For years I kept journals -- in composition, spiral bound, and French graph paper books. This blog is an attempt to get back to writing and documenting the world around me using photos, newspaper headlines, and other articles.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Embroidery Challenge

Working on The Splendid Sampler mystery quilt challenge is an interesting undertaking.  I'm trying to stay true to the quilters who have designed and donated patterns for this year-long project.  So that means tackling techniques that are unfamiliar and/or daunting to me.  It is also bringing out the part of me that likes to do things in a linear fashion.  Blocks are released twice a week and it I am finding it difficult to do them out of sequence.

However, I did give myself a bit of breathing room with block #11, Crocheted Thoughts by Alyssa Thomas of penguin & fish.  I have not done much embroidery.  I've enjoyed needlepoint, weaving, cross-stitch, knitting, and quilting.  I've made needlepoint pillows where the design was painted on the canvass already (New Mexico inspired, Ca[e Cod/Martha's Vineyard map, iris).  And I've followed a pattern in a book and counted my way through the pattern (Noah's Ark).

(mostly) my pillows. Heather made the left NM one.

Love my counted Noah's Ark!

But I've not tackled embroidery in any serious manner.  I think, in part, because in my mind, I would never be as good as my Mom and others who worked on the dais cloth before the tour of 1980 or 1984.  The embroidered edge of that cloth will always be the standard by which I judge all else.  And there is no way that I am going to measure up.  I'm not putting myself down, just being realistic.  That art form doesn't attract me enough to make me want to practice and practice and practice some more.  So I've avoided it, mostly.  Until this quilting block challenge.

Dais cloth in the Hall.

I think this was Mom's section.

The lady slipper has always been my favorite.

Heather made these apple blossoms.

Block #4 had a few moments of embroidery -- stems for flowers that were pretty easy.

Block "Happy, Happy"

Then Block #7 got a bit more serious.  I procrastinated on that for a while until I found part of my stash of floss and pearl cottons.  The whole block consisted of back stitch and some knots.  That seemed do-able.  Hmm. I must have taken this picture before realizing that I forgot to add the boy's feet at the end of the blanket and I have since added them on.

Block "Snug as a Bug"

And then came Block #11.  Oh my. A complex pattern that wasn't easily traceable on the glass slider and it required the chain stitch.  I dithered a bit before I started.  I even took a block out of order and made #12, Checkerboard.  I actually made three of them because they were fun and, why not?

Checkerboard three ways

I love the scrappy version!

I didn't want to be a quitter 1/10 of the way into the challenge.  So I set my inferiority complex aside and got to it.  I ordered a soluble sticky transfer paper.  I printed out the pattern and stuck it to my block.  I bought new variegated thread in pretty blues.  I bought reader glasses because I couldn't thread the needle and I couldn't see the pattern very well.  My arms aren't long enough or something because I couldn't find a focus point.  And after all that,  I got to it.

With the printed pattern still stuck on.

My stitches aren't perfect.  Using a soft cotton might not have been the best choice...but I'm happy that I made the block and that I can now move onto blocks 13-16 and keep my sense of order.

Washed and ironed block

With the thread and my new magnifying glasses.

1 comment:

  1. I think it turned out very very pretty! Well done!