On Thursdays I “throwback” by pulling from my archives and remembering where I’ve come from and this journey I’m on. Today I share one of my first commissioned embroideries. This Irish Blessing embroidery was the request of a customer and has become one of my most popular patterns and kits over the years. It’s a great pattern for beginners, is customizable because of the applique and makes a super gift for a baptism, birth or just because. Here’s the original post back from September 2011.
I was commissioned via etsy to embroider this Irish Blessing and I’m so happy I did it. It was a great experience designing where to put the applique and a great test of how much my hands can handle embroidering in one day too!
I’m really pleased with how it turned out. So much so that I listed it on etsy!
When I started really getting into hand embroidery, probably one of the things I had the most frustration with was transferring patterns. There are lots of opinions and options out there to transfer patterns, some work better than others and some probably work better FOR others than others.
For me, the biggest halleluiah was my purchase of a light box.
There are a handful of lightboxes out there and most of them are about this size and range in price. I actually bought this one at Hobby Lobby and with a 40% off coupon it ended up being very affordable.
There are things I like about it and things I don’t and at some point I would love to upgrade to a higher end box that lays flat on the table and is a bit bigger. For now, this one works just fine.
Basically you lay your pattern on the box and then your fabric on top of that and flip on the light. It couldn’t be easier than that. Obviously you can only use lighter fabrics, but this has worked well for me even with a light grey. It works well with linen or weaved fabrics too. Yes, you can hold your fabric up to a window (ouch! after a while) or I’ve seen people make these with clear lidded plastic storage boxes and christmas lights. It’s all the same idea and it’s a must if you are going to be transferring lots of patterns.
My second great investment was in the transfer papers that Sublime Stitching sells.
Now, DMC sells an “embroidery transfer paper” and honestly it’s crap. Don’t buy it. It’s like chalk and flies off the fabric as soon as you lightly blow on it. For a long, long time I had no good solution for stitching onto dark fabric. There are iron on pens, chalk pencils etc. None of these worked for me because they didn’t hang onto the fabric long enough. Enter Sublime Stitching.
Their carbon transfer sheets are nothing short of awesome. She has super fast shipping and the white transfer stays on (even for my super huge embroideries) and it doesn’t rub off very easily. Basically all you do is lay your fabric on the table, place your carbon sheet print side down, put your pattern on top of that and using a ball point pen trace your pattern. I like to gently life up the corners every now and then to make sure I’m getting a good transfer, but I’m telling you that these papers are miracles.
Those are my two favorite ways to transfer patterns. What’s yours?
I feel like it’s been forever since I introduced a new embroidery to the shop.
I’ve had this wedding hoop idea roaming through my head for a while now and I usually love to stitch up prototypes as gifts, rather than letting them hang on my walls forever. There’s an upcoming wedding coming up at my husband’s office, so I thought I would stitch up the design for the bride and groom.
I took what I knew of their wedding colors and style of wedding and chose some really light blush pinks, greys and champagne colors.
I outlined a 5×9 oval hoop and the initials of the bride and groom and filled in the hoop with french knots and lazy daisies. I’m absolutely in love with the idea of negative space and the trick it sort of plays with your eyes.
The listing is up in the shop now. It’s a perfect wedding or anniversary gift and can be stitched in the colors of your choice.
I typically wrap my hoops with fabric or ribbon, but this time around I thought I would try something different and used this satin trim. I love how it turned out, but as with any hoop you are welcome to have it left natural or wrapped with a variety of materials.
On Thursdays I look back at my store of archives as a way to tell my story and remember where I’ve come from along the way. God is merciful and He is using this way of looking back as a way of reminding me of His blessings and how it is Him that has grown my talent and love of embroidery and not me.
This week we look back at a host of onesies. While the first thing I ever embroidered was a burp cloth, the first products I ever really sold were onesies. I did a whole line of onesies with little animals on the front and silly words on the bum and sold them on etsy, at a local shop and mostly word of mouth through friends. I don’t do onesies anymore, except for the occasional request, but it’s fun to look back and see where I got started with embroidery. This is back from September of 2008.
I’ve got many more to come, but couldn’t resist posting the newest additions to my inventory. These are all new designs and I can’t figure out which one I like best. I’m running out of flickr space so until I have the money to upgrade, I don’t have pictures of the words on the backs…sorry!
Here’s the acorn (it says “little nut” on the bum)
Here’s some pumpkins (it says “my punkin'” on the bum)
Here is the new owl. This one turned out much better than my first owl design. He’s sitting on a branch that is hard to see when it’s folded up. (it says “hoot” on the bum)
And last is mr. frog. I think he’s my favorite so far (he says “hop” on the bum)
In other news, I am going to be a vendor at the Dixie Lee Farmer’s Market on October 4. If you are local, come out and visit and support local farmers, crafters (and me of course). And cross your fingers, say a prayer or whatever that I can actually get everything done in time w/o crashing and going to funny farm instead.
One of the things I fail greatest at is keeping track of and recording the details of my embroidery projects. When I first started out designing, purchasing and printing patterns I quickly realized I was going to have to come up with some way of keeping track of just the patterns themselves. At that time I wasn’t even thinking about keeping track of the thread colors I used or the fonts I used when designing a pattern.
The first thing I used to organize all my patterns was simply a large binder with plastic sleeve protectors in it. I tried using dividers to section out my patterns, from stitch-alongs I was doing and cross-stitch patterns. When I started doing all my applique projects it also became necessary for me to have pockets to keep the letters that I was using from falling out.
I quickly grew tired of going through this notebook and decided that I would try file folders instead. I sorted out my patterns and this is pretty much how I’ve functioned that last while. When I remember, I write down the fonts I’ve used and the thread colors, but honestly it’s a battle to remember.
A few months back I discovered an amazing stitcher named Kimberly Ouimet and immediately started following her on flickr. She designs and stitches just beautiful work and one day she posted a photograph of her embroidery planner on flickr and I immediately grabbed it up. It’s a fantastic tool to use for organizing projects. There are places to write notes, thread colors and more. I want to get into the habit of designing or printing a project and then attaching this to the pattern. It’s one of my long term goals especially for 2015. (note: she also has a version for knitters…check it out!)
How do you organize your projects for future reference? Any tips for this lovely Tuesday?