Embroidery Notes

Back in June, I’d gotten an embroidery kit at the Royal School of Needlework’s shop at Hampton Court.    (It’s by Hawthorne Handmade, happily also available on Etsy.)   I’d actually started it not long after the trip, but put it aside for what was probably a little bit too much time because the French knots were kicking my butt.   Once I got those figured out (shout out to online embroidery tutorials!), I finished it about three days later.

This was a much easier kit than the last one I tried, which has now been sitting for far too long.    But this did give me the confidence to take that other one back out and try some more.   It’s still a little more advanced than I’m probably ready for at the moment, so I may have to track down another kit on Etsy to bulk up my skills in the meantime.  But I’m really liking this as an alternative to knitting.    But again, it’s a little hard to find a place to put the end product.    I really need needlework of all kinds to become a little cooler so I have more of an outlet for my hobbies.

Embroidery Notes

I really like knitting, but you can only make so many lace shawls before you run out of places to use them, or people to give them away to.     So I’ve been thinking about something else I could do during the evening, that I can do while sitting on the couch, watching not too involved tv.

When I was in high school, I used to cross stitch.    I’ve done away with most of those supplies (save the floss – one can never in good conscience get rid of a good stash), I liked embroidery, and thought it might be nice to take that up again.     So I looked to my trusty visual crack website (aka Pinterest), and starting surfing the Craft/DIY section.    I settled on Jacobean crewel.

At that point, I started looking for kits, and ended up on Etsy.   This is what I ended up buying, because I really liked her style, and it has the added bonus of coming from Australia.   (Check out the stamps from the package below.    Shipping was just a smidge over two weeks, which isn’t bad for regular shipping from the other side of the world.)

The kit is awesome – really good illustrations, and a variety of stitches to practice.      So here’s to fun alternative week night activity.

The Dreaded Stash

I don’t know what it is, but I’m in a massive nesting mood today, which is being mostly thwarted by the fact that the worst off sections of the house are also the unheated sections of the house. But, the various parts of my craft accumulation are in portable containers, so I was at least able to work on those today. (The following doesn’t include my craft books, which are another section of overflowing goodness in themselves.)

My first serious craft was cross-stitch, but it’s something I haven’t really been doing much of lately. A couple weeks back, I went through my notions, and pulled out all of the extra fabric, most of my extraneous embrodiery hoops, and most of the patterns I’ve picked up over the years. I decided to keep my three containers of embroidery floss, since I still use that in other projects, a couple books of Theresa Wentzler patterns (because they’re so freaking cool I just like pulling out the books and looking at them), and a couple of embroidery hoops, just in case. Everything else is in a bag, waiting for the garage sale we’re pretty sure we’re having this spring. And if there isn’t a garage sale, I’ve resolved to Freecycle the bag. There’s plenty there to make it worth someone’s while to come pick it up.

My second major craft is sewing (mostly quilting). This portion of my stash is contained in two sets of plastic drawers (one for notions/patterns and one for my three largest fabric themes), and two totes, one large and one small. This is what really needed some work today. I inherited the smaller tote (full of fabric) last summer when my grandmother passed away. My grandmother was what I can only describe as a voracious quilter, and she made some lovely work, but she and I, well, let’s just say we don’t share the same color sensibilities. I also, when my parents sold their house, inherited all of my mom’s cotton fabric (she mostly makes bags, so tends to work with more upholstery fabric). She used to work at a fabric store, and would bring home a lot of what they were about to throw out of the remainders. Again, since she just shoveled everything in a bag, there was definitely some stuff in there that I was never going to use.

So, I dragged both totes out of the freezing cold storage room, and made several billion piles on the dining room table. I managed to fill a lawn-sized trash bag with fabric, which will be going to Goodwill the next time I’m in that area. I’m not even going to keep it for the hypothetical yard sale, because fabric accumulation seems to be a disease in my family, and I think I just need to get rid of it. What was left, after I routed a few things into the theme drawers, handily fit into the large tote, with some room to spare. (I also realized I have a ton of smaller scraps of batting left over from baby quilts. I really need to come up with small projects to use that up with.) So that’s back in the storage room.

That left the small tote free. I’d been eying it for a few weeks now, ever since I got my latest order in from Knitpicks. I don’t have a huge yarn stash, but it’s big enough that it was overflowing the half a drawer in my notions bureau that I’d been able to devote to it. Everything fit quite handily in the small tote, and I was able to fit my embroidery floss containers into that notions drawer, thus solving the last of the overflow pile I’d had on top of my themed fabric bureau.

Now, the only place I have overflow is my WIP sewing draw. A couple of those items are things that just need a small fix. I really need to sit down and schedule a time that I can set up my sewing machine and just get some of that stuff out of the way. I think if I can finish up the few smaller items in the drawer, I’ll be able to fit the overflow in there.

I also really need to be careful about what I’m buying without having a specific project in mind. I’ve been on a fabric moratorium lately, and I definitely need to continue that. I also really need to sit down and come up with some things to do with what I’ve collected so far. I mean, what good is all this fabric if it’s just sitting in drawers with no one looking at it? Since it looks like our England trip won’t be happening, and I’ll now have more vacation time to work with this year, I think I need to sit down and plan a few long weekends, once the project I’m doing at work is complete. I need some time when the BF isn’t in the house, so I can set all my crap up, and not be in the way/have someone in my way. And I also need some dedicated time, because trying to fit it in on a regular weekend, when most of what I want to do is recover from my week and that’s only when I’m not dealing will all the stuff around the house I wasn’t able to do during the week, clearly isn’t working for me.

Just to end this on a slightly brighter note, I’m at least happy with my yarn stash. Most of what I have is leftovers, or stuff from a project that just didn’t work out. I’ve only bought a few skeins of sock yarn on speculation (I need to add the two STR Raven Clan skeins on their way to me to that list…), and I have enough sock patterns I want to knit that I don’t feel very guilty about those purchases at all. I’m definitely going to continue in this vein of only buying when I have a specific project in mind. I’m actually very glad of having found Ravelry, in this regard. I have an insanely large list of favorite patterns, so if I’m jonesing for some knitting, I’m quite sure I’ll be able to find a pattern to justify buying some yarn.