My first embroidery project, stem patterns from Sublime Stitching
I thought I didn’t like handwork. I’ve always dreaded hand-basting and hand-hemming when I sew. I get irritated when I have to slip-stitch the opening of a quilt together after I turn it.

But something about embroidery always seemed appealing to me. Truthfully, I think it’s all the pretty colors on the DMC floss wall. But it must be complicated, I told myself for years, and involve all kinds of intricate techniques and stitches and things that would stress me out.

 Then I picked up a copy of Sublime Stitching, by Jenny Hart in the bookstore one night about a year ago, and the wooing began in earnest! I put it on my wish list for my birthday a few weeks later, and my husband got it for me. It sat on my bookshelf untouched, but every week, I’d think, this will be the week I’m going to learn to embroider!

 One Sunday afternoon about two months ago, Max was napping, my husband was playing his guitar, and I found myself with a blissful 90-minute stretch with nothing to do (this never happens). I wasn’t really in the mood to sew, so I pulled out Sublime Stitching again, and within a half-hour, I was embroidering! I transferred her sampler/learn-to-embroider page onto some muslin (the whole idea of transferring gave me the shivers at first, but it is SO easy), and took my first stitches using some floss and an old hoop I found in the bottom of my sewing basket. Within minutes, I decided I loved it!

The next day (after a trip to the craft store for supplies) I started my first real project, some flower stems for a pillow (with sewn yo-yos for the flowers). For the next few nights, I sat down after the baby was in bed and the work was done, propped up my feet, watched something mindless on TV and embroidered away. It was so relaxing! I’ve heard Alicia Paulson talk on Craft Sanity  about how embroidering is what got her through recovering from a very bad car accident and many surgeries to her foot. I can completely understand that now. The repetitive motion of the needle back and forth through the fabric and the act of holding the floss and watching the pattern form has a way of numbing both the pain response and the stress response. When I’m embroidering, I feel so at peace (and trust me, I’m not a person who uses often phrases like “I feel so at peace”).

Ooh la la, cupcakes! Another Sublime Stitching transfer
A lovely cake plate. Do you sense a theme?
  Of course, my stitches are far from perfect! I’ve got the split spit, the satin stitch, and the French knot pretty well established, but I haven’t ventured much further. It’s still a learning curve, though I was excited to be able to embroider several Cliffords for a Clifford quilt that I made for Max for his first big boy bed (more on that later). I look forward to checking out the other Sublime Stitching embroidery books; Alicia Paulson also has a new book coming out this month, and I definitely have my eye on that. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what to do with these adorable cupcakes and cake plates I just finished the other day. As the last few (very uncomfortable) weeks of pregnancy descend on me, I can’t think a better way to spend my time!
5/17/2012 02:57:24 pm

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