11 entries categorized "embroidery"

Handmade Christmas Idea: How to Embroider a Child's Drawing

Embroider2 
This is my favorite gift to receive!  The following post was first published in 2008 and refers to the embroidery at the bottom of the page.   I apologize that most of the in-the-process shots have been lost over time!  ~ Lori

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Our children like to embroider their drawings.  The following was created by our eldest daughter (the ballerina) when she was 8 years old.  Just this week she created another one (she is now 10). 

STEP ONE:

 

First, draw a picture.  Our ballerina (8) drew a picture of her new kitten.  She drew it left-handed, even though she is a righty, because her right elbow is broken and in a cast right now.  Pretty good, considering all that!

 

STEP TWO:

 

Transfer the design onto any fabric of your choice. Denim, broadcloth, linen, cross-stitching Aida cloth, burlap, silk, etc.   For the child's first time, choose a cloth that is light-weight (eg. not denim this time) so the child can insert the needle easily.  Our ballerina transferred her design onto a piece of pink linen purchased at the needlework store. 

 

There are several options for transferring a design. One idea is to just have the child draw on the fabric in the first place. If they drew on paper, you might use a transfer pencil, use some kind of transfer paper, or simply do what we did:  put the drawing under the fabric and copy it with a fine-point Sharpie (see Step 4 to view the results) or a pencil.

 

Embroider
STEP THREE:  

 Choose your thread. On burlap or plastic canvas, use yarn.  On the other fabric choices, use perle cotton thread or embroidery thread.  We used DMC cotton embroidery thread.

 For the needle, use a chenille needle or a tapestry needle.  You may also use a plastic child's needle.

 

STEP FOUR:
 
It's time to embroider!  . Back Stitch is the most common stitch used for outlining in cross stitch, and was very easy for my children to master.  My favorite is the Stem Stitch (also known as other names).  For filling in small spaces (like the bunny's carrot in another project), we used Satin Stitch.

 

STEP FIVE: 
When finished, you have lots of options.  Here are a few:
  • Leave the project in a wooden embroidery frame, such as above, and hang it on the wall
  • Mat and frame the embroidery (there's a huge debate amongst needleworkers as to whether or not you should use glass in the frame - you choose)
  • Turn the artwork into a small pillow
  • Use it as a stool cover
  • Turn one or several of them into a child's apron, like Wee Wonderfuls did in this post.
  • what else?  add your ideas to the comments.

Our ballerina's finished design (which turned freakishly purple when photographed in the shadow of a blue door)....

Britty's Embroidery Close Up copy

was turned into a pillowcase.

See my post, Sunday School Lesson in Embroidery for more on this beautiful memory craft.

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A Sunday School Lesson in Embroidery

It was my turn to teach the 6-11yo girls Sunday School for all of March at our tiny church. Five Sundays. Six girls. I was blessed with the freedom to teach however and whatever I wanted, so you know - you could guess - that I didn't choose to teach the girls out of a boxed curriculum. 

This is what we did each Sunday morning in March...

Embroidering a Tree by you.

Yep. We embroidered.  In Sunday School. 

Embroidery Work

Along with our embroidery, we read from the Scriptures, prayed (once in round-robin) and memorized Matthew 6:25-34, the "Don't Worry" passage, which is such an encouragement in these tough financial times.  I want the girls to have this passage in their memory bank for a time when finances are tight for them, and, okay, I admit it, I'm hoping that quoting the passage over and over to get it memorized will encourage their parents as well.  I mean, who can ignore their little girl as she says, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient unto the day is its own trouble."?

The memory verses also mention flowers ("Consider the lilies of the field") and birds ("Look at the birds of the air"), so we went nature journaling on the church property.  Over the five Sundays, the  girls nature journaled, chose a favorite one, transferred it onto muslin, chose their thread (floss), learned a couple of basic stitches, and embroidered their drawings....

Child's Art into Embroidery: Hearts
Art into Embroidery: House Child's Art into Embroidery: Tree

Art into Embroidery: Flowers

 Child's Art into Embroidery: Kitten Child's Art into Embroidery: Birds

I'm so proud of these girls.  Not just because 2 of them are mine, of course.  I'm proud of all 6 of them for memorizing such a long passage of Scripture, for drawing without inhibition, and for enthusiastically listening to my every word, whether I was praying or reading or teaching a new stitch.

They are such beautiful girls!

p.s. If you want to learn how to turn a child's art (or yours!) into embroidery, here is a tutorial I wrote up last year, called "Turning a Child's Art into Embroidery."  It's very easy, I assure you.  See the photos above?  These girls are only ages 6-11yo. Do try. Even my little gal, who only just turned 6, is stitching. She's the one embroidering a house - not a very "nature-y" subject, but that's fine...she's still figuring out what God made and what people make.  She asked me the other day if God made the shovel, right after asking if He planted the marigolds in the garden.


A Simple Day is Needed

My mind has been drawing a bloggy blank lately.  Spring is fully here and as a result the Earth and Everything in it is beautiful, but I still can't seem to find inspiration.  Or maybe I'm having an overload of wonderfulness and can't find the words to express it.  No, I think it has everything to do with how busy I've become lately.

Okay, thinking about why I haven't been able to think isn't helping.  I already know what I need to do...

Carolina Jessamine by you.


Simplify.

  • Pick flowers.
I need to start again.  "Pick flowers" is the first thing I thought of, but I can't pick flowers today.  Today we're in some sort of monsoon, I'm sure of it.  Okay, that would be incredible, since we don't get monsoons on the Gulf Coast.  But we're definitely in a big thunderstorm and rain event that's supposed to last 3 full days and will probably flood the river over our backyard.

So, since I can't pick flowers today, I'll make an off-the-top-of-my-scatterbrained-head list of indoorsy things I could do that would fill me up again:
  • Figure out that spinning wheel and pile of alpaca fiber I have
  • Fold and unfold fabric (fellow fiber lovers will understand how absorbing that can be)
  • Bake bread
  • Sprout some sprouts (or, start them)
  • Make yogurt with that old yogurt-making machine that just sits there in the cupboard
  • Make pasta with that old pasta-making machine that just sits there in the cupboard
  • Have a Game Marathon with the kids and call it "school"
  • Write
  • Listen to the Writer's Radio Show at 10am and 2pm (CST), probably via my cell phone and headphones. 
  • Embroider something like this (thanks for the link, Drewe Llyn!)
  • Sew a little bag
  • Take a nap
  • Cook a fab dinner for that working man of mine (Did you catch that?  He got a job!)
Notice I didn't add "clean" or "organize" or "surf online" or "watch tv."  Those things are good to do, good to do, fun to do, and something to do, but I know from experience that they don't won't inspire me in the way I need to be inspired right now.  What I need now is simplicity: a day of not going anywhere (I've become our children's chauffeur somehow!), and a day creating something.

What do you do when you know you've become too busy?


Friday Afternoon Quilting

Our 10 year old ballerina handwrote the entire book of Philippians out of the Bible recently, a project that took 20 pages of wide-ruled paper and a month of writing 5 verses each week day. 

Her incentive was this fine prize, which she received with the biggest grin.

Her very own sewing machine. She no longer has to share my 15-year-old Singer that runs with a rumble, not a hum (but, still, it can sew!). 

When asked what her favorite verse from Philippians is, she replied that she has two, one of which I taught her as the tiniest tyke:  Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without murmuring and disputing."  I got such a giggle out of our toddlers trying to pronounce "murmuring and disputing," that I admit I had them say it more often than their arguments or grumbling required.

Two Friday afternoons a month, our ballerina and I drive to the home of an older woman to learn quilting from her.  Several other women and their daughters also attend. I love it  when mixed-ages of women get together for handicrafting.  There is just nothing cozier than that. 

She is working on her first quilt, a strip-pieced quilt, using scraps from our teacher's bin.  The method is very simple: strips of fabric are sewn together onto a square of muslin, then squared off once the muslin square is covered (ie. the extra fabric hanging over the edge is cut off) . 

This gives our 10 year old practice with 1/4" seams and the other bits of sewing without having to worry over precise cutting yet.

(photo views: 1. Sewing, 2. Sewing, 3. Strip Quilting )

Meanwhile, I'm off in a comfy chair on those Fridays, working on the embroidery and quilting of a wee doll-sized quilt for my new nephew, who was born Saturday. 

Yes, I am quite slow at finishing this tiny quilt.   Soon, Baby, soon, it will be in a box on its way to you along with a few softies for your brother and sisters. 

p.s. The Disappearing 9 Patch Tutorial is located here, if you'd like to sew along.


Softies

Wow.  There have been 700 views of this photo  on my Flickr page:

Who, do you suppose, is peeking at it? 700 times?

Whoever you are, I'm flattered.  Now, get busy sewing some yourself.  They're quick and fun and cute, too.  The tutorials for the bunny and kitty are here.  The turtle monster is by our resident 4-year-old (then; now she's a grown-up 5) designer.  She hasn't yet written up a tutorial.

~ Lori Seaborg 


A Handmade (by Children) Birthday

For our Little Gal's recent birthday, we wanted to resist the temptation of giving her plastic toys that only cost $1 (bargain!) but that break within 24 hours (not a bargain!).  Still, we needed to give Little Gal something for her birthday. So we turned to the overflowing craft drawers/bins/shelves/baskets/closets and found things to make.  Everyone got involved in the creating, especially our 10 yo Ballerina, but also the boys.  Well, actually, Daddy didn't get involved this time.  He bought her M&Ms (that she "doesn't have to share with Daddy" as per her wish list) and a My Little Pony.  That pony was our bit of storebought plastic this year, but it had a good use, as you'll see.

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Our 10yo Ballerina designed the above doll for her sister with no direction or help from me.


The details:

  • She cut a piece of muslin fabric into a circle shape
  • Tied a head off with ribbon and stuffed it with polyfil.
  • Hand-sewed patchwork squares onto the dress
  • Painted the bodice with red craft paint
  • Hand-embroidered the face with sewing thread
  • Hand-sewed brown wool yarn as hair
  • The doll's purse is hand-sewn with a charm attached

Herb Bag for Sister

Herb Bag for Sister

Also from our 10yo is a peppermint-and-lavender herb bag.  The embroidery stitches are her own design.  I love it that children don't see the need to pull out the "Enclyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches" or another equally large book and follow the rules.

The details:

  • She sewed a tube out of the white fabric
  • Filled the tube with dried peppermint & lavender
  • Sewed the tube closed
  • Embroidered an "A" onto pink fabric, using sewing thread
  • Sewed the sleeve onto the white "pillow"

After two months of working so hard in our Tuesday Afternoon Knitting Class , our 10yo finished this knitted hat just in time for her little sister's birthday...

I don't have the details to give you on that one, as it wasn't our design.  It's a basic stockinette stitch hat.

Here is a gift from a big brother:

Pink Car

This "Pink Cadillac" is a purchased wooden car painted pink and detailed with charm stickers:  a butterfly for the hood and a ladybug on the bumper.  Later, he added a pipe cleaner person to be the driver and, using ribbon, attached the My Little Pony from Daddy to pull the car.

I wanted to share these photos, not as a Mama bragging about her offspring (I would never! Would I?), but hopefully to inspire you to leave out the paints and the fabric and the yarn and paper (oh yes, even the scissors and needles!) for your children, too.  Don't worry about whether or not you are artsy or crafty.  They can do it without help.  Children are naturally creative.


Embroidery Inspiration

These sites have inspired me to pick up my embroidery hoop, needle and thread again:


Dacia Ray embroidered a beautiful bird quilt.  It is such an inspiring project!  Go here to see the Martha Stewart article that inspired Dacia Ray.


These line drawings of Wildflowers can easily be used as embroidery patterns, provided by the Umatilla National Forest.


And....something that makes me tingle all the way down to my toes and then shiver with glee are these old French embroidery books which some kind soul (bless 'em!) scanned and uploaded for us.  Click on each book to see different monograms.  One has (oh, my!)  borders and one has other designs.  Beautiful stuff!  I'm making an "S" from one of these books on blue linen.  Hmm, I'll have to blog a photo of that progress soon.


But this time, how about some gourds we grew in our garden?


They are on a cast iron holder we got in Mexico.  I hung it on a wall in my studio* for inspiration:


gourds copy


*studio = My loose (so very loose) term for the back of our garage, behind my man's lumber and guy tools, where I created a nook to create things by myself and with our (messy) children.   Calling it a "studio" makes me feel more creative, but don't let yourself conjure up images of perfection!  We're just us.  Which means, we're happy we can actually walk through the garage.


Project: Turning a Child's Art into Embroidery

Our children like to embroider their drawings.  The following one was created by our eldest daughter (the ballerina) when she was 8 years old.  Just this week she created another one (she is now 10).  Below is a tutorial that originally posted in 2006 on my homeschool blog:

STEP ONE:


First, draw a picture.  This is a picture that our ballerina (8) drew of her new kitten.  She drew it left-handed, even though she is a righty, because her right elbow is broken and in a cast right now.   Pretty good, considering all that!





STEP TWO:


Transfer the design onto any fabric of your choice. Denim, broadcloth, linen, cross-stitching Aida cloth, burlap, silk, etc.   For the child's first time, choose a cloth that is light-weight (eg. not denim this time) so the child can insert the needle easily.  Our ballerina transferred her design onto a piece of pink linen purchased at the needlework store.   



There are several options for transferring a design. One idea is to just have the child draw on the fabric in the first place. If they drew on paper, you might use a transfer pencil, use some kind of transfer paper, or simply do what we did:  put the drawing under the fabric and copy it with a fine-point Sharpie (see Step 4 to view the results) or a pencil.





STEP THREE:  



Choose your thread. On burlap or plastic canvas, use yarn.  On the other fabric choices, use perle cotton thread or embroidery thread.  We used DMC cotton embroidery thread, which our model is displaying below.



Awwww.

For the needle, use a chenille needle or a tapestry needle.  You may also use a plastic child's needle.

STEP FOUR:
It's time to embroider!  . Back Stitch is the most common stitch used for outlining in cross stitch, and was very easy for my children to master.  My favorite is the Stem Stitch (also known as other names).  For filling in small spaces (like the bunny's carrot in another project), we used Satin Stitch.

STEP FIVE: 
When finished, you have lots of options.  Here are a few:
  • Leave the project in a wooden embroidery frame, such as above, and hang it on the wall
  • Mat and frame the embroidery (there's a huge debate amongst needleworkers as to whether or not you should use glass in the frame - you choose)
  • Turn the artwork into a small pillow
  • Use it as a stool cover
  • Turn one or several of them into a child's apron, like Wee Wonderfuls did in this post.
  • what else?  add your ideas to the comments.

Our ballerina's finished design (which turned freakishly purple when photographed in the shadow of a blue door)....

Britty's Embroidery Close Up copy

was turned into a pillowcase.

If you post a project on your blog, send me a link!
Photos by Lori Seaborg, 2006, 2008

A Hand-Tied, Hand-Embroidered Blanket Project

 Our little guy, who turned eight this month, had his first sleepover last weekend.  To help him feel at home (and remember his mama) while he was away, I made him a cozy blanket.  He chose the fabric:

Stone's Fabric


Perfect.  A cowboy print for my tiny Cowboy. 


I sewed the fabric print onto a chenille fabric backing, with batting in between for extra coziness.  Then, I hand-tied the blanket with 4 strands of off-white pearl cotton (details provided for you detailed-minded and curious souls).



Balloon was a complete surprise to this photo shoot.  I was trying to get the most of the natural lighting I could find today (it's a gloomy, rainy day here on the Gulf Coast), so had the blinds up, and she jumped onto the window sill.  I think she wants to come in.  But she gets to wait a while because now she needs to be my model!


Oh, and yes, Balloon is the sort of name a cat gets when owned by a 4-year-old.


Embroidery Close Up


I only had a few very short minutes to get the embroidery done before we had to leave for the sleepover, so I did it freehand.  Ugh, the "O" looks too much like an "e."  To an 8-year-old boy, who cares? 


I still might fix it.  Things like that bug me.  You detail-minded souls understand that.


Photos by Lori Seaborg, January 2008