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Stitchdoodles Blog – by Nicola Stanton

A Year of Tiny Leaves

Stitching leaves is just so much fun! At least I think so and it appears you do too! I recently posted this photo of a tree I created that had enough leaves on it for every day of the year. The response was overwhelming – so many of you it appears would love to stitch this as well. Rather than wait and release it once it is complete at the start of 2025, I thought it would be much more exciting to bring you along for the journey since lots of you want to join in. It will be so exciting to see all the different variations we can come up with from different stitchers. This little seed of an idea has been niggling away ever since we did the October ‘Stitch a Leaf a Day‘ challenge. I love stitching leaves and thought it would be really fun to try and create a tree with enough leaves on it to fill a year! I didn’t realise however that this wasn’t as easy as it might seem. The tree design itself needed to fit within the parameters of my printing and transferring limitations which I wasn’t convinced was going to be big enough to accommodate that many leaves and still resemble a beautiful tree! Fast forward over a year (and many failed attempts at designing this tree) and I finally created a beautiful tree with lots of lovely leaves to stitch. About the Project: This tree is a ‘work in progress’. I am stitching the tree throughout 2024 by way of a leaf a day! There are 366 leaves on the tree (2024 is a leap year!) Tiny Leaves = Beautiful stitching Believe it or not each of the leaves is hand drawn so they vary a little bit in shape and size. Generally though they are about 1cm across. Don’t be fooled by their minature size – they are perfect for all different stitches. This project is completely achievable for everyone – all you need to do is stitch one leaf a day.   Make the tree your own You can choose any colours you want for your tree. I wanted mine to be a variety of greens so had a look in my stash and pulled out any I thought would vary from as well as compliment each other. Here’s what I ended up with. You also need a colour for the trunk and branches. There are lots of ideas you can use to choose your colour palette – monthly temperature, seasonal hues, bright rainbow, Autumn tree with Oranges, reds and yellows, you could make this a family tree and choose a colour for each month based on each persons favourite!   Stitching the Leaves Since Stitchdoodles is all about stitching lots of different stitches – I couldn’t resist choosing various different stitches and then repeating these randomly throughout. You could just go with one stitch and it would still look stunning. Here’s a close up of my January leaves. In this little batch I have stitched French knots, Split stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch, trellis, fishbone stitch, fly stitch, back stitch. I played around with the colours and mixed and matched as I went. Stitching the Trunk For the tree trunk and branches, I am going to be stitching those as and when I get a bit of extra time. So far I have back stitched around the edges and started filling with chain stitch. Would you like to stitch a Beautiful Tree? You can find the following available in the shop now… PDF Template – print out and transfer to the fabric yourself.Pre Printed Fabric – all those leaves are already done for you – all you have to do is stitch! Make sure you show off your Trees in the Happy Stitching FB group – it will be so exciting seeing them all start to grow with lots of lovely stitches through the year!

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Stitchdoodles Blog – by Nicola Stanton

All about Supplies: Nurge Hoops

Nurge Square Hoops – fabulous for Hand Embroidery Square Plastic Hoops This was the description I saw when I came across these hoops and it didn’t really inspire me! The only reason I did decide to give them a try was because they were square and I was curious to find out if they were any good since a lot of my designs are square as well. First things first – they are not really square! Truth be told they are rectangle but that really isn’t an issue! Up to now, my main choice for stitching my designs has been stretcher bar frames which I really like using, however I was curious enough to give these a try as a suitable alternative and I am so glad I did! What a Fantastic Hoop! You would think these are made for Stitchdoodles Patterns! I love to design Square, Rectangular non circular designs and these are just perfect for an easy and quick alternative to the stretcher bar frames. Yes, they are more expensive compared to a normal hoop as well as a stretcher bar frame BUT totally worth it for the convenience, enjoyable stitching experience plus they will last and last. How do they work? These hoops are designed to trap the fabric in between the inner and outer frame just like the usual round hoops. Unlike the usual round hoops they take a little more wiggling and fiddling to get the fabric nice and tight but nothing that will hold you back in any way. They are made from a rigid plastic making them extremely sturdy and comfortable to hold when stitching. See Photo diagram below for how to put your fabric in nice and tight… Place the inner hoop on a flat surface. Place the fabric with design facing up centrally over the inner hoop. Place the Outer hoop around the outer edge over the inner hoop. 4. Tighten the screw at the top whilst re-adjusting the fabric to make it nice and tight. Creates Great Tension These hoops make the fabric really nice and tight and the tension lasts and last whilst you stitch. The trick for achieving this is to take the time making the fabric nice and tight as you tighten the screw mechanism. As the screw closes the gap of the outer hoop you will notice the fabric pucker a bit so pull it outwards all the way around and then tighten the screw again. Keep doing this and the gap will close and the fabric will be fabulously tight ready to stitch… The back of the hoop should be just as tight and smooth as the front. Giving the Hoop the full stitching test My latest pattern was just ready to start stitching when I came across these so it was the perfect opportunity to give the hoop a full road test! The Plantopia Pattern in the following photo was in this frame for about 4 weeks and the tension when I had completed was as good as when I started. There was no need to re-adjust. A lot of my designs are about 8 inches so this 10 x 11.5inch frame is absolutely perfect. I like being able to have access to the whole design for the duration of the stitching and the frame was enough to hold without marking the fabric. As you can see it looks lovely and tight after all that time… I am really excited to have these in my shop and if you want to treat yourself to a fabulous stitching experience you can find them here… Nurge Square Hoops – perfect for Stitchdoodles Patterns

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Stitchdoodles Blog – by Nicola Stanton

The ultimate mindfulness project for people who stitch

Embroidery Journals or Thread Journals as they are sometimes known, are wonderful creations. They are so simple in concept and if you stick with it and manage to complete your year of stitches then the resulting embroidery is really beautiful and well worth the time and effort involved. However… Its not as simple as it looks! Here’s my 2021 attempt! I had a great start and was managing to keep up with my little stitcheries and then boom, the odd day I didn’t do it, turned in to the odd few and before I knew it I was playing catch up continually. I had to give it up eventually as it was more of a chore than a joy and thats not why I stitch! It has to be fun!!! So, for those of you like me who love the idea of creating a visually stimulating array of motifs, but don’t want to be tied down by it, I thought it would be fun to tweak the original concept a little bit so it is more attainable for the less committed! Embroidery Journal ‘made easy’ I have designed 2 different templates for you to choose from using the traditional format of 12 divisions – 1 for each month of the year… Why is this journal easier than the usual? The big difference is this is 8 inches in size. Most embroidery journals are 10 or 12 inches which can be a lot of space to fill and become pretty overwhelming. There are over 150 hand drawn motifs ready and done for you – there is something for every occasion if you are struggling for your own ideas. This is not about stitching something every day this is a relaxed project that fits in with you – no need to play catch up and remember what you had for breakfast yesterday! If you haven’t stitched for a few days or even a month – fill the space with stitches – they are fun, need no thinking about and can be used for all spaces big and small! Will it still look as amazing as a traditional journal? Of course! I had fun playing around with the Icons available with the template and here’s how it might look if you are someone like me who doesn’t want to play catch up, and those inevitable gaps just keep happening!… and then, if like me you love just playing around with stitches, here’s how wonderful stitches would look filling in those spaces. You don’t need to follow a pattern, just pop in the stitches you know in any of the gaps you find! I love it! This is the ultimate mindfulness project if you just want to have a project you pick up and stitch! You could just do stitches each month – ooh now that is very tempting! A How to Guide is included with your template… …so if you are completely new to the whole concept, you will be stitching your journal in no time. Find out… How to transfer the motif to your journal fabric Lots of ideas for what to include in addition to the 150 hand drawn motifs provided. Where to find designs and motifs – perfect for people who don’t draw. Which embroidery thread to use. Which stitches to use. How to fill the empty space. Would you like to create an Embroidery Journal made just that little bit easier? You can purchase the following in the Stitchdoodles Shop, all contain the ‘How to Guide’ and over 150 hand drawn icons… Embroidery Journal Template Embroidery Journal Pre Printed Fabric Embroidery Journal Complete Starter Kit I can’t wait to see your Journals take place, join the Happy Stitching Facebook group and share your progress along the way as well as get lots of inspiration and ideas to add to your journal as you go through the year. You can also tag me on Instagram with #stitchdoodlesembroidery, or send your photos to nicola@stitchdoodles.com and I will include them here with your permission.

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