Today I picked up my Daisychain ABCs sampler for the first time in about 2 months, and I had forgotten how much I absolutely love this project! The absolutely stunning pattern is by the fabulous Alicia Paulson, creator of many other equally stunning patterns. Although it’s meant to be a crewelwork sampler worked in crewel wool, I opted to do it in regular old DMC embroidery floss (for the budget-conscious crafter). The background fabric is Kona Cotton in “earth.” I would highly recommend this sampler for both beginner and advanced embroiderers, as it’s a great way to learn/practice new stitches and also makes a gorgeous piece that anyone would be proud to display. Not to mention the fact that working on it always puts me in the most relaxed “zen” mood – a truly enjoyable experience.
I finished letters A through K between March and June of this year, most notably stitching I through K on a cross-country flight during which the woman next to me told me that I’d inspired her to get back into embroidery, ha. : ) Don’t you just love it when that happens? (Tip: I use a nail clipper to cut thread/yarn on flights. I’d rather have a cheapo nail clipper confiscated at security than my sewing snips!) Anyway, I picked it up again today and completed L, M, and N. Moving right along in my zen embroidery trance. : )
I’ve included a handful of photos below to show you how I tackle satin stitching, my embroidery nemesis. Is it just me, or is satin stitch really hard to get just right? I find that I need the bionic eyes of a superhero to really get it perfect and see all the threads of the background fabric, and sadly, I was born with mere mortal eyes. Perhaps developing bionic satin-stitching eyes is akin to developing your palette for wine tasting? If so, I need to work on my wine adventures too!
So here’s what I do: Instead of working my way across an area from one end to the other, I tackle the area in stages to help me keep everything even. I’ve tried going end-to-end in the past, and I find that I always wind up with a distorted funky-looking disaster. No thank you! Above you can see my initial “guidelines” evenly spaced across the entire area, giving me landmarks to follow along the way. (You can also see my cherished sewing snips inherited from my grandmother, an expert seamstress and all-around awesome lady. Thanks Ya Ya!)
With the guidelines in place, I then fill in each area one by one in a selected sub-seciton, skipping some areas along the way and avoiding doing them all in order, again to keep the entire piece as aligned as possible.
Then I go back and fill in the gaps before moving on to the next sub-section, in this case gradually moving up along the M. You can see that my technique isn’t perfect (yet?), but trust me, it’s much better than when I go end-to-end. Also, since this area will be outlined later, I’m not too concerned about perfectly-aligned edges (although it would be nice, of course).
The neighboring N was a piece of cake in backstitch and French knots, happily stitched with 30 Rock in the background. I love love love that show, seriously people. You can also see a blurry Maggie half-asleep in the background – what a sweetie.
Today was truly a lazy Sunday. Maggie says: “Napping is bliss, especially on my favorite scratcher.” Why she likes to use scratchy rope as a pillow is beyond me, but I don’t pretend to understand the feline psyche.
In other news, I saw this fabric in the latest Purl Soho newsletter and LOVE it. It’s Echino Decoro Cotton in the “Aqua Zebra” colorway‘. I have no idea what I would make with it, but right now I want to wallpaper my entire apartment with it and frolic in a meadow of aqua zebras. Ahem. : )
Anyway, I’m really glad that I re-discovered my Daisychain ABSc project, and maybe this afternoon of truly relaxing embroidery will inspire a little more progress on this project. I just wish everyday could be a lazy Sunday! If you have any tips/advice on satin stitching, they would be more than welcome. Even better, if you are a satin stitching expert and have bionic eyes, please drop me a line. : )