Friday, August 19, 2011

Embroidery Practice

As I mentioned in my "Updates" post, I purchased the Daisychain ABCs Embroidery Sampler from Posie Gets Cozy earlier this summer. I loved the look of the finished sampler and it seemed like it would be a lot of fun to stitch up. However, when it arrived I felt a little intimidated by it. It involved quite a number of different embroidery stitches, most of which I had never done. Also, it was crewelwork, which means that instead of using cotton embroidery floss, you use wool yarn, something I had not worked with in embroidery. Now, I understand that the original purpose of a sampler was to practice your embroidery stitches, but since I wanted to display this in the baby's room I really wanted it to look nice and not like somebody's first attempt at crewelwork.

So, I decided that, as a first step, I would practice the new-to-me embroidery stitches on something a little less dear. To that end, I went to the Embroidery Basics series put together by Mollie at Wild Olive. I particularly wanted to see how she did the stem stitch because I anticipated having a little trouble with it since I am a "stabber" when it comes to embroidery, not a "sewer." With that post, there was a free practice pattern (pdf) designed by Mollie so you could practice your stem stitch. I downloaded the pdf, transferred the design to white muslin using a micro-tip marker, and got to work.

Using this cute little pattern, I practiced chain stitch, backstitch, stem stitch, long and short stitch, satin stitch, fern stitch, and horizontal flat stitch:

The horizontal flat stitch is not represented in the Daisychain sampler, but one that I found in a book* while looking for instruction on fly stitch (which was not part of the Wild Olive series and I didn't quite understand the stitch diagram that came with the sampler). The book suggested horizontal flat stitch specifically for leaves, so I thought I'd give it a try. Unfortunately, you can't really tell the difference between it and the satin stitch in this photo, but it does look different in person. Also, you can see that I did the stem stitch two different ways--the traditional "sewing" way and a modified way found on the Wild Olive blog that I felt much more comfortable with and produced (in my opinion) a neater stitch.

So, after completing this practice piece, I decided to start on the Daisychain sampler itself. So far, the work has gone well, though working with the wool does take a bit of getting used to. In particular, it's very difficult to thread the needle and I find myself not wanting to rip out stitches that are wonky because it's such a pain in the butt to get the needle rethreaded. I'm using a needle-threader now, even though I had always considered needle-threaders a tool for the weak. :)

Returning to my little leaf sampler, even though it is a practice piece, I find that I'm kind of attached to it and pretty proud of the way it turned out. Therefore, I'm thinking about doing a couple other nature-themed little samplers and displaying them together somewhere in some simple hoop frames. There are lots of free embroidery patterns online, I'm sure I can find something that goes nicely with my little leaves.

*The Good Housekeeping Needlecraft Encyclopedia, ed. Alice Carroll, 1947. I picked this up at a used book sale a number of years ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment