For as long as I can remember, my mom has been sewing/quilting/cross-stitching and from a young age I've always been interested in whatever she was working on. So when she was put on bed rest during her pregnancy with my little sister, she needed a way to "entertain" me from the comfort of the couch. The answer was cross-stitch. This picture was taken when I five and now almost 20 years later, I am still hooked!
Laura Bray is a designer, writer and lifestyle expert. She inspires creative women to live a life of balance & simplicity by sharing her modern twist on traditional home arts. Whether you stitch, cook, are raising children or just want to be a better housekeeper, you are sure to find great tips and tutorials on her blog at www.katydiddys.blogspot.com. This is her embroidery story:
I started to embroider when I was about 10 years old. I stitched a funky, 1970’s mushroom. (Oddly, it would be back in style now!) Once I finished that project, I was hooked. I embroidered so much that I ended up straining my eyes and needed reading glasses! At some point, I abandoned my stitching. Maybe all the distractions of my teen years drew me away. And, sadly, all my childhood embroidery work was lost in a fire on my parent’s property a few years ago.
Then, a few years ago, I came across Jenny Hart’s book, Sublime Stitching. All my fond memories of embroidering as a young girl came flooding back. I grabbed the book and some supplies and began to stitch again.
I also enjoy embroidering my own sketches. It’s such a fun way display artwork in a new format.
For my fellow embroidery lovers, I’ve created a cute Thanksgiving themed pattern. I call it “Turkey in Love”, and I think we all know that this love story will end in tragedy. Stitch it onto a large napkin and line your roll basket with it.
An Embroidery Story from Carla Crim, Scientific Seamstress
Today we have another extra special treat. Carla from Scientific Seamstress is here with her story and a fabulous free project for you. Now before you move on, be warned, you could faint from the level of adorable. So no standing while reading or using your mobile devices, please.
Thank you so very much for stopping by today, Carla. I just know readers are going to be in love.
Embroidery Story by Carla Crim
Before I was the Scientific Seamstress, I made one-of-a-kind outfits for collectors' dolls. I started out with 18" dolls, but worked my way down to small (10") and super-small dolls (7.5" and 5.5"). Constructing tiny, realistically scaled garments was a fun challenge, but most of all, I loved the embellishment process.
I learned how to embroider as I went along, mostly from books and the internet. Doll clothes were a great "canvas" for trying out new stitches and techniques. I dabbled in floss, silk ribbon, and applique (sometimes all at once).
The bodice is the typical focal point of an outfit. This is a great space to set a theme, or just create a beautiful stitched floral arrangement.
Skirt hemlines are also a wonderful place to embroider. You can do an all-around small motif that echos the bodice, or add a large arrangement in the center front.
Sleeves and collars are fair game, too...and why not shoes while we're at it? And we mustn't forget hats!
I've put together a pattern for a simple 10" doll dress. It has sweet, vintage styling, and is just perfect for embroidery. It is actually very easy to make, and has the look of a couture heirloom.
Even if you don't have a doll that size, the little dress looks darling on a miniature hanger or dress form. It would even make a great holiday ornament or package decoration. Once you have this size mastered, you can try scaling down 75% to make a super small sized dress. Or, scale up appropriately and make clothes for other dollies in your life (120% for 12", 180% for 18", etc).
From Paloma Nunez-Regueiro of Three Kitchen Fairies, this story will be the first in a series of your embroidery stories. Submit yours by emailing me at Bari at BariJonline dot com.
By Paloma Nunez-Regueiro
My first recollection of an embroidery is my big girl's bed sheets. I remember caressing the satin stitches of the heart-shaped flowers that my mother embroidered with a floss in orangy shades on a set of pastel yellow bed sheets. Growing up I remember my mother stitching for long afternoons while my brother and I played in the yard. I always wondered what was that strange power that took her so far away in her mind... I was mesmerized by the embroidery patterns printed in tracing paper. She kept them by her night table, and from time to time I went to that place to unfold them and look at all the little flowers on the pattern, full of swirling little stems, and leaves.
I was always drawn toward anything crafty, and colorful: from friendship bracelets to cuts of fabrics that I bought with my allowances. Around my tenth birthday I learned my first embroidery stitches; satin stitch was always the most difficult.
Time went by and my love for crafts and art landed me in college. I earned a degree in Fine Art from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology in NY) I double majored in painting and printmaking. As soon as I finished studying I got pregnant. At that time I was warned about the dangers of painting solvents, and how printmaking acids and fumes could harm my unborn child.
I was happy for my pregnancy, and sad for my career as an artist. I got slower as my belly grew larger; I had to look for something to keep myself busy, and kill some time from the long wait.
I looked in the public library for crafts books, and found myself face to face with embroidery and all the memories of my embroidered bed sheets, and embroidery patterns of my childhood. My first embroidery at that time was my own design: little white ships on a light blue flannel baby sheet. I found myself embroidering in the same way as I would carve into a wood printmaking plate, in the same direction of the grain, with no borders. My fear for satin stitches made me use a running stitch that went up and down the ships' bodies filling the space with white floss. I was happy that besides the traditional stitches there was a lot of room for "free style" stitching. I also felt free to make my own patterns. Although there are many talented embroidery pattern makers (Follow the White Bunny is one of my favorites) I mostly embroider my own creations or I use pictures from the web to turn into embroidery patterns for personal use.
Embroidery brought me full circle into my childhood memories. I discovered the magic that took my mother's mind away while holding her embroidery hoop, needle and floss. I guess in my case (and I guess my mother's case too) embroidery gave me a space that I can control to perfection. Those first years of motherhood are quite uncertain and full of chaos. We can't fully control our lives, marriages and children. In the midst of that chaos I found that when stitching I could control the perfecting of the technique, I could unstitch and try again without harming anyone. I had the freedom to choose my pattern, and floss color, the stitches, the time to finish a project. Embroidery is that little grand place that saves us from the world.
The French knots came later, when my baby girl grew a bit, she asked to learn embroidery. We got her the Klutz Embroidery Book, and we learned the French knots together. Hopefully the French knots will bring her full circle again.