13 July 2011

Cross stitch and hand embroidery

Maggie has been waiting (im)patiently for this post for the past couple days, because she is still floored by the idea of me doing hand embroidery when I just don't like hand-sewing in general.  But earlier this week (or was it the end of last week?) I hit my local library in search of fitting books, since I do need visual help with that, and stumbled on more textile craft books than you can shake a stick at.  That combined with a massive clearance sale on needle arts supplies at Hancock have nudged me back into this idea ... and let's just admit that my embroidery machine is the high-tech way of mimicking hand embroidery.  Ok, ok ... the pic:
Cross stitch - Tudor period design
That is my little piece of "Can I still do this after all these years?" cross stitch and page 88 of Elizabethan Cross Stitch by Barbara Hammet ... which is a truly inspiring book for a Ren Faire geek like me!  All the designed are sourced to extent originals, including a large sampler.  Given its price tag, check your local library first.

I used to do counted cross stitch, after graduating from plastic canvas needlepoint and what is apparently called "surface embroidery" as a kid.  The last time I can remember doing cross stitch was either my freshman or sophomore year in high school, when I drew a design onto graph paper to make my own.  I chose something small ... mostly because the kit I picked up off the clearance table for $1 had a 3x3 inch aida cloth and a little hoop/frame.  If I had bought the hoop by itself, it would have cost me $3 ... instead I got cloth, floss, hoop, and even a needle in one cute little kid's pack.  Have I ever mentioned just how much I love a good clearance sale?

Now for another local library find: The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden.  This one does not appear to contain any patterns or designs - just all the different stitches.  A whole lot of them ... more than I knew about, that is for sure!  Even better: the version my library has is hardback spiral-bound, so it will lay flat open to easily refer to while both hands are holding cloth and needle.  It has both how-to diagrams as well as pictures of what the finished work should look like, great for visually-oriented folks.

Now, for the truly important question: How many times can I renew these books before my local library says I must turn them back in?  LOL

Last note on the whole "I can't believe she's hand embroidering" bit ... when my back acts up, I cannot even sit in front of my sewing machine (much less cut anything out!) so if I want to get any progress on those days, it's hand-work in my ergonomic computer chair or nothing.  Of course, the big trick is how to keep my embroidery floss away from my nosy cats.

For those of y'all who want some immediate gratification, I have an awesome link: Needlework Tips & Techniques.  It doesn't have as many stitches as the little "stitch bible" but it does have quite a bit, including some free patterns to download and print for those of y'all who can keep a printer working.

(Amazon link note: Yes, I am an affiliate and have been for about a decade now.  I get 1-2% commission on Amazon purchases made through my links ... given the price tags on several of the books on my wishlist, I could use all the help I can get!)


Maggie said...

Looks great!

glorm said...

Hey, nice work.

Suggestion: put a Wanted classified at PR for embroidery books and see what happens. Most libraries do have a limit on how many times you can renew.