Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For embroidery lovers only

I think that must have been true then as it is now. You certainly have to love embroidery to make it through a project of this size!!!  This project is nearly 2' x 2'.

I have come back to my reproduction wool embroidery that has been pushed to the side for a very long time. I started this a year and a half ago, and I am determined that this year it will be done. To be honest I am a bit ashamed that it was left sitting so long. I will keep at it, although I do intend to go back to my other projects as well!

I've mentioned this project before, but I will again. It's been a long time. This project that I bought (it wasn't one of my own creations) is after an old pillow that was found in the south of Sweden. It's very typical with the colors and the folk-arty themes, as well as the black wool fabric too. Black was highly prized and a sign of wealth, since it was hard to make black.  The cushions were meant for use, not just for decoration like mine will be. The seats were hard wood, so a cushion was very welcome.

I've been a fan of these old embroideries for a while now. To me they tell a story of the joy of embroidery and decoration, as well as the joy in the creative process. I find them fascinating to look at and ponder.  The reproductions are fine and all, but the next one I do will be of my own design, because I think it's more important to use our arts and crafts to tell our own stories.

Now for some true cuteness. Around here, the little long-tailed tits are pretty much considered to be one of the cutest birds in existence! Whenever I hear them out there, I always stop to watch them because they are just so fun to watch!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 2013: What is there to be afraid of?

That's the real title of my latest project but I will come back to that in a moment.

Last week I had a serious case of stitcher's block. Actually it's still there, but I can't let it stop me. It's not a lack of project ideas or designs or anything, but it's a matter of finding something that makes me want to actually pick up the needle. It's not a problem with motivation, it's a feeling that is grounded in something else.

So I tried a different approach. I picked up some materials that felt interesting to work with and used that as my start instead.

This is my free embroidery for February's journal project, and I call it Art from the heart. I didn't know what I was going to make when I started.  I started with a heart and went from there.

It wasn't at all inspired by Valentine's day. There was something else I was trying to remind myself of. And that is what is there to be afraid of? As the ongoing stitcher's block reminds me, what is stopping me from picking up my needles and materials and making something that flows out of me.

The lines on the heart represent how I feel about perfectionism. They trap us in, imprison us and prevent us from being ourselves. As I mentioned, I created this to remind myself not to let the mindless pursuit of perfection stop me.

I chose to do this project as a traditional Swedish style crewel embroidery, wool on wool. Thick wool felt is a popular material to do wool embroidery on here in Sweden. 

There is resistance where the thread meets the fabric, I can definitely say. And I won't say it's impossible, but exact, perfect stitches are hard to manage on this type of material. You have to accept that the overall effect is more important than the individual stitches.

We've had a little visitor a couple weeks ago!! This was exciting since owl-sightings are so rare.

This little pygmy owl stopped by one morning and sat in the bird box for about 10 minutes. I saw it go in. 

The owl is smaller than a cardinal. So small, but yet this bird is a predator of other little birds and small mammals.

No doubt it was here looking for breakfast. The peanuts and sunflower seeds flow freely here, so the little birds are always at hand.