guild embroidered name tag

New embroidery guild members are tasked with eventually making their own embroidered name tag. I finally got around to mine, a year later! Another guild member already goes by my nickname, so I went with my formal name when I joined. Since my last name is also on the piece, I won’t be showing you in full, you understand. #internetprivacy. Shrug.

I first began with doodling. This year, I am trying something different – normally, I just start with needle in hand and fabric at the ready. This year though, I want to develop my own creativity, remember? So, I now begin instead with pencil in hand and paper at the ready. Of course, I still went off plans a wee bit. Mostly because my plans wouldn’t work, or didn’t turn out as I had imagined they would, but also because needle in hand and fabric at the ready is just, well, sort of inspiring on its own.

embroidered name tag

This embroidered name tag was the first time I used rayon threads. I read about them, and I inherited two colors, and they seemed fussy. They are super silky, and the 6-strands practically fall apart from each other as you hold them. I don’t think it is even possible to make an accidental knot, they are so loosey-goosey! Luckily, the strands are somewhat thick, so as I approached a satin stitch background here, it covered quickly! Though I broke this project into two days worth of work, I could easily have finished it in a single solid day. Like, all of it! The threads weren’t difficult to stitch with at all, other than sometimes the light reflecting off them when trying to get the perfect satin stitch position (sadly you will never understand the brilliant reflections through a photo, but the real effect is gorgeous!).

embroidered name tag

I had been wanting to do an illuminated letter style for a while but didn’t have a specific project in mind. So when I decided to do this, it was prime opportunity! Afterward, I had some wonderings about what it meant that I stitched my name so royally, but regardless, I love it!

Deep purple rayon thread was stitched over a traced google font (Berkshire Swash). I added some golden thread left over from my stumpwork in a criss-crossed fashion with small red glass beads that really look awesome reflecting light (also hard to capture in a photo) for the stem of the R, b, and a.

Some solid red stitches (straight stitches mimicking a fly stitch with pistol colonial knotting) were made using normal DMC thread on the leg of the R. This thread was also used for my last name which was written in my own signature handwriting, much smaller than my first, and kind of as part of the border. The first letters of it were also whipped with the golden thread. The R and a also got a fat colonial knot in red in the serif portion. The c letters got a small gold bead there instead.

I only had one other rayon thread color, a good brown. So, after adding a red whipped wheel rose (with a gold bead center), I used this brown for the leaves (closed fly stitches highlighted with a vein of golden thread). I still wanted something added to the two e letters, so I used just a few straight stitches on their curve. I liked it, so I added them to all the letters. Then I added a detached-chain stitch vine around the whole thing, but decided it should be filled in. I did this with a fishbone stitch. To top that off, I added small purple colonial knots at each leaf.

I think normally I would have made all the leaves in green, but honestly, the effect of the brown fits so well with the other colors, making it look rather pomp and rich, that I am glad I am on a 0$ spending budget for myself, forcing me to use all the goodies that I have. I don’t think green would have looked good at all!

embroidered name tag

The background cloth is a solid light grey cotton leftover from my window seat backing. I doubled it up for support of my threads.

embroidered name tag

My name is a little bigger than I’d like for an embroidered name tag (albeit necessary to be able to stitch the designs on top of the satin stitching) but it will do. To finish, I sewed some medium weight interfacing to both the front (embroidered) piece and the backing (same grey fabric). Then I sandwiched them together and sewed around, leaving a gap as one normally does. Turned it right side out, whipped stitched a lanyard to the back, added 2018 there also for posterity’s sake, and then blind stitched the bottom closed. El fin!

embroidered name tag

Did you ever have to make an embroidered name tag? I’d be curious to see yours!

100 Day Project: Mirrored Light

Following the theme I’ve set myself up for this year (of diving deeper into my own creativity), I have decided to informally try the 100 Day Project: Mirrored Light. It begins today, and wraps up on April 30th. Will I stick with it? Stick around to find out!

According to the website, “The theme highlights the long, dark winters in our northern region which can be interpreted creatively in a number of different ways. The theme is meant to inspire – it’s up to participants whether or not they want to use the theme.”

Rather than going with a long, dark winter theme, I am interpreting the title, “Mirrored Light”, differently. Mirrors are most often used as a reflection of self, ya? And Light can mean good things, happy things, positive things that make you feel hope, peace, serenity. So my goal is to focus on things in my world that make me happy, and I want to become a better drawer, so there ya go. “Chase the light and use a pencil” so to speak. One drawing a day of something that put a smile on my face (expect a lot of kitties, no doubt! [Boy would be unlikely to allow me to post his]). I learned in my first week of January Challenges that a stopwatch helps so these will sometimes also be sketches intentionally hurried. After all, evidence suggests I learn best under pressure!

The website also answers why anyone would want to do this:

To grow a creative habit.
To exercise the right side of the brain – to expand your capacity for innovation, imagination, and problem solving.
To grow discipline and resilience by engaging in a regular practice of creativity for a period of 100 days.
To reinvigorate your creative life through exploration and permission to play for 100 days.
To discover the value of practice and how breakthroughs often happen by making a commitment and sticking to it.
To challenge a limiting belief about your creative nature.
To challenge a limiting belief about commitment.

If you’re intrigued, join me!

I read their Success Tips, and so here’s my formal plan:

  • The “spine” of my project is to draw and keep happy things in focus.
  • The rules to support my spine is to always have pencil and paper on me so that I can sketch the thing that made me smile at the moment of reflection.

Like those January Challenges, I will summarize a few days worth of effort in one posting each week. But I will leave you today with these drawings from December 30th – some doodling and a studied sketched of a recently acquired bitty knife hand-crafted by my great-uncle Jim. If I am sitting in an RPG campaign, my hands must be busy in one shape or other and that day I only had a pencil and paper at hand! I especially adore my little raccoon. it is one of the few images dreamt up from my own mind that I want to pursue in other ways. Maybe you’ll see more of her (or, maybe not!).

Ok, now I must go sketch something happy! :D

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies

I did it! Look at these beautiful “Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies” created with stumpwork embroidery. This is the most intense project I have committed to, yet, and I am thrilled with how much I learned! Stumpwork embroidery is just cool, and I have a lot of ideas. Will any of them come to fruition? Ha, you know as well as me – but it is inspiring, for sure. I love that it is historic (mainstreamed in the 17th century if I understand rightly), and I love that it is sculptural. So, without further ado, this is my piece, using a pattern by Celeste Chalasani available through her Craftsy course: Stumpwork – Raised Embroidery Essentials.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

Celeste is a fabulous instructor. She presents the information calmly and clearly with easy expertise. I reached out to her when I ordered the kit and asked about needles. As I mentioned previously, I can’t tell up from down with needles other than pointy-ness and eyehole size. She willingly sent me labeled needles in my kit that helped my understanding of embroidery. Sure, you can “hacksaw” your way through with whatever your favorite needle is like I generally do, but now I get why certain needle sizes are best. I also now understand different threads (photos of embroidery cannot capture the true sense of thread sheen and personality so my interwebbing didn’t make the importance of thread type clear). I also have never worked with silk or organza before and, wow, stunning results! I didn’t just learn 3D embroidery with this course; I upped my game from self-taught beginner to intermediate trainee. The way she taught the course put confidence in my hands and heart to pull this off. I’d love to thank her in person one day! For reals!

No knots were made in the making of this garden snippet. I followed directions, folks!

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

I was unclear how to finish the piece (she leaves that up to you), but made a temporary (which is probably permanent, lets be real) choice to wrap a cheap canvas board.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

I wrapped it in a thin natural batting so that the wires wouldn’t press against the silk for all of eternity. I just used quilting thread and zig-zagged around the board and repeated the process for the silk.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

On the backside, I wanted to sign and date it, but also for historical sake, I wanted to give credit where it was due so I included Celeste’s name and title of the piece: Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies. I absolutely love that this looks all chunky and kindergarten-y considering how formal and precise the front is. It is like a surprise and shows some whimsy.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

I attempted to capture how three-dimensional the piece is. [My camera’s battery failed and as I await the replacement, Boy is letting me use his fancy schmancy camera that I can barely operate but I think I did alright, don’t you?]. Felt padding raises the daisies off the background a wee bit. There is also some padding under the bud. Those are both difficult to see here. But obviously the full-bloom poppy, it’s blooming counterpart, and the bee jumps off.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

I spent so much time eyeballing precise stitches. I know that with practice, this can be accomplished! I think I did swell. I also perfected my satin stitch. And that bumble bee bottom? Adorably puffy, like I stuck on a pompom ball, but no! You’d be wrong to think it! It is all thread work, Turkey Work to be precise.

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

While the style is formal, flowery, and generally not my thing, this is by far and above one of my favorite self-made projects in the history of my work. I need to find a frame solution that will allow glass to keep dust off of it (and not press against the piece), but I know this will be displayed in my house for many years to come! Super duper proud!

Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies (Celeste Chalasani) stumpwork embroidery

A huge thank you to Celeste, for her “Poppies and Santa Barbara Daisies” stumpwork embroidery course! I will definitely try stumpwork embroidery again.