Archive for July, 2008

This is a gift I’m making for my mom. She’s really into bees but I guess you could see that for yourself.

It’s in the early planning stages, obviously. There are many, many, many mistakes. I wasn’t pleased with the beehive on a branch band until the very bottom. And some of the bees are very weird.

But I couldn’t tell how my charted designs would look until I stitched them up so this is a learning process.

It’ll eventually take the form of a sampler, with bands of repeating motifs. I’m also going to be using bands of flowers from blackwork books.

(I can’t edit the pictures of my charted designs so when I can figure that out I’ll update this post.)


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The very first project of my return to embroidery was not the ribbon embroidery present for my grandmother. It was a Bucilla Creative Needlecraft kit No. 1958 called “Winter Morn.”

I chose this specifically because it reminded me of something my mother did. It was crewel (this used cotton floss) and there was a wagon wheel (this is sans wheel). But the perspective and general placement of the barn and the fence brought back strong memories of seeing her framed embroidery in the hallway.

Here are pictures of the instructions:

Detailed huh?  If sewing patterns are anything to go by I don’t know if we’d see this much information if this were a modern kit. This kit only required 4 stitches though: loop, back, couching, straight and satin.

It was a learning experience though. Here are some pictures of the work in progress:

I was working with a hoop then. It was easier for me to use a small hoop, since I was working really slowly and got very little done in one sitting.

Unfortunately, all that repositioning meant my hands came in contact with the fabric a lot and the pristine winter snow was quite dirty by the time I’d finished. I washed it and almost ruined the project. The red from the barn – but not the fence – bled like crazy. Nothing worked: salt, vinegar, gallons of cold water. This prompted a late-night run to the grocery store and I picked up something called Carbona Color Run Remover and Shout Color Catcher sheets.

I tested the color run remover and it did stop the bleeding but it also changed the colors. Reds became light orange, browns became green–it was almost worse. Maybe it would have worked differently with modern dye.

So then I moved on to the Color Catcher sheets and about ten sheets and several buckets of water later the color was stable. They really worked and I wholeheartedly recommend them if you’re at your wit’s end.

I don’t have a picture of the completed kit because I haven’t mounted it yet. It’s a behemoth – it requires a 22″ x 28″ frame!

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Like most people, I have craft ADD. Here are some pictures of my first but not current love: Ribbon embroidery.

This is my grandmother’s Christmas gift half finished. I got really into folk art and bought a bunch of books (bad me!) and chose this image from Pennsylvania Dutch Designs (International Design Library).

The other books in the picture are: Folk Art Cut & Use Stencils, Scandinavian Folk Designs (Dover Design Library), Russian Folk Arts and Crafts, European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) and 250 Stencil Designs from India (Dover Design Library).

Whenever I get into a craft I think it’s the best possible craft and no other form can compare to the wonderfulness of that particular form. I liked how dimensional ribbon embroidery was, how quickly things stitched up, and the relative accessibility.

On the other hand, silk ribbon isn’t available locally and I’m hesitant to buy loads of silk ribbon over the internet (about the only thing I won’t buy I think).

Here are some shots of my grandma’s present finished:

I put it in a “Collection Cabinet” from Michael’s so that the embroidery wouldn’t get smooshed and the viewer can open the frame and touch it. It’s impossible to resist touching the stitches so I decided to make it easy on whoever ends up looking at it.

She cried when I gave it to her. She said, “It’ll last long after I’m gone.”

To which I replied, “Oh, Grandma! That’s because the ribbons are polyester.”

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