Saturday, 23 September 2017

Embroidery Inspiration

I have loved stitching since I was a young girl. My Grandmother had an old chest of drawers filled to the brim with her beautiful handiwork. I loved to pull out one heavy drawer at a time and carefully look through all of her delicate linens.  Each piece embroidered with the tiniest of stitches, intricate and so beautiful. 

I remain fascinated with embroidery today. I love to look through the piles of old linens in op shops, antique stores and markets. When I hold a piece in my hands, I wonder how old it is and who made it. Occasionally, I will find a piece and bring it home with me, a treasure from yesteryear. Sometimes, I will wash and iron it carefully and use it in our home here to lay out on a table or to sit a vase of flowers or an ornament upon. Sometimes, I will cut out snippets of the embroidery, usually from stained or damaged pieces, and incorporate them somehow into a new project such as a little gift bag or pouch. This gives an unwanted piece new life.

My most precious piece is a set of napkins that my Great Grandmother stitched in what is now very old linen. I love the intricate, cut-out circles. I can't imagine how long it must have taken to do such neat and careful work with her needle and threads. I feel so very lucky to have pieces which connect me to her and which were worked in her hands so many years ago. Do you have a precious handmade treasure that has been passed down to you?

An intricate cut-out circle stitched by my Great Grandmother.

Precious napkins!

The back of my Great Grandmother's embroidered circle.

Although nowhere near as old, some of my favourite stitched pieces are those created by the very talented Melissa Wastney of tiny happy. I simply adore the little flowers, twigs, leaves, dots, dashes and marks that Melissa makes on fabric. I love the nature that she draws with her needle and threads.

 A beautiful project bag made by Melissa Wastney.

Very tiny and happy stitches. ❤ 


Very occasionally, I pick up my own needle and threads and create something with tiny little stitches. (This project bag was the last piece I made using embroidery.) Usually, I find inspiration and ideas from nature or drawings or in the library. On a recent trip to the library, I found several books which I have been reading and looking through again and again since I borrowed them. I'm not sure yet what I want to make but I'm sure I will settle on something soon. In each book there are some wonderful ideas. 


Inspiring embroidery books from the library.


What I loved most about the inspiring book, Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshop:  A Bend the Rules Primer is her whole approach to stitching. Colourful, layered, textured, different. I love that she's included a photo of the back  of one of her pieces in all its messy fineness in her book. One of her dropcloth samplers would be an ideal project for someone to learn a range of stitches while creating something beautiful from the practice. 

In Nancy Nicholson's book, Modern Folk Embroidery, I love the simple little pincushions that repurpose bottle tops with little pieces of felt and some stitches. Similar bottle top pincushions can be made using the tutorial over at the beautiful blog, Tea Rose Home OR this tutorial over at the Muse of the Morning website. Something useful and pretty from something that would otherwise be thrown away. The folk arty style of the projects in this book really appeal to me. The stitched bird on the front cover reminded me, as soon as I saw it, of the incredibly colourful birds that Julie created with felt, fabric and stitches over on her blog, JulieLou.

For something different, Japanese Paper Embroidery by Atsumi, Minako Chiba and Mari Kamio has me thinking of stitching onto paper and card. Beautiful little projects like greeting cards, notebook covers and little photo frames are included in this book. So many possibilities!

Time for a little stitching is a definite possibility this coming weekend. I hope your weekend holds lots of happy possibilities too.

Meg




















15 comments:

  1. I am drawn to embroidery too Meg. I think it is so beautiful. I like to have a hunt through at op shops too. Although I haven't ever done any, it is something I would like to try. Were you taught by someone? Your grandmothers napkins are gorgeous. The detail is amazing.

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    1. Hi, Belinda. I've dabbled in embroidery over the years and have picked up basic stitches that I can use along the way. Simple stitches like running stitch, back stitch and blanket stitch. I know how to do french knots too - I had help with that when I did a little Saturday morning class. I think there would be You-tube videos of how to make different stitches and online workshops too for those starting out or wanting to expand their skills. Happy stitching! Meg:)

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  2. Getting inspiration from nature for your embroidery really matches up so well. I see embroidery as delicate and calming just like nature. Slowness and peacefulness.
    The idea of stitching onto paper for cards is a great idea. How special they would be. Hope you have plenty of time for embroidery this weekend.
    Enjoy.
    Kylie

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    1. I think of embroidery in the same way, Kylie. I find it so calming, focusing on stitch after tiny stitch, a type of mindfulness I guess. I know you enjoy cross stitch, have you been finding time for it in your days lately? Meg:)

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    2. I certainly have Meg. Most evenings you will find me curled up on the couch in my pyjamas cross stitching. I'm actually heading there early tonight. Actually I just might go now.

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  3. Doing some embroidery sounds like a perfect occupation for a few hours over the week-end. I think I will dig out my project and work on it too.

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  4. Hi Meg, I love your project bag. It's so sweet. The simple colors look beautiful together. As a child, I learned crewel work from my neighbor. It was the same stitches, but we did them with yarn on to a piece of burlap. I am up to my ears in knitting, otherwise Inwould try some embroidery. Lovely post!

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    1. Thanks! I have long admired crewel work but have never had a try at it. I have stitched with children into burlap though. Last night I started a little piece of embroidery in a hoop, which I hope to do more of today. Happy knitting, maybe when your projects are done you might have time for some stitching. Meg:)

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. There's a lot of love about embroidery. Meg:)

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  6. I haven't embroidered for years, Meg. Doing the little stitches is a bit hard on my eyes these days but I used to do cross stitch, wool embroidery and a whole lot of other types of embroidery back in the day. Keep ot up while you can.

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    1. I can get away with not wearing my glasses for many things, Chel, but not embroidery! Meg;)

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  7. So pretty. I love the landscape embroidery of www.megnicholson.com

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    1. Oh so very beautiful and colourful, Lucy. Thanks for sharing the link! Meg:)

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