Sometimes I go through phases, where I furiously draw….or sculpt…or sew. But lately, it’s embroidery, and I’ve been pretty hardcore into embroidery lately (“hardcore embroidery” being a phrase that makes me giggle).
As with any new craft obsession, I jumped in with both feet, full-in, when I first started. I got a couple of little books on stitches, and practiced those. I watched stitch tutorials on YouTube. And then I just sort of “winged” the rest.
Usually, it’s been these large pieces, based around my parallel obsession with the wizarding world and Harry Potter characters…
But then I discovered tiny embroidery, and have been going at it full-force…
I found these tiny little blank hoops from a site called Dandelyne, and that got the ball rolling. Functional art? I am TOTALLY okay with that.
And since I’d consider myself an intermediate embroiderer, I thought I’d share my wonky setup with you.
It all starts with this totally awesome little travel bag, which I found by chance at our local craft store. I like it because I can quickly shove everything in there and take it with me wherever we go.
It opens up to several little compartments, with places to hold my stitch guidebooks, needles, scissors, thread, and anything else I might need.
WHOAH. Wait, did you get a good look at that? I’ll zoom in for you, in case you somehow overlooked it:
Yep, since I taught myself, I am TERRIBLE at organizing my thread. I tried those long plastic binder pieces above, and they end up tangled. I tried putting them on the little keychain tabs, and they end up tangled. And often, as I’m working with a particular color, I just end up shoving it in this little zippered pouch, tangled for all eternity.
Finally, I’ve tried this other method, which is a little binder:
And I think it seems to work the best? Maybe? I haven’t found an easy way to separate the strands (the embroidery thread I buy comes in strands made up of 6 strings, and since I am sewing tiny things, I often only want to use one string, for detail. So when I’m getting ready to start a new project, I painstakingly separate them (with a mild amount of swearing) and shove them into little pouches in this strand binder I found in the embroidery section of our local craft store. That’s the best I can do.
(Do you know an easy way around this? Should I be embroidering with special thread instead of embroidery floss? This can’t be the best way of doing things, I’m sure…)
Anyway, as for tools, that little travel case is awesome, because I can carry all the goods: a leather thimble for tough fabric, little beads (since I often like to add texture), a seam ripper, and a few little books on simple stitches (believe it or not, they come in handy quite often).
I just discovered this little blue fabric marker that I can draw with, and when I want my lines gone, I just wet it, and it disappears! So cool (unless you’re making small sketch corrections, as it’ll take forever to dry the fabric so you can draw over it again). Another useful tool is next to it, in the photo above: a little metal threader, for threading problems. I have trouble threading metallic threads (they’re very wobbly and they fray), and that tool’s saved me from throwing my project across the room in anger more than once.
I show you this wonky setup to demonstrate that I don’t really know what I’m doing. Meaning, I’m not some super experienced expert who’s been doing this for ages and has all the answers. I’m learning, and there is always more to learn. If you’re into something, you can learn a bit about it, and jump in, like I did.
The world’s at your fingertips–literally, on the device from which you’re reading this! Look up some videos about the hobby you’re interested in–it doesn’t have to be embroidery, it could be ANYthing. Check out some hashtags and see what other people are doing. I’m pretty willing to bet you can do it too, or that it might inspire you to do something similar in your own way.
When I asked Myla what she’d want on one, she immediately requested Fiona and Cake, from Adventure Time (our current favorite show).
And if you try it, and you’ve given it your best, and it’s just not working out, don’t consider it a loss; it might just not be your time! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried needlefelting with disastrous results. Doesn’t mean I’ll never try it again, it’s just not my thing right now, and that’s okay. Maybe some day I’ll get it, maybe some day I won’t. But I TRIED.
I’ve actually wondered why this embroidery is such a thing for me right now. I sometimes find myself FURIOUSLY “IN” to something. Sometimes it doesn’t last long. I do it til I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. Right now, this is what I feel like doing. I’ve tried drawing recently, and it doesn’t come out right, which happens sometimes, and is a sign that my brain doesn’t WANT to do that right now. Right now, it wants to poke things with a tiny magic wand, and that’s okay.
You’ve got to follow whatever you’re into–it helps you get through things. For me, I think it comes from a tendency to want to control some very out-of-control situations we’ve been going through. I might not be able to control what’s going on in our lives, but I can control this little tiny space, and that’s okay, too.
I’ve been asked if I’d sell them, and I’ve decided I will, but I’m going to just sew what I like. I wish I was the type of person who could do the same design again and again, or that thrived on custom orders, but I’m just not. I can handle it a bit, and sometimes I really can do it. But with these, it just feels good to do what I like, and let the chips fall where they may.
So that’s where I am at the moment…holding a tiny wand with my head down, furiously stabbing a little piece of fabric, unable to control the world, but trying my best to manage this tiny space. Sure, it’s a little obsessive. Sure, it’d be more productive if my obsession involved housekeeping or making lucrative stock picks or something useful.
But it’s been making me feel better, and that’s definitely okay. ❤