Friday, June 17, 2011

A Bit of Stitching and a Bit of Home

Michigan embroidery, detail
state flower pattern by Aunt Martha

It's usually this time of year when I am missing home the most. I used to love lying in the backyard hammock as our dog Georgie, an airdale, napped beneath it and I would read there once school got out and watch as my mom planted and weeded her vegetable garden. Well, sometimes my lethargic teenage self was roped into helping out with all sorts of farm chores but I was bound and determined to spend as much of my free time as possible reading in that hammock or in my favorite tree in the lane behind the pasture and sometimes I daydream about how nice it would be to be able to slip back into one of those summer days, if only for a moment.

I thought a lot about those summer days as I stitched up this piece with it's apple blossoms and state banner. It was a project I started long ago and far away and one of those things that's been lingering on my sewing to-do list for quite a while. I know, it's shameful to be finally finishing something in June that was originally going to be a christmas gift but hey, when your job is to stitch for a living, the personal projects sometimes just have to be put on the back burner. The finished pillow will now go live with my parent's in their knotty pine living room—fitting right? It doesn't quite go with my usual style but I do like it and think I might do something like it if I had a cabin in the woods or on the great lakes (definitely on my list of next to impossible dreams).

Michigan pillow
Can I just add how much I love the stem stitch for outlining organic things like leaves and petals and flames? I find I need to put a little more concentration into it than I do with the backstitch (used on the banner) or the split stitch (used for the veins and twigs), but it is totally worth it for things like that. I also brought the blossoms to the forefront by using all six strands and only three on the elements that I wanted to push into the background. This is a great way to give depth to any embroidered piece as well as more of a dynamic texture.

Ahem....what I do not recommend though is hoping for seams that match up perfectly when sewing with plaid. I ended up using my seam ripper a few more times than I would care to admit and had to settle for getting the lines of the plaid to match up as closely as possible, but not quite spot on in some places. If anyone knows how that is accomplished, please let me know because the darn stuff kind of makesmewanttopullmyhairoutandthrowabonifidetempertamtrum. Ok, ok I did not loose it over plaid (and I suppose I must admit to battling my inner perfectionist) but I was briefly tempted and am thinking that taking a bit of time to read in a hammock afterwards might not be such a bad idea!


Victoria said...

Reading in a hammock sounds heavenly! Your embroidery is lovely, those flowers definitely do pop. A lovely gift. :)

Meeling said...

Looks great Kat!

From many years of sewing experience...plaid is just kind of a notorious pain in the rear!

One of the best tricks..if you can even call it that is the spray glue/basting. I'm not much of a "pinner"...I think you get a bit cocky after a long time sewing and just "wing" it, but with plaid if I don't pin or spray baste...forget it. Take comfort too, if you ever look at ready made plaid products out there...clothes or what have you...a lot of those don't match up perfectly.

Happy hammock daydreaming!

DK said...

Working with plaid, or really any pattern that has a straight line on it drives me insane. I can never get everything to line up the way I want it to...

thestoryofkat said...

Meeling, THANK YOU for the tips on plaid. I tend to wing it and not always use pins too but found they really came in handy with the plaid—next time I will have to try the basting technique!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

I Love this!