A few months ago, on one of our perambulations of the rest of Britain, we came across the wonderful Bowes Museum in County Durham. The museum was a fantastic place, but among the hundreds of beautiful exhibits one of the things I remember best was, of ...


Inspired by an exit sign and more...

Inspired by an exit sign

A few months ago, on one of our perambulations of the rest of Britain, we came across the wonderful Bowes Museum in County Durham. The museum was a fantastic place, but among the hundreds of beautiful exhibits one of the things I remember best was, of all things, a “This way to the Exit” sign”



Quick sketch of an exit sign

It was just a lot of arrows inside a big arrow, but I thought it was a really good design idea that could inspire other designs. So after a while I came up with this



A big fish made of little fish

There’s no outline to the big fish at all - the shape of the body comes from the combined shapes of the little fish. And because all the little fish touch each other, there aren’t many jump stitches because the thread can pass easily from one fish to the other. It turned out as well as could be expected, and I think this will be one of the things I take to the Danish exhibition in August


Some very old rabbits in a very old style.

The other day I was trying to get my design files organised (no small job, believe me!) when I came across these rabbits. I did them some time ago, but I don’t think I’ve posted them yet. They were inspired by a sandy slope near the village of Towie, not far from here, which is simply heaving with rabbit holes and rabbits.


The rabbits at Towie

I did this one at a time when I was still depending on simple overstitching of applique to give a furry appearance to animals, and although it isn’t bad, it’s not nearly as effective as the rough “scribbling” of hair that I’ve used on things like the Hare in the Moon (see post of 26 January this year) When I get a minute, I think I’ll re-do this using the new technique – it should be a lot better that way


The (free) Beast from the East.

If you’ve been in Britain for the past week, you’ll know all about the Beast from the East. It’s the name that the weather forecasters have given a huge cold-weather system that’s moved in on Europe from Siberia, and which has been dumping feet of snow on us and driving the temperature down to a LONG way below freezing which is just not normal for us. Here in the Cairngorms we’re up to our necks in snow, and I’m just surprised that our internet connection is still working


A real Beast from the East

So in honour of this savage weather, here’s a free tiger based on a folk design from Western Siberia – which makes it a real beast from the east! I don’t know much (anything?) about this part of the world and its art, but they do wonderful gold and metalwork which features animals, and this design is based on a figure from one of their small statues It’s for the 5 x 7 inch (130 x 180 mm) hoop, and has a complicated applique shape to cut out. However if you’re slow and careful with the scissors it should be OK. There are also a good few jump stitches on it, mostly in the stripes, but I hope that won’t be a problem for you. The design (in .pes v.6) is here, and the worksheet is here


An interesting summer coming up

Now – I have to mention something that will make a difference to how often I’m able to post to the blog. Recently a blog reader in Denmark told me about a big arts-and-craft show that’s held every year in Denmark, and suggested that I might be interested in exhibiting there. It’s called “Uge 33”, and thanks so much, Karen, for telling me about it and helping me through the application process. So to cut a long story short, at the moment I’m preparing a collection of pieces to take to Denmark next summer. The only problem with this is that because they’re all very big and very complicated, they take a LONG time to design and stitch, so I won’t always have something new to post every week. But I’ll put up things as they’re finished, and I will try to put up some more freebies just to keep people interested!


But meanwhile there are still a few things from the Larks show to post. This one started life as a simple stylised green bird in front of an abstract sun. But although I didn’t really like the bird, I thought the sun was interesting. So I put the green bird aside to work on later and replaced it with my usual flock of black crows. It still isn’t quite right but the black birds against the bright sun are interesting

 Birds before the Sun


A freebie done four ways

You know how trendy restaurants sometimes have on their menus “Beef done four ways” or something like that? (Not that I go to many trendy restaurants, but I read the restaurant reviews!) Apparently this just means that you get a piece of fried beef, a piece of grilled beef, a piece of braised beef and some beef stew. Well, this week we have a freebie done four ways. It’s the same fish that I used in my fish-school design (have a look at the post of 21 January this year) but one version is entirely embroidered, one version is appliqueed with overstitching, one version is appliqueed with a satin stitch border and one version is just an outline. They look very similar - well, they ARE very similar!  But there are also subtle differences between them, and they could look interesting when stitched as a group in different colours. They could be used on towels or something like that. You could stitch them separately, or overlap them as I did on my fish-school panel


1. Embroidery only



2. Appliqueed and overstitched



3. Appliquéd with a satin stitch border



4. Outline only

By the way, there’s a jump stitch in the eye, which, depending on how your machine is set, may or may not be cut. If your machine doesn’t cut it, you can trim it by hand after the stitchout is finished

Here’s the embroidered version, here’s the overstitched appliqué , here’s the appliqué with satin stitch, and here’s the outline. And here's the worksheet