My beautiful embroidery piece sat as a UFO for several months! But I finally finished it. It all started with a pillow that I saw in an Annapolis shop. I loved the pillow. But I have this problem of looking at things and thinking, “I should just make something like that!” I captured a photo of the pillow and here it is.
Before this I had only done embroidery kits and hadn’t even done one of those in quite awhile. I found transferring the design to be quite challenging. First I tried a method that involved scanning the design, printing it on wax paper, dampening the fabric and then ironing the design onto the fabric. Well, that didn’t turn out too well. I tried transfer paper and pencils. Finally, I taped the paper and then the fabric onto a window and drew the design onto the fabric. Maybe my fabric wasn’t the right kind. It seemed difficult to see the design on the fabric when I used transfer paper and pencils. I was quite attached to the idea of using this fabric though. My family and I went to Gettysburg on the 4th of July during the 150th battle anniversary. I purchased the fabric from a vendor there that was selling fabric for reenactors to make their costumes. Isn’t that fun?! Well, the design was now on the fabric and then I attached it to stretcher bars. It took a bit for me to jump in and stitch. It was totally up to me to come up with the colors and what stitches to use. That was a little daunting. My neighbor, Kathy, came to the rescue. She loaned me a book about embroidery. It was a simple book that seemed to help me get over the hump of starting. I just jumped in.
It seemed to be going well. I was working with embroidery floss that I had purchased in a variety bag. I soon determined that I needed to get different floss. This did not have the nice sheen that I was used to and looked rather dull. It doesn’t pay to buy cheap supplies with art. Thankfully, DMC floss looked nice and was easy to get. I continued working on the flowers, trying to work myself up to stitching the wren. Did I want the wren to look as it did on the pillow? No, I had to make this mine. So, I dug through my photo files and found a photo I had taken of a wren back in 2009. It was perfect to use as a reference.
Folks that knew I was working on this project kept asking, “Is the bird done yet? When are you going to do the wren?” So, again, I just had to jump in. It seemed like a good idea to start with his beak and then his “eyebrow.”
I loved working on the wren! I decided to make him look as lifelike as I could. I started noticing all the details on the bird in the photo. What a beautiful creature! I noticed that the tail that I drew just didn’t look right. I always call wrens “twang tails” because it looks like if you pushed their tails down and let go, it would go “twang” as it sprung back up. I stitched and tore out and stitched again, finally deciding that the tail was too long! I had to get creative to cover the ink of the drawing and yet make his tail look as I wanted. I was happy with my wren!
The stitching was complete. Oh, I loved how it turned out! But now I had to decide, would I make it into a pillow as I first planned? After spending so much time and pouring love into the piece, I shuddered to think of it as a pillow, being drooled on, have dirty feet propped on it, threads being pulled. Nope…not a pillow. I determined to get it framed. It was an odd shape and would not be easy to frame. I feared that I would have to get it custom framed. The young man at ACMoore was very helpful in choosing matting and frames. But none of it looked right. Thankfully, I had to leave to meet a friend for lunch so I couldn’t place the order at that moment. He did give me a quote though. Framing was 65% off, but still it would cost $170. Wow. After lunch, I headed to the store again. I searched through the ready made matting and frames and found something that would work! It’s not as beautiful as if it had been custom framed, but I love the price: $14. And I think it looks pretty too!
So, what did I learn? It seems that when I want to try something new I go through a period of immobilization. That’s okay, but I need to recognize it and then, after preparing, just get going. I also relearned that trying new things may mean that you start over a couple times as I did when transferring the pattern. Again, I noticed all the incredible detail that God puts into everything that He creates and it made me want to do the same. And I have to remember that things don’t always turn out the way I imagine, but rather take on a life of their own…and that’s okay too.