Stitchy guilt: noun, a feeling of responsibility, remorse, or shame for the crime of embroidering something beautiful then relegating it to a closet or drawer where it cannot shine its light or sing its song, and where no one ever sees it.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Would you plant a seed and then put it in a sunless closet and not water it?
Well, would you?
Denim-covered mat for framing embroidery.
You’re Not Alone
Okay. Relax. You’re not alone. Believe me, this boat you’re in is ginormous but still in danger of sinking from too many passengers. And did I mention that I’m the captain?
Stitchy guilt can strike anytime, like when the baby turns six and still doesn’t have the sampler we started six-and-a-half years ago. Perhaps the guilt hits hardest when we want to buy materials for a new project. How can we justify more stash when the project, if it gets stitched, is not likely to get finished into the end product we have in mind? Holy-hemstitch, what if we have no end product in mind?!
Enough is enough! We know that the act of stitching is a joyful, healthy thing. It’s crazy to ruin that with shame because we are afraid to take the last step. It’s time to put an end to stitchy guilt. It’s time to finish our embroideries!
DIY Framing: Lacing embroidery to backing material.
Ending the Guilt
Sounds great, no?
“But how?” you ask. “Professional framing is expensive. My local shop doesn’t offer professional finishing, and I don’t know where to send it. Isn’t that expensive, too?”
What do you say we finish our embroideries ourselves?
“I don’t know how,” you say.
I will show you.
You’re speechless, but I sense hesitation, maybe doubt.
Hemstitching and mitered corners, two of my favorite things!
D-I-Y Embroidery Finishing Classes
Whether you want to frame your embroidery; piece it with other fabrics for a quilt, tote, or something else; make it up into a pillow; or hem the edges so it stands alone, I can show you how. I’ve done them all, numerous times. I love finishing! Really!
With your embroidery skills, basic sewing skills, and a little ingenuity, you can finish your embroidery yourself and get beautiful results. You can purchase special materials for a custom look, score finds at the thrift store, or upcycle gems from the basement: Any way you choose to go, you’ll infuse the entire project with your unique style. You’ll feel great sharing your embroidery when it’s beautifully finished and the stitchy guilt melts away.
“The hardest part was just deciding to do it.” ~ Ruth H.
If you want to do it, I assure you, you can. And I can show you how.
PillowPalooza: Diamond tuckable pillow in want of embroidery.
Goodbye, Stitchy Guilt
Last year, I decided to kick stitchy guilt to the curb. I dug out embroideries I’d stitched in the 1980s and 90s. I framed one, made a couple of pillows and a wall hanging. It was so much fun, that I’ve decided I should re-finish some of the early Funk & Weber models.
It’s not easy being a
super stitchy model. Ours have traveled thousands of miles in planes and cars, been packed and unpacked countless times. They’ve had glass put in the frame and taken out, over and over. They’ve been shipped through the mail, displayed in shops and shows, and packed away in a trunk. Some of the frames are looking tired. What if . . . !
It’s true: I had so much fun finishing ancient embroideries that I’m looking for more things to finish, re-finishing already finished pieces.
What do you say? Are you ready to kick your stitchy guilt to the curb?
Piecing multiple embroideries. No angles were measured in making this.
Join Me For a Finishing Adventure
Four finishing classes are now self-serve. Work through them whenever you want at any pace you want. Choose between the following:
- D-I-Y Framing
Or snag all four! Check out the Classes page for further info, and end stitchy guilt for good.
The first Stitch In Alaska Tour is on the books and under our belts, a less-than-two-month-old memory. Looking back, I have but one thing to say about it: Can we do it again?!
Because rafting is all about fashion and looking good . . .
After meeting in Anchorage and getting acquainted at Kenai Riverside Lodge in Cooper Landing, Day 2 began with a fashion show*. And rafting.
Bon voyage! Rafting the Kenai River.
It’s about fifteen miles down the glacier-green Kenai River and another five miles across Skilak Lake to Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Harriet’s keen eye (That’s how you pronounce “Kenai.” See what I did there?) spotted lots of bald eagles.
The Feral Stitchers on the porch of Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Stitch In Alaska, 2015. Becky, Cathy, Ruth, Harriet, Paula, Torstein, Jen
Kenai Backcountry Lodge is the smallest and most rustic and remote of the three lodges. A tiny stream provides hydroelectric power.
Skilak sunset. Sigh.
After a long day on the water and a good meal, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset—and a bear with two cubs on the beach. The bear pics aren’t great: It was getting dark.
Beach lunch at Skilak Lake.
On Day 3, we toured Skilak Lake, enjoying short walks, stitching on the boat, treasure hunting, and a picnic lunch on the beach.
Make jazz hands, everyone! But . . . wait . . . you didn’t make jazz hands. Skilak Glacier in the distance.
Day 4: We returned to Kenai Riverside Lodge where half of us relaxed and stitched (the top halves, you know, the parts with hands) while the other half hiked to Russian River Falls (the bottom halves, the parts with feet). (You know I’m joking, right? This is not a zombie tour.)
Go-go-go, little red salmon! Russian River Falls.
Red salmon congregate below the falls, rest, and then leap and swim up the falls to the lakes beyond where they spawn before dying. It’s like watching athletes: You really are pulling for them and cheering them on.
Humpback whale breaching
Day 5: We toured Kenai Fjords National Park as we cruised to Glacier Lodge. What a humpback whale show!
Strolling to the beach after a morning of stitching.
Day 6: Some of us enjoyed stitching by the lagoon and a walk to the outer beach.
Now, that’s a fat black bear!
Some of us canoed in a nearby lake where black bears feasted on spawning salmon.
Becky, after her kayak trip. Nice skirt!
And some of us went kayaking in Aialik Bay.
Mom and pup sea otter.
Sea otters can be spied in both the bay and the lagoon.
What a day, eh? Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge.
Day 7: It was such a gorgeous day, we decided to climb the ridge behind the lodge for a 360-degree view of the surrounding area: Aialik Bay, Aialik Glacier, Pedersen Lagoon, Pedersen Glacier, Addison Lake.
Honestly, it’s just a hike, folks. Right, Cathy?
The trail isn’t long and it doesn’t gain a ton of elevation, but it is a little tricky in spots. That’s what ropes and friends are for!
Now, what about the stitching? Isn’t this Stitch In Alaska? Why, yes, yes it is! Stay tuned. Because, really, isn’t this post long enough already?
Would you like to come on the next Stitch In Alaska tour? Drop me a line, and I’ll put you on the special mailing list. If that link doesn’t work for you, send a note to mail [AT] funkandweber [DOT] com.
It’s back! The Creative Christmas Bundle is back for Christmas In July!
Get crafty now so you can relax this Christmas: The Creative Christmas Bundle contains 15 crafty offerings from 15 crafty designers—including moi!
Note: This is the same Bundle that we sold in November 2014; this is not a new Bundle. If you bought one in November, get it out! If you missed it in November, grab it now because it’s going away after the 13th. Having it earlier in the year gives us more time to make good use of it—and dog knows I need the extra time!
Participants and Projects
- Lisa Harris – Santa’s Helpers Workshop – quick, inexpensive gifts
Ten paper-based holiday gift projects which can be combined with embroidery in countless ways.
- Melissa Shanhun – December Scrapbook Album Template/Sketch Kit with Digital Supplies, inspiration, and tutorials (Melissa is a PhotoShop Elements superstar)
- Jen Wright – 12-Day Advent Envelope Project Tutorial with Bonus Advent Cards
- Kristie Sloan – Art Journaling Basics online class
- Beth Soler – Cricut Cut Files/phone tutorial
- Carole Cassel – Calendar Making Class
- Alison Day – December Daily Cut Files and video
- Margareta Carlsson – Digital pack of holiday pocket page cards and photo overlays, everything both for digital scrapbooking and as printable pdf files for hybrid scrapbooking
I can think of loads of ways to add embroidery to these projects. I especially love the wreath project and can envision it as a display for stitched ornaments.
- Cara Vincens – Printable Christmas Cards
- Connie Hanks – Printable Advent Calendar w/activity list
- Gina Zee – Upcycled Christmas Workshop
- Mary Moseley – Photo Gifts for the Holidays
- Janet Carr – Be Jolly digital scrapbooking kit
- Karen Fitting – Flower Calendar with Bonus Tutorial on tips for using Artisan beyond scrapbooking
- Jen Funk Weber (Hey, that’s me!) – Two Silhouette cross-stitch patterns
All of these projects are digital downloads available immediately when you purchase. Many include bonuses and coupons, as well.
What is this stuff?
This Bundle contains all sorts of craft goodies, including classes; project tutorials; printable cards; printable calendars; family activities, digital files and embellishments—oh, and a couple of cheery, counted cross-stitch patterns!
I’m in this class!
You know what cross-stitch patterns are. That’s what we do here—and don’t worry; that’s not going to change.
You may also know what art journaling is. I started an embroidery journal some time ago but set it aside and haven’t gotten back to it. I plan to use it in this class.
I’m sure you also have a sense of what the calendar-making classes and projects are about, as well as Santa’s Workshop (making quick, crafty gifts), upcycling, and printable Christmas cards.
But what are “cut files,” “digital and hybrid scrapbooking kits,” and “overlays”? Are they of any use to embroiderers?
Of course! There aren’t many things that can’t be used with embroidery.
Cut files contain motifs that can be printed, transferred to fabric, and used as embroidery patterns. Some of the larger motifs can be used to make frame windows for ornaments, cards, bookmarks, and doo-dads. Cut the windows out of Ultrasuede or felt or handmade paper or something else, and sandwich embroidery between the window and a backing.
Scrapbook Layouts and Kits
Digital scrapbooking kits contain layouts that scrappers use to set up pages of pictures, embellishments, and journaling in fun, attractive ways. Embroiderers can embroider the layouts, using partial crescent stitches as photo corners to attach photos to the fabric. We can use the layouts to record and show off images of our embroidery projects. We can print the kit embellishments on paper or fabric and stitch them partially or entirely.
The red tree and text is an overlay image from Margareta Carlsson which I added to my own background and embroidery images. Cool, eh?
Overlays are digital images that can be layered over other digital images, adding decorative motifs and words, blending the whole into a more complex and interesting image. We can add overlays to pictures of our embroidery for cards, other printables, and to share on social media.
The Christmas In July Bundle
This barely scratches the surface of what’s included in this Creative Christmas Bundle. Head over to the Scrapbook Bundles website for more info and to grab your Christmas in July bundle. You have just three days to scoop up this deal: The sale runs through July 13th.
Treat yourself with this Bundle O’ Fun, then treat family and friends with Creative Christmas cards, gifts, calendars, and more.
Want to see my favorite project so far from the Bundle? Check it out.
How would you marry some of these digital and paper projects with embroidery?
P.S. (That stands for prescript instead of postscript in this case): There’s a contest with a prize at the end of this post.
Christmas In July Blog Hop
If you Hopped here, welcome! If you’re a regular, or if you got here by any other means, welcome to you, too!
Is your Inbox brimming with Christmas In July sales and events? Mine is.
If yours isn’t, maybe I can help: Creative Christmas Bundle is on sale again—ever so briefly—this weekend. You might remember it from last November.
As much as I prefer to shun trends and bandwagons like Christmas In July (“everybody’s doing it” is, for me, a strong reason to not do it), I can’t deny that now might be a good time to give a thought to the holiday that looms just five months away, especially if you hope to have a handmade holiday.
To help you get started, if you haven’t already, you should check out the July–December “Get It All Done” Holiday Checklist. I think it’s billiant—and I am in no way responsible for its existence. It includes a month-by-month checklist of things we can do to knock out the fun, crafty things we always want to do but rarely find the time to do once November and December roll around.
In addition to being a great reminder tool, the checklist has some great ideas, like picking up stocking stuffers during school-supply sales in August and September and making gifts from garden and farmer’s market goodies that are available now.
And then it’s time to get started stitching and crafting. Stitching, especially, because stitching is slow work.
If you’re new to stitching on dark fabrics, or if you’re new to stitching on linen or other evenweave fabrics, or if you’re a scrapper who’s new to embroidery altogether, don’t sweat it! I’ve put together some resources to get you going on the two cross stitch pieces included in the Bundle.
Christmas In July Stitching Resources
Brand new to cross stitching?
A great place to start is our How to Cross Stitch video.
If you aren’t sure how to read the pattern chart, check out How to Read a Cross Stitch Pattern.
Never stitched on linen or another evenweave?
Well, for starters, you can stitch these patterns on Aida or needlepoint canvas.
Or check out our tutorial on Stitching Over Two Threads.
If I lost you at “Aida,” or “canvas,” or “evenweave,” take a peek at Embroidery Fabrics 101 and Embroidery Fabrics 102.
Never stitched on dark fabric?
There are definitely some ways to make it easier. Take a look at How to Stitch on Dark Fabrics.
Never made a French Knot?
I happen to love them. Here’s how I make French knots.
Not sure how to handle isolated stitches?
Yeah, those can be tricky, but I can help; I’ve experimented with different solutions, including a fairly nutty one. Check out our Isolated Stitches tutorial, which is just after the French knot tutorial.
Now you frame the things or sew them into a tote or on a jacket. Very soon, we’ll have a DIY Framing class available.
And then you take a photo and scrap that photo of your gorgeous embroidery into your holiday card!
Psst, experienced stitchers! That is the part for you. Up there. That link. Click it. This bundle is full of paper crafting, digital scrapbooking, and non-needleworky things, but they can work well with embroidery, and it might be a fun way to expand your crafty horizons.
If you have any questions about the patterns or stitching them, I’m here to help. Give me a shout at mail AT funkandweber DOT com.
As before, Lisa, the ringmaster of this Christmas In July Bundle circus, is giving away a Bundle to a random Blog Hop commenter. Check out what’s in this Bundle, and then leave a comment here about what class or project you’re eager to dive into first.
Visit the other posts on the Hop and leave comments on them for more chances to win.
SB Bundles Blog – Blog Hop Time!
Melissa Shanhun – Your December Solution
Cara Vincens – Send those Christmas cards this year
Alison Day – Pocket Page December Daily
Lisa Harris – The Christmas in July Bundle Blog Hop
Beth Soler – Get those photos scrapped quickly and easily from your iPhone
I love making pearl threads from six-strand threads, which are an embroidery staple. It allows me to have pearls in any of the fun hand-painted, dyed, or overdyed threads. That’s especially handy if I want to match the six-strand floss with the pearl, but it’s also nice to have all those interesting threads available in different weights.
Assorted handmade pearl threads, wonky pearls on the right.
I often use the finer pearls for stitching and the heavier ones for edge stitches and finishing. The heavier threads are strong and durable.
Two-color, handmade pearls are used for the tag holders, running stitch, and edge stitch
A wonky pearl thread makes a nice friendship bracelet, too.
Making traditional pearls is ever so useful, but it’s also just the beginning of what is possible. By adding specialty threads—metallics, fuzzy threads, ribbons, etc.—we wind up with some wildly interesting threads.
And we can keep going, combining handmade pearl threads for heavier and more interesting threads and cords, aka Wonky Pearls.
At this point, the wonky pearls can take on a life of their out, outside embroidery. They look great as ribbons for packages or wrapped around a wrist as a friendship bracelet.
But what can they do for your embroidery? They’re probably too big to pull through the fabric for regular stitching.
Three ways to use wonky pearls in embroidery
Couch the wonky pearl to the fabric surface. Couching a thread is a great way to create smooth curves in normally boxy counted thread embroidery. It can be a fun way to outline a shape.
2. Trims and Hangers
Ornaments, fobs, standups, etc. often have a trim around the edge masking a seam. This is a perfect place for wonky pearls. If you’re using twisted cord, stop! Wonky pearls won’t untwist when you let go of them, so they’re much easier to work with.
Couching handmade wonky pearl thread trim over a seam.
3. Bookmark Tails
If you make book thongs or ribbon-style bookmarks, wonky pearls are a fun alternative to ribbon. I like combining several interesting threads—wonky pearl plus individual strands of Fuzzy Stuff, chenille, rickrack, etc.—to make a tail or connect two bits of embroidery for a book thong. I will braid them together very loosely so that they hang together and intermingle.
The large green wonky pearl is loosely braided with Fuzzy Stuff, a heavy metallic, and simple pearl on this book thong.
Have you made wonky pearls yet? How do you use them or plan to use them?