Woolgathering: Cross stitch lettering

Woolgathering: Cross stitch lettering

1. cross stitch letter buttons, 2. Coral Letter S, 3. sneak peek, 4. Slicing up eyeballs, 5. A little bit of, 6. for chicken findaloo, 7. Home Sweet Home, 8. nuts about you full, 9. Traditional Vulcan Embroidery, 10. Untitled, 11. Cross Stitch Monogrammed Secret Belgian Binding Mini Balsa Notebook, 12. BBD Autumn Song pincushion, 13. One done and two to go…, 14. A Cross-Stitched Alphabet, 15. Ampersand Cross Stitch, 16. Square 3 – Complete

Ode to the back stitch

Vintage owl embroidery

Last week, I posted a photo of some embroidery materials, then I showed off some gorgeous back stitch done by Flickr users. That little pile of thread, pink pillowcases, and the back stitch became by new instant gratification project.

I had these Ikea pillowcases sitting around for ages, kind of making me feel bad for having bought them and then never getting to them. Don’t you hate when homewares make you feel guilty? I’d intended to embroider some unicorns on them, because what’s more grown-up than pillowcases with unicorns, right? But by the time I got to it, I just wasn’t feeling it. I turned to the super-awesome Vintage Embroidery Patterns group on Flickr. Um, how come no one told me there was a super-awesome Vintage Embroidery Patterns group on Flickr?! I just happened to bump into it while I was trying to decide what to put on those pillowcases and I found these totally goofy and adorable owl patterns.

Vintage owl embroidery - close-up

The owls won me over because they have silly faces but also because I knew they’d look great in back stitch. There’s a funny thing when you learn a new skill that makes you cringe away from the basics and want only to use more complex techniques. When I first learned to knit, garter stitch just looked seriously ugly to me for the longest time. But after a while, I started to appreciate how its simplicity can be really beautiful. Ok, I’m no newbie to embroidery, but I’ve never understood the appeal of back stitch. It just looked so ordinary. My theory is that when you’re new to something, you want to use techniques that make you look like you know what you’re doing – perhaps just a little more than you really do. But once you’re confident in that skill, you notice how lovely the simplest stitch can be. Of course, after years of not using it once, now I want to cover everything in back stitch.

One pillowcase down, the second about halfway there. I expect the pair will be finished within a day or two. Who doesn’t love a project that’s planned and finished in under two weeks?

Woolgathering: Back stitch

Woolgathering: Back stitch

1. Deer, 2. Clouds, 3. sachet close up, 4. White seahorse close up, 5. In the oven., 6. Back stitches, 7. omg, bunny!, 8. stitchy, 9. Boo!, 10. lovebear 1: completed embroidery, 11. Embroidered Deer, 12. ::hello::, 13. Work in Progress_2, 14. hibernating bear on a hankie, 15. Red Brocade Bird, 16. Detail

Flickr is, without a doubt, my biggest source of inspiration – it’s like being able to browse the entire world’s art gallery for anything I want, anytime I like. At least once a week, I’ll get some sort of notion in my head and search for it on Flickr, having a look at what others have done with similar ideas. I wanted to include that sense of exploration and inspiration on this blog somehow. ‘Woolgathering’ posts will feature a recent Flickr search of mine and will usually occur on Fridays – hopefully sending both you and I off into the weekend daydreaming about new and exciting ideas.

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