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  1. ...to all those of you who have joined me from 'Stitch' Magazine this month, I hope you enjoy looking around my website! There is lots to look at including three galleries of work to inspire you. Why not send me a photo of a piece of your work and show it off in 'Your gallery'? E-mail it to me here: E-mail Sarah with a title, your full name and a brief description. Don't be shy! There are lots of different subjects to see including sculpture and painting as well as all types of embroidery.

    Beach Hut Quilt, by Louise Froggett. 2011

    Beach Hut Quilt, by Louise Froggett. 2011

    There are 'How to...' videos of stitch tutorials, how I made some of my pieces and a tutorial in the Prick and Pounce Design Transfer Method. This is the method that Michael Angelo used to put the design on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and it is still one of the most accurate ways of transfering a design. Unlike in Mr Angelo's day however, you can now buy everything you need in one handy, reusable kit and you can get yours today on the web HERE! The kit contains 3 colours of pounce powder in reusable pots, a pricker, a pounce pad, free part pricked design and comprehensive instructions.

    Powder pots

    There are some free projects, puzzles and designs on the 'free stuff' page, and a free bi-monthy newsletter for you to browse over a morning cuppa. See the January/February issue here.

    If you are looking for a class, check out the 'what's on' page to see where I am teaching. You can also see events that I will be at and other services that I provide. There are several exciting events coming this year, so check back regularly to see what's happening!.

    Ally Pally class

    Lastly, don't forget to browse my shop. I have lots of those items that are hard to find including gold threads and metals, velvet boards, fine and curved needles, shisha mirrors, handmade gifts and lots more. I add new items all the time and going in to the shop this week are Kreinik Japanese thread and beading needles. Look out for Japanese thread in some new exciting colours: Pink, lime green and vibrant orange!

    Japanese thread colours

    I ship world wide, if you can't find your destination in the drop down list, please get in touch with me here and I will add you! Postage and packing prices are based on weight and will show in your shopping basket before you commit to buy.

    I'll leave you to look around, enjoy!

    Sarah

  2. Knowing about your embroidery equipment is very important, and none more so than your needles! Here is a quick guide to choosing the right one:

    Types of needles and when to use them:

    Tapestry needles: These needles have a blunt end so they easily go through the holes in the canvas without splitting any threads, and an elongated eye for easy threading of different types of embroidery threads. Use on canvas, even weave fabrics and linens for counted work.

    Embroidery needles: Long thin eye to allow for easy threading of embroidery threads. Sharp point for use on closely woven embroidery fabrics.

    Sharps: Sharp point but with a short fat eye to take single sewing threads. Use for general purpose sewing and dressmaking.

    Some other types of needles:

    Crewel - a large embroidery needle; beading needles - long and thin with small eyes allowing beads to be threaded on; chenille needles - like tapestry but with a point for open weave fabrics. See below for even more!

    Chosing your needle size:

    The higher the number, the finer the needle. The needle makes the hole for the thread to pass through, not the thread. If you can hear the thread go through the fabric, then the needle is too small. Equally, if the needle is too big, it will leave a hole.

    Use the guide above to help you to choose a needle but try different needles out to see what the differences are. You will soon find what works well for you and what doesn't

    Buying needles:

    There are a range of specialty needles available in my shop so if you are struggling to find the specific one you need. Check them out here

    Bracing or curved spring needles are great for framing up your frame with string to make it extra tight. These needles are exceptionally sharp (use with care!) making them perfect to go through herringbone tape and fabric and the eye is big enough to thread white parcel string in:

     Bracing needle in action

    Curved needles (fine and thick). Once you have tried one of these needles you will wonder how you ever managed without them! Useful for sewing on backing to mounted work, and any embroidery application where the fabric is stiff or hard to bend. Use the fine curved needle for fine and delicate fabrics and the thick needle for more sturdy fabrics:

    Curved needle

    Fine embroidery and crewel needles. Sometimes it can be hard to find very fine needles for delicate work. I have size 12, 10 and 9 embroidery needles available in packs of 10, (great for silk work, whitework, painting with the needle, and other delicate embroidery) and crewel size 7 good for Jacobean/crewel work:

    Embroidery needles no12 

    Tapestry needles in three sizes for canvas work and blackwork:

    Tapestry Needles no 26

  3. I have been playing around with some Indian embroidery stiches and am particularly taken with herringbone circles. By adding to a relatively simple (once you know how!) stitch with some beads and sequins you can get quite 'blingy' little motifs!

    Herringbone circle stitch 

    This is the stitch with a few French knots added to it (in green)...

    ...and this is the same stitch with lots of bling!

    Indian circle motifs

    It's fun to play around with stitches and see what you can create without the pressure of having to make a perfect/finished/planned piece. You never know what you might discover! This is the same stitch but this time with a shisha mirror in the centre and the herringbone worked tightly together....

    Shisha mirror sample

    How to work Herringbone circles:

    Lightly draw yourself a circle on the fabric then another one a little to the outside of this as in the diagram (drawing around coins works well). Start your stitch with half a cross between the two circles going down into the fabric on the outer circle. Come up on the outercircle to make the second arm of the cross but take your thread down into the middle of the circles. Don't pull all the way through but bring the needle up inside the thread on the inner circle. Repeat by stitching the first arm of the next cross stitch. It's complicated to describe but hopefully you should be able to work it out from the diagrams below! Have fun...

    Herringbonce circles stitch diagram

  4. ...to 2012! I hope you all had a relaxing time over the seasons festivities and are ready to face the new year head on.

    If you are here, you will have noticed my new look website format already! I have streamlined the site to make it easier to find your way around but don't worry everything is still there. If you should want to read a bit more about me you can access my biography from the home page and you will now find all the galleries in one place under the 'Galleries' section. Don't forget, there is a gallery for you too! So if you would like to show off a piece you have made why not send it to me? Follow the e-mail link on the 'Your gallery' page.

    The other main change is the services section. All classes, services I offer and events are now under one heading 'What's on'. Check here to see where I will be teaching, exhibitions I am involved in and to enquire about commissions and private tuition.There will be a new newsletter out this week (with a new format also!) so check the 'Newsletter' page to read about exhibitions, the A-Z of art (this edition we are on M for...) articles about embroidery and great links to check out.

    This year is going to be a busy year with classes in Rugby really taking off now (see the dedicated website www.heartofembroidery.com), a couple of trips across the pond, not one but two exhibitions, articles for 'Stitch' magazine, more videos on the 'how to...' page and a planned house move in there somewhere also!

    So I hope you will join me over the year for lots more creative times,

    See you soon!Bumble bee buttons

    Now availble on my Etsy shop: Bumble Bee buttons! Click here...

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