Archive for the ‘Great Idea Thursday’ Category

Great Idea Thursday: Organize Thy Kit

Today’s great idea involves organization. I think that organization is pretty important in needlework – you’ve got to keep up with all that floss (I keep mine in an old cigar box) and fabric! Today though, I write specifically about how to organize a kit project.

Anyone out there work kits? I started my embroidery journey on kits – they’re a great way to test the waters and learn some basic stitches – I learned satin stitch, stem stitch, back stitch and straight stitch all through kits.

When I worked my first kit – “Embroidery for Dummies” (seriously, but it’s a good first project for a total beginner. I digress.) – there were about four colors of floss. Not a lot to organize, so I kinda kept it all together in the box it came in. No biggee.

When I worked my second project) there was a lot more floss. I remembered my mom using a hole-punched card, so I took a cereal box lid and hole-punched it up to put the floss in there. Great for separating the floss – but a bit of a pain when you’re working your kit – pulling out the floss resulted in tangles and it just was not a method I would prefer.

My most recent kit – a cross stitch kit, which is just shy of completion (Dimensions is sending me some extra floss – hooray for their customer service, FYI):

The Maritime

I started this kit in the car. So I didn’t really separate the floss, and there were about 10-15 colors, in shades of steel grey and light grey and….not separating was not to my advantage. I finally did separate them, but ended up throwing them, separated, in the plastic kit bag. Not a good method at all.

So for my next kit, I decided to get organized. So here’s how I’ve approached floss organization this time:

This is how I organize my floss for general, non-kit embroidery, so it makes sense to take that approach to kits too. And this kit has a lot of color going on, and lots of detail (frankly, with all those lines I am intimidated by this project and am right now working something else). Taking that bit of time at the beginning of the project to get organized is so worth it.

So, how do you get organized? Please share in the comments!

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Great Idea Thursday: Embroider an Old Tee

Another gift for my little bro. I stitched this back in October and have been DYING to share it:

This was an old t-shirt, given to me by my dad back when Nissan came out with the Z. It’s one of two Nissan Z tees that I had, and I prefer wearing the other one.

But after I took up embroidery, I thought, “well, I can make this tee better.” So I took the natural lines in the black and white photo – highlighting the Z, the lines in the road, and the “light lines” behind the Z. I’m so proud of this one.

Highlighting the Z

Since I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time (and still need to learn to use mine), my mom helped by sewing it into a pillow. I then stuffed it up.

I think my brother likes it. I know his dog does.

Great Idea Thursday: Make an Advent Calender

I don’t have time for it this year, but I’m so making an advent calender in advance for Christmas 2010. I wish I could do it now – there are so many good ideas floating around, so I’m going to link to several for your crafting pleasure:

Barefoot Shepherdess uses a nice garland treatment that’s especially good for young ones. Here’s a second pic of this project.

Wild Olive is offering some teeny-tiny freebies to make your own Advent ornaments. These would be a pretty quick stitch.

Roxy Creations provides a traditional presentation that has some really cool details. Click here.

If you have a lot of matchboxes lying around, here’s a great way to upcycle them.

That’s what I could find at the moment. Are you making an advent calender? I’d love to see it! Comment below!

Great Idea Thursday: Vintage Display

Well, I promised that Great Idea Thursday would have a vintage feel to it, and I’m delivering today.

I inherited a vintage table runner, capped at both ends with (I assume) a beautiful bird of paradise. I just love embroidered birds, and this has so much color to it too! However, vintage table runners would meet an unfortunate end in my house – the Monkey and the Bear would see to that. I didn’t really have any available table space for the piece.

So I decided I would enjoy it more on the wall. Hobby Lobby is a great resource for framing – they run 50% off framing just about every other week, and they have a LOT of selection. I could only display one end of my table runner, so I bought a shadowbox* to take care of the excess bulk. Some of the shadow boxes came with batting – mine did not, so I just ran over to the fabric dept. and purchased 1/3 yard of batting.

I tried attaching my piece to the back of the shadowbox using the pins, but it came out looking like I had framed a warped pillow. Then I just started tucking things in, and it came out much better. Here it is:

Vintage Bird of Paradise

How do you display your vintage (or other embroidered) pieces? Share your great ideas for vintage display in the comments!

*Shadowboxes were not on sale last week with the regular frames. They’re on sale through Saturday at Hobby Lobby. I got a $30 shadowbox for just $15…and no, Hobby Lobby is not paying me for promotion. I’m just a Hobby Lobby addict.

Great Idea Thursday: Doodle Embroidery

Ya’ll, it’s amazing what you can do with a little creativity. As much as I love my cotton fabric, Julia Livi proves you don’t have to restrict yourself to it:

By JuJuLivi

Julia did this work on the cover of a magazine! Straight through the paper!

Julia’s a die-hard Mad Men fan (me too!) and is fascinated by Betty. She says:

Betty is fascinating to me because she represents a woman’s quest for identity and purpose in life. She is so flawed. I find January Jones so amazing, I believe her more than any other actor, which says a lot considering how breathtaking everyone is on the show.

On my way home from a concert, I forgot my iphone so I bought the magazine with Betty Draper on the cover. The article about her kept me entertained while waiting for the train and on the ride home. I was surprised to read about January Jones, she’s the opposite of Betty, free and self spoken.

Regarding technique, Julia doodled with her thread, using all the leftover thread she had, and avoiding complicated stitches. Julia says the doodles at the end were “just for kicks”.

I picked a heart, key and bird cage because I think it reflects Betty’s struggle. I have no technique, I use what I have around and I have fun.

Julia blogs at From the Same Cloth, where she blogs about embroidery (her own, as well as its history and practice – fascinating stuff), her art, and teaching at Rikers Island.

She also sells pieces at her etsy shop, JuJu Livi (this embroidered tee is gorgeous!)

There’s more photos of this project, and another doodle of Zooey Deschanel, here at Julia’s flickr.

Great Idea Thursday: Mess Up

I like doing counted cross stitch, but I’m not a huge fan of aida cloth. I don’t completely dislike it, but I don’t want to stitch on aida all the time. I like using my pretty cotton fabric.

I discovered waste canvas not too long ago and have been wanting to use it. Last week, I finished a larger project (Christmas gift #1, so I will have to wait to post the results). I wanted a small project, and a while ago I found this sweet pattern on the internets. I thought it would make a wonderful bookmark project.

When I saved it on my computer, I did not save the color scheme, so I had to come up with my own. While the pattern is lovely, I am glad I went with my own design – we see robins through the winter here and I love them, so it made the project a little more personal.

Once I got into the project, I discovered that my robin on birdhouse was, well, rather small…and then I discovered what I had done.

I doubled the stitches.

I hope I can explain this correctly, but essentially, I was using 14-count waste canvas. I noted early into my work that this seemed much tighter and smaller than doing the 14-count. Then I figured out my error:

I was both stitching in the grid and between it.

On aida, you have a pretty delineated grid. You put the needle in the holes. There’s no ambivalence to it. However, on waste canvas, in order for you to remove it from your final piece, your grid “lines” also contain holes. So, I was stitching both on the grid and BETWEEN the grid.

But, despite the error, I am happy with my teeny-tiny results, and decided to make it into a lovely ornament for my Christmas tree.

Robin Ornament - First of 2009

What’s more, I now know of a good way to teeny-tiny a cross stitch pattern if I want to do so. I just might do some more for our tree.

So, this Thursday, I hope you take a chance and maybe mess up a little. You never know what could happen.

Great Idea Thursday – Record Frame

I was browsing through flickr at crafty goodness when I spied this:

Record Frame

Isn’t it awesome? If you’re anything like me, I’m always looking at new ways to display embroidery – I do a lot of in-the-hoop, which is lovely, but it gets stale. And I love music, and the record is just so classic to a music lover.

So I contacted Adam Moe (moesewco) via flickrmail, and he was kind enough to tell me about this project:

“There was some experimentation in cutting the window in the record. If I had a high-speed Dremel tool, things would have gone faster and been more clean. But I used what I had, which in this case turned out to be a small saw blade for an X-acto knife. With patience and hundreds of little sawing motions, I eventually cut out the hole. Then I sanded it with a gentle sandpaper just to smooth the edge a bit and clean it up.

The drilling and sewing together is pretty straight-forward. I needed a way to connect the front record to the back record, and I also needed a way to hang it on the wall, so I killed two birds with one stone.

This piece is interesting to me in that I don’t normally do this type of embroidery. You can see from other pictures of my work that I normally embroider with very dense stitching, and usually fill the entire canvas with stitches. This one, however, came out as more of a line drawing. Different style for me, but I was pleased with the result.”

Adam jokes that embroidery and art “keeps me from biting my nails”, but Adam is an all-around artist – a musician, actor, and writer – who took on embroidery as another means to communicate creatively.

Regarding his other works:

I have been working on a series of pieces based on HP Lovecraft’s writings, and those tend to get a much different response. My larger pieces, especially those that consist entirely of densely packed French knots, invoke something else altogether.

I think my favorite part of my embroidery work is seeing how people react to each piece.

You can find Adam via flickr and his website (also featuring his wife Emily, who makes hats!). He sells his hand embroidered patches, art, and ties (yes, ties! Check out Psycho Quiller…) at his Etsy shop, Moe Sew Co.