Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Stitch Lab Newsletter: This week, Embroidery Love and a really cool crafty pen pal blog project

I was super excited when Leslie said this week's newsletter would focus on Embroidery. It's my favorite craft. I went a little overboard (as far as e-newsletters are concerned) and filled the thing with loads of information - not just blog love. So I'm posting the info here, 'cause there was some good stuff. Again, if you are local to Austin, you can sign up to receive the newsletter here. Even if you aren't in Austin, it's a fun newsletter to get ... see why below!


Don't call it a comeback! The Creative, Calming influence of hand embroidery is as contemporary as ever!

Embroidery in hoopSitting down with a hoop, embroidery floss and a needle has been a creative pastime for hundreds of years. And when you pass that needle through the fabric, you are not only creating something beautiful for yourself, but you are connecting to a tradition that has been handed down for generations. Hand embroidery is a fun way to make a gift for a friend, a quick and easy craft, and can provide instant gratification.

Our Favorite Embroidery Books
Sublime Stitching BookDid you know that the mother of modern embroidery lives right here in Austin? That's right! Jenny Hart, founder of the amazing Sublime Stitching is a fellow Austinite, and had done some incredible things to modernize this traditional craft and get young hipsters everywhere doing some handy hand work. Jenny's book, Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To is a fantastic starter book for anyone interested in exploring hand embroidery. Her fun, easy, conversational how-tos will have you stitching in no time, and the pages and pages of reusable transfer designs will satisfy your embroidery needs for ages!

Doodle StitchingLooking to incorporate some natural inspirations in your embroidery? Try Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. Aimee is an amazing artist who has combined her whimsical, beautiful art with some stunning embroidery. Her book has loads of fun projects - including stitching on canvas sneakers and an adorable tree stump pin cushion. Her sense of color is fantastic, and her style of art and embroidery are truly unique.

Our Favorite Embroidery Web sites:
The Embroidery Flickr Pool - needing inspiration for your next project? Five minutes in the Flickr Embroidery Pool, and your mind will be brimming with new ideas.
Needlecrafter - This site is undergoing some updates after a long hiatus, but there are still dozens of amazing FREE vintage embroidery designs that you can download, print and transfer for your next project. Enjoy!

Speaking of Embroidery, catch Leslie's free Embroidery workshop On Monday, February 4th at Design Within Reach

Our hand embroidery classes have always been favorites, and you can join in the fun with our latest scheduled classes. Enjoy this traditional craft with a few modern twists. And, if you'd like a taste of what hand embroidery can be, join Leslie at Design Within Reach this Monday (Feb. 4) for a free hand embroidery workshop. We'll even be using some transfers from none other than Sublime Stitching! There will be a large group, but it will be a great way to whet your appetite for the flossy goodness of embroidery. Click here to read more and RSVP for the event.

And my weekly Blog-spiration:
A tooth fairy pillow for my daughter

It's safe to say I am a full-blown embroidery nut. Of all the crafty goodness I explore, it really is my favorite. In fact, it's what first brought me to Leslie! I took a hand embroidery class from her almost two years ago.

I love to mix my embroidery and blog addiction, and here are a few of my favorites (if I listed them all ... well ... we'd need a full separate newsletter for that).

Feeling Stitchy - this blog accompanies the Flickr Embroidery group. Aside from posting highlights from the Flickr group, they also post tutorials, interviews with fellow needle artists, and have some great educational series as well. It's a group blog, so there are lots of talented folks writing for them.

Vintage Transfer Finds

Vintage Transfer Finds - meet Floresita, a New York-based artist with an incredible collection of vintage embroidery transfers. She scans, cleans up and posts a selection of her collection with information on the transfers. You can download the transfers and use them on your personal projects. Floresita's own embroidery projects are down-right amazing. Check out her Flickr gallery to see what I mean.

Needle N Thread - you have to scroll through some google ads at the top of the page, but the content is worth it. On this blog, you'll find some great video clips of embroidery stitches - perfect for when you need a quick refresher in the middle of a project.

And for a little more inspiration, here are some of my favorite embroidery projects I've seen through the Flickr Embroidery Group:

Thinking Embroidery
by Amiee Ray
Thinking Embroidery Art by Amiee Ray

Sad Girl Embroidery
by Floresita
Sad Girl Embroidery

The Lucy Portrait Pillow
by doe-c-doe
Lucy Pillow

And, because I LOVE embroidery with a sense of humor ....

Don't Tase Me, Bro!
by SewClever
Don't Tase Me, Bro!

Apron of Anxious Treats
by SwampThing
Ack! I'm on fire!

And ... one of my own creations - a zombie makeover on one of Floresita's vintage embroidery patterns

Zombie Jitterbug Girl
by Average Jane Crafter
Coming for you!

Embroidery can be beautiful, delicate, chunky, modern, retro, fun and artistic. Few crafts can cover such a range. Grab a hoop, some floss and a needle and hurry on in for one of our embroidery classes. The next embroidery enthusiast may be YOU!


Grab a crafty pen pal and participate in the Back and Forth Project!

Back and Forth Project

Austin is a hotbed of boundless creativity - we all know that. Here's a great new Austin-based project that combines crafting, good old fashioned snail mail and blogging.

Kathie Sever and Shannon Lowry have started the Back and Forth Project.

From their web site:
We'd like to build a tribute to the physicality of moving something back and forth between two people- and utilizing the internet as a means to document the beauty of getting back to a more multi sensory, visceral experience of staying connected. ... We invite YOU to submit a project you and a friend will make and pass back and forth through the mail as you each embellish it.

Read more about the project and see how you can submit your project on the Back and Forth Project Blog.


  1. Yay, embroidery! I'm so glad to have found someone else who loves this craft as much as me. You rock!

  2. I wish I lived in Austin so I could have come to your night of DWR embroidering! It looks like you had a great turnout & a lot of fun...thanks for spreading the embroidery love & for posting my Lucy pillow!


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