My 2018 Crazy Quilt block challenge

Well I think the title maybe a little inaccurate and that is may take more than one year, but I set out to create a quilt using my Crazy quilt blocks in 2018. When you view them you will see that there are various sizes, themes and colour schemes. Is it possible to take them all and combine them?

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Changing an embroidery design – a re-blog from 2015

Have you attempted to take a detailed design and give it whole new look by some simple editing and colour changes? The Victorian Promises collection is full of such suitable designs, with lots of vibrant colours. However you may not require such vibrant embroidery so I thought I would edit one of the designs to see what is possible.

GFE-VPR-4-4

This design (GFE-VPR-4-4) has 30 colour changes and 66320 stitches featuring most of the flowers in this collection. Colour sorting in my software only reduces the number of colours to 29. In some of my designs it is possible to reduce them by several colours as I tend to include more thread changes so you can make adjustments to the colours. The centre of one flower may be the same as another flowers petals but if I combined them to stitch out together this would make changing the colour of the centre of a flower more difficult. The gerberas in this collection come in 3 shades so the first thing you could do is make them all the same colour. Likewise the roses come in several sizes and are red and pink. The little lavender type sprays could also be removed relatively easily to simplify the design although the stems are included in the leaf colour way, as shown below.

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2I use Husqvarna’s Stitch Editor Plus software to do my editing. You see here that  I have  selected just the stems by adjusting the sliders at the bottom. Then I select these stitches and delete them. I missed a few but it was easy to remove them by selecting them as well.

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Here is the edited design ready for some thread changes. To emphasis the possibilities I am going to create a simple version of this design in yellows and greys. Now this may sound daft but I often edit a design by working backwards from its finish. To save repeating myself all the threads used are Sulky Rayon 40wt. The gerberas stitch out last so I changed the last one to 1236  Silver, 1022 Cream, 1067 Lemon yellow and 1229 Light putty for its centre. Do remember that the colours you select in your software can look amazingly different in real life. Happy with those choices I proceeded to change the other gerberas.

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Now for the roses! I think that they need to be slightly different in the colours used otherwise the design will loose some of its variety. My first attempts were not pleasing because I had forgotten the fundamental rule about flowers especially roses! Although it is mid June the roses in my garden are only in bud so I had to consult my favourite rose book by David Austen called The English Rose. The shading must be gradual and as you get towards the centre of the flower the colours must darken. These are just a hotch potch of colour so I started again. I think I am happier with the second attempt. I used 1002 Soft white, 1022 Cream, 1066 Primrose, 1135 Pastel yellow and 1187 Mimosa yellow and 1260 Summer gold. For the outline of the roses I used 1063 Pale yellow green.

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Lastly I altered the leaves, making them a softer green, 1211 Light khaki and introducing lighter markings – 1321 Gray khaki. I changed the scroll work to 1063 Pale yellow green which I had chosen to outline the roses.

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This is how the design looks now, with only 19 colour blocks. I could have reduced the size of the design by editing out the top flowers. I did try to cut out the centres of the roses, leaving just the outlines but this does not work well as the stems show though.

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Am I happy with these results? Not entirely but I am a perfectionist so I will stitch out the design and see how it looks. The yellows do not look right in the software. Perhaps the centres of the gerberas need to be 1070  gold. It is my opinion that the change of colour is a vast improvement!

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I have taken a photo close up of my stitch out so you can see the results. The actual embroidery looks so much better than it did in my software. The roses have some depth too!

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Do not be afraid to edit designs and see what happens. Be sure to keep the original design file so it is not lost, and make sure that the Digitiser allows you to do this in their licence. I am happy for you to play with my designs providing the results are not sold for profit. In all honesty this is how I learnt to use my software and began my journey into digitising.

The last set of Victorian Promises is being released today and contains 12 designs for 12″ by 8″ hoops. Now how will you stitch yours out? If you do some editing please share the results. I love getting emails with photographs of what you achieve with my designs.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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Diary of a bird’s nest – a re-blog

Today I embroidered out one of the more simple blocks from Beatrice Quilt blocks 2. I wanted to check how this particular design looked with a large quilted background similar to one I had used in one of the Celtic Ivy blocks. I used Schmetz Gold embroidery needles, 75/11 and Tire Silk #50 threads. First of all I hooped up some Stitch and Tear in my 8″ square hoop, then applied my Floriani Embroidery batting to that with temporary adhesive spray (never use this near your machine, computers or devices)…….

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a naughty fairy for Christmas – a re-blog

 A naughty fairy you ask? Let me explain. Back in 2017 I created the “Christmas” and “Snow” Angels with the promise of an update. Well in digitising and finishing off the update, a new angel with fairy wings I discovered she is inclined to misbehave in the hoop! To be sure that she gets a warm welcome in many homes this Christmas I have spent considerable time perfecting her…..

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Another vintage quilt block – re-blogged

Have you checked out my second Vintage Sewing Romantic Crazy quilt block which matches my previous one, GFE-RCQ-7? To begin with I flipped the one horizontally so they will sit nicely as a pair. Most of the elements that form the block have a vintage sewing theme, including another pair of scissors shaped as a bird,

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capturing wild flowers in a summer meadow – a re-blog

I love the time of year when I can almost see the growth of the plants in the garden. There also seems to be an abundance of flowers everywhere I look in the shops, on bedding, table linens, curtains, clothes and china to name a few in late spring. I decided that was the perfect time to capture some of my favourite wild flowers that grow here in England, cornflowers, corn cockles, buttercups, harebells, cow parsley and clover. These may not grow in other countries and if they do I suspect they have different common names, but I love their graceful simplicity which I have tried to capture, even though they are regarded by many as mere weeds….. Continue reading

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silk, silk and more silk

I just adore silk! Didn’t you realise? Shimmering silk thread and silk fabric! Even my website back ground features one of my all time favourite silk fabrics. I fell in love with it many years ago when I worked in a fabric store. It just holds colour in a different way from other fabrics and I love the feel of it and also the fragrance. You take a look at some other fabrics and you will find about twenty choices of colour. However checkout silk, especially silk dupion and you have a never ending selection of colours which is one of the many reasons I love it so much.

Silk is a natural fabric made from protein fibres that come from the cocoons of insect larva, especially the mulberry silk worm. The method of cultivating the worms for silk fabric is called sericulture. The history of silk and how it has developed is fascinating, starting in China it came across the Silk Road to many countries. There are lots of myths surrounding how it was discovered all those years ago. Obviously there are many types of silk fabric, from sheer chiffon, mouseline and delicate tulle to heavy types like tussah, zibeline and curtain and furnishing fabrics. In researching silk I found out that you can even get bespoke silk wall coverings where silk fabric is paper backed! Now there is a thought. The names of the types of silk fabrics, like shatung, dupioni, habutai and charmeuse conjure up images of romance, luxury and opulence.

When I began to get interested in machine embroidery I soon discovered how great silk dupion (other names for it are dupioni, douppioni  and doupioni) is for embroidery. It is strong and forms a wonderful base for most designs. Having so much choice in colours means it is not difficult to find the perfect shade of fabric for any embroidery project. A while back I finally managed to find the perfect silk thread for machine embroidery. Although marginally thinner than the usual 40 wt thread, Tire Silk 50wt silk is a 3 ply thread and is perfect being available in over 150 colours. It is not for everyday embroidery but if you require a degree of luxury and some beautiful subtle colours this is what you should go for. I found that the difference of 10wt gives a simpler look to the designs that are stitched out in it.

 Obviously I have not used it for all my collections but so far I have used this silk thread successfully for designs from the Japanese Blossom collection.

I also had to test out a design from the Almond silk paisley collection in silk embroidery threads. Delightful results.

I have also stitched out designs from the Beatrice collection successfully. These subtle colours give the little orchids  in these designs a whole new appearance.

This is my Moses basket cover which has been embroidered with silk thread on silk dupion fabric. It features designs from Une Petit Princesse.

I hope you will take the opportunity to experiment with this luxurious thread, as I know you will not be disappointed. Because it costs more I would recommend light and open designs. The only draw back is that silk really does not wash. You cannot really wash it satisfactorily. I watched an interesting video recently on YouTube explaining that is shrinks slightly but the fabric looks damaged and creased to me, something I just could not bring myself to do to fabric that I love so much. If your project is going to be exposed to direct sunlight I would also advise against using silk thread or fabric as it will fade.

Happy silk embroidering from Hazel

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Inspiration to digitise machine embroidery designs – re-written

There are so many places where I find my inspiration and ideas. I began to create machine embroidery because I was finding it difficult to find the right elegant heirloom and Celtic designs for the dresses I was commissioned to make as a bridal dressmaker. I would find one design that was suitable but hardly ever found matching designs in similar shapes for all the necklines, bodices and skirt trains I was required to embroider. The brides would ask me to move that flower over there and basically rearrange the design in another shape which I couldn’t do, as that would infringe the license and copyright.

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the anatomy of an applique embroidery design – re-blog

Here is another re-blog as Graceful Embroidery celebrates eleven years of breathtakingly beautiful embroidery, looking back at the collections I have created. In particular the Almond Silk Paisley collection was great fun to create. I would like to take you through the embroidering process of one of the designs from this beautiful collection which is  very popular one as the designs are quick to stitch out. 

GFE-ALP-3-5

GFE-ALP-3-17

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a cushion for Georgiana – a re-blog

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I have a little wicker chair that I bought for when Georgie, my granddaughter,  comes to visit! It does need a cushion though, and while I was finishing off the Georgiana collection which is named after her I thought I would use one of the designs to create the perfect little cushion.

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