|Dreamy crewel design from a kit sold at Purl Soho.|
The embroidery I have tackled has been quite rewarding for a few reasons. First, it's sort of instant gratification. I would put the speed in between knitting (slow for me) and sewing (a much quicker process). Now, keep in mind that I haven't gotten really complicated with embroidery so I'm sure there are some slow techniques out there! Second is that I really enjoy the process. Pulling a needle full of brightly colored thread through fabric really appeals to my senses. Mistakes are corrected rather easily and I can be a designer of my own pattern in a flash. (I am referencing my upcoming woodland creatures wall-hangings project) Lastly, and sad to say, importantly, it is "sitting work". For the same reason I love knitting... I love this. I can get comfy on my couch with tea and a movie and create while I relax.
|Example of 18th century Finnish embroidery. I adore the all-over pattern.|
My personal history with this sort of project work has only included DMC 6-strand embroidery floss. Really standard stuff. Simple chain or outline stitches coupled with french knots and satin stitch. I'm not lighting the world on fire here. But I will say, it's amazing how many projects you can do with just a thimbleful of knowledge.
But, I have gotten intrigued by some materials I have seen lately... linen threads, crewel yarns, wool threads, etc. It is fun to work with such bright candy-colors that you can't usually work with when knitting or sewing... unless you have a very small girl child to craft for in your house. Which I don't.
|Pillowcase design by Sublime Stitching. Seriously awesome.|
A while ago we reviewed a simple and basic embroidery book called The Embroidery Companion by Alicia Paulson. That has been a great book for referencing basic stitches. But there are also a lot of great resources on the web. I have found that the Purl Soho blog (The Purl Bee) has some really great ideas and tutorials for all sorts of types of techniques. And this site is really bare-bones as far a web design goes, but goodness it has a tutorial for any stitch you could possibly want to try.
If you're looking for some inspiration, just search "embroidery" on flickr or google images. There are a lot of people doing a lot of really creative stuff out there. I'm actually intrigued with the idea of combining quilting and embroidery lately. Just another project to add to the list! Hopefully I will have some of my own original designs to share with you soon.