Thursday, January 9, 2014

Threading My Way

While most "stitchers" are enthusiastically and admirably embracing the new year with renewed energy and creativity, my energy seems to have been diverted by my ever present compulsion to organize (yet again!), although it really is quite necessary (this time?). The aim is to re-prioritize projects and materials to allow for greater efficiency and better access to those supplies necessary for current projects.

One of my current organizational endeavours has been directed towards my embroidery stash. Going through the boxes, I came to realize that although I have never thought of embroidery as a priority focus, it has been the most consistent thread throughout my stitching life and has found it's way into most of my work.

Threads and linen from my current embroidery project.

In some of my earliest memories, I am sitting in a warm and cozy kitchen, watching my mom do her "mom thing", while I am happily engaged in keeping needle and thread from escaping my undisciplined and untrained little fingers.

From left to right, a progression of some of my earliest stitching endeavours. Note the UFO (un-finished object) centre ice; clearly we stitchers learn early!

An aunt seems to have noticed my interest in embroidery as a kid, because so often, Christmas and birthday presents were stitchery kits. These  were always my favourite gifts.

As I grew older, sewing clothes became my passion and my focus, but there was always at least one, often several, hand work projects, (either knitting or embroidery), in the works as well. Hand work has always been therapeutic and calming, and therefore a welcome retreat.

Two of these cross-stitch nosegays became my "go to" place when I was pregnant with my daughter some 32+ years ago.

This little "be-ribboned" cat came into being shortly after my daughter did. Unfortunately, it's purpose as a cushion has never been realized. It's never too late!

Another unfinished project, circa my daughters childhood, whose destiny is as yet, unfulfilled.
When I showed both of the above projects to her last week, she was delighted at being reacquainted with them and submitted a request for the completed versions. I promised to give it a whirl!

DD has also been gently directed to the road of embroidery. This cool cow was one of several cross stitch projects she stitched as a kid.

Moving to France 8 years ago created new "stitchery" interests and expanded on old ones.

Redwork seemed to find it's home when paired with toile de jouy.

Wandering through the French markets, I was instantly drawn to the whitework that is found at most tables featuring antique linens. The raised satin stitch that seems to be so casually embroidered into monograms and motifs on these well preserved antique linens inspired me to try it for myself.

My first attempt at raised satin stitch. As you can see, it's another "un-finished object". Someday this pillow covering will be revived and completed. (There's not much more to go).

Some hand embroidered napkins that I made (and actually completed) for my daughter and son-in-law's wedding, using the raised satin stitch technique.

Currently, my interest in embroidery is leaning towards medieval raised embroidery and stumpwork. Using "The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery" by Jane Nicholas as my inspiration and guide, I have started yet another project.

My selection of threads are laying on top of the page that has inspired this latest quest. It is from "The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery" by Jane Nicholas.


Threading my way through life is a happy road for me and one I intend to stay on.


10 comments:

  1. I tried posting a comment earlier, but something must have happened... I guess I'll try again! :)

    I remember learning to cross stitch when I was a girl, though it's not something I've picked up again since. I have, though, begun to feel an urge to learn to embroider. But I have so many other sewing projects in my head and so little time that I think it will be something I try when my kids are just a little bit older and I have more free time.

    I do love all of your unfinished projects, especially the red work, white work and the Christmas tree. It's amazing! All of those colors and textures are just gorgeous.

    Please post more photos as you finish each one. xoxo

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    1. Embroidery is something that I always seem to have on hand for when I don't have easy access to my quilting or machine work, or when I need a little time out from it. I found that when my daughter was little, I was often too tired in the evening to make progress in the sewing room and that's when I would take refuge in embroidery. Even now, I always have an embroidery project on hand because it's my "comfort zone". It's easy to pick up at any time because it will be just where I left it the last time, as is the case of all of the UFO's listed in my blog. When, (or if), I finish any of the above projects, I will most certainly post photos.

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  2. It's wonderful to see all these old needlework pieces, finished or not! I find I have to reorganize every six months or so, as projects change in priority.

    I am interested to see which Jane Nicolas project you have up your sleeve!

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    1. Going through all of those old projects brings back many warm thoughts and memories and maybe that's why I sometimes get lost in the "reorg" process. But the need to re-prioritze is also always present and it's reassuring to hear that others also go through the same process.

      The Jane Nicholas pattern I have chosen is one of the medieval picture frames in her book. The colours are chosen, but the design elements are not yet finalized. I hope to try as many new stitching techniques as I can muster in the design!

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  3. Your needlework journey was delightful to look at a helped to jog my memory of times gone by. We seem to have that needlework habit in common! I love old projects and am working on some of mine too.

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    1. I think that many of us "stitchers" share a similar history and it's fun to be able to share with each other. I would love to see some of your earlier work as well.

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  4. Hi there from another Jane Nicholas fan AND another organisation addict! Glad to have found your blog, I'll be adding it to my Feedly subs. Hope you'll pop over and visit mine some time too.=)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth. It's lovely to meet another stitching (and organization) addict. There are so many dedicated needleworkers out there in the " great ethernet" and blogs are a great way to meet them. I'm so glad you found my blog and I will head on over to yours right now. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. YOU have a BEAUTIFUL blog! : ) Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your wonderful skill. : )

    Monika in Saskatoon

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    1. Hi Monika. I appreciate your stopping by my blog and for your generous comments. Your blog(s), are a tough act to follow.

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