Hoopless Embroidery Finishing

Working without a hoop when making free-form embroidery has its advantages. It may be easier on your hands if there is no hoop to grip while stitching. Improvised designs are more organic and less stiff-looking. And you can use fabrics like felt and wool that would be marked by the hoop leaving creases.

Fine Line Tree #15 by Laura Wasilowski

But there are also disadvantages when stitching fabrics without a hoop. The most obvious is that the fabric will become distorted like this example on wool called Fine Line Tree #15. Intense stitchery in the area of the fields pulls the blue wool fabric skewing the edges. While less intense stitchery in the sky area maintains the original squared shape. My solution to square it up upon completion? Stitch it to a rectangular piece of green felt.

Bayeux Garden #2 by Laura Wasilowski

Here you see Bayeux Garden #2 another embroidery on wool that ended up with uneven edges. If the piece had only been slightly skewed, I could have flipped the embroidery over onto a thick felt pressing mat and tugged and steamed the edges square. Instead, I embraced the wonky and stitched it to a rectangle of yellow batik fabric that is backed with batting and later machine quilted.

So why not embrace the wonky? By embracing the wonky nature of the piece you acknowledge the “handmade” nature of the embroidery. No machine created these pieces of artwork. Human hands brought them into being.

Free-Form Design Step #4

The flying flower is well tethered to the tree trunk with chain stitches. Beware! It’s one of those climbing plants that you can take over the garden.

I’ve decorated the giant flower with a few French Knots around the edge and filled the lazy daisy stitches on the stem with that same Really Red thread. Oddly enough there is a tiny flower growing off the rooftop of the house. How did that get there?

Free-Form Design Step #3

The new house constructed on the vacant lot next to the trees looks a little stunned by the giant blue dot object hovering overhead.

But I’ve stitched the house securely to a mound of solid blue earth using a blanket stitch. (The blanket stitch came in handy to add texture to the blue earth too.) The rooftop is held into place with fly stitches and French knots so it’s not going anywhere either. To take the menace out of the big blue dot in the sky, I’m turning it into a flower. What could be sweeter than a giant flower in your front yard?