Here’s another sample of a reader’s ventures in hand embroidery. Margaret Cobleigh is a regular whiz when it comes to improving embroidery kits! And this one is really breathtaking….
Not long ago, I received an e-mail from a reader regarding working kits. She asked if she was allowed to change the stitches or the threads, if she wanted. At first, I assumed she might mean that she was using the kit for instruction in a group or guild project, so I suggested she contact the designer. But it turns out, she just wanted to know if it was right to make a change from what the designer or publisher intended. (She didn’t like the threads or colors and she wanted to try some different stitches).
To all such questions, I send out a resounding YES!
If you’re working a project from a design or kit that you purchased, and you’re working the project for your own personal pleasure, it stands to reason that you can make adjustments that you will find pleasing. In fact, many of the embroidery kits found on the retail market are indeed sub-quality, in my experience. I’m not talking about kits by designers such of Tanja Berlin or Trish Burr, or even specialty kits found in local needlework shops. I’m talking about those “brand name” kits (Bucilla, Leisure Arts, etc.) that are widely found in hobby, craft, and sewing stores, and that often leave the stitcher feeling a bit stunted when it comes to creativity. Sometimes, too, such kits – especially put out by lesser-known companies – will offer threads that are not the best quality. I remember, for example, getting a crewel kit years ago that had “crewel wool” included in it. Now, Appleton crewel wool is fine. And it’s not expensive. But the stuff in this particular kit was bound with a white band that read “wool” – nothing else – and the wool itself was over-fuzzy, and within few a few stitches began to fray apart. It was awful! Needless to say, I changed it!
Don’t be stunted by the limited scope of a kit. If you see a kit you like and you want to try it, go for it! But if you find it isn’t meeting your expectations – either in choice of color, materials, stitch suggestions, etc. – feel free to make some changes! In that way, you personalize your work, too.
Margaret made some vast changes on this particular tea cloth, which is a Fleur d’Lys kit from Anchor, titled “Spring.” I have the same kit, but when I first got it, I had a really hard time getting into it, because I didn’t like the color and stitch choices. Well, Margaret had the same difficulty, and she overcame it.
It’s difficult to tell you the thought processes that go on when making changes in a piece of embroidery, so with this in particular, to show you the specific changes Margaret made, I’m sharing with you (with her permission) the PDF file that she sent me, taking me through all the changes she made (with photos!).
This is the finished cloth:
You can click on that to get a larger version. Compared to Margaret’s finished piece, the original is flat and really boring! Margaret added real depth and life to the whole thing by changing the stitches, adding more stitches in some motifs, and by adding more shades of color. The whole piece has really come to life!
If you’d like to read about the changes that she made in working the kit and see some interesting before and after photos, here’s the PDF:
Margaret mentions in her article another tea cloth from the same company – the Strawberry Tea Cloth. Do check out her photos of that piece, too – it’s really pretty!
Thanks, Margaret, for sending along the information!
I hope everyone enjoys it, and I hope it gives you some creative motivation to make changes in your embroidery pieces if they aren’t measuring up to your expectations!