Archives for posts with tag: embroidery

Cocktail napkins

We use cloth napkins for meals in our house. Until recently, I did not have any smaller sized ones that could be used when we were entertaining without a meal involved.

I now have some linen cocktail napkins that are quite plain. They needed a little something to make them more festive. These were created with a search through the button tins and a few stitches.  The original inspiration for these had some cute grapes, but I was one tiny purple button short of being able to make that.

There are 8 more of them, but I think I’ll find ways to decorate them in sets of 4.



I don’t know if it is just a USA thing, or a world-wide phenomenon, but this past holiday season coloring books for adults were everywhere. (Or maybe they were just in all the book stores and craft stores, I didn’t do much other traditional shopping.) I did not receive one, and I am glad about that. For one, I have more than enough crafty projects to keep me busy for a long, long time, and I also never was particularly good at coloring, and I don’t think that will have changed as an adult.

However, while I was stitching, I realized that I was doing my own version of adult coloring, but using floss instead of pencils. This pattern uses a lot of the satin stitch, and it follows the same principle of filling in a set area.  Like my challenges with actual coloring, I have problems staying within the lines, and always going the same direction.  I have cropped out the top of this section where my stitches are  particularly wonky, but you can still see that even in the “better” part, there are gaps and slight diagonals where the stitches should be straight.

I am working on the piece because I love the pattern, and I have decided that I am not going to sweat the imperfections in my stitches. There are some types of crafts where I remove and redo imperfections as I find them. For this one, I’m just going to let myself enjoy the process and the progress…wonky stitches and all.


Right handed

While I was embroidering I noticed something. I was stitching with my right hand.  I am left handed, but throughout life have found myself occasionally doing things with the other one.  I have always cut right handed, but I attribute that to the lack of left-handed scissors available in school.  I write and crochet left handed, but use the mouse right handed, and now, apparently, I also do hand stitching that way.

I noticed in the fall when I was painting our porch that I switched back and forth depending on what side of the ladder I needed to reach.  Does everyone perform tasks with different hands? Is it a left-handed issue from living in a right-handed world? Or is it just me?

Just a glimpse into what runs through my mind when I am working on a project.

Tulip 0106

Perhaps everyone does this, but I change over what crafts I work on depending on the temperature. Living in an area that has definite seasons, there are some things that get put away when it is too hot.

I hit the point on the baby blanket where I need to wait until I know if it will be for a boy or a girl in order to add a second color. That left me deciding what to pick up next. I need to make a push in January because I participate in a group blog called Thing-a-Day in February, and it has a way of side tracking any large projects.

I was torn between an embroidery project WiP and starting the hospice afghan. Both of these need to be done when it is not hot and humid In the end the embroidery won out. I keep picking this up and putting it down without doing any work on it. It’s time to make some progress on a WiP before I start a new project.

CW projects

Craft weekend has come and gone. We were there one less day than usual, which meant less time to work, but we all seemed to be more focused.  There are such a variety of projects that go on. This year included sewing, quilting, scrap booking, crocheting, knitting, macrame, and embroidery.


I was able to finish 3 WiPs, which was part of my goal. The felt mitten ornaments, the ribbon embroidery piece I started in a class back in September, and a scarf which will be a Christmas gift all got completed. I also made a scarf to send home with one of the other members of the craft team to donate to the shelter her church supports.


My final project as starting a hat, but I ended up having to frog most of it because I was busy chatting and didn’t notice that I had missed a stitch a few rows in.

The house we rent is in the mountains, as much mountains as you can find in Pennsylvania, and I was lucky enough to spot a bald eagle flying overhead. We also had many visits from deer who were hoping that some carrots would find their way out of the kitchen.

All in all it was a good break, and a way to hit the “reset” button button before diving into the holiday season.


6 mittens wip

Some more progress was made on the little felt mittens WiP. This proved to be a nice-sized project to take to my Father-in-Law’s house when I had to spend some caregiving time there.

Did you ever have some technique that always gave you trouble and then it suddenly clicked? I faced that with french knots. In the past, they have always been trouble. I’ve gone as far as leaving them off of past projects because I didn’t want to ruin things when I got to the end, and I always put them off until the end. I don’t know what happened, but I was able to make the french knots on these (so far) without any problem. I still have 24 left to go, and am hoping they will be just as obedient.



Here’s another little something I pulled out of the craft room. I think I got the kit for 6 of these mittens at the AQS Quilt Show in March, so it has not been sitting around too long. The kit came with everything I needed except, oddly enough, a needle. I like embroidering designs on felt because the fabric seems to encourage a more folk-art style, which means I don’t worry as much about things like even stitches.  I had forgotten how much fun it can be to work with a needle and thread, and a small project like this lets you get a sense of accomplishment in no time.

The stitching got completed on the body of the mitten for 3 of the 6. I still need to cut out and attach some cuffs, embellish those, and then stitch the front to the back. It was a rainy day here, and that lent itself to sitting down with some needlework and the obligatory cat on my lap.

Ribbon embroidery

I love taking classes to learn new crafts. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I realize they are not for me, but I am always glad I tried out something new. I took a beginner’s silk ribbon embroidery workshop and surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it.

The class was taught by Victoria Adams Brown, who has written two books on the subject, and studied and taught all over the world. It is very fortunate that she happens to live just outside of Philadelphia. It is even more fortunate that the Mennonite Heritage Center (also just outside of Philadelphia) was looking for a silk ribbon embroidery instructor. And the greatest fortune of all is that I have a very creative and resourceful friend was able to track this all down, and connect the two to make the workshop happen.

The project for the class was to create a decorated initial panel learning and using six stitches. The class participants ranged from people who were very comfortable with regular embroidery, to those who had never done a stitch, and yet everyone’s work was beautiful. I was surprised that embroidering with ribbon seemed to be easier than using thread. Some of the stitches are fiddly, and since it was the first time attempting them, they did require quite a bit of concentration, but the ribbon is very forgiving.

I originally took this class because I would one day like to make a crazy quilt and knew I want to use some of this embroidery on that, but it just may end up being something that I do from time to time just for the fun of it. I did buy a small pack of ribbons to take home, just in case.