Couch Pillows and Needlepoint Intestines

There’s only so  much time and energy in a day, and doing things around the house feels like it takes FOREVER because there always seems to be a domino effect. We can’t decorate the TV room until we get a credenza for the TV but we can’t get a credenza for the TV until we have the floors redone but we can’t get the floors redone until there’s pavers down in front of the basement doors so they can get supplies in and the pavers can’t go in until… Oh my. Well, enough dominos have fallen at this point that we have new “luxury vinyl” floors (instead of really nasty carpet) in the basement and I’m saying to heck with everything else because I don’t want to begrudge how unfinished the room is every time we snuggle up for a movie in here (and, honestly, every day since I have …

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Evelyn Rose’s Birth Sampler Embroidery

I didn’t make much in preparation for Evelyn Rose’s arrival. I did make a batch of clothes, but not much else. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps I felt a bit superstitious about preparing too much? Perhaps I wanted to get to know her first? Perhaps I was just too worn out by being pregnant. Whatever the reason, it did feel really important to me to embroider a birth sampler for her. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted it to look like, but the more I thought, the more right it felt to make it around a rose for her middle name. I had originally thought that I would decorate her nursery in all black and white and red in a very gender-neutral baby-friendly palette. Well, after I decided to do the rose embroidery that went out the window. The embroidery just felt right to …

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A Fully Armed Battalion Embroidery

When my husband is into something, he tends to get a bit obsessed. For example, the soundtrack to Hamilton has been on repeat on our stereo for months now. Adam’s 40th birthday was 2 months ago. I wanted to do something really special for him to celebrate, but I couldn’t take him to go see Hamilton in New York since I had our baby 2 days before his birthday and traveling across the country at 9 months pregnant isn’t really feasible. So, to commemorate his big birthday, I embroidered him a love letter in the form of lyrics from Hamilton. “Oceans rise. Empires fall. We have seen each through it all. And when push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” I think You’ll be Back is my favorite song from the musical and I thought it a more appropriate lyrical …

How to Embroider the Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is my new favorite embroidery stitch. Sorry stem stitch, I’ve replaced you. I want to chain stitch all the things now! Chain stitch is fun to do and, though it takes a little bit to get used to keeping the tension even, it zooms along once you get the hang of it. It makes an interesting outline and an even more interesting textured fill, like I used on the boat above. To embroider the chain stitch, start with your needle coming up from the bottom of your work. Put your needle back into the same hole or right next to it. Pull the needle to the back side but leave the floss as a big loop. Pull the needle through to the right side of your work at the point where you would like the next stitch to start. Gently pull your thread through until the loop you created …

How to Embroider a Lazy Daisy

Flowers make everything happy and daisies have always seemed to be one of the happier flowers. Lazy daisies are such a simple embroidery stitch (seriously deceptively easy. There’s a reason the word “lazy” is in their name!) but they can have a great impact to perk up, spring-ify, sweeten, and otherwise improve any garment you might want to stitch them onto! I stitched them all over one arm of my Bomber Jacket and it made we want to add daisies to everything I’m making these days! To embroider a lazy daisy: With your needle coming from below the fabric, bring the needle up through the fabric where you want the center of your daisy to be. Then put the needle back through the fabric from above to below, in the same place as you brought the needle up or right next to it. DO NOT pull tightly yet. Bring the …

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The Beginning of a Purple Mystery Organ Needlepoint

I’ve started a new needlepoint project to follow up my Anatomical Heart Needlepoint. I decided to do it in 6 shades of purple that I hand dyed. It will be several inches larger than the heart, perfect for turning into a pillow for our couch :) I tied a bunch of hanks of natural 50% wool 50% silk yarn (following my own tutorial) and dyed them in a pot on my stove. I wantonly mixed red and blue dye in two different batches (the top and bottom rows shown above) so I ended up with two slightly differently hued sets. To get the variety of shades along the top row, I put the first hank in for 15m, the second for 5 min, the third I dipped in, and the last two I got wet before dipping in. Dying them in sequential order, the earlier hanks take up the majority …

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Bougle Leg Embroidery – Pattern from Victorian Anatomical Drawing

Being stuck on the couch with an injury does have some silver linings. One of them has been ample time for hand work which has resulted in me finishing a new embroidery project. Bougle’s Leg is an embroidery pattern based on an anatomical drawing from 1899 by Joulien Bougle (making it from the Victorian era). It uses three colors (black, red, and blue) and is all done in stem stitch. The finished embroidery is 16″ long and 3″ wide. Most of it is done with one strand of embroidery floss although there are a few places that use two or three strands to get the wider veins. This makes for an easy project with a striking end result. This is the second project in my series of needlework patterns based on Joulien Bougle’s drawings. The first was an anatomical heart needlepoint. I’ve taken up needlework recently as a means of …

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5 Tips for Successful Needlepoint Projects

As I have dived into my new craft obsession, needlepoint, I’ve learned some tips for successful needlepoint projects. These are all things I learned from stitching my Anatomical Heart Needlepoint.

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Bougle’s Heart – Needlepoint from an Anatomical Heart Drawing

I am a woman newly obsessed with needlepoint, and this anatomical heart needlepoint is the first evidence I have to show of my obsession. My work is based on an anatomical drawing by Joulien Bougle from a book of drawings published in 1899 called Le corpus humain et grandeur naturelle: planches coloriées et superposées, avec texte explicatif. The images are available online through the U.S. National Library of Medicine. I’ve recently started exploring anatomical drawings through needlework as a way to connect my love of science to my love of craft. This heart is my first finished project, but I’ve already started stitching another and scheming even more. Some data: The design uses 11 colors which I hand-dyed. On standard 14 count needlepoint canvas, it makes a finished size of just over 8″ x 10″. The design is 115 stitches by 145 stitches. It used over 200 yards of fingering …

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Hand Dyed Yarn for Needlepoint

Rather than buy a bunch of yarn for my new hobby of needlepoint, I decided to dye my own yarn from a spool of 50% wool 50% silk yarn that I already had (I’m almost done with the sweater I’ve been knitting out of the yarn, slowly but surely). I measured out lengths of yarn in different size bundles corresponding to the different amounts of each color in my finished design. (Having never actually needlepointed before, I took a wild guess as to how much yarn I would need and figured better too much than too little).

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Needlepoint, SF

Add one more hobby to my list – needlepoint. I was recently drawing a pattern for what I thought would be a cross-stitch. But when I got it finished, it struck me that it would be beautiful as a needlepoint. So, I set out to start a needlepoint project. My first stop was Needlpoint, Inc., a retail store in downtown San Francisco that is dedicated to, you guessed it, needlepoint.