Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Happy Little Camper Embroidery – Finished & Off!


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Remember this little camper embroidery project I shared with you last week?

It’s my nod to summer and all the promises of adventure and sunshine and relaxation the sunny season entails.

It so happens that I finished the embroidery just in time for it to go adventuring with me.

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

Here’s the camper, hot from the hoop.

My feelings will not be hurt at all if you mention the term “snow globe.” I debated about the white seed stitching. I succumbed to it, because, on the darker linen canvas ground fabric, the camper didn’t stand out as much as I wanted it to.

Enter: lots and lots of little seed stitches – which are really just randomly worked and randomly situated small straight stitches.

I like it from far away. From close up, the texture might overwhelm it a little bit, but you know what? I still like it!

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

Once out of the hoop, it was time for damp stretching.

I have two articles about damp stretching on Needle ‘n Thread that will show you how to do it and share some tips. Here’s one (more of the how-to) and here’s the other (helpful tips and adjustments in my own approach).

Never skip this step when you’re finishing an embroidery project. It really makes all the difference in the quality of the finish. It helps smooth out the fabric, it removes stubborn creases (think: hoop!), and it really forces the embroidery to look its very best.

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

This is the camper, post damp-stretching. The photo was taken at a slight angle, now that I look at it while writing – it makes the camper look slightly skewed.

But you get the idea!

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

As far as stitching goes, I kept my interpretation pretty simple, but the overall effect is a cheerful busy-ness.

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

I used mostly basic stitches – running stitch, chain stitch, backstitch, stem stitch, whipped stitches and laced stitches, woven stitches, some buttonhole and lazy daisy and French knots.

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

I think perhaps my favorite element on the whole thing is this little potted plant. Cacti? Aloe? It’s a cheery, homey touch à la Anna, who doodled the original design in the first place, when we first conceived the “summer wheels” idea.

Anna is very cheery and homey.

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

The plan for the finish? A simple summer tote, perfect for adventuring or just lolling about.

Julie – my other niece who works with me now and then – brought the gingham to the table (a great match, and very cheery and homey) and did the sewing up.

Julie is very cheery and homey, too.

I’m using the tote as my entertainment bag while I’m away. There’s plenty of room in it for my iPad, several books I might be able to read this week, and yes, my hexies! I’m taking along just enough hexies to sew when the urge strikes, but not enough to become burdensome. And not enough to make me feel compelled to stitch. Sometimes, one needs a thorough break!

My reading stack is somewhat over-optimistic. I’ve got five books with me. I’m not going to be away a whole week. And a couple days will be spent driving. So, yes. Five books might be a bit much.

Favorites so far: Long Live the Queen by Bryan Koslowski is a fun, insightful, and fabulous book, if you haven’t read it. There’s also an audio edition if you like to listen to books while you stitch. I like the printed version, because I like to delve into the notes whenever I have a hankering.

By the same author, I’m reading The Jane Austen Diet, which is not really a diet book the way we think of a diet book. It’s an exploration of the wisdom we can glean from the culinary and lifestyle habits of a lady of the Regency era, as depicted in Jane Austen’s books. It’s quite humorous and enjoyable so far. I made myself put it aside and save it for this trip. I’m glad I did!

I’m also toting along Perfume from Provence and another book by Lady Winifred Fortescue. I have long been a fan of Peter Mayle’s Provence books. I’ve always taken at least one of them along with me when I travel. For this break, I decided to reach back to the original Provence books by Winifred Fortescue, and I’m exploring those right now. Perhaps dated, but still charming!

Happy Little Camper embroidery project for summer

And there’s the tote, out in the morning rain-shine, waiting to leave Kansas for sunnier climes.

I used 1.5″ wide webbing for the handles, because I prefer a substantial handle. I thought about constructing handles using the linen canvas and the lining fabric, but, in fact, webbing makes a great handle, and it keeps the finishing job simple, simple, simple.

It’s a happy thing, my little tote. I like it!

I’ll have more “Summer Wheels” information for you down the road a bit!

Hope you’re enjoying a fabulous week! On Monday, we’ll explore a couple books that I love, that I use for inspiration (embroidery and otherwise). And on Wednesday, it’s time for a grand finish! Yes, finally, A Sea to Stitch!


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(18) Comments

  1. I just love the camper and the white speckle is perfect – not show globeish at all. Your stitching is so nice and imaginative. You have given me inspiration to try some handwork kits that my mom had. Thank you for sharing

  2. Your camper is darling, and I quite like the candy colors! Your little potted plant could also be the plumey sort of asparagus fern. Finishing it as a tote bag was a fun idea. When I do totes, I like to make the straps go all the way around the bag so that they support the bottom too. If you don’t want them on the outside, you can put them on the inside. Have fun on your break!

  3. Mary please, please, pretty please give us a more detailed stitch description. This is such a sweet project but as a new embroiderer, I would really appreciate a more detailed description.

  4. I didn’t see the snowball. I saw either the shiny aluminum top that I drove by on the freeway this afternoon or the two-tone white on top and pretty blue on the bottom. Love how it came out and I could use a tote like that. Enjoy your trip.

  5. Your camper tote is so cute! Will the pattern be available for purchase later? You will have so much fun on vacation with those great titles too!

  6. Mary, I love you designs and this happy little camper! Will there be a pattern for it and some stitch instruction at some point?

  7. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this design! I am a fan of putting it on a dish towel but I believe I like it better on a tote. It reminds me of a B&B in Alaska where my husband & I stayed two years ago. It was actually a collection of retro campers that were whimsically outfitted. We slept in a small school bus! I can’t wait to see the rest of the “summer wheels”!

  8. Dear Mary

    This is such a lovely piece of embroidery and looks great on your tote bag and just the thing for travel. It makes me want to pack my bags and join you on holiday pretending I have a campervan and just setting off wherever the mood takes me. I like the way you have used simple stitches and it looks beautiful. I hope you had a lovely time away. Thank you for sharing with us your Camper embroidery project and for the showing your lovely tote bag.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  9. This is absolutely delightful Mary, and I really love the seeding stitch texture. It looks just right to me, and I enjoy working seeding. It has a lovely rhythm to it, almost meditative I think. I look forward to seeing the other vintage companion designs you are planning to go with this happy little camper!

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