Monday, November 7, 2011

Misadventures in Embroidery

I like to refer to cross-stitch as my "gateway" craft.  It's what started it all for me.  It was the summer of 1996 - the only reason I remember this, is because the Summer Olympics were on TV.  I had just broken up with some loser boyfriend, and was all upset about it.  I needed something to distract myself.  So I went to Joann's, wandered around, and bought a bunch of stuff from the cross-stitch aisle.  I thought I'd make a wedding gift for my friend.  I ended up cross-stitching a Precious Moments bride & groom.  :) I was SO PROUD of that thing!  And more importantly, I was totally hooked.  I cross-stitched a LOT after that.  Always working on a project.  I think when the kids came along, that's when the needlework went away.  (Need I explain?)  I found other things to kind of be creative with - sewing being the biggest one - and when I learned to knit, it felt SO RIGHT to me.  I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but I realized it was something for my hands to do. Since developing carpal tunnel is on my bucket list, this is just perfect.  Just kidding.

Anyway, so fast forward a couple more years (like, now), and I started reading Allison's blog (she's going to think I'm a stalker because I mention her on here so much - I'm not!  I promise!!!), and looking at needlework on Pinterest (wanna see my "needlework" board?), and realizing that it's not all just Precious Moments and fruit baskets and horse heads anymore.  There is a lot of really cool, modern designs out there.  And I figured, hey, my kids are old enough now, they know not to try to eat the needles...maybe I'll try this again! 

So I thought I'd try embroidery - I didn't feel like messing with a cross stitch pattern just now.  Here are some things I've been doing over the last few weeks.

Here's the first thing I embroidered.  It's OK, you won't hurt my feelings.  I know it sucks.  Well, those blue lazy daisies in the middle are good.  But the rest?  Not good, ha ha!  But I wasn't expecting it to be great; just wanted to try something out.  Apparently I was on a learning curve with the "stem stitch." 
After playing around a bit on some scrap fabric, I moved on to this.  Better, right?  :)
Check out the French Knottage...not too shabby!

The curved orange line is done in stem stitch - can you tell a difference from my teapot?  Ha ha!

So at this point I've got all kinds of confidence.  And I think, I've got this.  So I ordered an iron-on transfer pattern from Etsy.  And I realize that my sense of confidence may be a little...well, inflated.

I learned a new stitch or two.  That's in my brain now.  Which means something had to go, to make room for this new knowledge.  The fact that PLASTIC MELTS WHEN UNDER A HOT IRON was, as I found out, the bit of info that drew the short straw and got tossed overboard.

Why yes, that unsightly blob IS permanently melted-on USPS packing tape.  Why do you ask?  
I couldn't find the masking tape, OK?  Oh, also, I didn't think to cut out the seller's logo from the pattern  before ironing it onto the fabric.
Can you even imagine my IRE at this point?  No, you can't.
 Oh, and?  I'm not very good at ironing patterns onto things.  Observe:
Double ugh!
 "Luckily," the pattern instructions said that you may be able to get another use out of it, if you apply heat for a little longer.  So I try that.  It didn't work.  :(  Well, I paid money for this thing, and I'm not paying for it again to get a new one.  So my job now is to deal with the mistakes and make it work!  I have some ideas...but I'm open to ideas, too. 

Linking up:


  1. The ones you did look great! I have never done it so I think even the tea pot looks awesome!

  2. Nice work. I love embroidery, I like to do it while watching tv.

  3. LOVE the flowery one. and that is so funny about your pattern (sorry!) because it sounds exactly like things I would do! I hope you can salvage it!

  4. Oh, and I've never done a stitch in my life, so I'm no help!

  5. What I do with my embroidery transfers (I'm cheap and like the option to reuse them!) is photocopy them and then pin/tape to the fabric and then tape to a window (or a lightbox) and trace it onto the fabric with a water soluble pen. That way if something isn't perfect, it isn't money wasted, you can just get the fabric wet and start over :) If that doesn't make any sense let me know! I'm a new embroiderer as well :) Best of luck!