Stitching Away

Hand embroidery is definitely one of my favorite crafts. One of my favorite activities, even. It’s so relaxing, you can do it anywhere and the results make the slow process well worth the effort. I also love how the natural, human imperfections make it beautiful– you have no choice but to embrace them.

Obviously, it’s much faster to use a sewing machine to embroider, but that’s just not my cup of tea. I love the slow, calm and very deliberate nature of hand stitching.

When I heard that Anna Maria Horner was publishing a book about hand embroidery, I was seriously thrilled. I just love her, her blog, her fabrics and her creativity for pushing the envelope when it comes to hand stitching. Tangent: Andy, my mom and sister love to tell the story of a time they came with me to meet her at her book signing. When she complimented my top, I completely froze up, I was totally star-stuck, and could only get out a few more words. My mom saw how I was struggling and quickly started chatting with Anna to fill the awkward silence. Ah!

Anyway. The point is that I love her work! I pre-ordered her needleworks book and dove into it as soon as it arrived. I’ve taught myself to embroider mainly through trial-and-error, so it’s nice to read her expert advice about specific stitches, fabrics and finishing techniques.

I even took my first attempt at cross stitch after reading her instructions. I found these pretty Christmas star patterns on pinterest. It’ll be a great little decoration, maybe for the mantle or the kitchen. I also stitched up my brother-in-law’s Christmas gift this way–I’ll be sure to post pictures after he opens it!

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I’ve wanted to make a new pillow for our couch for quite a while. A pattern in Anna Maria Horner’s book was just the ticket. I started it a few weeks ago, but it will take lots of time to fill in the “home” lettering. I decided to use a sweet floral fabric from my stash and, instead of using many colors like in the pattern, make all the letters navy blue. Once the stitching is complete, I want to  hand quilt the fabric before creating the pillow case. I’ll keep you posted!

photo-5 Do you like to embroider by hand? Or do you prefer machine embroidery? What’s your favorite type of stitching? I’d love to know!

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