Friday, January 8, 2010


I haven't touched a skein of embroidery floss since I made knotted friendship bracelets in gradeschool and I'm not a huge fan of traditional embroidery, but this summer at the Lucketts Fair I met an artist who makes beautifully embroidered pins.  (I just noticed she posted some new ones! I love her story for the Madonna shrine. And the picture here is on her business card - love it!)  Come to find out, there are whole books of contemporary embroidery.  (The concept of "the rest of the bookstore outside the jewelry books & magazines section" has eluded me.)  I got this book along with 10 skeins of floss (still only 37 cents retail), a threader, two hoops, a pack of needles, and a thimble during a Jo-Ann Fabrics binge in December.  (Sometimes I just need a break from jewelry.)  I've had a crush on crewel ever since I saw it featured on a beautiful coverlet in Martha Stewart Living several years ago.  I can't be bothered to find the tear-sheet to scan; I can see it in my head just fine.

For Christmas I got this book (Thanks, Tom & Jen) and brought it with me to the beach.  I have a habit of buying how-to books and never reading them, so I figured I'd take advantage of cabin fever.  I always debate about whether to use practice materials when I'm learning a new techniqe in jewelry, because what if it comes out lovely the first time?  Then I can't sell it.  Nevertheless, I used my least favorite thread color on scrap muslin and embroidered a perfectly cute bird and branch (I know this motif shocks you).  Split stitch, backstitch, French knots, check, check, check.  Then I tried a sampler of little flowers using the actual colors I'd normally choose.  Lazy daisy, star, fly, long-and-short.  And now I have to create something out of these little squares of muslin that I refuse to admit are just practice.

The Lazy Embroiderer...  I shamelessly start my embroidery with a knot at the back instead of trapping the end under stitches as I go.  I have yet to find a good reason not to knot, and will continue to do so until it keeps me up at night, knowing there are knots on the reverse side of my embroidery.  For those purists I've just offended, will you please share how you store your skeins of embroidery floss, other than wrapping around cards made specifically for this?  I can't be bothered to card-wrap, but I think there's a better way to organize than piling.  Mom, stop laughing, that is not as enigmatic as one might hope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find this so interesting, how the wheel goes round or rather life. I have so many pieces from your Grandma Nicolayson. Most are part done, some just books. one called the Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by M Ryan. She was a wonderful seamstress as is your Mom. Yes, you can create out of practice pieces even if they are just bed spreads for Olivia's doll house beds some day.
Stay warm it is only 8 below today.
Nancy Edwards