My current work schedule leaves me only a few precious hours for personal pursuits, especially the large projects like my weaving or fine needlepoint. I miss the feeling of satisfaction that comes from making a big idea into a big finished work. So in the evenings after work I am focusing on smaller projects to give myself the boost that only comes from seeing a finished project. I’ve been doing some quick embroidery sketches.
Just as in my family painting series (four of which are languishing neglected on my easel), I like to try to give my images in fibre bold lines or exaggerated traits. I’ve started a series of women quickly sketched in black lace-weight thread. Then with each woman I target one thing about her to highlight.
Women are defined narrowly in popular culture. By our beauty, our hair, our lips, our eyes , or our clothes. I decided to run with that and define each of the sketches by one of those things.
The series is below. I’m enjoying not only the more immediate sense of accomplishment that come with the speed of the work, but also the textures I can create. Whereas in painting I can add only line and colour, in fibre I’ve begun working on textures like hair in addition to colour and line. It’s pretty to test stitches and thread weights.
I’ll be working on this series for a while yet because it makes me happy, and because it’s helping me improve my embroidery skills. I consider this training up to tackle some really big ideas kicking around my head.
Hubby and I have spent a good portion of the winter sitting in our cozy living room working on our personal crafty projects. He makes things out of leather, I make things out of fibre. Crafty couples are happy couples.
I’ve made progress on several projects.
Needlepoint Table Runner I made a sketch on craft paper to use as a guide, then stitched together three, three foot lengths of Aida cloth. The finished project will be a runner just shy of nine feet long. When it’s done I will edge it so it will likely end up about 15 inches wide. It’s taken me just over a year to finish a 27 inch long section. It’s definitely a multi-year project.
365 Day Embroidery Challenge I got this idea from an article on Facebook. I started on Jan 1, 2017 with my embroidery co-conspirator Ashleigh. I make some basic stitches with thicker strands of thread. Looking at Ashleigh’s finer work I decided I was falling behind because my inability to focus close (old age sucks) so I bought some cheaters and am now able make the finest stitches. As I chose the project because I wanted to master the satin stitch, the cheaters are a blessing.
Woven Placemats My always doting husband bought me a 24 inch rigid heddle loom for Christmas. After weaving a few throw away bits of cloth I decided my first full project would be a set of placemats. I bought five skeins of yarn in complimentary colours and tried to sketch some pattern ideas in crayon, but in the end just ended up warping the loom with no plan. The resulting plaid was gorgeous. So far I have five placemats done and five more on the loom.
Celtic Cross-stitch Triptych I came across a half finished cross-stitch of a Celtic inspired boar in a dusty box last year. I finished it up on planes and in airports. It pleased me. As my husband has often noted I tend to do things in multiples, and in true form I decided to make a triptych. I started a raven on planes and in airports over our Christmas holidays. We go to New Orleans soon and I’ll be taking the project with me. On some future trip I will stitch a salmon.
Winter isn’t over, but a spring deadline for the interior arts looms large. I figure I have until the crocuses bloom to work on these projects un-distracted.
I have been cross stitching for years, but I have never sat down and really mastered the related art of embroidery. So when I came across a blog recently about a person who had stitched every day for 365 days I decided this would be just the project for me.
I shared my crafty plans on Facebook and a young woman who is friends with my son said she’s like to stitch along with me.
I have everything we need. I have two unused embroidery hoops. I have a large scrap of cloth that would work well for embroidering on. I have plenty of colourful bits and bobs of
embroidery yarn from past projects. And best of all, I have anaccomplice.
I’ve looked up the various stitches. I cut the fabric to fit the two hoops. Beyond that I have no plan. The plan is not to plan, just to do. Chaos lives in poorly thought out plans, but creativity lives in well thought out spontaneity, right?
Here we go, Jan 1, 2017. Day number one of 365.
See below for some stitching guidance if you want to try this yourself.