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Stitch, Needle Art

Hummingbird embroidery stitch in hoop
A hummingbird being embroidered on a diningroom tablecloth.

In my spare time I stitch in-time.

  • Embroidery
  • Sewing

Since early childhood, I have been stitching on heirloom tablecloths, blankets and pillowcases. Embroidery feels like coloring with a thread in rhythm on cloth, in an otherwise mundane surrounding.

Winding-down we watch TV and I do embroidery, as a welcome distraction. When I hold something in my hands and stitch, I don’t have to watch commercials or be bored. I’d probably go crazy if I had to watch every minute of TV, but I am thankful that this rhythm in and out, stitching bright colors onto cloth, is probably responsible for maintaining my sanity.

If you are interested in learning about how I was taught to embroider check out this page for that story.

If you are interested in learning this embroidery hobby I found a good example of instructions to learn the basic stitches here by Mollie Johansen;

Molly Makes, Stitch Library Guide to Embroidery Stitches

Your best way to learn is to jump on in,

Here are some embroidery basics;

  • embroidery needles
  • pin cushion or (bar of soap)
  • small scissors
  • hoop
  • embroidery floss
  • iron-on stamp pattern
Pinching Pennies as You Stitch

Keep a sharp eye out

Many times it is quite economical to buy needlework or sewing supplies in a large quantities at thrift stores, and estate or garage sales. An easy first project is a couple pillowcases, that you apply an iron-on stamp pattern for traditional embroidery. Most sewing outlets, hobby outlets, and Walmart carry them. You can locate learning or first kits that include everything you need in them too. The website of the firm based in Georgia that took over the Bucilla brand is here;

http://www.plaidonline.com

Mentioned earlier, I continue to do anywhere from 3-6 pillowcases and 1-3 table cloths each year depending on difficulty of my designs. Each is a one-of-a-kind design utilizing a hand made or drawn theme. It is not necessary for me to purchase a stamp pattern to work from anymore since I am able to draw what I want myself. I have quite a stock of every color of floss in my sewing kit sitting by the recliner, that I restock as needed.  Typical themes of my work include birds and bees, butterflies, flowers, leaves, vines and animals, hummingbirds or cherry vines with baskets, or daisies. The list goes on and on.

Let me know if you’d like to purchase any of the work I share here, or if you’d like a special order made, as I probably could be persuaded to part with heirlooms if the price is right.

Contact:

Embroidered Cherry Tablecloth Sold

Complete

Dorothy M Lowe (Woelk)
My mother-in-Law Dorothy Woelk

I took my embroidered cherry basket tablecloth to the Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction, where it sold for a surprising amount, even though it was the only embroidery piece entered in the sale displays that year. My tablecloth did ultimately succeed in attracting attention and sell for a good price and I would assume that more embroidery items are now available there. I wanted to contribute a meaningful amount to the church with my project. It selling as it did, gave me a real boost as an embroidery artist.

Cherry tablecloth corner
donated to charity embroidered tablecloth

I chose this charity in honor of my Mother-In-Law who used to make fabulous quilts for them every year. She and her family graciously welcomed me into the Spring Valley Mennonite Church in Spring Valley WA. I am forever grateful. When Peter and I got married fortunately, Mom bought me a Mennonite Cook Book from this auction event. Yummy!

Dorothy and I felt comfortable sitting close and visiting, while we worked on our hand-made projects. I doing my embroidery and Dorothy her great baby quilts along with all the school bags and everything else as she sewed through her life.

This event is worth going to!

If you have not been to the Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction, this is something that you will want to do. Put it on your list of must-do’s to see

absolute quilting excellence.

This sale is setup to raise money for missions of the church and is held in the Fall in Ritzville (between Spokane and Seattle). The Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction is an all day gathering for the whole family with breakfast, tents filled with exquisite quilts, comforters, afghans, and handmade crafts and furniture to walk through and admire. Apple cider, apple butter, along with ice cream and some of the best cheeses (that sell out fast). The auction of the beautiful hand work is in the afternoon and is a lot of fun. Check out their website, The next auction is October 6th, 2018.

Mennonite Country Auction.

or their Facebook page here. Other needlework project blog posts.

Cherry Embroidery Tablecloth

cherry tablecloth angleBeginning

It is with a special anticipation that you begin this kind of needlework journey. Calmly embroidering,  with great colors and a wide variety of possible stitches as a beautiful design becomes even more classic with each strand of floss, until an heirloom keepsake is made.

At this point, I am happily working on my cherry embroidery every night.  The average time it takes me to embroider a new tablecloth project is between 3-9 months, depending on the level of difficulty in the design.

cherry tablecloth side
Side Tablecloth View

It also seems to take a lot longer when there are a large volume of colors in the design. You know, completing all of one color for a reasonable space, then securing the knots, snip and threading needles with the new colors every few minutes. More colors are more time consuming.

When Finished

cherry tablecloth angle
Entire tablecloth view showing cherry basket.

Before you know it, here is a beautiful tablecloth complete. I do a little Irish jig dance celebrating! Standing up and dancing around the living room singing, “It is done, yeah, it is done!”, after the last stitch is tied-off.

cherry tablecloth angle close
Full view, embroidery cherry tablecloth.

Then the new tablecloth is carefully washed, ironed (every single inch) and carefully photographed on the dining room table. I apologize that I did not think anyone was interested in the unfinished stages of embroidery during this project time period. Nowadays, I make it a point to photograph the stages of completion so others can see how it looks as you go along.

I hope that you are able to find forgotten treasures at your next garage sale expedition too. This was actually someone else’s dream tablecloth that I was able to complete. When she got this fine tablecloth stamped in this great cherry basket and cherry vine pattern I am sure that she had all kinds of ideas about how beautiful it would turn out. She probably had a great fondness for fresh cherries, herself. I hope that my embroidery has honored her wishes for this heirloom tablecloth.

Cherry Tablecloth

Next in this needlework adventure, it was the colors. I decided to make the cherries a mixture of rainier pinks and bings in dark maroon and deep reds. The twisting vines and stems would be with a dark stem and lighter leaves around the border and in the interior vine design. There were four baskets, one on each corner, that I thought would look good in brown earth tones.

Cherries pink and red
Middle of the table, cherries and vine pattern

Getting out my box of embroidery floss I began choosing the pinks and cherry reds color along with foliage greens. For the baskets I chose browns, but after finishing the first one I chose to change the color of the baskets for each corner just for some variety in the piece.

brown cherry basket tablecloth
This basket of charries has the darker brown color stitched in.
brown cherry basket close
The corner baskets give a good weight to the corners when the tablecloth is placed.
yellow cherry basket
A corner basket of cherries with yellow highlights.
tan cherry basket corner
Cherry basket at the corner of the tablecloth highlighted with a light brown.

Treasure Hunt for Embroidery Supplies

One of the things I am always on the look-out for are embroidery or sewing supplies. This project is the result of one of those garage sale and estate sale expedition days.

I love to shop at garage sales and thrift stores.

It keeps me from getting in trouble with out budget, while pursuing my love of stitching.

I found this tablecloth in a stack of miscellaneous sewing materials outside of a rural home. It had some dirt on it but I saw the cherry basket printed on the corner so I opened it up to see what kind of shape it was in. It looked quite yellowed with dust stains on the folds, as if it had sat for quite a while.

When I asked about it, the lady said it was from her Grandmother’s sewing room that they were cleaning out. I paid $5 for it and walked to my car with high hopes that it would wash out clean.

 

I got my tablecloth home and put it in the washing machine with a scoop of Oxi-Clean and let it sit overnight. The next morning I ran a load of clothes with the table cloth, just adding some regular laundry detergent. Surprisingly, all of the yellow and stains washed-out beautifully, leaving me with a perfectly good stamped pattern to work on.

Cherry Baskets Tablecloth project begins.

 

What do artists do?

Artists tend to pursue more than one creative venue.

Outside: I do a lot of outside things including walking, hiking and dog walking. Gardening because we grow the majority of our own food. Fishing, bike riding, swimming and skiing. We love the outdoors in the Inland Northwest.

Inside: I do needlework and have been since I was quite young, mostly Embroidery and Sewing. In the evening, I wind-down while watching TV with family by embroidering. There is an ulterior motive for this, I don’t have to watch commercials when I hold something in my hands to stitch.  I sew many other things in my sewing room – like blankets, aprons, bags, quilts and clothes, seat covers or anything else we may need as a family. Sometimes I give away my work, donate to church fundraisers for my tithe, or charities, sell them or just keep for myself.

My Grandma taught me how to do all the embroidery stitches on small things and then gave me a Bucilla printed tablecloth kit for Christmas when I was in high school. It took me a whole year to finish, and a lifelong hobby was born. As an artist I draw my own patterns on the material to stitch now.

Grandma is responsible for many of the best recipes in my kitchen and craft skills in my household and studio. Her name was Opal Evelyn Kilpatrick. She was half Scottish and half Indian and she had that beautiful white hair just like her Mother did. As I snapped this photograph with one of those old Kodak camera, little did I know this would be the last time I would see her in-person before she passed away. She paused for a photo for me at the Lihue, Kauai airport parking lot before we walked over to the gate for her to catch her flight. She had come to visit me and my kids before moving away to the mainland to live with her sister in Oklahoma. I carry this picture in my wallet still.

Here are some pictures of that first tablecloth project. I still remember Grandma’s voice, whenever I spread it on the table to use on a special occasion.

 

Hummingbird Tablecloth progressing w/ flora…

There are now nineteen completed hummingbirds embroidered around the edge of this 96″ x 55″ white tablecloth.

I began showing this embroidery project earlier this year, showing each hummingbird as it was being completed, the total tablecloth is progressing nicely to the next level. I began with drawing sketches of what I want to do on the cloth with an iron-off marker, (bought in the quilt section of the fabric store) then just get out my box full of thread (floss) and go for it. It is relaxing like painting with colorful thread for me. TV is often boring – especially the commercials so I enjoy doing this embroidery in the evenings to relax.

When completed my tablecloths don’t sit in a chest not being used. I give them to family, and really love to use them myself for fancy dinners or celebrations, and, I do sell some. I have even been known to take them to church auctions to raise money and do my tithing.

Progressing…

With the 19 birds around the edges complete, I am now adding branches with vines wrapped around them with occasional honeysuckly blossoms mixed-in and it seems to be really coming to life. Here is the first completed corner.

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