Saturday, 30 March 2013

May ( and no longer the April) craft challenge - Weather

Update: following some changes at Creative Connections, their monthly challenge now has its own dedicated blog - Get Crafty for Creative Connections. Because of the changes, the April challenge didn't take place so the weather challenge this post is about has now become the May challenge. Pop over and have a look at the new blog, there'll be lots of posts from all members of the design team as well as the monthly challenge.

As weather was the subject of the May challenge, I know that there was lots of material to choose from. After all, the weather is supposed to be one of our favourite things to talk about.

With the snowy and wet weather we've been having lately, I wanted to do something that was a bit more cheerful - i.e. sunny days. To start I had a nose around the subject of sun in my dictionary and found this quote by Edith Wharton:

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon ... the two most beautiful words in the English language."

A couple of months ago I'd done a doodle sketch of a cottage in a garden so I decided to use this as the basis of the design for this project. The shrubs and trees on the design are only in outline, similar to embroidery designs I'd seen from the 1930s and 40s.

My sketched design
 I used a vintage chair back as my embroidery fabric. I knew that my design wouldn't cover the whole piece of the fabric, but I still wanted to use the narrow lace on the chair back, so I I decided to add some lace to the two sides that wouldn't have the original lace.

I drew my design directly onto my fabric using a pencil, but if you aren't confident enough to do that yourself, you could either use a disappearing ink pen or transfer paper (both of these would be available from your local craft shop).
You can just see my pencil drawing on the fabric.

I did the garden bit of the embroidery first, using a mixture of running, blanket, chain and stem stitches.

The writing is done in running stitch and is surrounded with chain stitch and french knot flowers.

To mount the embroidery, I sandwiched a piece of wadding between this and the backing fabric, folded the backing fabric edges under so that it fitted onto the embroidery and sewed them all together. I did this by hand, but you could use a machine.

I hand-stitched some vintage lace onto the side and bottom of the fabric, where the lace was missing. To further decorate the piece I added a crochet flower (not made by me, I buy them from Marlene at Daisy Chain designs), a little lace rosette (made by me) and a couple of vintage buttons.

To enable the embroidery to be hung up, I added two rings onto the back of the piece. 

The completed collage is available to buy from the Elsie May and Bertha Folksy shop.



  1. I agree with the sentiment, and the embroidery is beautiful.

  2. what beautiful embroidery! It must have taken you ages!

    I love the quote you used and the country cottage scene fits it perfectly :) x

  3. This must have taken forever. It was worth it. I really like to see the variety of different stitches you have used to create your final design.

  4. Aw - is for awesome! Love your embroidery and the sentiment is very apt given we're all wishing for some sunshine at the very least.

  5. Hi Louise, what a beautiful piece of handmade art. I wish I was talented enough to embroidery! It turned out no nice.

  6. That looks lovely - the sort of thing which becomes a vintage piece itself in time. The embroidery is pretty and delicate. x

  7. That's gorgeous. The crotchet flower and the buttons work really well.

  8. This is lovely and I like the way you have photographed and explained the stages and stitches. Inspiring

  9. That is really beautiful! I do hope it encourages the sun to come out and the temperature to rise, even just a little bit! Simmi x

  10. What a charming journal! Your embroidery is perfect for spring. We've had two days of pouring rain here in Michigan....

  11. Great blog post. Nice to see how it's done, I'm always in awe of anyone that can sew, it's not my 'thang'! Lovely embroidery. xx