Baby Betty Boop

When my friend Linda saw this embroidery design last week she said, “Oh, it’s Betty Boop!”  I hadn’t quite noticed the resemblance, but this could be Betty as a baby.  I am trying two things with this pattern.  This one I have made into a tooth fairy pillow by appliquing on a heart that is open at the top.  I am embroidering a second one on a blue background for a birth announcement pillow.  I am going to embroider the baby’s name, date of birth and birth weight in the area where the heart is.  Then I will decide which one will become my pattern.  It is hard to tell in this photo, but the wings are embroidered in a silver metallic thread.  The thread has to be used in very short lengths or it frays and breaks so there was a lot of tying off and rethreading.

Work in Progress

I have been busy drawing embroidery patterns, which is good and bad. I have spent a lot of time drawing and redrawing, and stitching and stitching again. Quilt patterns are a lot easier! Last year my garden club had a florist demonstrate some interesting wreath arrangements. I thought an embroidery pattern based on a wreath shape might be fun, so off I went. Valentine’s Day is approaching so I went with a heart shape. There are still a few details that need to be polished, but this might be my first embroidery pattern.

Happy New Year!

Most of the day has been spent working on a web site. All I can say is I am glad I don’t have to do that every day!

I have also been experimenting with coloring the background on an embroidery block. The technique is to draw a picture, color it with colored pencils, scan it into the computer, and then photocopy the picture onto paper-backed fabric that can go into the printer. I have seen quilts done using this technique and they are really pretty.
Well, things did not go as planned. The printer ate the first two sheets (and at $1 each, I wasn’t going to keep feeding them in). The last one I tried did go through but did not print evenly. When I peeled the paper off the back, I didn’t really care for the feel of the fabric. It has a plastic feel to it. When I tried embroidering the roof, it was difficult to push the needle through the fabric so I decided to abandon this block and try again.
Tomorrow is another day. Next I am going to try using fabric crayons on muslin and see if I get better results.

Thread Salad

I am participating in an online embroidery workshop sponsored by HEN (http://www.handembroiderynetwork.com/) based in England. The teacher uses a technique she calls thread salad to cover large areas in her embroidery. The first lesson required time spent dying unbleached muslin with coffee grounds and hand painting and stamping muslin to use as background for the embroidery. The muslin I used for the nest block was soaked in coffee for ten minutes. It is the most beautiful mocha color. The photo doesn’t do it justice. The background for the tree was made by mushing around coffee grounds on muslin. Messy but thoroughly satisfying. The nest is made by cutting lots of short lengths of embroidery thread and then heaping them on the fabric and circulating it until it covered the background. Voila, a nest. The egg is a piece of muslin that I painted and then stuffed and stitched.
The tree trunk is a piece of muslin stamped with ink and colored with pen. I was encouraged to use the thread salad for the tree leaves, but liked the cut fabrics better. I think I will play with the thread salad for the ground at the base of the tree. I still have to embroider in some flowers and bushes or some other shapes to fill up the empty area on this block.