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Welcome to my blog. You can read about my adventures in different types of needlework, and I also offer some free
cross stitch patterns. Please, come back often. :)

PLEASE NOTE:


PLEASE, NOTE: The designs on this site are copyrighted to Agnes Palko. They are for your personal use only. They may not be distributed or reproduced without permission.
If you wish to use my patterns to stitch for charity, please, let me know.

09/08/2015

Another experiment - "temporary embroidery"


I have been playing around with embroidery and nature again. This time I tried to use flowers, leaves and grasses instead of thread in my embroidery. To make things easier, I chose a loosely woven evenwave fabric, and pulled out some threads.


Then I collected some grass and some flowers, just in front of the house. I wove them in in the places where the threads were pulled out, but I found that some of the thiner ones can go in other places too, they could be pulled between the threads of the fabric.

Here is the result.




I am not sure this will look as nice as the previous experiments after a while. The flowers started to bend their heads even as I was working with them.
But I like it so. Part of natures beauty is, I think, that we know it is fleeting, it is there now, but does not stay the same for long. This temporary, or ephemeral embroidery pays homage to this feature of nature.
But even if my embroidery loses its beauty, the photos will keep it forever. I just wish I could take better ones.

Also, embroidering with plants, and preserving them in a photo, could be a nice way of recording the variety of nature in different seasons, or as we travel.




07/08/2015

Embrodery experiments with flowers


Hello, everyone. Hope you are having a lovely summer.

I have actually started working this week. But before that, we went to Hungary and had some lovely time, except that it was so hot, it was too much. I loved coming back to Sweden.

During the holiday I only did a little crafting. I knitted a very simple pullover, I will show it next time.
And I did some embroidery. When I got homework at the university course to do experiments with knitting and sewing, I was a bit nervous, wasn't sure how to experiment, felt a bit insecure. But I actually got to like it. So I decided that I wanted to try something new with embroidery: I tried using real flowers.

I made two pieces: one with a piece of yarrow that, I was hoping, will dry nicely on the fabric - and it does, so far. On the other, I used a few very tiny flowers with colourful petals, and then I pressed them. I thought that the petals may even colour the fabric a bit, but they did not. Still, I like the result a lot. I am curious what will happen to the pressed ones with time.

Here are some pictures:


Hanging on my wall:


On the first one I used feather stitch (without drawing any lines, hence little uneven) and French knots. I took this picture when the yarrow was still fresh:


On the second one it was some lazy daisies and just one straight stitches. Here the flowers were still fresh:


After pressing:





I have one more idea, not saying anything more. I will try at the weekend and we will see how it goes. Watch this place.

Anyone willing to come with me on this journey? It is GREAT FUN!

29/06/2015

Pressed flower - free cross stitch pattern


It is the summer holidays, so what can a girl do but… doing the big cleaning. I was sorting out my books and old notebooks and found some pressed flowers. Or rather some petals. I am sure the flowers were important to me when I pressed them, but I can't remember them. Probably got them from someone precious. I am ashamed that I forgot.

I tried to make a pattern out of them. First I just drew one petal, tried to capture the shading and the gradual change of colours. It is not easy if you are not willing to go huge. Then I put the petals together and made them into a flower. I really wish my program could turn pattern elements in different angles, not only 90°. But as it is, it had to become a four-petal flower.

For once I did not believe the colours my screen showed me (I have made that mistake more often than I care to admit), instead I looked at my threads and put them together in a row. I don´t have the full DMC set, so I had one missing. I hope I managed to find the right colour for that using the DMC colour chart.



I think the pattern is just the right size for a card. My fingers are itching… :)

Let me know what you think.

Click on the picture bellow to get the pdf file.



Happy summer, happy stitching.

27/06/2015

Blackwork biscornu pattern




I am continuing with the folk art inspired motifs. This time I made a blackwork pattern in blue, for a small biscornu or pincushion.

I am going to Hungary soon, so I probably won´t have time to stitch this, and anyway, I am full of half-finished projects, so I should not start something new. But knowing myself, I can´t promise anything :)

Hope you like this little pattern. Let us see if you make it!

Happy stitching

08/06/2015

Biscornu and bookmark inspired by folk patterns


I was reading a book about the folk art of Kászon - now in Romania, originally a Hungarian area. I was, of course, inspired by the many beautiful pictures and patterns.

The following biscornu and bookmark are using elements that are traditional in Kászon, but are also present in many other areas. However, I tried to create a new design using the old motifs, added my own interpretation.

The biscornu can also be made as a mattress pincushion, so I added a piece for the sides.

I hope you like and stitch them.





02/06/2015

More about biscornu - my own ideas

As promised, here come some more ideas and experiments with the biscornu and its variations, as well as some other types of pincushions.


1. Cross stitch (or any embroidery) on one side, backing fabric on the other.

The big biscornu I showed you last time, was made from a cross stitched square and a piece of fabric on the backside (unfortunately it does not show in the picture, and since it was a gift to someone, I cannot take more photos). I did not do the backstitched border and the whipstitching on this, I simply sewed the two squares right sides together, one corner matched to the centre of the other square. I sewed by hand, as I did not have a sewing machine back then.



I was wondering if it was possible to do it "properly", I mean with backstitch and whipstitch, even when you have another type of fabric on one side. The key would be to make backstitches on the other fabric the same size as on the Aida, then it should work. Need to try one day. Has anyone done this?



2. Biscornu made of felt, with blanket stitch.

I often do embroidery on a piece of felt when I sit in the classroom with my year 5 classes. When they have started their sewing and they don´t need my help so often, I sit down at the table with them and doodle with a piece of felt and some leftover thread pieces. They like to see that I sew for my own pleasure and often get inspired by what I do. This little embroidered piece was the product of such lessons. I then put it together with another square the same size and sewed them together with blanket stitch. It turned out OK, although it was much more difficult to match the corners than with Aida. It is not easy to be exact with the blanket stitch, and the felt stretched out a little as I was sewing. Some corners are not perfect, but all in all, I like the result.

I think it probably works with any other fabric plus blanket stitch - felt is just easier because it does not fray.



3. Biscornu with no sharp corners

Another variation that I came up with is what I call "the wavy biscornu". I designed the pattern so that I cut off the corners of the squares, and the biscurnu becomes softer in appearance, the corners are not so pronounced. I really like the effect.







Here and here you can see how the pattern looks like for such a biscornu. I marked with arrows on the pattern how the squares should be put together.

4. A cube pincushion

Here is another shape I came up with: it looks like a cross shaped pattern when embroidered, but then it comes together to a little cube. For a long time this was my most popular pattern on the blog. :)


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5. Then, of course, there is the more traditional pillow-shaped pincushion, that can also be done with a button in the middle:

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6. A variation on this is the so called mattress pin cushion, when you sew a narrow rectangle on all the four sides between the two squares. This is what I did with my latest pattern:


If you need detailed instructions for this type of pincushion, you can find one on this blog.

If you find a biscornu (or any square) pattern that you like, it is easy to turn it into a mattress pincushion. Design the small rectangles yourself: they should be the same width as the squares, and only 10-12 stitches high. Then find a small element in the original pattern that you can put in these rectangles.



7. Bi-biscornu

I have also come up with another shape that I called the "bi-biscornu". It is a cross between a biscornu and a mattress pincushion.






I have promised to write how it is made but never did, so perhaps it is time to do it.

Here is the pattern. It was made before I got my cross stitch program, it is not a pdf file, just a picture. Right click to download.


As you see, the pattern has exactly the same pieces as for the mattress pincushion. To sew together, match a corner of a small rectangle to the middle of a square. Start whipstitching together. Then add the next rectangle and the next. Then sew the other square the same way: the middle of the square meets the corners of the rectangles. I hope it makes sense.



8. And finally, some unusual shapes I have experimented with, that also use the backstitched line + whipstitching method.









These are patterns for sale, you can find them here.

I hope you can find inspiration for pincushions and biscornus in these posts. Please, send a picture if you make one of these, I would be happy to post them on the blog.

Happy stitching!




26/05/2015

9 things you should know about biscornu



9 things you should know about biscornu - and my own crazy ideas to add.


I love biscornus. Do you also? Of course, you do :D

I have collected some facts and links about biscornus, and added some of my own ideas. (And I have to admit, I have long wanted to write one of those posts that start like "X things you need to know…" Silly, right?)

1. A biscornu is a - usually small - cushion that is formed by two squares sewn together. Its distinctive shape is given by the fact that each corner is sewn to the middle of one side, making it really interesting.


(The pattern for my Easter biscornu you can find here.)


2. The name comes from French. Some say it means quirky, irregular, others say it means two-horned. Where the thing itself comes is unclear, at least I could not find any information about who made the first one. If you know, please share it in the comments.

3. A biscornu is usually embroidered in cross stitch or blackwork, but I have seen other embroidery on them, too. I love this hardanger biscornu by The Victoria Sampler, I am planning to make it one day.

4. The embroidery pattern is usually designed so that one side is dominant, and the other side (the backside) has just a small motif. But there are also two-sided biscornus, like the Easter-biscornu above.


(The patterns for these are here and here.)

5. The embroidered design is framed with a line of backstitch, which is then used to sew the two pieces together: you whipstitch going only under the thread, and not in the fabric, making one whipstitch in each backstitch. That's why it is important to have the exact number of stitches in the backstitched lines.
I simply love the look of this whipstitching, and was using it in other finishes as well. See, for example the sides of this bookmark.


If you need more detailed instructions on how to make them, look here and here, for example.

6. A biscornu is usually quite small, between 5-10 cm but there is nothing to stop you from making smaller or bigger ones. I have made a big one, and a few very small ones.

This one was about 15 cm across.


These are really tiny:





7. A biscornu usually has a button in the middle, that is sewn so that the two sides are pulled together, as you can see in some of the pictures above.

But it is not compulsory, you can omit it or substitute with something else, like beads, ribbons, a charm etc.

Here is an example where I used a tiny ribbon bow:



And here is one where I did not pull the middle together, so the biscornu has a rounder shape, and I like this as well.


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The pattern for the snowflake biscornu you can find here.


8. A biscornu is usually used as a pincushion, but it is also perfect for a hanging decoration, Christmas ornament etc, you just need to add a cord.


9. There are many variations, the most interesting is perhaps the 15-sided biscornu. I have never made one (it is also on my "to try one day" list), but you can find a really good tutorial here.


I hope you like this little summary.

Please, come back in a few days to read about variations on the biscornu (and other shaped pincushions) that I have come up with. COMING SOON!