Drawing in Stitch

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Close-ups below

So I heavily hinted in this post that I had been doing some embroidery. As promised, here are some pictures of my first original design! Looking at it in these photos I can see a lot wrong with it or things I would add or change, but I had so much fun doing it that doesn’t put me off and I am still quite pleased with it. I know the design is very simple, but I didn’t want to jump in at the deep end. The stitches I used were nice and simple too (deliberately!) – back stitch for the face and outlines, chain stitch to fill in the flower and leaves. Part of the purpose of this first one was to see if I could actually do it – create a project and see it through from start to finish. What my ultimate aim was though was to see if I could translate my drawing style into stitch. Up until now I had been doing sewing projects out of books so I wanted to see if what I do could be translated into stitch – I wasn’t sure. So I deliberately started out at the beginning just as I do when planning a mixed media/painting piece: with a pencil and a sketchbook, and although I made sure it was simple I drew as though I were going to paint it rather than sew it.

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I finished the stitching on this one – which I’m currently calling ‘Flower Head’ or ‘Flower Girl’ – in October last year, but have only just finished it off in the embroidery hoop with the ribbon. I’ve already started another piece though, and eventually I would like the designs to get more complicated, but for now I am very much still learning as I go and still in the process of working out what kind of thing will work as embroidery, and what needs to be painted – although I’m sure for a more experienced sewer anything can work! I’ve literally tied myself in knots along the way (as I said before, I am really not a patient person) but ultimately I had a lot of fun seeing something growing beneath my fingers in a way that is much more tactile than a drawing. But drawing and painting is comfortable for me, and I feel at the moment that although I am the one holding the needle, I am still a bit in thrall to the thread and always wondering what it will do next – whether the stitch will fall as I hope or whether some inexplicable problem (usually a mysterious knot) will arise and I will have to start again. If I finish the second design, I will post pictures of that too – but there’s a long way to go yet!

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