Tag Archives: embroidery

Experimental Hand Stitching

This weekend I attended the Virginia Consortium of Quilters quarterly meeting in Annandale, Virginia and took a class from Julie Booth on Experimental Hand Stitching. The materials in the kit she provided were very gray – not an appealing way to start. She explained this was so we could focus on our stitching and not be distracted by colors – and it worked. She went thru several basic stitches and how to vary each one in shape, density, and thickness. We then combined them in different patterns. Very interesting and relaxing. It helped that the pieces of fabric we worked with were small, 5″ square with 1″ margins. As a result they filled quickly with stitching.

After we were comfortable with the stitches, Julie introduced four options from which to pick a challenge. I went with copying shapes from patterned fabric, using a variety of the stitches we’d worked with earlier.  I finished it yesterday after I got home and I’m pleased with the little two-sided square.  Now to apply what I’ve learned to other embroidery projects already in process…!

Wild Flower Embroidery

I found an excellent book of wild flower designs last summer at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and I’ve just finished the Catawba Rhododendron! I did that one first since I tend to confuse it with Mountain Laurel. Now I think I’m straight!

I’ve transferred 15 of the designs to pale green Kona fabric and I’m using brown embroidery thread with a threaded back stitch. I enlarged the designs to 11″ to fit on a 14″ block. My plan is to use these, eventually, on the back of a mountain Tshirt quilt. The needlework designs were compiled in 1971 by the Park Service Wives Organization of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The designs are by Novie Ahrenhold and include many of my favorite wild flowers. There’s even one that we have in our yard that I thought was yellow broom – come to find out it’s called Hearts-A-Bustin-With-Love! Such a great name! The flowers aren’t very distinguished, but the berries are charming.

I’m enjoying working on the flowers in between other projects, as I wait for Spring and day-dream about the Smoky Mountains.