Friday, January 25, 2013

January Embroidery Journal Project

Here I am finally! This time I have my embroidery journal project along with me.

This year I decided to give myself more freedom with the size of the project to allow the size to suit the project instead of the other way around. I like the 4 x 4 inch format though, so I will return to it in other projects.

This  little project I call Let your heart sing.  First a short mention of the techniques. I used an acrylic ink wash to color the fabric. Then I have coming crewel embroidery with raised embroidery.

I had the idea in my head, but it didn't quite take it's full shape until one of the commenters on Stitchin Fingers left a comment on the Folk Art Crewel Bird that it made her heart sing.

I thought that was such a nice thought that I decided to make it my theme for this month. This project is about joy. Find where your joy comes from and show it to people near you and especially yourself.

And don't forget to hear the bird's songs. They are full of the joy of living.

And by the way, you can find the tutorial for making beaded berries on my site.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fall 2012 Blog Tour Stop

It's neither fall nor 2012, but I did have one final stop I lined up before Christmas. The holiday got in the way though, but it's always better late than never.

This final stop is Ann's lovely blog called Harvest Moon by Hand. Ann does quilting and embroidery and a good many other crafts. One of my favorite things about Ann's blog and work is how she finds ways to make everything personal. Symbolism and meaning in so much of what she does. It's a great way to help steer you through life. Ann was kind enough to answer a pile of questions I sent to her.

How long have you been embroidering? 
I learned how to embroider when I was in junior high school - about 35 years ago. At that time, cross-stitching was very popular so that's what I began with.

Why did you start?
I was in 4-H and it was one of the projects I enrolled in. It was a new hobby and skill I wanted to learn.

How did you learn to embroider?
I taught myself how to do cross-stitching. Then, after I adopted my daughters I began making handmade toys for them. I learned how to do other embroidery stitches by looking at pictures in books. This would have been in about 2003 or about 9 years ago.

During the past year - 2012 - I did the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. Each week for one year, a new stitch was presented. I learned how to do the stitches presented or found ones I wanted to learn when the stitch was too complicated or I knew I wouldn't use it again in the future. So, in 2012 I learned about 50 new stitches which was fun. The internet has been a valuable resource in terms of step-by-step instructions and/or videos for some of the more complicated stitches.

What are your favorite projects?
I definitely like combining embroidery with quilting; and some of my favorite projects are of this nature. I made a quilt a couple years ago that used sashiko embroidery. By the time I was done, I had done more than 10,000 stitches.

I also am happy to have done the Embroidery Journal Project during 2012. I did a 12"x12" quilt square each month that featured some of the activities and highlights of the particular month. During 2013, I'm going to sew the embroidered squares together along with other fabric to create a quilt of memories.

What inspires you?
Nature definitely inspires me. Living on a ten-acre farm, I'm always surrounded by nature and wildlife. I also am inspired by the work by other crafters and artists whose work I see on Flickr or Pinterest.

You've joined in the embroidery journal projects this year.  Have the projects been a help for you and if so how?  
Yes, the Embroidery Journal Project was a huge help to me this year. My father died on January 5, 2012, so the year started out on a difficult note. I wasn't sure what I would do with the EJP, but after my Dad died I knew that I wanted to focus on the positive elements of the year. This helped me deal with grieving and loss issues throughout the year. I feel like I have a positive quilt filled with lots of good memories to look back upon...despite the difficulties I was going through.

Do you have any advice for people who would like to learn more about personalizing their projects?
I try to look at the positive things that are happening in my life rather than dwell on the challenges. In that way, whatever you create radiates joy and good memories. 

You have some young children, do you think it's important to pass on the handicraft/making tradition to them?
Definitely! Both Sophia and Olivia learned how to do embroidery and other handicrafts when they were young - starting at about 5 years old. Teaching them basic and practical skills that will last their lifetime is important to me.

What else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy reading, traveling, photography, bird watching/feeding, nature, and sewing.

You can also find Ann on Flickr and Etsy. Be sure to stop by her blog and say hi!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More Crewel Embroidery

Here I am once again with a new finish. The first for the new year! Although I have cheated by working on this during December too.
It's already been nearly a week since I finished this.
The color choices caused me great pains. I somehow managed to pull it together well enough for it to look alright, but my problem isn't that I don't know the colors I want to use, it's that I don't have them! I will keep collecting crewel colors until I have want I need!