Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hand stitching: it's not as Ghastly as some may think

Hand stitched and hand embroidered "Patriotic Girl."
From ArtPlay Stitchery from Adornit.
It's taken me just about a year to get this piece to this stage.

The running kantha stitch is by hand.

The embroidery is by hand (except her hair).

I work on it in small increments of time—between 10 minutes to an hour (if watching a TV program).

It's a portable project and it has no due date.

Yesterday, my quilt guild had its annual brainstorming session to generate ideas for next year's programs. Among the quilting techniques that people were interested in exploring next year were: big stitch, hand embroidery, and sashiko. Traditionally, these are HAND stitching techniques. Although some may feel that "HAND" is a 4-letter word, quilting or stitching by hand can be relaxing, rhythmic and enjoyable... and, yes, it will take a bit more time.

Hand stitching, embroidery and embellishing with heavier weight, decorative threads have made a resurgence in the quilting world the past few years. Its popularity continues to grow. This is thanks to the stitchery artists, pattern designers, authors and instructors [Pepper Cory and Sue Spargo, to name just two] that expose, dazzle and teach us about the artistic potential of these techniques, and the thread and needle manufacturers that bring high-quality products to the marketplace to help us achieve our creative visions.

Here are detail photos of the kantha stitching on my patriotic girl.
Kantha stitching detail.
The top layer is a yarn-dyed fabric from Diamond Textiles, [Primitive collection, PRF-569]. The back layer is a piece of white muslin.
Using up bits of leftover embroidery floss.
There is no pattern marked in the background for the kantha stitching. The needle creates its own path. A new thread is fed into the needle when the previous piece is used up.
Kantha running stitch. No plan, just stitching.

A view of the back. The embroidery [the girl and flag] is embroidered just on the top layer. The kantha stitching is through both layers. 
Back view.

I'm not sure if this will turn into a pillow or a wall hanging. Suggestions? I do like the texture of the background stitching in contrast with the non-quilted, embroidered girl. 

From "Calendar Girls" collection of ArtPlay Stitcheries from Adornit.
Another hand stitching WIP [work in progress] I have going is one of the characters from Alexander Henry's ever popular fabric line called, "The Ghastlies." I picked up "A Ghastlie Project" panel at Bless My Stitches in Murphy, NC.
"A Ghastlie Project"
She might show up on a future artwear jacket.
When choosing a fabric for hand stitching—big stitch quilting, kantha or boro stitching, hand embroidery—I recommend a yarn-dyed woven fabric [see Diamond Textiles] as the needle will glide through with ease.

I hope you consider giving hand stitching a try. It's not as "ghastly" as some may think! 
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