Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Re-learning Embroidery with "Doodle Stitching" Book

While shopping on Amazon recently for art and craft books I clicked on Amazon’s Gold Box. I don’t do that often. Gold Box is where you are given larger discounts than normal on books that the system thinks you would be tempted to buy, or books that are already on your Wish List.

One that was there was “Doodle Stitching”. I looked at the book and loved the fun design on the cover. I read through all the customer reviews. Re-learning embroidery is something I’ve wanted to do, just to put a bit on little stuffed creatures or to use it on artist trading cards. (I used to embroider as a child and preteen but had long since forgotten how to do it.)

When I read the customer review that said that the book had very good illustrations to teach each step, and that the book was really great for beginners, I realized it was a book I had to have. Due to the Gold Box price I was able to get it for under $10.

When it arrived, I began reading it that night before bed. I got excited. The book does explain the stitches in easy to understand words and it does have good illustrations.

The following night before bed I ran to my sewing supplies and was thrilled to find a whole box of embroidery needles. I have a wooden hoop from my childhood. I took some flannel fabric left over from a doll clothes sewing project and cut a piece off. I went through my supplies and found about 25 different embroidery thread skeins. That was all I needed.

I decided to just start off learning some stitches and ‘doodling’ right on the fabric, that is, sewing without a pre-planned design on the fabric. Random stitches became shapes which became items. That first night, while sitting in bed listening to the television, I stitched a designed Easter egg and an Easter basket.

The next night I tried different stitches. One ended up looking like a bare tree’s branches.

On day three my boys noticed it on the nightstand and asked what it was. Remember they have never seen embroidery before. They knew nothing of it and they were amazed. So that night, you guessed it, when I tried to do the embroidery they both begged to do it. They each took turns doing it. They were teaching themselves the stitches. When asked I explained what the satin stitch is, used to fill in large spaces to make them solid.

The boys have been embroidering for three nights now. Last night they asked me if I have any more hoops and the answer is no. There is a needlecraft sale going on at Joanne’s this week. That is on the way to the orthodontist, who we have an appointment with today. I also would like to stop over at a thrift shop which sometimes has fantastic art, craft, and sewing supplies at ridiculously low prices. I’m going to get each boy their own embroidery hoop, and I’ll buy myself a larger one as well, as mine is quite small.

Last night after the kids went to bed I started and finished the design for an ATC which is for the February Creative Mom Podcast ATC exchange. The theme this month is wings. I have embroidered a bird standing on the ground. I then circled the design twice around with stitches. Today I am contemplating how to finish this off. I think I will put a piece of cardboard under it, fold the edges over and stitch the fabric to the card, so the ATC will have some stiffness. I was thinking also of adding a layer of thin batting and then sewing up the “card” but that would be very soft. I’ll have to think about it more. I have just two days to finish this ATC and get it into the mail on the 29th so it can be considered “on time”.

Anyhow I am really enjoying the inspiration in “Doodle Stitching”. I had read some experienced embroiderers thought the book was too simplistic for a veteran. Some others complained of the lack of patterns, there are designs there to copy and enlarge and so I don’t understand what they are complaining about. I see the book as a good one for beginners as it teaches the stitches well and in general it inspires you to think about different ways to use embroidery rather than just making a design that someone else came up with then framing that on the wall (like my older relatives did a lot in the 1970s).

This book would be perfect for children, preteens and teens also.

I don’t know where this embroidering will lead me. Right now it is a great thing to do at the very end of my day, while sitting in bed with the television on. This is something that is fun and light, something to rid myself of stress. Sometimes I feel like so many very serious things are happening in my life that I need to deflect or offset that with something that is just plain playful and fun.

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jmbmommy said...

I saw your pics on CMP flickr...I am going to check out this book, so thanks. Also...for your boys, check for old hoops at a second hand shop (goodwill etc.) People just purge themselves of the best stuff. I have found SO many knitting supplies and old hoops there. Best wishes!!

Mrs. Pivec said...

A great review, Christine! I had this on my book list for the library. I can't remember if I requested it or not... maybe it was too new. I'll try again and then perhaps buy if they don't have it. I think my girls would love stitching some of their own drawings - at least I know I would.

Your birdie is really cute and I liked the Easter basket too. Maybe when I finish a knitting project or two, I'll get to some of this again. There are just too many things to love! :)