elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finished these this morning and hung the display up at work this afternoon. I spent most of the time this morning futzing with my satin stitch. I just hate doing that one.


I love the red one, and I like the idea of the yellow/multi one, but. . . it didn't cohere perfectly. The big purple eyebrow at the top looks clunky and out of place, but I needed somewhere to put my satin stitch. Also the yellow-on-yellow doesn't show up much. I knew I wanted a gold tone in there but this one was just too close to the fabric color. I used what I had around.

I do love the way the shading stitch came out, though. Funny, that stitch never looks very good until you step back from it. And I like the way the 3-part motif ended up at the bottom.


The yellow one as you can see is mounted in the hoop; the red one is sewn over a piece of foamcore board.


I am so glad I did two of them because they have such different looks. Hopefully they will attract students to take the class!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I have a beginning embroidery class coming up, and I am stitching displays to hang in the store for promoting the class.

Still damp from blocking but you get the idea.


Stitches from top to bottom: running, wrapped running, stem, chain, back, herringbone, cross, feather, split, couching, laid filling, satin, long and short, french knots, speckling. It seems like a lot to cover, but theirs will be much smaller, and those linear stitches go pretty quickly.

I am planning a second display. One thing I have learned is that people really respond to color more than anything else, so I am making the next one in modern brights.

I also plan to display it in the hoop because that is still so hip these days.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Finally finished these and I really couldn’t be happier with them. I took these photos out on the porch but they are now hanging in F’s room and really brighten it up. Aside from one frame of family photos, this is the only real decoration in there.

Detail photos and notes )

Yay, done!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I finished the tree piece in this set. I might go back and add a little more detail, but I’m not sure, and anyway all the main parts are done.

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do the leaves and left them until last. I tried a backstitch, stem stitch, and satin stitch, but none of them had the effect I was going for. I finally decided to just use a plain simple lazy daisy stitch, and it’s perfect.

Here’s a little peek.

Now I’m going to go back to the urn piece to add more detail to the flowers. I don’t want to photograph them in their completed state until they are framed and totally done. Which means I need to get around to painting the frames, too.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
 I have two projects going right now.

Coquille, the little mini mochi shawlette, which I am halfway through.  I picked up a mod idea on Ravelry to keep the corners symmetrical, which is worked at the halfway point, changing the place where you begin decreasing.  I'm decreasing now and I've just joined the 2nd ball of yarn.  The colors are still flowing pretty well, but it bugs me a little that there is no discernible pattern to the color changes.

 Applique embroidery hangings - anyone remember these?  The urn is more or less done, but I may go back and add some more details later.  I've been working on the tree all week.  All the little fruits are now outlined and I am filling in the trunk and branches.  I don't know why I gave up on these.  I guess I just had more exciting stuff going on.  It took me a couple days to get back into the rhythm of this, but now I am enjoying it a lot.

When these are done, I have a few new plans for big exciting projects!  I really want to tie up all my loose ends first, though.  There are actually several things I am eager to work on, but I will try to keep it to only one or two at a time so I don't get overwhelmed.

Urn so far

Jul. 29th, 2010 10:05 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

The urn so far. 

The design I started with had this odd little stylized filler piece at the base of the stems, but I couldn't figure out how I wanted to embroider it, and when I tried to stick a piece of applique on for it, it looked stupid, so I decided I would leave it off and just extend the stems down.

Well, that made the mass of stems look pretty scraggly, so I added an extra row of stitching on each flower stem to make them thicker.  The leaf stems are still just one row.

Cotton floss has a tendency to float on the surface of the fabric, which is sometimes nice but sometimes annoying.  With stem stitching, it means you see a row of floaty loops when looked at from any angle other than straight-on.  Pulling the floss tight only puckers the fabric.

I solved this by threading the tail through the running stitches (the backs of the stem sts) on the WS for the length of the stems.  This drew up the stitching on the back just enough to snug the cotton down on the RS and make it lie smooth.  Actually, the back looked so nice, too, that I think I will use a laced running stitch on the RS at some point in the future.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Picked these up for $2 and $1.50 at a garage sale.

Item #1: This was labeled "embroidery frame," and was a totally disassembled taped-together bundle, so I thought it was a square tabletop frame. It looks like it is not a frame at all, but a stand. I can't figure out how it is supposed to work.

It looks too high to be a tabletop stand and too short to be a floor stand, so. . . ?

I figured that the pieces with rubber feet are the base, but that's about as far as I got!

Cut for lots of photos )

Any ideas?


elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I started my next sweater, Retrograde, last week and I am now about 1.25 balls of yarn (of 11) into it.  It's a top-down round-yoke pullover and it has some interesting cabling which I am enjoying.

The sweater is designed to be reversible, so I am trying to hide my ends neatly.  The yarn is a superwash, so spit-splicing wouldn't work (and I have never had much luck doing that anyway).  When I joined the second ball of yarn, I made a Russain join, but it was hard to make it hold and the very ends made little tufts anyway.  But it was the best I could do, and a few rows later, I went back and sewed down the tiny tufts with a single ply of the yarn (it has 4 plies) that I pulled from a scrap end. It looks almost invisible, certainly better than leaving it alone, and now I plan to sew down the ends on all the upcoming joins with a single ply.

I've also been working on my applique pieces.  I've almost finalized the layout of the tree piece and I have put a couple hours of stitching into the urn piece.  I fused the shapes with paper-backed adhesive web and I am stitching them down with little stitches and all-purpose sewing thread.  Then I'm outlining the shapes with matching pearl cotton in a backstitch.  So far it is looking really nice.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Finally started on these applique hangings.  Actually, I started working on the design a couple months ago, but only started putting it together a few days ago.  The original designs came from a book of copyright-free folk art.  I took several designs, cut them up, and switched them around until I came up with these.


Nothing is fused yet.  I plan to embroider the details, but I need to find the right colors of floss.  I thought I had them, but now that everything is laid out, they don't look quite right.

I am perfectly happy with the layout of the urn (pink) piece, but I think the tree is missing something.  Maybe it will come together once it is embroidered, but I'm not sure.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I went to 3 Kittens the other day to get some Paternayan, my favorite cheap crewel wool.  Unfortunately, I found that they have stopped carrying it, but fortunately, a.) they have several new crewel wools; fancier and more expensive, but nice looking, and b.) there are 3 boxes of Paternayan skeins left, and they are on sale for 25 cents each.

So, I picked up a skien or two.  Or a few dozen.  Okay, 38 skeins.  But now I will not need to buy crewel wool for a while!  (Especially at the pace I seem to be using it.)  Anyway, Twin Cities area folk, I'd say get down there and get it before only the yucky colors are left (pastel yellow and goose blue).  I'm looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] undycat .

I managed, finally, to make some sewing time yesterday.  I finished sewing my new long-sleeved printed T-shirt and most of a second one.  I think I am going to rip the ribbing off the neckline and re-do it lower, though.  It's just a smidge too high, and I absolutely cannot stand a chokey neckline.

Every one?

Mar. 19th, 2010 07:53 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I picked up a couple bargains at Half Price Books the other day.  Among them was a 1971 crewel and embroidery manual which included the following claim on the back cover:

It amuses me.  Clearly, this is not only the greatest, but the only embroidery book ever produced, ever.

It almost makes me want to try to find the one stitch they didn't include.  But it is very comprehensive!

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I finally sat down and embroidered the faces on these.

I think they're teetering just on the edge of creepy (mostly because my mouth stitches are a little crooked, I guess) but I like them. The patterns (apple and pear) had really wide-set eyes and teeny mouths, but that's not quite my style.

Others have already mentioned the errors in the patterns, so I won't get into it, but I did make a few alterations. I also improvised my own leaf.

my improvised leaf )

Notes to self * about embroidering on knitting:

- Always make your stitches a little wider/longer than you think you want the finished size to be, because the stitches will sink into the knitting and look smaller.

- When embroidering circles (i.e. eyes) you don't need to make the edge stitches very short in order to make the shape look round.

- DO NOT pull your stitches tight. Do not even pull them snug. Do not pull them flat. Just let them be loose. In the end, they won't look messy. Really. Knitting stretches.

- Yes, you do still need to knot the ends, because yes, they will come out if you don't. Knot under the stitches you've just made, if possible, and weave the crap out the end.

- Draw your design on paper first.

I think I am done with toys for a little while now.  I want to finish my mitten and then start my new sweater.

* and other interested parties


Jun. 5th, 2009 07:55 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I love paisley.

Same 3 templates, same 5 colors, arranged differently on each one.  The felt didn't want to take marks, so I just pinned the paper template to the fabric and stitched the outline around it (using, alternately, backstitch, chain, or stem stitch) then filled in the motifs freehand. 

Looks like I'm going to do the backs in white felt since it's the only thing I can find with a matching texture. 

I'm trying to figure out if I really did just spend almost an entire week obsessing about potholders.  Well, aside from knitting one sweater cuff and general housework. . . yeah.


Jun. 4th, 2009 09:07 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Well, I meant to post photos of the completed embroidery now, but my computer is not playing nice and the photos do not want to upload.

Anyway, I finished all 3 pieces of embroidery and went to sew the potholders together.  Of course they didn't work out (since I either have a curse or I am reaping some instant karma from ignoring my real projects to dally about with embroidered household crafts) so I ripped them apart again.  I feel stupid now for not realizing that sewing wool/rayon felt to a piece of all-wool felted sweater will just turn out wonky, since the wool/rayon felt has NO give, while the felted sweater is still a little stretchy.

Now my dilemma is this: I need to either a.) make the backs of the potholders out of the white 100% wool felt I've already got, or b.) buy something new to finish the backs.  White will get dirty and gross in about 3.5 minutes in my kitchen, but I don't want to waste my precious little sewing money on something with which to make a potholder.  Besides, I'm trying to not buy any new sewing crap right now at all.

At least the embroidery looks nice!  I really like it.  Now I just need to figure out a way to turn my 3 beautifully embroidered useless pieces of crap into something functional.


Jun. 2nd, 2009 10:29 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Yesterday I got a hankering to make some new potholders, since the ones I have now are really old and yucky. I made a set about 4 years ago; I quilted them, and now the batting is all exposed and keeps catching on fire. When I was at a craft fair at the state farigrounds a few weeks ago, I passed a booth with some really lovely potholders and oven mitts made of wool felt, wool being so much more flame retardant than other fibers, especially cotton.

I felted some thrift store sweaters about a year ago and stashed them with the store-boughten felt in my fabric bin. There was a nice piece that was once a cherry-red cashmere cardigan and I managed to get three 8" squares out of it.

Of course, I could have just layered the felt and finished the potholders there, but of course, I can't leave well enough alone, so I pulled out my box of wool embroidery threads and cut a few little paisley templates.

Yesterday I embroidered all of one and half of another. The motifs are pretty big and open and simple. I enjoy working on things like this, but at the same time, I feel kind of dorky and way-too-domestic for embroidering a potholder. I try to remind myself that I enjoy having the functional, everyday things in my life also be beautiful, and that I enjoy the process as much as the result, but on the other hand. . . I'm embroidering a potholder.

Anyway, I'll probably finish the set of 3 today and post photos tomorrow.  And then I really need to do something about my poor husband's suit.


May. 11th, 2009 08:53 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Okay, so my thoughts are a little scattered this morning.

I recently ran into doe-c-doe (probably through craft zine's blog, but I don't remember) and became enamored with the vintage embroidery transfers posted there. Some of them are cute, and some are a little creepy and some are both. I like the simple, line-drawing, running-stitch style.  Since my last embroidery project was an experiment in soft shading, which is more natural-looking, I think I want to play around with something more cartoony next.

Also, I was watching the public television last night and saw a documentary about loggerhead turtles.  The turtles were so beautiful, it made me think I should embroider some on something!

Then, of course, I started fantasizing about my next embroidery design.  It will feature all of my favorite animals, done in running stitch/line drawing style, all hanging out doing something together.

So far on the list:

Cow (of course)
Turtle or tortoise
Some kind of long-legged bird
Some crustacean

I think I also need a smiling tree and one other completely unrelated animal.  Or a robot.  Maybe they should be playing ninepins.  Or croquet.  I want it to look odd and old-fashioned and adorable, but not so adorable that it is insipidly sweet.

I just need to keep this separate from the other embroidery ideas I have rattling around, namely, the Baba-Yaga's hut and the happy vegetables.  Wouldn't want it to look overdone, now would I? ;)

The real question is, can I draw and/or collage a scene like this together?

elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

Blocked, bound, framed.

More photos and notes )

I'm really happy with it.  I had fun working on it, I got to learn two new stitches, and it turned out pretty!

I love crewel!

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)

I finished the embroidery yesterday and blocked it. It should be dry by now, so this afternoon I'll finish the edges and frame it. Yay!

Bad news: Two J. P. Ryan patterns I need want for the man + shipping = $50. Crap! I think I'll go back to the patterns I tried to draft/enlarge from last year and see if I can make them work.

Good news: Jas.Townsend has wool felt tricorns for $25, and tricorn-able wool felt blanks for $20. They also have a suitable ladies' wide, flat straw hat, so hopefully I can save on shipping from them.


Apr. 8th, 2009 11:42 am
elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

Yesterday I picked up the small crewel piece I started a few weeks ago.  I filled in the stems and leaves and thought I'd take a photo.

The stems are two rows of stem stitch.

Two stitches here were new to me: soft shading (or 'long and short') for the flower, and fly stitch for the leaves,  But this was the point of the project: I wanted to do something small so I could learn some new stitches, but end up with a completed piece (not a sampler).

I like the vein in the middle of the fly stitch leaves.  I think mine got a little warbly, but it looks okay.

I like the flower but I wish the shading was more dramatic.  I used really close shades because I worried they wouldn't blend, but maybe they are too close.

Anyway, I want to finish the two smaller flowers today so I can block it, then frame it.

elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

Well, I was waiting for something to inspire me, and it has.

I picked up Jane Rainbow's Beginners Guide to Crewel Embroidery at the used book store about a year ago. It explains a lot of things in a way I haven't been able to understand from other books. It really made me want to experiment with the soft shading, or 'long and short' stitch. The stitch is explained so well that it went from seeing terrifyingly hard to relatively achievable.

I dug up a reddish 5 x 7 picture frame I got a the thrift store a while ago, measured the visible area, and sketched a simple floral design based on one in the crewel book. I picked up a bunch of Paternayan wool few months ago when I started thinking about shading stitches, so I already had groups of close shades in various colors. I really wanted to use pink, but the orange and red looked better with the red frame.  I'm stitching on a white linen scrap.

I thought the stitch would be similar to working satin stitch: picky and difficult to get smooth. It's not. It's so easy! It's simple and you can cheat anywhere. The only part where it is like satin stitch is keeping the edges even.  Rainbow's best advice is "don't try to find the ends of the short stitches, but rather come up where you would like to see a stitch."

Anyway, I am having so much fun with it that I can't keep my hands off it and I am totally ignoring everything else.  It's not perfect (I think my shades are a little too close) but I am loving the way it looks and I want to get a photo of it soon.

January 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2017


Style Credit