Last week I completed my most favorite pillow ever. I’m calling it my favorite because of the most perfect to me fabrics I used and the most time consuming embroidery work I’ve ever done. I carried the embroidery part around for a month stabbing at it with my needle over and over and over again.
Today I wanted to share why I so love embroidery and what it means to me.
Where I learned to embroider
I learned how to embroidery in a Creativebug class. This one here. I was addicted from the very start, but even loving it so much I still can’t find time everyday to fit it in. I just simply love too many handcrafts!
Still, I find myself making time when I can. Instead of feeling the need to be working on some quilt every single day (which I truly do), embroidery is more of an enjoyment than a passion for me. I think it’s good to have both!
I started collecting vintage embroideries long before I ever learned the skill myself. Rebecca Ringquist is an excellent teacher and I can’t say enough about her.
Why I love embroidery
Embroidery is slow. It almost forces you to move slow, think slow, and just stop with the rushing about. I find it incredibly therapeutic. I can take it with me anywhere and do it during anytime I find myself sitting, which is exactly what I did with this pillow. You don’t need many supplies, just a few and most of those (besides the thread) you can use over and over again.
Embroidery makes me think of English novels (that I love), of ladies sitting around their parlour with cups of tea and small pastries. It’s making something beautiful with only your hands, no machines needed. I can sit in a completely quiet room with only my thoughts to keep me company or I can sit with the kids chaotic around me, loud, and keep up with their conversations easily. Not much thinking is required of embroidery. My mind is free to go where it wants.
My favorite way to embroider is not to use the fancy stitches, of which there are SO many. When I use them (and I do use them and love them), I find that some of them I always forget and have to go back to that Creativebug video and rewatch the stitch to make sure I get it right. Which is fine. I do it often. But I prefer to just use a very simple stitch. I guess I might call it a satin stitch or a basic stitch, either way my needle simply comes up from the back of my fabric to the front and then goes back into the fabric. There’s no special skill required of me, no memory to think back on. It’s just in and out, in and out.
I like to use mostly Pearl cotton and a sashiko needle. The pearl cotton is 8 weight and bulky, but any bulky thread will do, the sashiko needle is made for bulky thread. By using these materials, I’m able to make my embroidery appear and feel much thicker with less stitches to do so.
During the upcoming “I am Enough” quilt along that starts at the end of September, I’ll be teaching this very method and with these exact products. So if you’ve ever wanted to see it, please join in or just come back for that specific lesson.
The embroidery started with this fabric from Sharon Holland’s Signature collection. It’s a REALLY lovely fabric and the motif was screaming for me to embroider it. In doing so, I lost some of her tiny details (the black outlined leaves), but overall I’m very pleased with the look.
I kept the colors as close to her colors as I could get it.
This method of going over an already existing fabric motif is my new favorite. I still do a lot of freehand embroidery, but lately I’ve been stitching on top of fabric designs more and more.
Turning the embroidery into a pillow is new to me. It’s the first time I’ve done it that way. I’m a bit interested in doing something similar to this as a stitch along next year and I’d like to gauge your interest. If this is something you would join in, leave me a comment below telling me so. It would be a fairly quick stitch along, maybe a month of total time.
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