This past weekend, I got together with some friends and had an embroidery themed crafterday. It's the earliest I've been up on a Saturday in many many months. And I may have over packed. Especially as we trekked out to West Montreal. I went a bit nuts buying veggies at the grocery store. But those pre-cut trays were just too sad!
So after some high test tea, delicious pastries, cheeses and digging into the mountain of veggies, we started in on the embroidery. I've managed to accumulate quite a bit of embroidery materials without having done any since customising my back pack free hand in grade 8. In addition to the many books and patterns, I somehow have a pretty decent stash of embroidery floss and fabrics for embroidering.
I ended up picking a pattern from my Aunt Martha's Hot Iron Transfers, The Mystic Mermaid 3984. Aunt Martha still print some of their designs from the 40's/50's/60's and I just LOVE these mermaids. For some reason I'm a big mermaid fan.
The fabric I have is mostly freebies, leftovers and charity shop finds. For this piece, I picked some leftover muslin from when I finally hemmed my Ikea curtains. It's fairly open weave so easy to stitch I guess.
Since I've never officially embroidered anything (other than some bad cross stitch when I was a kid that never got finished), I was a bit intimidated with where to start. I opted to make some small decisions with stitch choice and colour on some of the smaller details so there wouldn't have to be too much backing up and re-stitching. I started with the bubbles.
Moved to the fishes and mermaid scales. This is where I decided to do some statin stitch practice on the fins.
Then I decided to try a big part: the hair. For most of the embroidery, I used 2 plies of floss, but I wanted a bold outline of the hair, so went with 3 plies in a stem stitch. I did the big outline first, carefully. Then did the detail lines with 1 ply also in stem stitch. I'm really very proud of how it turned out.
Another fun detail was the mermaid's tail. I found this fishbone stitch in my stitch bible and gave it a try. Some how my stitches were more horizontal than they should have been. And the transfer was too light in this section so I kind of made up the outline on the fly so it's not as nice as I'd like. But I'm happy with the effect.
The very last part that I worked on were these fish hooks. They were fun. Because of the scale, I worked them all with 1 ply of floss with various stitches. Though I think that fuschia one is a bit wild for the rest of the calm colours in the rest of it.
This project has made me all embroidery crazy. I've already got a bunch more planned. Even some cross stitch. But what should I do with all those small leftover pieces of floss? It seems such a waste just to toss a perfectly good length of it. I'm conceiving of some kind of ziploc system or something. Now I wish I saved all those little jewelry/spare button/teeny ziplocs a person gets in life. I might have some kicking around somewhere.