Free book of Embroidery patterns

Screen shot of embroidery book I would like to share news about a free publication at the Antique Pattern Library

Anand’s Embroidery Book is a 36 page pattern book that is available as a free PDF download.

Screen shot of embroidery book Here are some sample pages so you can see what you are getting.
Screen shot of embroidery book Do you use the Antique Pattern Library regularly? This non-profit organisation announced in their newsletter that is has a shortfall this year of USD $4,000
They need donations to keep the site running. There is a Paypal, donate button at the top of every page. If you can afford to do so please consider supporting them.

A Tip to Note With the Antique Pattern Library if you get a message saying your PDF corrupted or asking for password make sure you have the most recent Adobe reader. Save the PDF to your computer and open the file from there.

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Let me tell you about Colour Streams

colour streams packageA couple of weeks ago I was kindly sent some of the Colourstreams products and agreed to write a review. Once I opened the packet I realised that I wanted to use their goodies in a project not just sample their threads and move on to other stitching tasks.  I decided to work a small project which quickly grew into a larger thing and a mini challenge running here on the blog, but that is another story.

The Colour Streams website has a slogan “let the colour do the work” and this is very much the case with this product. As you can see the colours of their lush colours and seem to energise and simply put I found them to be   inspirational.

When I assembled my hussif I used their silk rayon velvet  and the hand dyed habotai silk. When you are embroidering on a crazy quilt block, you are stitching through two layers of fabric as most crazy quilters use the flip and sew method to assemble the block. If fabrics are too thick and bulky it makes it difficult to execute fine embroidery stitches. The silk rayon velvet proved to be a dream to stitch through. So much so I had no hesitation in embarking on a large floral spray that covered a good part of the area.

colourstreams threads review I also had no hesitation using their Silk Floss to create the Chained Bullion stitch petals for the daisies. These bullions are 12 wraps of the needle. So using this stitch puts both fabric and thread to a good test and both passed well. I liked using the Silk floss. It comes in 6 meter skeins and think most crazy quilters would delight in this thread.

colourstreams-review2The stem of this vine is worked using Colour streams Silken Strands. Once again this thread is 100% silk and I took great pleasure in working the stem in rope stitch. The thread is soft, consisting of 6 strands that can be split like cotton floss or used as is, which is what I did. I also added the foliage using Chained bullion stitches and the thread behaved just fine.

The grapes are worked in Aurora which is a thread that comes in 6 meter skeins. For crazy quilters this thicker thread is harder to work. I gave it a tough test as I was using it for French knots! The thread works fine under an experienced stitchers hand but it was sticking a bit on the needle. This often happens with any silk that does not have a firm twist. It is a reflection on the fiber not the brand.

colourstreams threads review 3I then gave the Aurora thread and the Exotic lights thread a fairer test on canvas. I am sure many stitchers who use the even weave techniques and/or the canvas stitches would delight in the coverage of this silk thread. Both the Aurora and the Exotic lights threads worked up well and looked lush (not flat and uninteresting) on the canvas.

colourstreams threads review Out of curiosity I also tested the Exotic lights thread on Aida and once again the thread behaved well. I could see the 6 meter skeins running out quite quickly however.

colourstreams-review5My favourite of their samples is Ophir (although as I write this the Silken strands is also on my faves list) I used Ophir thread in creating these cast-on stitch flowers. Readers who know cast-on stitch will also know that this stitch involves lots of wrapping and plenty of opportunity to knot, tangle and misbehave which this thread did not do! The silk sheen is great and it gave me much pleasure.  Also the skein of 15 meters is a good length for me.

Apart from threads Colour Streams also have a range of interesting sequins  which every crazy quilter should check out. The small daisy shaped sequins in the second photograph are samples sent to me. They are delightfully small. The sequins in the photo are secured with a seed bead.

All up I really enjoyed these products. Please note that apart from the free samples I do not gain financially from this review. In other words I am not paid to write them and I am not affiliated in any way with Colourstreams.

Constance Howard samplers online

Constance Howard, was a inspiring teacher and author who pioneered embroidery in textile design and made a colossal impact on contemporary embroidery. Her books were published in the 60’s and 70’s and you spot them I am sure a contemporary embroiderer would still learn from them.

Make a cuppa and browse the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles which is hosted by Goldsmiths College, University of London. This is one of those online resources which become more enjoyable the more you poke about. You need to use the search box however. I typed “samplers” into the image search box and discovered lots of interesting textiles to browse and learn from.

Constance Howard samplerConstance Howard worked this stitch sampler in black and white in the late 1970’s or early 1980s. It consists of rows of black and white stitching on a grey linen. Constance Howard is demonstrating working one stitch in 2 colours. Follow the link for close ups and details.

Constance Howard samplerIn this sample we can see Constance Howard experimenting with raised chain band.

Constance Howard samplerThis small sampler of multi-coloured, raised chain band is worked on red wool fabric by Constance Howard for one of her books

Constance Howard samplerThis sample worked by Constance Howard to illustrate the design process explained in her book ‘Inspiration for Embroidery’. The design is based on the two halves of a circle and realised in stiffened appliqué fabric.

Constance Howard samplerThis experimental sampler of free surface stitches is described as ‘Nets made with stitches, spots made with stitches‘ written on the mount by Constance Howard.

As I said all of these samples were worked between the 60’s to the 80’s and contemporary embroiderers owe her much as her creativity and emphasis on design pushed embroidery into a direction that many today do not venture! She was the first to say “it’s Ok to explore a stitch” and saw stitches as making graphic  marks.

The Constance Howard sampler Resource and Research Centre in Textiles collection held by the  University of London at Goldsmiths, pay the site a visit and learn a bit about contemporary embroidery too!