Today I did something I needed terribly: I stitched for pure fun. I've been kinda stressed these last couple of weeks (and the next few will probably be a bit crazy, too) and I really needed something to calm my brain a little bit. Nothing does that quite as well as embroidery.
The kids and I loaded up and went to an indoor playnasium. They had a warehouse full of moonbouncers, and I had WiFi and embroidery. We were all pretty much in heaven. I wound some bobbins of floss (my stash is getting seriously messy) browsed some blogs and got to stitchin'. It was perfect.
One of my goals for the summer is to learn some new stitches. I dearly love the good ole back stitch, split, stem and blanket, but I decided I wanted to branch out a little bit and challenge myself to learn some new ways to work my needle. I hit Needle 'N Thread to see some of Mary's awesome video stitch tutorials, and I dug out a cool little Coats and Clark stitch booklet that I picked up at Ginger's Needlearts when we went there to see Jenny Hart. Between those two resources, I had more than enough new stitches from which to chose.
My summer sampler is stitching on one of my Obama screen prints. The first prints I did with that stencil were on a drop cloth that had been used for previous classes. One effect that I loved of these initial prints was that red stars that had been printed on the reverse side of the fabric and ended up framing his face perfectly. I sketched a border around the print and decided I'd just fill the sucker with some of my random new stitches, and that I'd outline the stars to make them stand out more.
So far, I've toyed with the fern stitch (which I worked getting gradually larger as I went ... can't remember if that was on purpose) and the scalloped chain and I've done some couching (first time!)
Today, I watched Mary's video for the checkered chain stitch - a chain stitch that has two colors of floss working on the needle and ends up with alternating colors of chain links. It was so much fun! I goofed on the first chain link, but got it down after that. Sadly, I didn't have more of the same colors I'd been using on the rest of the piece with me, so the colors are a little off. I'll likely be removing the stitches and re-doing them, but for now it was a fun learning opportunity.
I also picked up what is probably my new favorite stitch - the chained feather stitch. It was in the Coats booklet, and it is awesome. It's a lot easier than it looks, and it has such a cool effect. I love love love the feather stitch, and seeing it with the little "buds" of the chains just makes me giddy.
I'll be working on this piece off and on all summer long. It's going to be my juicy summer novel that I turn to when things get to stressful. I can't wait to see how it turns out, and even if it looks goofy or like I've vomited every crazy stitch I can find on to it, I don't really care. I'm having a lot of fun, and darn if that isn't my favorite thing to do.
What fun summer crafting are you doing these days?
NOTE: Click on through the pictures to see my notes in Flickr