english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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International Craft & Hobby Fair, Birmingham

This week at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) there was a four day craft and hobby fair. It covered a wide range of crafts, with a particular focus on paper crafts (particularly card making) and textiles (lots of knitting, embroidery, patchwork). There were a range of artists & collectives exhibiting their work, ranging from the well known like Mr X Stitch to competition entrants. Pictures of some of the pieces on show are below. It was a huge exhibition & very well attended. I attend a lot of UK comic cons & they don’t compare in terms of size or attendees. Craft is a much bigger business!

There was also tons of stuff to buy. I was relatively restrained, I bought some lovely Khadi handmade paper in a couple of sizes, some ribbon and a basic screen printing kit – to make some t-shirts for Phil.

Mr X Stitch Exhibition:

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Madeira Embroidery Competition 2012:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Quilters Guild Exhibition:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch


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Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Embroidered Tiger-Striped Bikini

I’ve finally completed the embroidered Lum that I’ve been working on. Yippee! I used backstitch for the black outline. For the coloured areas I used a mixture of stitch types (and admittedly wasn’t too precise) including long and short stitch and fishbone stitch. I used a blackwork filling pattern called Holbein and Cross for the background, as I thought it suited the style of the drawing well and didn’t look too formal.

Embroidered Lum Urusei Yatsura

Embroidered Lum Urusei Yatsura

Embroidered Lum Urusei Yatsura

I previously blogged about this embroidery here and here.


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Embroidered Lum – stage 2!

I thought I’d post an updated image of the embroidered Lum I’m working on at the moment. I haven’t had much time to work on her over the last week, but I’ve managed to fill-in her hair and bikini. I’m working on Lum’s boots at the moment and then plan to add in a background colour, just to give the picture a more finished look.
Embroidered Lum


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Embroidered art by Stewart Easton & a trip to the garden centre

Most Saturdays me and Phil go shopping in Birmingham, but this week we had a bit of a change.

First we went to the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) to watch a screening of My Neighbour Totoro. We were supposed to be getting to the MAC in plenty of time prior to the screening to view the various current art exhibitions  & have a stroll in the park where MAC is located. However, what actually happened was that we had a lie-in and ending up getting to the MAC with only enough time to grab a quick breakfast in the cafe and then dash into the screening. After Totoro we just had time to get a quick look at one of the exhibitions currently on at the MAC, Four Tragic Tales by Stewart Easton, before having to get back in the car and head to Coventry to collect some picture frames we’d had made.

A number of pieces in the Easton exhibition were embroidered, which made them particularly interesting to me. His technique is to digitally print onto fabric and then hand embroider elements of the image. It results in very professional and stylised works, and allowed him to achieve a very high level of detail in quite small pieces – which can be difficult (and certainly time consuming) through embroidery alone. I’m definitely going to give the technique a try myself.

Pictured below are two of the embroidered pieces, as well as an ink drawing from the exhibition.

Stewart Easton: Four Tragic Tales
Stewart Easton: Four Tragic Tales
Stewart Easton: Four Tragic Tales

Having travelled into Coventry to collect picture frames, me and Phil also popped to Ryton Gardens, to have a nose in the gardens and shop. I really want a wormery at the moment but was preventing from splurging on one today as they didn’t have any in stock. I think I may be best waiting until the winter is over before I buy one as I know worms aren’t too fond of the cold so won’t be composting very quickly at the moment anyway. Below are a few photos of the gardens at Ryton, mainly of features rather than plants as the gardens are inevitably a little bit bare at this time of year.
Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in January
Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in January
Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in January
Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in January
Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in January


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Lum Urusei Yatsura Embroidery – a work in progress!

Here’s something I’m working on at the moment, an embroidered Lum from Rumiko Takahashi’s manga series. She is roughly based on a Takahashi illustration, I started off trying to copy the original illustration exactly but that caused some problems as parts didn’t look quite right when embroidered so I altered the image slightly to better suit the medium (or at least my embroidery skill level!). It took me a couple of attempts to get a face I was happy with; at first I attempted to embroider her face using the same thread I was using for her body but it was much to thick to achieve any level of detail. After a couple of failed attempts I thinned the thread down to only three strands which worked much better.

Next I’m planning to colour Lum’s bikini, boots and hair using cross stitch. I’ll post the results soon.
Lum Urusei Yatsura embroidery (work in progress)
Lum Urusei Yatsura embroidery (work in progress)


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Embroidered Moomintroll

As part of my project to make handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family this year, I embroidered two little Moomintrolls for my two closest friends. Luckily for me we weren’t able to meet up before Christmas which gave me time to get them finished. The image is based on one of Tove Jansson’s original illustrations. They are supposed to be identical but you can tell I obviously wasn’t paying full attention while embroidering them as they are slightly different! I left them in their embroidery frames and glued a circle of felt to the backs to hide my stitches.

I’m meeting up with my friends tonight so I hope they like them:)
Moomin embroidery

Moomin embroidery

Moomin embroidery


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Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery

I thought I’d create a gaming inspired embroidery for my manager’s Christmas gift. I decided that trying to embroider an image from a recent game might be too much of a challenge so I decided to go retro and created this 8 bit Mario for him instead. I might give Princess Peach a go next.
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery