Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On a roll

They should have an Olympic event for stitching--how much can you get done while watching three hours of prime time coverage a night. I'm not sure I would win a medal, but I am proud of my achievements!


Over the last few nights I actually finished project number two--the project I started simply because it was prepped when I finished project number one for February.


Here it is, another gorgeous pattern from Wellington House Designs' North Woods series. As with the pattern I finished last month, this embroidery will be a pillow for my brother-in-law's Christmas present. I seem to have chosen fall and winter designs. Maybe next year I will do spring and summer!


I absolutely love the simplicity of these designs, but sometimes as I stitched, I felt a little guilty for just working someone else's pattern. But, that changed as I progressed with this little scene and started looking at how the different numbers of thread strands and the different stitches worked up. Yes, of course I've stitched all these stitches before, but something clicked over the last few nights and gave me IDEAS.


Last year I drew up some silly patterns that I wanted to stitch sometime, but figuring out the stitches and transfer techniques threw me. Now, I see that if I clean up my designs, I can photocopy them onto the sticky dissolvable fabric and experiment with the same types of simple lines shown here. I'm going to search through my papers when I get home and see if I can find that drawing. I may make a designer of myself yet!


In the meantime, I did what I promised and prepped project number three in advance. It is all ready to start when the Olympics come on again at 8 pm tonight!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank goodness for projects prepped in advance

It has been a busy few weeks. I flew back to Rhode Island at the beginning of the month, and since getting here, work has been busier than usual. In our spare time we have been meeting up with friends and prepping the dining room for wallpaper and paint. This is a long weekend, so we hope to have the walls done by Tuesday, but there will still be trim to put up and new curtains to make, which I won't be able to do until I return to Denver. Even so, it is fantastic to be making progress on the house.


As a result of all this activity, I haven't had much time for either stitching or writing, but I have finished one of the four projects I brought with me, a tea towel for my neighbor. She invited me to tea at her house next weekend and I thought it would be fun to make her a little gift. She has three boys, so something girly is definitely in order.


My husband challenged me to use different stitches this time, instead of just outlining the crayon figures. I took his challenge to heart and used stem, back, chain, buttonhole, satin, cast-on and bullion stitches. I like it, but I like the wine towels better.


Now that we've been watching the Olympics every evening, I'm making progress on a second project. It isn't the project I wanted to do second, but it was ready and waiting. That's the beauty of prepping projects in advance! I should have it done by next week and will try to get my third project prepped so I can start it right away.


It is amazing that with so little time, I am still getting so much done! Thank goodness for the little planning I did back in Denver. It has kept my stitching on track.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

First works

Do you have any of your very first embroideries? I don't have those first ones--the ones where I made up the stitches as I went along. But recently I asked my mother if she had kept any of those scraps of work--especially a heart that I made in 4th grade. I made it from a course pink cotton from the scrap box of fabric that my homeroom teacher kept. The heart was longer than wide and I embroidered, "I LOVE YOU" in red floss on the front before hand stitching it together and stuffing it. It was a Valentine's Day gift for my mom. Sadly, it has disappeared. It was popping its side stitches when I made it, so I am not surprised. But it hung on Mom's bulletin board in her sewing room for decades.


Mom did find another early gift that I made her one Christmas, after I read somewhere, likely in Little Women or something similar, that flannel kept needles from rusting. I must have made this little needle book in 5th grade. I had learned to use the sewing machine, but obviously had a lot to learn about sewing! The embroidery is done with floss straight off the skein in split stitch. I doubt I even use a hoop.


The raw edges are all simply folded over and stitched and the closure was just a piece of string poked through the fabric and knotted. Very simple, but since it was sewn on the machine, rather than by hand, it has lasted longer than the heart-shaped pin cushion. In fact, it is over 30 years old!

So happy Valentine's Day this week and three cheers for moms who keep homemade gifts--no matter how homely!