How Long It Takes

housestitching2Do people ask you how long it takes to make something? I get this often, but never keep track of my time.  But I have finally come up with an answer.

housestitching1To do this much hand embroidery on this little house quilt took about 6 hours. How do I know? Because that’s how much time it takes to drive from Chicago to Akron, OH. So from now on, that’s my answer. You may use it as well.

Traveling? Some Stitch Tips

silkstitching1Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to a long, long car ride next week. Why? It’s an opportunity to stitch for extended stretches of time without those bothersome interruptions like fabric dyeing, thread washing, and being chased around the garden by mosquitoes.

etuiSo as I pack up my etui, threads, and stitch projects I have a few tips for your next stitching adventure on the road:

  • Safety first. Have someone else drive the car.
  • Only stitch in the daylight. Unless you are wearing a head lamp, stitching at night can be dangerous.
  • Bring all your supplies with you (needles, thread, scissors, thimble). Most roadside convenience stores do not carry embroidery thread.
  • Find a safe place to stick the needle when it’s not being used. I can not stress this enough. You may think you are just popping out of the car for a quick coffee run but you are really losing the needle in the seat of the car only to be discovered by a disgruntled spouse when it’s your turn to drive.
  • Expect attention from passing semi-truck drivers. Truck drivers are very nosy and like to look over your shoulder when you stitch.
  • Do not listen to politics on the car radio. Reactions to stupid remarks by candidates can cause you to lose control of the needle resulting in finger stabs.
  • Do not give driving directions when stitching. The driver does not appreciate seeing a needle waving “go left” out of the corner of his eye.

Wool Winner Announced

sarahwool

Free-Form embroidery on wool by Sarah.

Thank you all for leaving comments for the wool scraps give-away. It’s always fun to hear about you’re creative plans. We all have such active imaginations that must be nourished with art making! And speaking of creativity, isn’t this embroidery by one of my students beautiful? Thank you Sarah for sharing your artwork with us.

joyfulstitchingfrontcoverI must admit, I owe my love of wool stitchery to my new book, Joyful Stitching. Writing the book taught me so much about the joy of free-form embroidery. (You can read a recent review of the book here.)

And now for the lucky winner of the package of wool scraps. I’ll be sending it out to: Jackie of Colorado.

Thank you all and keep on stitching!

A Great Idea!

handoffortunepam

Pam of Ithaca and her artwork.

I get the best ideas from my creative students. Meet Pam, who attended my class in Ithaca, NY in April. To my delight she walked into the classroom with this gorgeous embroidery of her hand. She says her hand-embroidery on silk was inspired by the Hand of Fortune project from Joyful Stitching.

handoffortunemax

A tracing of my grandson’s hand, age 3.5.

 

And then she gave me a gift.

Pam suggested tracing those tiny hands of our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews and stitching them too. What a great way to commemorate the growth of a child!

Thank you Pam for sharing your artwork and your stupendous idea.

With a Light Heart

withalightheart

With a Light Heart by Laura Wasilowski

Soon I’ll be packing my bags to teach in Sisters, OR. Sisters is the home of the largest outdoor quilt festival in the nation called Quilters Affair.

One of the many activities at the show is the opportunity to bid on art work by donors for the charity, Wish Upon a Card. My donation this year, With a Light Heart, measures about  4″ x 6″ and is free- form hand embroidered on wool. Loved making it, love that it’s helping out someone in need, and love that it will go to a good home.

Here is a quick video about this little free-form embroidery. Enjoy!

How to Quickly Stitch a Bird

backyardbird1prestitchSee that little blue spot on the right of this quilt? That little blue spot is a bird. Or at least it will be a bird after a few hand embroidery stitches make it so.

backyardbird1detailFrom head to tail the little bird measures about 1.5″. He’s just a piece of blue fabric cut in the shape of a bird. He needs stitchery to make up the details of his parts. Make yourself a little bird and follow these steps:

  • Outline the shape with the Outline Stitch and a few Blanket Stitches for the belly of the bird. Stitches are place on the purple background fabric and snugged right up to the bird shape. Use a contrasting thread colorway like Sunflowers. (Size 12 pearl cotton thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Stitch the front curve of the wing shape with the Outline Stitch and then swing into a few elongated Blanket Stitches to indicate feathers. (Size 12 Evening Greens thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Use that same Evening Greens thread and add 2 long straight stitches down the center of his tail for tail feathers.
  • Use a fine (50 weight) black sewing thread to make the pupil of his eye. Small straight stitches or a heavy duty French Knot will work. Surround the pupil with tiny Outline Stitches. (Size 12 Aquamarine thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Make the beak with a set of straight stitches that radiate in a triangle shape from the edge of the bird’s head to the tip of the beak. (Size 12 Oranges thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Use the same Oranges thread for accent marks and to repeat the color of the beak. Add straight stitches around the wing and 2 long stitches to the tail. Place 3 French Knots to the cap of the wing for decoration. He is a fancy bird.
  • Make a jaunty crest for the bird’s head out of 3 Pistil Stitches. (Size 12 Sunflowers thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
  • Breath a sigh of relief and move on to other areas of the quilt.