Sunday, November 16, 2008

Itchin' to Stitch

First of all, let me share some news: Sharon Boggon has moved her blog and all of her great resource material to There are links to all of the tips and tutorials and eye candy on her sidebar as well as links to the various challenges and activities she has or is hosting. This woman is a walking, talking, blogging font of embroidery and textile information and is constantly on the hunt for something new to share with us. I stitch in awe of her.

And speaking of stitching, here's where I am so far with my Sumptuous Surfaces piece:

Can you see the bits of turkey work I added? That's the fuzzy Whisper thread I bought on my last shopping excursion. I also did a bit of feather stitching with it to sort of fill in the shrubbery on the top right side.

It needs more but I'm afraid to go any further. It's simply a fear of the unknown. I am not fluent in the language of embroidery stitches so I don't know what can be achieved. Seeing pictures of what others have done is one thing. To make those stitches yourself is another. Only after you have stitched them can you begin to fully comprehend the possibilities they hold. To that end I have made up my mind to begin a band sampler a la Sharon's and Annie's:

Sharon's is the wider, longer version on the right, Annie's narrower sampler is on the left. Sharon has been teaching for some time so she had lots of little bits of stitching that she had been hauling around in folders and things. The folders got to be heavy and at least one piece of stitching got lost along the way so she decided to piece them all together into one long strip. Now she just rolls up her sampler and takes it with her. Students can still see and touch but it's much easier to transport and much harder to lose!

Annie's sampler is unique because she has included references to historic or meaningful events inbetween her stitch samples. You can see in the photo I lifted below that she has documented the Australian government's apology to the Aborigines. (There are more detail shots on Sharon's blog post. Just click on the link above.)

Annie blogs at Annies Crazy World. You can see all of her stitching there, usually in great detail.

The idea for a stitch sampler that incorporates personal history has been tickling my brain ever since I first read about this pair of samplers. When I was introduced to embroidery it was through kits and charted projects. Samplers were a static thing that someone else had designed and really didn't perform the function of giving experience with a lot of different stitches. (Can you say 'boooring'?) I played around with a greater variety of stitches when I was doing needlepoint, and that kept me interested for several years. Now that I have a desire for a working knowledge of embroidery stitches I have the perfect excuse to start a band sampler of my own! :- )


  1. I wanted to say thanks for the link to my new blog but I also wanted to say I have added your blog to my rss feed but thought you might like to leave a comment on my blog as you work your sampler. I know many of readers are thinking about starting a sampler like this and they are watching this type of sampler and I am sure they would love to know about it.

  2. That band sampler is a really nifty idea!

    I like your Sumptuous Surfaces piece. Very subtle and elegant. Don't be afraid to try more embroidery on it. You could always try some different stitches on another piece before you try them on the SS piece. I like that Whisper thread!

  3. I will watch this with interest and fascination! I love to look at embroidery, and understand how it's done, etc. but won't do it myself. My grandmother tried and tried, but it didn't take. (I would rather knit or needlepoint.) Understanding the process of embroidery stitches does enhance the enjoyment of looking at it.

  4. I think these samplers are a great idea. When I did Sharon's 100 stitches in 100 days challenge I made a small crazy quilt with many, though not all of them. I have this piece on the wall and I frequently refer to it when I need some stitching ideas. Your sampler will probably get a lot of use, and since you can roll it up, it will be portable.

  5. I didn't realize she'd moved. I knew Sharon had been talking about it but didn't know she'd decided and gone and done it. Boy, where have I been blogging lately that I can't keep up? Thanks for the link.

    I think a sampler like these but perhaps a tiny bit narrower would look super on a Christmas tree as the garland. And then to add small quilted and embroidered ornaments. I'm not one to do that much work but it does sound good.

  6. Ilike your Sumptuous Surfaces piece and look forward to seeing where you go. The Turkey stitches are interesting


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