In Stitches (part the first)

I like to challenge myself with crafts. I have a mental list of crafts to learn and when I can afford the time and money, I teach myself how to do something. Aside from failed knitting and crochet lessons as a kid, most of my crafting has been a mix of guesswork, book learning and internet how-tos. The explosion of craft blogs has made learning a new craft so much easier (and cheaper! if you don't count my internet bill).

When I started to make sock monkeys, I decided to embroider a mouth and nose on them in a backstitch, as this was all I really knew. At my first craft fair, someone asked if I could embroider the eyes on, rather than have buttons, as it was for a baby that was in the "i put things in my mouth" phase of babydom. So I sort of did this embroidered eye that could technically be called a "satin stitch", but it was a fairly lame version of that stitch. This is because I didn't even know what the stitch was, I just did it. I was also trying to embroider monograms onto some of the monkeys, and while these looked okay, I wasn't really happy with my work. I could only live with the guesswork for so long (and I was annoyed that I still hadn't used the Sublime Stitching patterns I had bought). I was determined to learn to embroider.

My first instinct was to get a book, but didn't really use it. I had picked up Hip to Stitch and it seemed straightforward enough, but it was very project oriented and the projects were just a wee bit beyond my skill level. I wasn't quite ready to jump head first into the embroidery pool. I needed to ease in. And then,
way back in September, I came across some wonderful blog posts on how to embroider. I found Crafty Daisies via Craft magazine's blog (I think that's how I found it).

The embroider tutorials on Crafty Daisies were fantastic - easy to understand and I learned quite a bit from them. Check it out:

1. crafty daisy, lesson 1
2. crafty daisy lesson 2

3. crafty daisy, lesson 3
4. crafty daisy lesson 4

I didn't actually follow along with the lessons as they were posted, and I took a bit of a break between the third and fourth lessons. The fabric I used for lessons 1-3 was leftover bits from my bedroom curtains. They're Ikea and look lovely on the window, but if you try to use it for embroidery, you're left frustrated with how it splits everywhere. Despite my poor choice in fabric, I was happy to come across this online tutorial. She did a great job with explaining how the stitches worked and her photos were also great. If I had any complaint, is that the nature of a blog format: Since I wasn't following along as they were posted, I was having to go back and find the tutorials on the site (poor bookmarking on my part) and then scroll down through all the lessons to find the one that I was working on. I was also trying to avoid seeing what others were doing with the homework, so I wouldn't be influenced by what they were doing. Overall, a pretty minor complaint.

Since following the Crafty Daisy tutorial, I've been playing around with some different projects, filling in what I don't know with Primrose Design's Stitch School and the Hip to Stitch book. So far, I'm pretty happy with my progress (although, I've yet to break open the Sublime Stitching patterns). It's a little late, so I'll post tomorrow with how I've been using my newfound stitching skills.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Tuesday, April 29, 2008  


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