Here we are, in the New Year – with January almost half gone! It’s still winter here in Kansas (we’re expecting a little ice this weekend) – perfect for a cup of cocoa, a roaring fire, and a nice visit with good friends.
So pour yourself a steaming cup and pull up a chair! Here’s a small collection of inspiration, instruction, and fun embroidery stuff for weekend exploration.
A Year of Stitches
Taking the needlework internet by storm, Hannah Claire Somerville’s Year of Stitches project has caught the attention of quite a few readers here on Needle ‘n Thread!
If you’re following along with the project and you’re looking for stitches to incorporate in your own Year of Stitches masterpiece, you’ll find heaps of tutorials here on Needle ‘n Thread for embroidery stitches, stitch combinations, and composites. Feel free to make use of my how-to collection of stitch videos and the Stitch Fun! tutorials to add variety to your hoop!
Will I be joining in? Alas, no! I think it’s a really fun idea and it’s an excellent way to practice stitches and play with color and texture, but I’ve got so many frames going right now that I know I wouldn’t be consistent. If it captures your imagination and your heart, go for it! I think you’ll have a blast!
How About an Online Class?
If you put off learning a new embroidery technique or two til the New Year, Craftsy has you covered. They’re running a Buy-One-Get-One-Free special on their online classes, and that includes all their embroidery classes!
If you happen to be looking for an online class in embroidery, check out their offerings.
(I use affiliate links for Craftsy, so if you do sign up through my links above, I get a wee kickback.)
A Free Pattern – Start Early!
Over at Ann’s Orchard, you’ll find a (free) lovely counted work pattern for a partridge in a pear tree design.
You might not be ready to think about next Christmas just yet, but it wouldn’t hurt to download it now if you like it!
Inspiration on a Lid!
Janet Brandt has been super busy embroidering her own embroidered casket (or trinket box), modeled on the elaborate embroidered boxes of the 17th Century. She recently posted her casket lid finish – an amazing piece of colorful and lively stumpwork!
I love seeing the progress on the embroidered caskets (boxes) from the Thistle Threads casket classes! I think they’re fascinating!
San Francisco School of Needlework & Design
If you live in the States and you’ve been seeking a place where you can go for quality embroidery classes year round – whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a professional who wants to expand your skills – you’ll want to check out the San Francisco School of Needlework & Design (SFSNAD for short). Though relatively new, it’s under excellent direction and it’s growing.
For years, I’ve heard murmurs of envy over the Royal School of Needlework in the UK, especially for those who are States-bound and can’t travel abroad. Well, here you go! The course offerings are excellent, the instructors are solid. It’s such an exciting venture to watch expand, and I hope it’s here to stay for a long, long while!
With our support, I think it will be a key element in handing down quality needlework instruction to future generations here on the home front!
Tiny Embroidered Creatures
The French Needle has some new partial kits from Maison Noel, featuring tiny animals to embroidery, from beasts to birds.
If you’ve marveled at tiny critters embroidered by other needle artists and wanted to try your hand at something similar – but you’re not confident in your drawing skills and you don’t know where to start – this is a great way to try your hand at embroidering little animals.
The partial kits come with the designs pounced onto a very beautiful, fine linen. While the instructions are a bit sparse, there’s a clear image of each finished critter in the group of three that comes with each kit, and the stitches employed for most of them are just long & short and stem stitch, and maybe a bit of satin stitch here and there. They’re stitched with one strand of DMC (no floss included), and they finish up at about 2″ high each.
I have one of the birds, and I’m looking forward to working it soon. I just have to dig out the floss!
Interested in Tambour Work?
Tambour work or tambour embroidery is a needlework technique that employs a special hook, and uses primarily chain stitch to accomplish the embroidery. I’ve written about it before here on Needle ‘n Thread, showing you a couple small projects, tips of starting, tool talk, and even a short instructional video for beginning tambour work. You can find all of that listed in my index for tambour embroidery, here.
If you’re looking to expand your skills in tambour embroidery, check out the YouTube video library of Robert Haven. His collection of videos has grown quite a bit, and features all kinds of techniques for the tambour needle, including bead and sequin embroidery, other stitches, thread painting with a tambour hook, and tips that will help you master the art of tambour embroidery. It’s a nice collection of instructional videos and worth bookmarking!
Careful, though! This one is definitely a rabbit hole! Watching the tambour hook in operation is mesmerizing!
Historical Embroidery and Art for the Serious Explorer
If you’re looking for more serious explorations in embroidery (or art in general) – maybe you’re curious about the history and development of embroidery, or how different styles of needlework connect through the ages – you might explore the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.
What I like to do is click on the “keywords” link at the lower right of the timeline’s home page (linked to above). You’ll end up at this page. Then I go to material / techniques and search through to find anything related to textiles and embroidery.
If I click embroidery, I end up at this page. Then I can click on any acquisition that strikes my fancy – take this pair of gloves, for example – and on the right side of the page for that acquisition, you’ll find links for essays that are related to it.
If you click on the essay related to the gloves, you’ll end up here – The Materials and Techniques of English Embroidery of the Late Tudor and Stuart Eras – and that essay has all kinds of information connected to it, including further examples of related acquisitions, prime and secondary essays, and so forth.
It’s a great way to go on a virtual journey through the history of embroidery and art, stopping off at favorite eras to explore further, and seeing how art connects across time.
It’s also a terrific way to view pieces of embroidery up close – many of the photographed acquisitions have macro images, so that you can really get a good look of what the embroidery is all about.
Coming Up Next Week…
Next week, we’ll chat about bead embroidery on a current project, I’ll review a couple affordable, portable lighting options (and clue you in on some dastardly shopping scams), and we’ll talk about silk threads (and winter hands).
I hope you have a terrific weekend, and that you can spend some quality time with your needle and thread!