Handwork, Prototypes, and Coming Down from a Craft High

I love handwork–embroidery, knitting, even sewing by hand. I don’t know that I’m all that good at hand embroidery, or at hand sewing, but I love the way it feels. It calms me when I’m feeling jagged and unfocused. It reminds me of my grandma, who taught me to embroider when I was a kid. And it makes me feel connected to the past in a positive way–not only my own past, but to every woman who has taken up a needle to make something beautiful or useful.

This leaf isn’t quite finished–I’m still adding the blanket stitching around the edge, hence the trailing green thread. It’s also a prototype, and I’m not completely satisfied with the results. (Here is where, if you’re not interested in process, you can skip ahead to the next picture). I think next time I will make fewer veins, but use three strands of embroidery floss instead of two so that they will be bolder. What seemed like fine detail while I was stitching and holding the leaf near my face looks like a lot of busy-ness when you view it from a slight distance. I AM very pleased with the stem/central vein–it’s an old piece of floral stem wire given to me by a friend. I’m pretty sure it’s technically vintage, and I don’t know if I can get quite the same variety again. I have several of them, though, so hopefully I’ll be tired of making leaves before I run out. You will also see, in the next picture, that my blanket stitch is a little wonky. I’m still kind of getting the hang of it. My crafty education was picked up here and there from random people, so I have weird little gaps. Just today I learned that what I’ve always called “backstitch” is actually “running stitch”, and that backstitch is way easy.

The beautiful green felt came from an old sweater–one that was, sadly, felted accidentally when the hubster did laundry. It was his sweater, so I wouldn’t mind too much, except he looked really hot in it. And not in the “this wool is making me sweat” way, but in the “I have awesome shoulders and a nice chest and now you want me to take this sweater off, don’t you?” kind of way. But we salvage something from every tragedy, and use it to create something new, right? Right.

I’ll keep the leaf, even though I’m not 100% satisfied with it. I hope to have a little collection of leaves before it’s over. There’s a lot of felt in that sweater.  I think I’ll do some more with veins in a sort of pseudo-realistic way, and then make some stylized ones with beads and spirals and random embroidery. Because I can.

And I finished something last night that I’m VERY happy with. It was a custom order for an Etsy customer.

It’s a sort of talisman or charm, meant to be held in meditation, with the aim of facilitating a stronger connection with spirit/the divine. Working on this piece was intense, energetically speaking, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I sent pictures to the customer, and she loves it. Doing custom work is always simultaneously delightful and crazy making–delightful, because creating something with someone else’s vision and input is an exciting kind of collaboration, and crazy-making because of the concern that they won’t be satisfied with the results. I’ve been fortunate so far to have had pretty much all positive experiences (knock on wood).Last week was extremely productive and creative, and my head is still spinning a little. Coming down from a craft high isn’t easy. I might have to watch a movie or something. Yeah, my life, so difficult.

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7 thoughts on “Handwork, Prototypes, and Coming Down from a Craft High

  1. You are amazing, my talented craft queen. And heehee. That’s cute about your hubby and his hotness in the sweater. Erm, I mean, hawtness. Heh. At least you’re putting a positive spin on the tragedy. The leaf is lovely (as the talisman is super cool).

  2. Oh my. These are deeply exciting…. May I… hold the leaf?

    I may have to figure out how to like embroidery… hmmmm….

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