Crafting it Slow.

The other week, Nicole from Follow The White Bunny wrote a post about “Slow Crafting” and it was funny timing because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately too. Ever since I announced at the beginning of the year that I was determined to steal back a little more time for my own personal, non-business projects, I’ve been enjoying the kind of craft that really lets you take your time and sink your teeth in. So I want to take this week to share my slow projects with you guys and talk a little about why slow crafts are so awesome.

To start, I want to show you something that I just started this weekend. This is not just a slow project, it’s one that may continue throughout my whole life if it goes as I have in mind.

I’ve mentioned before that music is very important to me, and I even used to think I would write about music professionally one day. That seems a little silly now – if I’m honest about it, I was never really so good at it anyway, and I kind of feel that if it didn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. But music still is one of the biggest loves of my life, and I’m always looking for a way to connect it to my needlecrafting loves.

Eels Lyrics

A while ago back, I had a notion to stitch up some lyrics. That’s not a hugely original idea on its own, I’ve been inspired by lots of stitched lyrics I’ve seen online. I’ve even done a couple myself, but those didn’t seem like enough. It’s such an obvious way for me to pay tribute to something I love so much.

But I couldn’t choose just one line from one song! I couldn’t even narrow it down to a genre. So I thought on it some and ended up thinking that all the lyrics I love deserve to be stitched equally. Funny hip-hop rhymes, sad country lines, inspiring folk poetry. I love them all the same.

I decided to stitch them all, of course! Not all at once, that would be madness. But each as its own little mini-project, to gradually become part of a larger whole. My vision at the moment is that eventually I will have a whole wall or corner in my house dedicated to these embroideries, each one a line that inspires me in some way big or small. They won’t all match, they’ll all be on fabric and in styles that suit them, but they will belong together.

Eels Lyrics

This weekend, I finally started the first one. This is a line from “Hey Man! (Now You’re Really Living)”, by Eels (one of my very favorite bands, who I am ridiculously excited to be seeing live for the first time in April, EEP!). This is such a special song because it joyously celebrates ALL of what makes up a full life, all the wonderful bits and sad bits and all the bits in between. It’s so beautiful. Eels get me every time.

I’m working on a linen handkerchief that I think my parents bought for me at Versailles, or maybe just France generally, about a hundred years ago. I found it packed away when I redecorated my bedroom and it asked to be stitched on. I’m using silk thread and will probably add some sort of floral embellishment on it after the text is finished. And that will be just one part of a much larger project. So, while I finish, tell me about your slow projects!

(Thanks for bringing this topic up, Nicole!)

26 Comments on Crafting it Slow.

  1. jessica
    February 26, 2013 at 15:41 (5 years ago)

    love this. embroidering song lyrics is so satisfying somehow. (also satisfying — my kids know and love that eels song)

    • julie
      February 27, 2013 at 11:28 (5 years ago)

      Seriously, your kids must rock so hard. It’s so nice to know there’s hope for the future generations. :)

  2. RMW
    February 26, 2013 at 16:12 (5 years ago)

    Almost 100% of my embroidery projects are slow. Usually they are 3 months (2-3 hours daily) at MINIMUM. I have a project going now that is a quilt. I have been embroidering individual squares now for two years. I figured out several years ago that the small, quick ones just piled up and I couldn’t do anything with them, so I began doing almost nothing but long, slow projects and I feel better about it.

    • julie
      February 27, 2013 at 11:30 (5 years ago)

      YES! Exactly! Especially with embroidery – I love doing it, but will never be able to use all those projects if I stick with quick ones. These won’t be large, but will be done each with care, probably with plenty of time between. And they have one whole purpose, like your quilt. But what on earth do people *do* with all those faster projects??

      I’d love to see your quilt-in-progress, you should share a photo sometime!

      • RMW
        February 27, 2013 at 14:54 (5 years ago)

        I will email you in a bit, and see if I would like you to post. I do not plan to use the quilt on my bed, it will take up an entire wall, but hey, it will be beautiful.

  3. Nicole follow the white bunny
    February 27, 2013 at 10:23 (5 years ago)

    You’re welcome! xo. I’m a huge fan of stitched lyrics and stitched lettering in general. I have a smiths and tom waits lyric quote on my wall. And a tom waits portrait. I still have a foo fighters song title in cross stitch in progress :). At the moment I’m playing Mumford &sons a lot on my ipod,, they have a lot of quotable stuff…

    • julie
      February 27, 2013 at 11:31 (5 years ago)

      I love your Smiths embroidery, Nicole, it’s so lovely – I’ve never seen the Tom Waits lyrics though, I don’t think? I’m keeping a whole list of good lyrics I come across now, they’ll keep me busy for a long time!

    • Amanda
      April 25, 2015 at 15:47 (3 years ago)

      I think I just might do this with the lyrics of the song played at my wedding!

      • tammy
        October 13, 2015 at 01:04 (3 years ago)

        Wow.Thank you for that inspired idea! I’ve wanted to stitch something for our bedroom, but didn’t want it to be too “girly.” Part of our wedding song would be perfect!

  4. Drew
    May 27, 2014 at 18:54 (4 years ago)

    Hi – Quick question. What stitch do you embroider the lyrics in? I’ve embroidered pillow cases [a white one in with blue cotton] for Christmas gifts with the words “Liefie” and “Liefling” [it means Lovey and Loved in Afrikaans] and it was beautiful. But I did it in a stem stitch and it worked fine. Only I really do like the idea of a pillow case with song words on it, in smaller writing, and imagine that’s the wrong stitch to use. What would you suggest? Thanks, Drew

  5. Julie
    November 12, 2014 at 15:45 (4 years ago)

    Hey! :) I found your post on Pinterest browsing for a Christmas present ideas. I absolutely love this. I have cross-stitched before (with a pattern) but I just wanted your opinion on how to go about stitching lyrics like this. Any tips?

    • Julie
      November 12, 2014 at 15:48 (4 years ago)

      Also I just realized that your name is Julie too! Cool.

  6. Valerie
    January 21, 2015 at 07:03 (3 years ago)

    One project I started at my daughters first birthday was to have everyone sign the tablecloth in a section. I would stitch on top of each signature and add which birthday it was for. In the center I stitched her name, birthdate, weight, length. Each year was stitched in a different color. What a treasure and precious memories to have even a Great Grandmothers signature to remember after she was no longer with us. It was neat to reminisce through each year.

  7. Sue
    February 18, 2015 at 15:50 (3 years ago)

    I really like this idea. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Christine
    March 11, 2015 at 20:32 (3 years ago)

    Just wondering,

    • Christine
      March 11, 2015 at 20:33 (3 years ago)

      hit comment too soon :) I was going to say, I was just wondering, what font did you use for this project? or did you just handwrite it?

  9. Linda Card
    April 1, 2015 at 22:50 (3 years ago)

    This is such a great idea. Not just the slow down and enjoy but the capture of your favorite song lyrics. I might extend that to famous lines from my favorite books. Thank you sor sharing.

  10. Ann
    April 27, 2015 at 16:58 (3 years ago)

    When I was young, I collected autographs and had embroidered over them! I have been told how crazy I was to have done that but now I think I will put them all together for a wallhanging or??

  11. Sharon
    September 1, 2015 at 12:30 (3 years ago)

    Awesome! I need to do some Ed Sheeran lyrics for my daughter Katie (and me!) <3

  12. Lora
    October 18, 2015 at 20:03 (3 years ago)

    Hello, This post was quite awhile ago but would you tell me what stitch you are using? It conforms so beautifully to the small script.
    Thanks, Lora

  13. Lily
    February 20, 2016 at 20:05 (2 years ago)

    This is a great ide! But how can I copy the writing from paper to the material? Thanks!

  14. Julie
    March 6, 2016 at 10:45 (2 years ago)

    I just stumbled upon your project and have to tell you, too, that I love it. I do several “slow projects” including hand quilting, beading, cross stitching and embroidery and always love the end product. My only issue is that because they are so slow, they sometimes get waylaid and may not get finished. For instance, I found a cross stitch project that I started when a friend was newly pregnant with her first child and finally finished it. The child? Newly graduated from high school!

  15. Nicole
    March 29, 2016 at 01:50 (2 years ago)

    I have a hard time making straight lines with my words and consistent sizing of the letters..what do you do?

  16. Ann
    August 12, 2017 at 23:59 (9 months ago)

    Beautiful what stitch do you use please as it looks so neat?

  17. Tess porz
    September 6, 2017 at 07:40 (9 months ago)

    Hi Julie. I really like your embroidered lyrics. They look great. Question, I have tried to embroider using the cursive script but get completely tangled on the curve of some letters ….. Mine doesn’t seem to flow. What stitch do you use? Thanks for your time….


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