That’s probably an odd question for a photographer’s blog, but for one thing, I do love embroidery, and for another, as much as I like to sell prints, I’m not here to push, push, push—this was intended to be a real-life blog where I share not only my work, but other things I enjoy and suspect you, too, enjoy. Embroidery is definitely one of those things I enjoy, as longtime readers know.
At any rate, a fellow embroidery buff and I were chatting away on Twitter the other day about things to embroider besides tea towels, which she was rather tired of working on. I had a few suggestions, having run into this stitcher’s ennui more than once myself: new covers for throw pillows (oh, the possibilities!): pillowcase edges and the top edge of sheets, which might take a while but would be well worth it; curtain edges, because few things are more charming than hand-embroidered café curtains; and of course aprons and tablecloths, pointing out that plain ones in a variety of colours and prints, especially vintage ones, are perfect for embroidery and can often be had for a song—just last week I picked up a pair of vintage floral aprons just crying out for needle, thread, and fun pattern.
Nor are such grounds—the things we stitch on—off-limits should they be stained or otherwise marred. One of my favourite aprons is one picked up for only $3 at a Cambridge antique mall—discounted from $5 because of a few stains. Thanks to one of Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching patterns and thoughtful placement thereof, the tea-coloured stains on my apron almost look as if they belong there, as part of the tea our lovely waitress is serving! Thus even textiles collectors and brides-to-be would never imagine touching are still up for grabs to embroiderers with a little creativity in their bones (and who among us isn’t a little creative?)!
Obvious other choices for your needle & no-pressure creativity are apparel—skirt hems, blouses, shirt sleeves (one of Hubby’s favourite button-downs was recently torn, so I’m going to mend it and then work the mend into an embroidered cocktail glass, classic car, or something of that nature), jacket backs, scarves, handbags, even headbands.
I’ve also seen embroidered bookmarks, both fabric and paper; shower curtains; jeans; and of course Jenny Hart’s famous embroidered screen door (I’m just waiting to find the Craftsman or 50s farmhouse of our dreams—don’t laugh, it’s out there!), and have also purchased a “Mr. America” sampler from Charlotte Lyons while having my eye on this retro-style map piece.
In the past I’ve embroidered iPod cases—oh, dear, I’m showing my age!—as well as book covers, ties, baby bibs, maps, as well as simply framed pieces of embroidery to give as gifts; a few weeks ago, when a preferred but often-worn pair of gloves tore, I turned the mend into a leafy stem. And, of course, I embroidered the invitations I made for my sister’s baby shower.
Those are just a few ideas, but I know there are other hand-embroidery buffs out there just brimming over with things I’ve never thought of. So: What sort of grounds do you use for embroidery? I and your fellow stitchers would just love to know!