Posts Tagged ‘embroidery’

Lyla’s Banner

A very special little girl is turning two the day before my birthday. I so enjoyed making this name banner for her bedroom!

Lyla's banner

The letters were cut from an unwanted felted wool sweater and machine appliqued. I wonder if her mother will be able to place that sweater from our high school days.

with felted wool letters

The flowers at each end are adapted from Sandi Henderson’s Sewing Bits and Pieces.  Although she used them for sachets, I knew immediately that I wanted to use them for a name banner.  As per Sandi’s directions, the petals are cut from wool felt and fused on the linen.  From there the embroidery was pure play.

Lyla's daisy

Don’t you love Sandi’s generous use of french knots? And, here’s the other one.  I added the little dragonfly since Lyla’s room has a girly bug theme.

Lyla's wildflower

Happy Birthday, Lyla!  A package is on its way to you this week.

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Life is good when your embroidery floss is tidily stored on thread bobbins.  Life is even better when your bobbins smile back at you.

Cute. Thread Bobbins

Cute.  AND useful!  Download your printable here.

I’ve set to work winding my loose embroidery floss.  The geek in me loves that these little thread bobbins are color coded so that you can match their color to your floss.  Yah, it’s the little things.

a world of possibilities

This is my stash of tidy embroidery floss.  Now, don’t think I’ve been winding for weeks!  My mom picked up this handy organizer mostly filled with floss on bobbins from a yard sale.  Score!  I’ve been filling it in with hand-me-down embroidery floss once wound on my new bobbin friends.  So between winding and embroidering, I’ve been whiling away the time with Alias a few times a week.  We’re almost to the last season on DVD.  I think we’ll finish just before season premiers!

Hope you can use the cute printable 🙂

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Meditation in Stitches

The magic of needle and thread…

My breathing slows.

My focus centers, and yet discovers freedom to roam – to daydream, chat, smile at my children.

I emerge rested, alive.

And surprised.  How is it that simple stitches produce something so beautiful?

Meditation in Stitches

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at the Seashore

We spent Father’s Day weekend at the beach, camping with friends at Hunting Island, SC.  On the one hand, it was ridiculously HOT.  On the other hand, it was a wonderful, unforgettable trip.  You wouldn’t believe all the sea animals:  hermit crabs, live sand dollars, manta rays, blue craps, dolphins, sea turtles… even baby sharks caught at the pier.  Sand, sea and sun never fail to delight!

While on the road, I embroidered these snowflakes for my first Christmas project.  It was true serendipity that this sparkly silver thread was given to me by an old friend who found it in her attic just days before.

Embroidered Snowflakes

I also spent time pouring over Natalie Chanin’s two books:  Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style.  And, since one of my favorite skirts was stained on the trip, I’m going to have to put her clever applique techniques to work in order to rescue it.  But not yet.

Right now I’m starting a new project for Amy of Progressive Pioneer.  I’m creating a tutorial for her virtual baby shower.  More details coming!

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Wild Bunches Pillow

Once upon a time there was a little eggplant purple pillow that made all the other pillows on our sofa look ten times better.  Was it the 3 tufted buttons or its small rectangle shape?  The other pillows knew not, but they loved their little purple friend.

Then, along came a wild toddler who tore out the tufted buttons time and time again.  When nothing could be done to save the pillow, it was banished to a closet where it languished for years.  Occasionally mama bumped into it on moving days and the like, but generally the poor pillow was lost to all.

Until one day, when mama was drinking in the pages of Katherine Shaughnessy’s The New Crewel, she came across this page, entitled “Wild Bunch”:

The New Crewel

At last, a solution!  She set off to work making up this quick crewelwork pattern in a long, rectangle design that would suit our pillow friend.

Wild Bunches of The New Crewel

Out she yanked the last button!  With basting pins the finished crewelwork was pinned, then hand stitched to the front. And, voila!  The long-lost pillow returned once more to its square pillow friends, new and old.

Wild Bunches At home

P.S.  Let’s hope Living Color Pillow won’t be jealous.

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This weekend I spent a total of 7 hours in the car on a business trip to Atlanta.  My mom and business partner drove, so my hands were free as we chatted about this, that, the other and everything in between.  It was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at crewel embroidery.  Yes, crewel.  Odd name, I know.

I recently came across  The New Crewel by Katherine Shaughnessy when searching for modern embroidery books/projects on Amazon.  The designs inside are as delicious as the whimsical “Birthday Candle” motif on the cover.  Most are nature-inspired, and all have a chunky look that’s signature to crewel.  Apparently, crewel has been around for ages, but has lost popularity since its last heyday in the 70’s.  Traditionally it is done with wool crewel thread, which is more like yarn than like embroidery floss, and on linen twill.  Katherine’s book stays true to tradition but her designs are decidedly modern.

I love stitching.  When watching TV with my husband or riding along on a trip, I’d rather embroider than knit or crochet.  I settled on this twisted tree design from “The New Crewel.”  It reminds me of the gorgeous oak trees that arch over roads in low country South Carolina.  After tracing the design on a piece of natural linen/cotton Essex fabric, I packed my mother’s old crewel thread (there it was, mixed in with the embroidery floss she had passed down to me – what a happy surprise!) and set off.

WIP Twisted Trees

Here’s how far I got with at least 6 hours of stitching!  Wow, this is NOT quick work!  Or, I’m incredibly slow…  But, I love the process, so no problem!  I have another, lighter shade of green for the other tree in this design.  When it’s done, I think it’d look nice patched on a purse.  What do you think?  Any other ideas?

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Come, take a peak at a project I’m working on, inspired by “Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Products for the Modern Sewist” by Meg McElwee! Meg’s book is a gorgeous introduction to the art of applique – sewing fabric patches or shapes onto a background fabric. Her directions are clear, detailed and accompanied by great pictures. She even gives specific recommendations for sourcing unusual supplies.

I am a newbie to both applique and embroidery. Meg’s excellent how-to primer at the back of the book, enabled me to use both skills with ease and utmost enjoyment on my latest project: Panel Curtains for Aria’s room. Take a look at Meg’s design for “Woodland Curtains” straight out of Sew Liberated:

I love everything about these panel curtains – the use of 2 background fabrics, the ribbon used as a dividing line and as curtain tabs and the applique design. My daughter’s old curtains were made of a bold stripe fabric from Ikea. I decided to use the stripe as the upper fabric and some solid pink I had on hand for the lower third. Since I didn’t have enough pink fabric, I chose to add a natural linen rectangle in the center of the lower third portion of the curtain. That natural linen serves as a perfect background for applique. With a few quarter yards of dot and stripe Lecien prints for the applique pieces, I had my fabric pool:

Now I LOVE Meg’s squirrel, but I felt it would add just one more design element into my daughter’s not-so-pulled-together room. One night as I sat in Aria’s room, mulling this over, I realized I could take pictures of some designs already in her room and then print them out to use as applique patterns! I’m sure this is not a new idea, but I have to say it makes it so easy! I took the bird from Jellybean Tree, which hangs above her dresser, and a flower motif from her lamp. Before printing, I used photoshop to create several sizes of the flower motif.

Next came the best part – using fusible web (thanks to Sew Liberated) to cut out the applique pieces from my fabric stack. Fusible web sticks to the wrong side of your fabric, to stabilize and make cutting small shapes a breeze. Then you simply place the pieces onto your background fabric and iron to fuse them in place. You can add decorative stitching… or not. I chose to make the bird applique without fusible web, using the raw edge applique method. Fusible web does add a stiffness to your work, which might interfere with the drape of the curtains if used on the large bird shape. Thanks for that tip, Miranda!

So fun! Lastly, I used some newly learned embroidery stitches also from Sew Liberated to add simple lines to my picture. And, let me tell you, embroidery is a great way to pass the time in the car or while watching TV. So mindless and so very satisfying. I used a chain stitch for the ground line and a stem stitch for the stems. Do you think I should add leaves? I like the simple/modern look of the design now, but wonder about adding leaves…

Now I just need to finish up my second linen panel for the opposite curtain and then do the final piecing together with the solid pink and bold stripe portions. I found some natural linen ribbon for the dividing line and curtain tabs. I’ll have to update this post when it’s all put together!

If you’re interested in seeing more from Sew Liberated, check out Meg’s website and blog, where you can see a detailed preview of the book, including the forest scene framed clock that I’m also working on! My thanks to Meg’s publisher for my own copy.

UPDATE: Here are some finished pictures of Aria’s Wildflower Curtains. I did leave the embroidery work pretty simplified, without leaves, trying to retain a modern vibe (though I couldn’t resist adding a pink decorative stitch to the linen ribbon). Now I’m dreaming of a quilt for Aria, to finish off her room….

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