Cricut + Simplicity + wildboho

I wish I could tell you that I love sewing something from a pattern, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to tell you that it is one of my least favorite things to do!

What I do like to do, is stray outside of the lines and not have to worry about staying within the confines of a pattern!

So….when I was given the opportunity to work with one of Simplicity’s new patterns for the Cricut Maker, I hesitated and had to work myself up to giving this a try. I already knew that the machine would do much of the work…cutting the pieces, etc, but I wasn’t sure I was up for the challenge of following a pattern!

Because I have a soft spot for flowers, this Flower and Arrangement pattern caught my eye and I thought it might make a unique embellishment for a piece of hoop art. So, with reluctance (!),  I accepted the challenge.

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I’m going to walk you through this pattern, step by step, and I’ll give you a little hint about the process…it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be!

Alright, let’s start this pattern!

Step One: gather your Cricut materials and the Simplicity PDF pattern.

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You will need the fabric mat, the rotary blade for cutting fabric and the washable fabric pen for marking the pattern pieces.

Step Two: gather your fabrics.

The pattern shows you the pieces that make up the flower. You can base your color choices off of that like I did my second time through.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I forgot to print the pattern directions first and so I just randomly picked colors from my pile of fabrics when it told me to insert a new mat!

It all turned out very pretty in the end but I would not recommend that you use my method!!

So, you’ve read through the pattern (well done, you!) and you’ve chosen your fabrics. It’s time to move on to Step Three: Let the machine do the work for you!

The screen shot shows you what you will see in Design Space. From this point on, you will just be putting the correct fabrics on the mats and the machine will do everything else!

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The rotary blade and washable pen are in position and my fabric is ready to be cut!

Check this out: do you see all of those perfect little points that have been cut out? Yup, the machine did that, not me!

Step Four: continue letting the machine do the work! How easy is that?!

You will soon end up with a tidy little pile of cut pieces, just like what you see below!

One suggestion after working through this pattern a few times: when you get to the two round circle pieces, choose a heavier fabric. My first choice was a thinner batik piece of fabric. My second choice was a heavier piece of textured cotton fabric. Finally on my third time cutting the pieces for the pattern, I decided to use a scrap of  wool felt and that was definitely the best choice. The other fabric pieces worked fine, but because this is the piece that you are hand sewing everything on to, you want something fairly sturdy.

I should also warn you that Step Five involves me breaking from the pattern in one other way: I did not use my sewing machine! Nope, not once.

If you follow along with my stitching adventures, you’ll already know that I prefer hand stitching to machine sewing. I wanted to try this entire pattern without the machine, just so that I could tell you that it was possible! And it is!

Your pieces have all been cut and you are ready to turn them into flowers!

This was the only step that slightly confused me and so I wanted to show several pictures to help you out.

You will fold the sides of your rectangular piece in towards the center.

Next you will fold that piece in half.

Grab a needle and some thread (I prefer the Sulky 12wt petites for this step) and stitch a running stitch along the bottom.

Tie a knot and then pull your thread right so that the fabric gathers up nice and makes a little ruffle.

The blue marks and the pattern will show you where each piece is to be stitched on to the circle.

Continue with each piece of fabric, following the directions as to where to attach it to the disc.

Because I (unfortunately) only have two hands, I couldn’t take pictures of how I actually wrapped the rose. That step is mostly self-explanatory and if I was able to figure it out, then you will just fine!

Soon you will have a complete flower!

So, what to do with your flower at this point?

Well, you can leave it completely as is and be done! Stitch a pin back or hair clip onto it and wear it as an accessory!

Or, and you should also know that this is always my go-to option, you can put it in a hoop!

Here is my simple version of the flower and arrangement attached to a fabric that has been stretched in a hoop.

Simple and pretty!

But, why stop there? You could take it one step further and add other embellishments, like the pattern suggests.

Here is my gussied up version! I added wispy bits of lace, gears and buttons.

And because I love to show you options, (and can’t resist Boho-ing up a project!) here is what you can create if you cut a few extra pieces and arrange them to your liking!

Each piece in the above hoop has been cut by my Cricut Maker according to the pattern. I just rearranged pieces and added some embroidery!

And speaking of embroidery, do you see those words?

My absolute favorite feature of using Design Space and my Cricut Maker is that I can create text and have it written directly into fabric with the washable pen!

So many fonts! So much versatility! I cannot gush enough about this function!

Since unboxing my Maker, I have used this function more than anything else. There’s not stopping me…I can add words to anything!

And there you have it..my first Simplicity pattern and I survived and actually went on to make it several times and enjoyed the process!

Now I can breathe a sigh of relief and pass some confidence on to you. Now, go….create something!


Fabrics provided by:

Flaurie and Finch (Blossom Batiks)

Andover Fabrics (Alison Glass Mariner Cloth and Golden Hour)

Threads I used:

Sulky 12 Wt Petites

Sue Spargo Eleganza


 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Where to begin? Boho Stitch Along: Week 1

I posted a picture on Instagram yesterday and received so many messages along the lines of things I’ve heard many times before, both on IG and at the workshops that I teach, basically: “I love what you do and would love to try this but I wouldn’t even know where to begin!”

So, to help those nervous, embroidery-loving enthusiasts among you, I decided I would take this hoop and show you my start to finish process. Warning: it’s probably going to be rambly and messy (welcome to the inside workings of my brain)!!! But that’s art, right?! At least it is for me and most likely will be for you too.

This is not going to be a quick finish. You’ve heard of Slow Stitching, right? This is that! If you followed along with the Boho Stitch Along last year, you’ll know that embroidering a large piece of fabric takes time. So, grab a piece of fabric that you love and have been wanting to embroider and just put it in a hoop (like I did) and go through this process with me!

I’ll share my work here weekly, along with tips and some fun ideas for adding extra bits to your project.

P.S. I hear there is an amazing embroidery book written by yours truly that can help you learn how to embroider! And if you have that one, I hear there is an equally awesome second embroidery book coming very soon, you know, if you’re interested!


Let’s get started!

First off, you will want to choose your fabric. Pick something that you like…you will be spending lots of time looking at every detail of the fabric!

I have chosen this gorgeous design by Kathy Doughty for Free Spirit Fabrics: Magpie Horizon. I love birds, feathers and this color palette, which made this an easy choice of fabric.

My cut of fabric is a fat quarter (which is a quarter yard of fabric, but cut in a square), so I began with unfolding it to decide what section of the fabric I wanted to include in my hoop. The Magpies fit perfectly into a 12″ hoop and so that was an easy decision.

Next step: threads! I have a lot of thread, so I chose 5 colors to get started. I’m not limited to only using those colors…I can add colors any time that I want, but this is a non-intimidating start to a project. Pick 5 colors that coordinate with your fabric.

These are all spools of Perle Cotton thread from Sue Spargo.

At this point, once my fabric is in the hoop and I have trimmed it (leaving about 1 inch all the way around), I prop it up while i’m working on other things and by doing that i’m getting familiar with the elements on the fabric i’ve chosen.

I did this yesterday and this morning I decided to add the words Magpie Dreams to this hoop. What are Magpies known for their love of? Shiny things! And what do I love to include in my embroidery? Shiny things! Beads, sequins, etc.

If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that in the past I have raved about my Cricut Maker machine for cutting out words to add to embroidery. So that was my next step.

With Cricut’s Design Space app, I was able to type the words Magpie Dreams, change the font to something more swirly, and curve the words so that would fit along the bottom of the hoop. (That is a new feature and I used it for the first time today!)

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If you are new to Design Space, here are a few things i’ve learned while working with letters:

  • type the full set of words you want to use
  • choose your font
  • if you want to add a curve to the words, do it at this point
  • to make your letters connect, click “Ungroup” and it will make each letter something you can work with individually
  • play with the letters…move them around, make them bigger, smaller, etc.
  • when you like how they look, you will group them together again by clicking on the first letter and the Shift key. While still holding the Shift key, you will click on each letter in your group of words and it will then group everything you have clicked together.
  • I then attach them (the button at the bottom right side)
  • And I learned today how important the Weld button is. When you weld the letters, it groups them all together when cutting and you don’t get little bits of letters cut off.  (I may have had to do this 2 or 3 times before I realized the Weld button was going to save my project and sanity…I promised you messy, right?!)

Here’s what it looks like when I am ready to begin cutting the letters out of felt. I load up the mat with the felt pressed to it and the Maker does the rest!

So from there, I pick the words that have been cut out of the felt and I place them upside down and then spray them with the Dritz Spray Adhesive. I love this product because it lets you adhere something without using an iron and it is removable up until the point that you have stitched it to the fabric!

Also, this was an incredibly messy step. Seriously. Just picture me trying to get a photo of putting the words on the fabric while having felt bits stuck to my fingers because of the adhesive spray. (Notice there is no picture here of that step?!! There is a reason for that!)

So, I dealt with the mess and took a picture of the end result instead!

The words will stand out more once I stitch them, but i’m really liking where this project is headed!

And there you have it! By the time another week rolls around, I will have started to embroider on this piece and I will share with you what I have done.

In the meantime, if you have a piece of fabric you’ve been wanting to try this with, it’s probably time for you to pull it out and get started!


So to recap the steps for beginning your project this week:

  1. Choose your fabric and hoop size.
  2. Pick 5 matching threads.
  3. Become familiar with your fabric.
  4. Choose one area you want to begin stitching.
  5. Gather your embroidery tools: scissors, needles, etc.
  6. Pick one stitch that you want to try and just get started!

 


Note: There are affiliate links included in this post.

Thread Round-Up

As someone who works with lots of threads and always on the lookout for new colors and textures to try, it is one of my favorite questions when I am asked: “what threads do you recommend?”

So here’s a quick thread round-up for you if you are thinking of starting an embroidery project and want to try something new!


Hands down, my favorite everyday embroidery thread is Eleganza Perle Cotton. A collaboration with Wonderfil Specialty Thread, these colors from Sue Spargo are rich and saturated and match any project I am working on.

In the picture below, you will notice that size 5 is slightly thicker than size 8. With Perle Cotton, you do not need to separate threads, like you might typically do with regular floss. This is meant to be used directly off the spool, which might partially be why I like it so much!

You also get a lot of thread for your money with these spools! The size 5 comes in 40 yard spools and the size 8 comes in 70 yard spools.

This Dala Perle Cotton also comes from Sue Spargo, only this one is hand-dyed in small batches by her daughter, Kelly. The colors in these variegated threads are also incredible!

If you are used to using thinner threads but want to add a bit more texture to your work, I suggest giving this particular brand a try. It is easy to work with, does not need to be separated and also adds lovely visibility to your stitches. And notice the twist in the threads? That adds to the texture of your work and gives it a bit of shine. If you are going to be spending lots of time adding your embroidery to a project, you definitely want those stitches to stand out, right?!

Have you ever worked with wool yarn or thread in your embroidery? If you haven’t, these are my two favorite brands of wool yarn to use in my hand stitched projects.

On the left is Koigu Needlepoint Yarn which I picked up on a recent trip to Purl Soho in NYC. It comes in 11 yard hanks and is the weight of a fingering yarn. It does not need to be separated like regular embroidery floss. I have found that even though it looks thicker, it threads through Milliner’s Needles easily and I haven’t had any problems using it in my embroidery.

The Ellana wool thread on the spool is from Sue Spargo. Compared to the spools of Eleganza Perle cotton, this thread is thinner and wispier. I like to use it double stranded, but if you are looking to add delicate texture, then you can certainly use it as a single strand. This also comes 70 yards to a spool and the color selection cannot be beat! I could seriously find a use for every single color in this collection!!!

My favorite threads for adding beads to my work are these Sulky Petites and Sulky Blendables. When compared to a DMC type floss, these are the weight of 2-strands of floss. Each spool is 50 yards. I like using these to add beads because the colors are subtle enough to blend with my work and I rarely have problems with the thread tangling. This is a nice, lightweight addition to my embroidery toolbox!

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 13

Welcome back for Week no. 13! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


For my stitch along piece this week, i’m back to my Urban Artifacts hoop. Earlier this week, I came across a packet of beads that I had tucked away and they just so happened to match the colors on this hoop! So on a whim, I added them.

I also wanted to mix and match the Sue Spargo Ellana Wool thread alongside of the Eleganza Perle Cotton thread so that you could see the side by side differences. In this pic, the Ellana threads are on the white/tan spools and the Eleganza are on the green spools.

You can see below, that the Ellana Wool is slightly thicker with a matte finish (I doubled up the strand here because I wanted it to stand out) while the Eleganza has a slightly shinier look. I love mixing and matching threads to get a variety of textures!

And here’s a full shot of this little section. Kind of 70’s mod vibes, right?! This might be one of my favorite sections on this hoop!


There have been some beautiful detail shots added to the #BohoSAL pool on Instagram recently!

P.S. If you have added your pics with that hashtag but you have a private account, I won’t be able to see them. For a chance to be featured, you can direct message your pics to me through Instagram.

So let’s see what our Stitch Along friends have been up to lately, shall we?!


I just love the Chain Stitch and Lazy Daisy combination that @quilterathart has been stitching! Aren’t these great colors?!

The quilts scrappiness of this piece that @mamacesare has been stitching is just awesome! The dense stitching (especially on those flowers!) is all kinds of gorgeous!

The addition of navy thread (if my detective skills are on par, it looks like it’s a limited edition color from The Thread Gatherer!) that @belladar58 is adding to her fabric.  I love the texture that this is adding and can’t wait to keep watching this one grow!

@little_girl_pearl is working wonders on this Anna Maria Horner fabric. I mean, it’s Anna Maria Horner….do I need to say anything else?!

That’s a wrap for this week! Keep being awesome all you stitch along-ers!


If you are in the Doylestown, PA area and want the chance to check out what I have officially dubbed my “favorite art exhibit of all time,” the Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography and Sculptural Form exhibit at the Michener Art Museum, then you have until July 9th to make your way there.

I was blown away by the combination of large murals, photography and fashion from the twenties and thirties. An incredible mix of industrial settings from the Machine Age combined with  (always a favorite!) geometric patterns and the fashion from the 1920s…it was awesome and I can highly recommend it!

Here’s a little sneak peak:

And catching a glimpse of my book in the wild, at the Doylestown Bookshop, never gets old!


And lastly, if you are in the PA/NJ area, don’t forget that i’ll be teaching a Boho Embroidery workshop at Pennington Quilt Works this week. You can check their class schedule for dates and availability!

Have a great week and happy stitching!

-nichole

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 12

Welcome back for Week no. 12! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


I’m continuing along with my Flaurie and Finch “Shiny Objects” hoop this week for the Boho Stitch Along and first of all, I promised the thread sources that I used in this hoop! From left to right they are:

Lion Brand bonbons, Sue Spargo Eleganza Perle Cotton and Silk n’ Colors from The Thread Gatherer.

I love the variety of textures that these threads lend to this project!

These are the Lion Brand Yarn bonbons which I found at Joann but Amazon also has them in all of the colors. I’ve found that the colors in store vary and they can be tricky to find (usually hanging somewhere in the yarn department but sometimes closer to embroidery supplies).

I originally picked them up because they are cute and tiny (and yes, I fall for stuff like that all the time!) but I wasn’t sure how they would work with embroidery. It turns out they work awesome! I use a Milliner’s Needle and easily embroider with this thicker-than-floss-thinner-than-yarn bonbon!

This week I also picked up, but didn’t test out yet, this Dritz Non-Stick Pressing Sheet. I have found that when I am working with Batik fabric, my usual Heat n Bond method does not always work great…sometimes leaving behind the texture of the Heat n Bond on the fabric itself. Hopefully this extra layer will help with that problem. I’ll let you know when I actually try it out!

And lastly, we had quite the snow/sleet storm this week and, eager for winter to be gone already, it made me pull out this neon Cotton + Steel hoop that I had prepped awhile back and stitch it up!

I echoed the shapes from the background fabric (a Cotton + Steel print from Alexia Abegg) and layered several other fabrics from the same line before embroidering in my most neon colors! A painted neon hoop completed it and it’s finally available in my shop!

Have a great week stitching!

-nichole

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 11

Welcome back for Week no. 11! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


I think by now you know that I love to switch between projects a lot! I have several #BohoSAL hoops going and I work on them depending on what mood i’m in and what other projects I have going for the week!!

This week, I started on a piece of fabric from Flaurie & Finch. I met the ladies of Flaurie and Finch at Quilt Market in October and, besides being super nice, they haven’t designed a fabric yet that I don’t love!

I also really wanted to try out this stunning Silk ‘n Colors thread from The Thread Gatherer. This is a 12-ply thread which means you can use anywhere from 1-12 strands of it in your project. I chose to use all 12 strands just to see how well I could stitch with it. Let me tell you, this thread is amazing. I had no trouble with tangles, the thread easily went through my fabric and the end result was a noticeable raised stitch.


This particular deep purple fabric is from Flaurie and Finch’s Shiny Objects collection and it is called “Menagerie.” I love a fabric that has a healthy dose of metallic shimmer! Butterflies are always a bonus!


So there’s my #BohoSAL for the week. Here’s what else i’ve been up to…


I was excited to be featured on Sue Spargo’s site last week…you can check out the feature here as well as check out the thread pack that I curated in my favorite colors! P.S. You can also find my book on her site now too!


If you’ve been wanting to try Eleganza thread but aren’t sure where to start, the colors that I picked for the Wildboho Eleganza thread pack are a great mix of saturated colors that I use for just about everything!


It goes especially well with the brand new upcoming Alison Glass line, Chroma Handcrafted. Seriously, these colors!!!


Speaking of colors, I’ve had the chance to work with another gorgeous fabric line from Dana Willard (on instagram at @made_everyday) for Angles which is a new-ish division of Art Gallery Fabrics. Dana’s fabrics are just beautiful and colorful and everything you want as a base for embroidery! (P.S. you Boho Stitch Along-ers…any of these fabrics would be really fun if you are looking for a new #BohoSAL piece!)

Her line is called Fiesta Fun and you’ve seen peeks of the hoop I’ve been creating this past week on Instagram.

First off, check out some of these colorful prints! (These are just a few of the prints from this line. For more fabrics and some gorgeous inspiration, check out Dana’s page describing this new line here.)


These bright colors are just what I wanted to be stitching as winter winds down!


For this hoop, I began with the blue and white fabric and then added the first bit of color from flowers that I cut from the colorful version of the same fabric.

Now, I know some of you are all about fussy cutting and will see nothing wrong with what I’ve done here, but others will look at this cut fabric and see nothing but waste!!! It had to be done, though!!!

Once I cut out the flowers that I needed and attached them to the fabric, I could begin adding even more texture and color with my embroidery.

And here’s the finished hoop…I just love how this turned out!!!

I’ll leave you with all that color inspiration for today!

Have a great week of stitching!

-nichole