As a quilt book and pattern author, I can get tied up with the technical stuff involved in the process of developing quilt patterns and making samples. I can make a scant quarter inch seam with the best of them, but sometimes I like to try things that might take my skills a little off the beaten--or should I say "quilted'--trail.
Whether or not you've joined the Splendid Sampler experience online, perhaps you've noticed that many of the 'Splendid' blocks featured here in this newsletter or those that keep popping up online in several social media outlets, feature hand embroidered embellishments, like this block, designed by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish.
Some 'Splendid' blocks don't feature any embellishment at all, but a little bit of hand stitching adds just the right amount of interest or texture to a block--Splendid Sampler project or otherwise--to make a plain block pop.
Hand embroidery is one of those things I twiddle with from time to time. I can do a really consistent chain stitch and running stitch, but the other, 'fancier' stitches, not so much. I need a little practice, and a good teacher. What better way to hone these skills than with a project that I'm building just for me! Then I don't have to worry about stitches out of place for photography or for samples.
For example, here's a Portuguese knotted stem stitch, adding texture to a block center.
And I'm getting some help. Well, sort of. My friend Shelly Stokes of Cedar Canyon Textiles introduced me to Mary Corbet and her website a couple months ago. Mary's site is loaded with exquisite samples and helpful demos for all kinds of hand embroidered stitches. . .
A floral embellishment. . .
How about a buttonhole up and down stitch with added color from French knots and straight stitches? I need to work on this one a bit more to get comfortable with it. Even so, I'm happy with my first attempt.
I highly recommend Mary's site and her newsletter, if you're like me and would like to hone your hand embroidered embellishment skills.