Sunday, September 26, 2010

Foray into Hobby No. 4,039

Better than an alphabet sampler for a first project.

As hobbies go, embroidery is not on my Exciting Things to Do With My Life list. Though, I should have seen it coming--the fact that I would one day get tangled up in embroidery (literally, at times)--because even when I was a child, my favorite pillowcases were the ones with embroidery on them (same with hand towels, clothes, etc.) Turns out, I like embroidered things.

Recently I reached beyond merely liking embroidered things:  I started creating them.   Hello!  I have my very own Pegasus embroidered entirely by me!  (let's not look too closely at the stitches, friends, because neat, even stitches aren't my strength yet).

The big drawback is that embroidery involves hand sewing--heck, it's just combinations of different hand sewing techniques. And I am not one for sewing pretty and even little stitches by hand, let alone for finagling with needles and thread (I don't even like reading about girls in books  sewing things by hand with pretty, even little stitches.  Yes, that means you Little House on the Prairie).

You know what did me in though? It was a book that I checked out from the library during the summer doldrums that showcased different types of stitches (though I think the book was billed as hand quilting, not as embroidery, which was very sneaky of them). To my delight and surprise, I successfully completed some of the stitches, including a tricky looking flower one.
By "successfully completed" I mean,they look sort of like the ones in the book.

I had a fantastic idea for making little bracelets with embroidery on them, and my practice run turned out to be a beaut.

At this point I figured I was ready to see what the next step was in the world of embroidery.  Thankfully there are two embroidery books on the market right now that quite captured my attention--one, Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart, has a pattern I love
(cheerfully colored skulls! hoorah!)

and the other, Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs, has a pattern I couldn't live without. So I braved dark roads and a snooty parking garage in Scottsdale to get my very own copy (with my 40% off coupon, of course).

Image from country Bumpkin & Inspiration

My pegasus at the top of the post is a modified version of a winged unicorn pattern by Aimee Ray--which can I tell you that I would have LOVED this as a coloring book page when I was 5 years old? Unicorn pegasus with stars on it and a long, flowing mane and tail! Does life get any cooler than that?!

I'll tell you my secret to fun times while embroidering: good audio books. May I recommend Neal Shusterman's Everlost--the reader (Nick Podehl) is INCREDIBLE!--and the story is interesting and creative and the charaters are unforgettable.

Another audio book candidate (I'm only through disk one right now, so the jury is still out on it) The Curse of the Blue Tattoo--focuses on a girl (who in the last book was posing as a boy in the British navy) going to finishing school in Boston (in the Fall, har har) and having to EMBROIDER!

Audio books like these make the minutes fly by--and at the end of the disk or book you have more than just a good story to show for your time.

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