have a break in during the day. Usually you’ll find Felix and Mabel snoozing in here during the day. Felix likes to throw all of the cushions all over the floor… just to make things extra comfy I imagine! (It’s a dog’s life) I have been told by a few people that this room has reached its maximum cushion capacity…. Is there even such a thing?

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That’s all from me for now, although I couldn’t help but share this photo of Mabel with you, doing what she does best…. posing! I hope you’ve enjoyed having a peek into where Paper Doily Party Shop is based. Happy crafting!