DMC mouliné aka The Rainbow Inheritance

My original plan was to make a fabric palette to post today, but I haven’t had the time. Instead I present to you the inherited stash of DMC mouliné. Most of the beiges, browns, and greyscale are still unwound and it took me a few evenings to sort the mess into this:

NWF DMC mouliné stash

My DMC mouliné stash

I’ve been shuffling some “bobbins” due to the embroidery samplers and the latter have eaten only a fraction of what I thought I might use up, so what’s still unwound will definitely not fit into this box. There’s no point in buying a second box, since this is not my primary craft, but we’ll see what spring and summer bring along as far as pattern design goes; I have a rainbow project in the making as we speak and I’m thinking you can guess its inspiration by now.

As for the third embroidery sampler, it’s almost finished. The bouillon stitch caused much grief until I realised my mistake and now it seems like there might be a photo to show tomorrow. Have a great day, everyone!

Embroidery sampler 2

Yesterday I showed you the first sampler and then kept working on the second and third. The tracing of the pattern was easier to do in sunlight and I was able to quickly move on to the actual embroidery. Here’s the second sampler with looped stitches:

NWF Hand Embroidery - Sampler 2 Looped stitches

Sampler 2 – Looped stitches

The stitches:

  1. Chain stitch. I practiced two different lengths.
  2. Zigzag chain stitch.
  3. Open chain.
  4. Detached chain and Lazy Daisy.
  5. Fly stitch (three clusters of stitches).
  6. Feather stitch.
  7. Buttonhole stitch.
  8. Buttonhole wheel.
  9. Couching stitch. This is my own design, the pattern calls for single couching at even intervals.

In this sampler I used the same Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman and four ply of DMC mouliné. There’s a bit less hue variation, though. The mid-blue floss used in the zigzag and buttonhole stitches was quite split up in its ply, which is why it looks so wide and it could be a good idea to try using six ply as they are without removing two first.

NWF Hand Embroidery - Sampler 2 Looped stitches traced

Sampler 2 traced

I was surprised by my relative lack of enthusiasm for these stitches. The technical nature of the zigzag chain stitch was really nice, but visually it’s not my cup of tea. The endless v letters weren’t that thrilling either, although it’s great to have seen how versatile the shape is.

My personal favourites are the chain stitch in 1. and detached chain in 4. as well as couching stitch in 9. I’m sure all three will be applied in my own designs in the future. Coming up next are the knotted stitches!

Embroidery sampler 1

Craftsy - Jessica Marquez - Design It Stitch It Hand Embroidery

I’m taking the Craftsy class Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery taught by Jessica Marquez and made my first sampler yesterday. There are a total of five samplers and various stitch types are practiced in each. In this first sampler, seven different stitches were embroidered.

A specific transfer method of the pattern was demonstrated, but currently I don’t have such transfer paper, so instead I taped the printed pattern as a mirror image to the window, taped a piece of fabric on top of it and used my water-soluble pen to trace the lines.

When I compare it to the original, I can see I’ve made a mirror image, because the soluble pen should draw as is, not the reverse image. The fern stitch is the only one to scream about this “error” and in fact I didn’t even notice before writing this post.

NWF Hand Embroidery - Sampler 1 Flat stitches traced

Tracing sampler 1

In particular the two broken lines on top were a challenge, both to trace and embroider, but freehand embroidery is also a skill I guess. Here’s the finished sampler:

NWF Hand Embroidery - Sampler 1 Flat stitches

Sampler 1 – Flat stitches

I’m using lovely Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman and it’s a bit uneven, so to produce a perfectly straight line is next to impossible. I also don’t have a ruler right now, which caused slightly wobbly lines where they should have been completely straight. The stitch consistency is what matters the most, though, and I seem to be finding it.

The stitches:

  1. Running stitch.
  2. Running stitch on a curve.
  3. Back stitch. I practiced two different lengths.
  4. Back stitch on a curve.
  5. Threaded stitch, on a foundation of running stitch.
  6. Whip stitch, on a foundation of running stitch.
  7. Split stitch.
  8. Split stitch on a curve.
  9. Stem stitch.
  10. Stem stitch on a curve.
  11. Fern stitch.

I tried both the sew and stab method, but when using a 19-cm hoop I think I prefer the stab method. This was my first time using a hoop, so I can’t tell what it is like when its diametre is larger, though.

The embroidery floss is DMC mouliné and I used 4 ply consistently. I can’t tell what the specific numbers are, since most of them were inherited in a state without labels, but if you look closely, you can see I’ve used eight different hues.

I’m excited to make the next samplers and if you like for someone to teach you hand embroidery rather than learn it from books or online, I recommend this Craftsy class.

Aurifil box, oh my!

NWF Aurifil VFW box 2

Just look at this box of 12-weight thread by Aurifil! The “Fresh Modern & Timeless” collection is put together by Victoria Findlay Wolfe and I was the lucky winner of it a while ago on the AURIbuzz blog, but didn’t have a chance to behold it until yesterday. I just can’t believe how delicious it looks!

In case you’re wondering about the thread itself, it’s a cotton thread called Mako (their wool thread is Lana). Read more about its use and care instructions here.

The 12 wt cotton thread sits on red spools to distinguish it from other weights, which is quite brilliant if you ask me. In particular 40 wt (green spools) and 50 wt (orange spools) can feel very similar, but the colour code quickly sorts out the weight.

NWF Aurifil VFW box 1

I haven’t decided what to use the thread for in my first embroidery type of project, but since I desperately need a make-up pouch to fit my very small (currently plastic *blushes*) bag of such gear, there are calculations to be made still.

The embroidery will be minimalist but colourful, to honour this wonderful gift, that much I can say, and since there are a whopping 325 metres of thread on each spool, I think I’m all set for a lifetime, hehe. Thank you so much to Aurifil!

Add text to your collage

NWF Add text to collage 2014-03-08

In the first part of this tutorial, I walked you through how to make your own collage – an inspiration board or fabric palette – and now we will add text to an image.

The start page of PicMonkey looks like this. Click Edit:

NWF PicMonkey 10

Add text in Edit

Upload your image (I’ll use the collage we made in the earlier tutorial) and you will be directed to the editor section of the website, Basic Edits in the left-hand column. Click on Text three buttons down:

NWF PicMonkey 11

The text editor

Scroll through the font menu and click on one that you like. If there’s a crown next to it, you will need a premium account to unlock the feature. Click “Add Text” up on top:

NWF PicMonkey 12

Choose a font

Drag the text field and place it where you would like it to be. If the text is too large, hover over a corner of the box and resize through dragging diagonally (to keep the ratio between width and height), alternatively use the Size editor in the Text pop-up window. Change the colour if you want:

NWF PicMonkey 13

Edit the text

If you want to add more text in another field, click “Add Text” once again. To keep working with the same settings as in the first text box, you can duplicate it through right-clicking said text box.

If you want to delete a text, click on it and hit “Delete” in the Text pop-up window or delete on your keyboard.

Save your masterpiece the same way as in the first tutorial and enjoy!

NWF PicMonkey Collage with text 2014-03-07

Next time when making your collages you can go directly to the Edit section, rather than save and start from scratch like here. Above the collage, there’s an Edit button (next to Save) and once you click on it, a pop-up window will ask you whether you want to “Open in Editor” or cancel. In this case, you will find yourself in the Text section rather than Basic Edits.

Please ask questions in the comments, if there’s anything you’re wondering about regarding adding text to your collages, and I’ll do my best to help you.

Create your own collage

NWF Create your collage 2014-03-07

Have you wondered how to create your own collages – fabric palettes or inspiration boards? My fabric palettes are created from swatch pictures downloaded from the Pink Chalk Fabrics webshop. I have asked for their permission to use them in palettes shared online and you should find out the copyright status before making anything public. Now, on to the how-to part!

I use PicMonkey collages because they are very easy to use, from uploading pictures to editing the collage to downloading my creation. If I have a picture I want to edit somehow, crop for instance, I can do that in another part of the website; very nifty. The start page looks like this:

NWF PicMonkey 1

PicMonkey start page

When you click on Collage, a drop-down menu will open. At that point, to reach the Collage part of the website, you need to upload at least one picture. Let’s do that!

NWF PicMonkey 2


The red arrow shows the picture you just uploaded and the rest of them will appear in the same column. The orange arrow points to the basic collage offered, consisting of three pictures. You can change this amount and layout in the Layout section (left-hand column, second button from top).

NWF PicMonkey 3


When making my fabric palettes I use “Square Deal” and the 4×4 layout to create a sixteen-picture collage.

NWF PicMonkey 4

Square Deal layout

Let’s use four pictures now:

NWF PicMonkey 5

Square Deal with four pictures

Click on Images (left-hand column, uppermost button) to go back to the first section. Drag the fabric from the side column to the collage, hover above an empty square and drop the picture into it.

Upload the rest of your pictures (“Open photos”), if you didn’t batch upload at first (select all pictures you want to include and upload). Drag them into the collage one by one. In the image overview on the left, you’ll see small check symbols appear once an image has been successfully added to the collage; handy when there are many more images to include. Keep reading to learn how to fix this oops:

NWF PicMonkey 6

How to fix an oops – Do NOT click on the X in the white square!

If you happen to drop a picture outside of an empty square, you’ll create a new square (technically a rectangle). You might not want this, so you need to grab the light-green fabric and drag it into the empty square. (If you hover above the empty square and click the X up in the corner, where the arrow is pointing, you will remove this square and the floral fabric will extend all the way down to fill the space, so don’t click on the X unless that is what you want to create.) This is what it will look like once you’ve moved the light-green fabric:

NWF PicMonkey 7

How to fix an oops – Now you can click on the X

Now click the X of the empty rectangle where the light-green fabric used to be, to remove that cell. The middle-green fabric will expand back to a square; problem fixed.

You might want to shuffle images around. Grab one square, drag it above another and drop it. The two images will switch places.

If you want to enlarge an image, hover above it and click Edit:

NWF PicMonkey 8

Enlarge and rotate an image

Once you’re satisfied with your masterpiece, click Save:

NWF PicMonkey 9

I’m done and want to save!

A new window will open and you can choose a name and size for the file you download to your computer. The suggested name is “PicMonkey Collage” but if you make several, you will want to change it somehow to make it unique. Here’s my collage created in this tutorial:

NWF PicMonkey Collage 2014-03-07

You might have noticed that I add text to my fabric palettes. That’s another tutorial, because you can use PicMonkey to add overlays to an image and I’ll walk you through adding text in Edits next time.

Please ask questions in the comments, if there’s something you have troubles with and I’ll do my best to help you!

Love Patchwork & Quilting love

Love Patchwork & Quilting 6

Squeal! ‘Tis here, ’tis here!

Ah, it’s so delicious, issue six of Love Patchwork & Quilting! It’s way way way past my bedtime, but I was about to turn off the computer when I saw the notification email from Zinio. Just had to take a peek. Which turned into a blog post. Tsk tsk.

Have you seen it already? Are you squealing, too?