Recently, I taught a new class called Improvisational Hand Embroidery on Wool. As you can guess, it is a slow paced class. (Hard to race around the classroom with a sharp needle in your hand.) You would also expect it to be a quiet classroom.
A simple design with very lovely hand work.
But I was happily surprised by the amount of chatter. Like an old fashioned quilting bee, students sat, stitched, and visited with each other all day long.
In this class, students make original designs and learn about the joy of hand embroidery on wool. They also meet new people, share stitch ideas, and make artwork at the same time. Seems ideal to me.
And now I must apologize. I did not make note of who made what. So I can’t attribute the designs above to the people who actually made them. It was such at thrill to see them at work, I forgot to make a list of the stitchers and their designs.
Whimsy Land #9 before stitching.
A big advantage of adding hand embroidery to a small piece of art work is the way it adds fine detail to the quilt that you can’t get with fabric shapes alone. Here you see Whimsy Lane #9 before hand or machine stitching.
Whimsy Lane #9 by Laura Wasilowski
And here you see it after hand embroidery and free-motion machine work. Notice how the hand work adds definition, detail, pattern, and texture to the piece. Without it, the quilt is really rather plain. I loved dressing up this little quilt and I’m so happy with it!
This flower looks rather forlorn, doesn’t it? But you’ll note that the tips of the flowers are rather jaunty. That’s because they are cut with a pinking blade used on a standard 45mm rotary cutter handle. (If you want to see how similar flower petals are made with this blade, check this out.)
To give our flower a little flair, long embroidery stitches travel from the peaks and valleys of the pinked edge to the center of the flower. This is done with the Sunflowers colorway in a size 8 pearl cotton thread. That same thread couches down the long strands of thread holding them in place.
French knots added to the pinked flower tips dress up our bloomers even more and our forlorn flower is now fabulous!
More tips on adding hand embroidery to pinked fabric edges coming up soon!
Ready for a fabric cutting challenge? With a little forethought, you can cut fused fabrics with decorative rotary cutter blades and create perfect fabric shapes for hand embroidery. Here’s a good example of planning ahead: the 1/4″ green stripes in this wallpaper fabric are cut with a pinking blade.
Each cut of the blade is off set with the previous cut making a “rick rack” edge on the fabric strip. Stitching across the strip with a size 12 thread creates a pleasing diagonal stripe across the fabric.
You can see that I didn’t always align the blade on the fabric consistently when cutting the strips. So some of the stitching appears off on the wall paper. My excuse: This is hand work. Made by human hands not a machine.
Stay tuned for more stitching of pinked edges tomorrow!
A favorite tool for those making fused art quilts is the decorative rotary cutter blade. Decorative blades come in a variety of shapes (pinking, wave, scallop) that add a delightfully embellished edge to fused fabrics. Decorative edges add movement and interest to quilt designs.
But how do you add hand embroidery to that decorative edge?
Vase on the Table #3 by Laura Wasilowski
This quilt shows a variety of ways to add hand stitchery to the pinked edge. You can see fabric cut with a pinking blade in the wallpaper stripes, flowers, vase, and top edge of the table cloth. Each fabric shape is stitched in a different way. Over the next few days I’ll show you how to hand embroider the pinked edge. Please stay tuned!
Another set of jolly flowers to the right of the giant flower help balance out this free-stitched garden. It only takes two circles of the Lazy Daisy Stitch to make the daisy-like blooms. But first, the centers are made with a circle of Stem Stitches that are filled in with Needle Weaving. Add a few French Knots and these posies are complete.
More flowers drop in across the silk repeating shapes and colors. And the grasses are filled in with Straight Stitches and the loops of the single Lazy Daisy Stitch.
Just like making a balanced design, life requires balance too. And that’s why I’m setting this project aside for a while as I begin a week of dyeing. It’s also an opportunity to think about where to stitch next on this small garden on silk.