Merriweather Council tote bag

01 Tote bag - finished on couch

Embroidery!  I seriously had no idea what I was missing.  Last month I took an introductory embroidery class at my favorite new craft store – Gather Here in Cambridge, MA.  (BTW, my discovery of Gather Here and my subsequent jaw-dropping awe really deserves its own post.  It was a truly orgasmic experience.)  The class was taught by the fabulous Danielle of The Merriweather Council (go check out her Etsy shop!), and she opened my eyes to the wonderful world of decorative stitching.  I really cannot express how much joy this has been bringing me – I am in love!  The class involved embroidering a canvas tote bag, and my finished product is above.  LOVE IT.  Details below.  : )

The results of the embroidery class are below: a charming little stitch sampler to learn/practice a handful of stitches, and the beginning of my tote bag.

02 Embroidery class results

This little sampler is so precious!  My first little forays into the world of embroidery!  The stitches are, from top to bottom: split stitch, butterfly stitch, french knots, backstitch, seed stitch, daisy stitch with a french knot a the center, and chain stitch.  I love that I know all these things now.  : )  Not too shabby for my first attempts at most of these… but there is definitely room for improvement.  Ahem.

03 Embroidery sampler

I decided to embroider my tote bag with Danielle’s wishbone stitch, just as she had done in her example tote bag for the class.  What can I say?  Her bag was gorgeous, and my creativity was running a little low.  You can see my first wishbone stitches below.  This photo was taken the morning after the class, so I had worked on it for a few hours at this point.  I made little patches of maybe 8-10 stitches in each color and sprinkled in some single red ones every once in a while.  I like the simplicity of it, and I’m notorious for using blues & purples in my craft projects.  So all in all, this is not surprising.  : )

04 Tote bag - wishbone stitches

I worked on the bag almost every night that week since it was pretty much the only thing I could think about all week long.  Yeah, I was excited.  VERY excited.  The photo below was taken exactly one week after the class – I was nearing the end already!

05 Tote bag - progress

After one more day of embroidery bliss, I was finished.  I really cranked this project OUT.  What do you think of the finished product??  In my humble opinion, I think it came out pretty cute.  I’ve already used it once in public, and I was like a proud mommy walking down the street with my handcrafted baby by my side.  Swoon.

06 Tote bag - finished on door

BTW, the tote bag itself is a pretty great one.  The tag says “Eco Bags” if you’re interested in getting your own.  This bag is big enough to fit a TON of stuff and sits at a perfect height when slung over my shoulder.  Great for hauling groceries, shopping, and even for the gym (although I shudder at putting this masterpiece on the locker room floor, the horror!).

07 Tote bag - finished closeup

All in all, embroidery is my new love, and I can’t wait to discover all of its little nooks and crannies.  I think one of the best things about this craft is that it’s super inexpensive, especially compared to knitting.  Embroidery floss is only 35 cents at Michael’s, hoops are $1-$2 depending on the size, and I already have a huge stash of needles from other projects.  I recently bought a yard of white cotton fabric for more embroidery projects – it was 7 bucks and will last for about 4 projects.  Cheap!!!  Perfect for a grad student budget.

Now I’m on the hunt for awesome patterns on Etsy (more on this coming soon) and inspiration for my own designs.  I want to cover all my walls with embroidered goodness!  Yay!!

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