This isn’t exactly a big reveal, as these stitches have been my blog’s header for months, but I think it’s about time I got to writing about one of my most ambitious embroidery projects ever.
When Janeal, one of my best friends from high school, won my most recent giveaway, she asked me to do something with her ultrasound. After weeks of thought about it and consultations with my stitchiest friends, I decided to just dive in and do a cross-stitch interpretation of the first picture of her son.
This is an example of the pattern I made and used to create the piece. It was really a pretty huge undertaking. Hundreds and hundreds of stitches made out of seven different shades of gray. It took up 100% of my spare time over about three weeks – and I really loved doing it. Every time I finished a section, I felt great about myself, and I was happy to do it for such a dear old friend.
Ah! The wee one’s sweet little head. That’s his profile, looking up. Kind of hard to tell when you haven’t stared at it for days and days in a row. I was able to give this to Janeal the day after she gave birth, which was pretty tender for me. I’m still/always so in awe of childbirth.
After finishing that piece, I tried to turn this image of fetus-Grady into a cross-stitch pattern, but it just wasn’t working out as well. I think I need to scan it. But I thought if I could do it twice I could turn it into a thing for the shop; custom ultrasound embroideries. They’d be pretty ridiculously expensive, but I think they’re just lovely. I really like the texture of cross-stitch. It’s a lot of work, and the weight of the work sticks with it, I think.
I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like, because we’re now in the home stretch of the shop opening so I’ve been busy tangling threads at every spare moment. Also my desk is currently set up to be a stitching/watching netflix area, so typing is just physically uncomfortable. #whitepeopleproblems
Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at something I’m working on for the shop. It should be finished by now, but I’m trying a new framing technique that is frankly quite horrifying, so I’m postponing it as long as possible. Framing in general really stresses me out. I’ve learned a lot of new useful techniques, but it remains that framing fabric is just difficult. In the future I’m going to try to make as many of my pieces as possible fit in an embroidery hoop, because using one of those as a frame is easy as pie.
Anyway, I must get back to stitching! After all, the shop opens in two days!
(Yikes. Two days. Feeling a little bit nauseous about it, actually. But it will be great! I promise!)
What a brilliant idea for a present. Weddings, birthdays … yet another “10 cool embroidered things” post that makes me want to embroider portraits of my friends. By Laura Hartrich on flickr.
I am obsessed with this. The colors are perfect, and I’ve long been hoping to do some embroidered eyelets. By Recycled by Hyena on flickr.
I heart snarky cross-stitch. By Stitch Out Loud on flickr.
Cate Anevski did a whole series of these adorable “Facebroideries.” You should check them out.
This message is probably impossible to give to a person, right? You have to find it on your own? In any case, I love it. By Rosie Geissler on flickr.
It’s no secret that I love lady-bits inspired embroidery and art. The colors of this one are magnificent. By ScarletTentacle on flickr.
This piece, also by ScarletTentacle, is an interpretation of a friend/boyfriend/family member/whatever’s doodles, and I love that idea. I can’t wait to embroider the pictures Grady draws. (Perhaps I already should? She does draw quite a bit already.)
I think this is intended to be a skirt embellishment, but I love the way it works in the hoop. I’d just put this straight up on my wall. By ginamatarazzostuff on flickr.
LOVE. By Urban Threads on flickr.
More vaginae! All shapes and sizes by ScarletTentacle on flickr. (Note: Technically the plural of “vagina” can be “vaginas” or “vaginae.” Until now I’ve always used “vaginas,” but I think “vaginae” may need a comeback. It’s just such a cool-looking word.)
Counted cross-stitching with tear-away for the first time. I can’t see the working fabric. My thread is the same color as the tear-away. The pattern is complicated even if it were on aida.
But I am committed! I love the idea I’m working on! I will just have to deal with feeling nauseous for the rest of the project.
I finally started Janeal‘s giveaway present. I grappled with what exactly to make for ages, obviously, but I’m pretty excited about my final design, and if it goes well I might use the idea as a “custom item” option in the shop.
Anyway, there’s something really delicious about laying out a meticulous grid like this one before starting a project. I generally won’t do it for cross-stitch projects, but this design will be particularly difficult to execute, so I’m taking every possible precaution. I took this picture last night, and in the last 24 hours have spent every spare moment (between emergency trips to the chiropractor and cleaning toddler puke off of, well, every surface in my home*. sigh.) stitching tiny little exes, slowly making progress. I’m about 70% sure that the idea will work.
And no, I’m not telling you what the idea is yet. Not because I want to create any sort of anticipation, but because while I want to share my creative process, I can’t really allow any possible negative feedback while I’m in the middle of it. The smallest comment can shatter my confidence, and once that’s happened I just can’t stitch. So that’s where this teasing is coming from.
(Janeal, obviously you are exempt from this rule if you want to know what I’m doing.)
Sigh. Anyway, cross-stitching always makes me think of my mom. I guess I’ll talk more about that when I can share the finished product. (Which, if I maintain my current rate of stitching, may be in about two weeks. If we’re lucky.)
*W/r/t the puke: Grady’s been having a bit of a gastronomic episode this week. But, knock on wood**, she appears to be returning to her happy, healthy self.
**This and throwing salt are two superstitions I cannot exorcise, even though I do not believe in their supposed power.
Here it is! That thing I finished months ago!
Also, while I’m thinking about giveaway pieces, I think I forgot to give the hedgehog I made to Dani. Did I? I know I finished and framed it. Sorry, Dani, if I haven’t given it to you yet. #worstbloggerever #alsoworstsisterever
Sorry. I’m kind of addicted to twitterspeak.
Anyway, here is the thing I made for Jack. He is obsessed with the Giants/Brian Wilson. The hardest part about this was turning the idea into a cross-stitch pattern, but I enjoyed the tedium of it.
And since I made the pattern for myself anyway, I might as well make it available to all of you lovely people. I didn’t make it fancy like professional patterns, but I think the point gets across. If you have any questions about the pattern, please ask it in the comments here. Thanks!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FREE ‘FEAR THE BEARD’ CROSS-STITCH PATTERN.
I love this. It makes me want to do embroidered cartoon-y portraits of all my friends. Also, using chain stitch as a filler to emulate knitwear? Brilliant. “mr magillicutty” by cath @ chunkychooky on flickr.
Love. Found via Mr. X-stitch, by Amanda Jean.
Love love love love love. By yukamila on flickr.
It’s probably pretty obvious that I am trying to narrow down my choices to the very best, because I am obsessed with every picture I’m posting this week. Anyway, references to Catholic imagery + vagina-art? Two of my favorite things. By lockedinthepark on flickr, found via Mr. X-stitch.
THIS IS SATIN STITCH. IT IS NOT RUNNING STITCH. It makes me respect the stitcher so much. By Mrs. Gibson’s Atelier on flickr.
1. The color choice is magnificent. 2. So. Many. French. Knots. By PataPri on flickr, found via Mr. X-stitch.
I want an embroidery-inspired tattoo sooooo bad someday. I haven’t figured out exactly how that will work yet, but I still want one. This cross-stitched tat is lovely. From benjibot on flickr.
By What Delilah Did on flickr.
Dear everyone-who-asks-me-to-mend-their-jeans: I will happily sew your patches, but I will want to do them like this. You must be very specific about your desires if you don’t want your jeans to come out like this. By Sherri Lynn Wood, via WhipUp.
I really love everything Cornflower Blue Studio does. How do you think would be the best way to mount something like this on a wall? I guess it’s technically a mini-quilt. Maybe you could sew little loops along the top, thread a tree branch through the loops and then hang it by the branch? Yup, that would be adorable.
Sigh. Posts like this make me wish I could devote all of my time to crafting. Damn you, UVU, for not having a fiber design program.
If this post was to look at all of my unfinished fiber-related work, it would … well it would make me cry. Let’s just focus on embroidery.
1-3. The giveaway prizes! Prize one is finished, framed and on its way to its new owner, piece 2 is finished but in need of a good frame, and piece 3 is designed but needs the right color of thread. The third piece is counted-cross stitch, which takes about sixty billion years to design without the proper software. But I’m excited to start it.
4. “we make darkness only by getting in the way of the light.” I was reading assigned chapters in my acting textbook, The Actor and the Target by Declan Donnellan, and when I read this sentence I had to stop reading and embroider it. It was entirely impulse. Read the phrase, look up from the book, see this fabric hanging on the wall, immediately know that this had to happen. I’m working the letters in two abutting rows of backstitch, which is kind of awkward, but effective.
5. “A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. – Kafka” This was another gut-instinct piece. I wanted to do crazy couching with yarn, but didn’t know much more than that. So I opened a book of quotes, closed my eyes and pointed at a random spot on a random page – this was the phrase that I pointed at. I closed my eyes again and reached into my bag of embroidery floss, and pulled out this blue. Then I saw this scrap of denim (from a pair of pants I adored in junior high which are now cutoffs), pulled out the scrap, wrote on it in fast freehand (obviously) and got stitching. I started this one months ago but lost interest. I still think I’ll finish it, though.
6. The Marx portrait in my header. I finally picked this fellow back up, and am almost done with his beard; just need to finish the right and top quadrants of hair. The dude had so. much. hair.
7. An old, old, old, bright yellow cross-stitched version of that iconic Led Zeppelin album cover that I haven’t worked on in at least three years. I really need to finish this eventually, but man. It is tedious.
I think that’s all that I actually am working on; but my pile of designs waiting to be stitched is getting mountainous.