Welcome to Wednesday! It’s a slushy, snowy morning in Kansas, and promises to be a pretty glum and rainy day – perfect for staying in and stitching cheery things. (I’m not complaining!)
What a week it’s been so far! I’ll tell you more about that below. But in the meantime, here’s a bit of stitching progress and some tips along the way, for the floral floche piece I showed you last week.
Now, the funny thing about this piece, which you can’t necessarily gather from the photos, is that it is only 3.5″ square. It’s not a large piece of embroidery.
But it is densely embroidered, so it takes some time. Fortunately, there’s nothing boring about it! There’s a vibrant choice of color and a wide choice of stitches. In fact, when it comes to stitches, you’re only as limited as you want to be.
This is admittedly not a fast project for me. I’ve not had a ton of stitching time, and when I sit down to stitch on it lately, I’m quickly distracted by other things I need to get done, that I forgot about until I sat down to stitch. So I’ve only been going in hour-long bursts here and there on this one. And I didn’t manage to put one stitch in over the weekend!
One practice that speeds up stitching on a piece like this, though, is parking the different colors of embroidery threads as you use them.
Parking threads is simply bringing the thread to the front of the fabric somewhere out of your stitching area and keeping them aside, but still ready to stitch with until you need the color again. This saves a lot (a lot!) of starting and ending new threads.
As long as the next stitches you take with a parked thread are not too far away from your last stitches with that color – and as long as the thread on the back of the fabric doesn’t pass over the voided area in the middle of the fabric – you’re good to go! You just keep stitching with the same thread whenever you need it.
There are times when my parked threads become super-numerous, though. When it reaches the point where they are driving me a little crazy, I might go ahead and end them, just to clear things up and start again with a clean slate. But usually, I’ll have anywhere from 5 – 10 threads parked around on the outskirts of the work, ready to go.
You can read more about parking your embroidery threads here. It really is a handy practice!
Here’s the back of the round S voided monogram, as it’s being damp stretched and blocked.
You can read about damp stretching and blocking here – it’s a vital step on this type of embroidery – and you can read about the cork boards I use for damp stretching small pieces here. I love ’em! Makes it so easy to pin the piece!
You can see in the photo above the back of the work. Please don’t be alarmed. The back of this type of embroidery that’s filled with all kinds of color and all kinds of stitches could not really look much different.
That’s the nature of this type of embroidery. The back would never look like the front, and while you don’t want your back to be bulky and lumpy, it will fill up with all kinds of criss-crossed threads. That’s just what happens when you embroider! Don’t sweat the back!
This is Anna’s S. Anna, for those who don’t know, is my niece, and she is will be occasionally stitching things for me when I need multiple samples or variations of the same thing. She’s a gem!
We both have a different style of stitching, a different approach to stitching, and a different understanding of stitching, so it gives me a much wider perspective on how things work (and don’t work). She’s also left-handed, so she provides good insight when I’m figuring out things for left-handed stitchers.
She also apparently stitches a lot faster than I do (!!!!).
Hey, embroidery isn’t a race! It’s ok to take things slowly. There’s much pleasure in a slow journey, after all!
(That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.)
This is the whole 3.5″ square. There are a few things that I’ve adjusted in the design since starting to stitch it – I’ll be adding a few elements, eliminating others.
But the nice thing about this type of design is that there’s so much scope for playing! And playing with your embroidery is a great way to learn new skills, to keep your needlework fresh and exciting, and to challenge yourself. There’s never a dull moment when you play with your needlework!
In Other News
My external hard drives gave up the ghost yesterday. They died the death. Both of them (mirrored drives). This will put a little crimp in my writing and communication for just a wee bit, while that’s sorted.
Thank goodness for cloud storage back-up (I use Backblaze – not an affiliate, just a Very Happy Customer). They have saved my skin twice now, in major computer-crash situations. If you use your computer for something more than just fun, then you should be backing up your data. You just never know, and it’s worth the peace of mind. What could have been a serious disaster for me is just a matter of a slight inconvenience for about a week, thanks to my back-up system.
On another note, yesterday, I ordered a Whole Bunch of Thread for an exciting release in March. Can’t wait to share that with you! But first, I must process all that thread and package it… and finish a lot of samples between now and then!
Friday, I’m going to show you something historically yummy. See you then!