I really love seeing free form embroidery art. Or basically, drawing with thread. I have been sketching for as long as I can remember. Mechanical pencil and pen and ink being my favorite tools to use, because of the bold lines and simplicity achieved. I think the dark thread on a Muslin or plain background is very similar in appearance. Here are some great artist designs that I adore.
© Carole Kirk
So the other great thing about my girl's sewing machine, is that it came with a special embroidery foot to do this very kind of artwork! I had to try it out and here are my first attempts at free form embroidery.
Aside from the little mouse, obviously I went with my favorite wooly animal as a theme. I think my favorite is the mama sheep with her baby lamb. I would like to explore this new and fun way to draw more in the future and perhaps will even look at incorporating these designs onto new project.
I have been busy working on new items to update the shop. I've added in new sock bases. Little Dixie Sparkle is a superwash merino based sock yarn that also contains nylon to add durability, and a fiber called stellina that adds in just a touch of sparkle. This base is excellent for socks, but my favorite project to use it for are handwoven scarves. I've hand painted these skeins using a low immersion dyeing method.
I love the bold colors in the above skeins. I am still unsure of naming the color ways just yet. The skeins below were more pastel in appearance than I normally like but they turned out beautiful in the end.
The second yarn base that I've added is Little Dixie Tweed. It is a donegal tweed Merino base in sock yarn weight. Also excellent for socks and scarves. This yarn base is kettle dyed. I have about 5 color ways that I will be listing soon.
The newest skill that I have been working on is my sewing skills. Using a sewing machine has always given me mild anxiety. I'm not really sure where my reluctance came from. Perhaps it was from back in junior high when I was taking Home Ec. I ended up with the chicken pox during the sewing section and missed the first few days when we learned about sewing machine basics. I managed to cut off some sweatpants and sew up the hem for some gym shorts, but that was the extent of my sewing machine knowledge. It also could be due to the fact that after college, I was determined again to learn how to sew and purchased a cheap machine from Walmart. Again, I managed to sew up some VERY basic curtains for my bedroom that hung by tabs.
Last year, my girl decided to do sewing as one of her 4H projects and I went with her to her meetings. I learned a little about sewing and reading patterns while there, and I bought her a much better machine that has a drop in bobbin, needle threader and many decorative stitches. I forced myself to learn the machine so I could support her when she had questions. But it wasn't until recently that I truly got into using it. Now I'm really finding myself enjoying sewing and looking at beautiful fabrics. I have always wanted to make project bags for holding my knitting supplies or whatever I'm working on. So I forced myself to find a decent tutorial for creating zippered pouches. I can easily find myself shopping for awesome fabrics with cute prints and building a substantial fabric stash just like my yarn stash. I have to be careful!
I accumulated a stash of 1/2 yards and fat quarters in some really cute prints that I had no idea what to use them for. Project bags seemed like the perfect way to bust through that stack of fabric! I recently finished up 20 large bags for listing in my Etsy shop. I will have them up this week I hope if I can catch a break to get them photographed. Here are just half of the bags that I will have up.
I have found that I even have a few favorite fabric designers: Lewis & Irene Fabrics and Teagan White.
I enjoy the Birch Fabrics as well.
After three days of working (with many distractions) I was able to get half the bags and all the yarn dyed. Here are the fruits of my labor:
The yarn was just dried and I still need to cut the cotton ties and tag them. I haven't decided if I will start reskeining the yarn. I've read that knitters prefer this due to the yarn looking more like it would as if it was knitted up.
Once this is all up in the shop, I have another interest that I want to try using my new sewing skills:
Ive already worked on one prototype for my little one. Her big sis has already made a request for a similar doll so I will be busy working on those this spring. I would like to use wool from my sheep for stuffing and wool or handspun yarn for hair. I envision more of a vintage, heirloom doll but may have to incorporate some other options that would be more kid friendly (i.e. Washable).
Im expecting baby lambs starting in April. This winter has been somewhat of a challenge due to a family member being really sick. It has us stretched beyond our emotional and physical boundaries at times. If it wasn't for the support of a wonderful family And our faith in God, I don't know that we could get through some days. But today the sun is shining and the hope of each day is a blessing.
Thanks for checking in with me here at Little Dixie Fiber Co, and thank you to all of my customers! It's hard to believe that it hasn't even been a year since I started my Etsy shop, but it has kept me busy!