Monday, January 27, 2014

Framing Day

On Thursday, I framed all of the original projects I have made so far.  My friend Cassie took time out of her busy schedule to help me.

I love the look of framing embroidery in the hoop, and it is much more economical than buying a frame or getting it framed professionally.  It seemed easy, yet I was afraid to actually do it for a while.  What if I tried, and damaged my beautiful embroidery?  It is a fear that a lot of beginning stitchers have.

We tried to use fabric glue, but the kind I bought did not work well in attaching fabric to wood or metal.  We ended up using a hot glue gun--on the low setting, and in small amounts.  I think the result works beautifully, and I am sure that it will get easier the more times I do it.  We also glued ribbon around the outer hoop for a final decorative touch.

I just hung the pieces in this spot to take pictures.  I will need to find a permanent spot for my Cymbeline quote.

For the Winnie the Pooh quote, I felt that the piece did not need very much embellishment since the fabric is very busy.  I just added some straight stitches to one cluster of leaves, herringbone stitch for texture on a branch, and French knot eyes on the birds.  The ribbon on the outside is red and white striped.

Once it gets warm enough for me to leave the house without risking frostbite, I will ship the piece to its final destination.  I hope the woman I made this for is pleased with the final product.  I am going to auction off another embroidered quote at an event soon, and I can't wait to find out what I will be working on next.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stitching Goals for 2014

I've never really been in the habit of making New Years resolutions, at least for the usual calendar year.  It always made more sense to me to set goals for myself in September or October.  That was the time when the start of the school year and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, coincided, so it seemed natural to use those as an opportunity to start fresh.  With so many year long stitch-alongs and other projects beginning in January, I thought I would use this as a time to set out some goals for growing my embroidery skills this year:

1.  Finish, finish, finish!
Obviously, I want to finish the projects that I have in my "crafting queue."  I still need to complete the rest of my Drop Cloth Samplers of the Month, get started on the Torah mantle, finally figure out how to construct the Torah binder . . . In the past, it was hard for me to get the most stitching out of my day because most of my apartment has bad lighting.  Fortunately, my mom saved my grandmother's old OttLite, and it works wonders.  More saturday night stitching for me!  I also want to try a technique I read about to keep on track with a project.  Every day, I set a timer for 30 minutes and work on a specific project until the timer goes off.  That way, I can make progress on a project every day instead of waiting for a time when I'm "in the mood" for a marathon stitching session.

Luckily, I've gotten a head start on finishing my UFOs (un-finished objects).  I've completed Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler for 2013!

2.  Submit another entry into the State Fair.
I learned a lot from my experience in entering the State Fair, so I want to submit another entry.  I'm not going to make grandiose goals to submit more items or make the things I submit more complicated.  I just want to start working on my project earlier so that I can stitch at a more leisurely pace.

3.  Try a new technique for transferring patterns.
So far, all of my projects are ones that are either already printed on fabric, or they are ones I draw on fabric with a regular pencil.  This year I would like to try a new technique for transferring patterns onto fabric myself.  The least expensive is to tape a paper with a pattern onto a lit window, tape fabric over that, and trace the pattern onto the fabric with a pencil or water-soluble pen.  If drawing on a window is too tricky, the same thing can be accomplished with a light box, which are available at art stores.  They can be pricey, but I do have a milestone birthday coming up . . .

4.  Learn blackwork.
Out of all traditional styles of embroidery, the one I find the most fascinating is blackwork.  It is a type of counted thread technique that usually involves black silk thread on white evenweave fabric (though today it can be made with a variety of threads, and some embroiderers use other colors for different effects). Pictures are stitched with thick black outlines and fillings of intricate geometric patterns.  A stitcher can play around with shading by changing the number of strands of thread, or adding and subtracting lines in the pattern.  The problem with learning how to embroider in this style is that all the lines in a filling pattern need to be stitched in a certain sequence, and there aren't too many beginner-friendly guides available for learning the right order.  A few of my friends are interested in learning more about blackwork, so maybe if we band together we can find a way to learn.  For some more resources and examples of blackwork (including the technique in other colors), check out &Stitches.

What are your stitching goals for 2014?