Embroidery was my first stitching experience. I started as a child with lacing cards with holes in them and a big blunt needle. Does that count? It was also the one craft my mother dabbled in when she was young, embroidering the stamped linens that were popular at the time.
I have mostly enjoyed free hand embroidery, especially crewel embroidery, which is worked with tapestry wool on linen, although I have also tried counted cross stitch on aida cloth. What I like about free hand embroidery is the variety of interesting stitches and that it’s quicker than cross stitch. What I like about counted cross stitch is that it has a unique, precise look that works well with traditional motifs such as samplers.
As much as I love stitching embroidery, the dilemma for me is – what do you do with it? After you’ve made a wall hanging and a pillow, then what? Some other ideas are decorating clothes, towels, curtains, pillowcases, or tablecloths; an embroidered panel in patchwork; ornaments, especially Christmas ornaments; and using embroidered cloth in little sewing projects such as pouches.
When the weather was very hot, my interest turned to embroidery again. Unexpectedly, I became interested in counted cross stitch which I had previously thought was a bit monotonous and unimaginative.
When searching for more information on cross stitch, I found out that aida or fiddlers cloth, which is composed of squares surrounded by four little holes, is usually used by beginners or the casual stitcher, and that evenweave linen is often favored by dedicated cross stitchers seeking to create timeless heirlooms.
I bought a 28 count evenweave Irish linen to give it a try. This linen has a more open weave than the linen I have used for crewel, and each cross stitch is worked over two threads. The stitch size will be the same as on the 14 count aida cloth I used in the two pieces shown above. Oh, my – this is hard! I couldn’t see what I was doing; my first attempt came out wrong. Some of the time I was catching three threads instead of two. On my second try I had to get a magnifying glass to count the threads. The look is beautiful, but do I love it enough to struggle through to completion when it’s so much easier and more enjoyable to use aida cloth? I don’t think so – at least not very often. Maybe getting reading glasses would help. But with some patience, and a big magnifying glass hanging from my neck, I completed my first small motif using this fabric.
If you’d like to stitch these motifs, or see more of the embroidery that has inspired me lately, check out my embroidery board on Pinterest.
I already used one of these pieces for a project. Can you guess what I made?