Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Family Stitching

We've been doing a lot of stitching around here. Sometimes it feels like a scene from Little Women. We gather in the family room, take turns reading aloud and work on the embroidery kits we bought at Quilt Festival in Houston last November. I had actually noticed the kits the previous year and thought they were fabulous. At the time, I felt like I had too many projects going on to learn how to hand embroider, so I kept on walking. Since then, I've learned a whole host of stitches for a commissioned piece. So, this year, as we drove down to festival, I turned to my daughter and said," I hope that embroidery place is at quilt festival this year." It most certainly was there and it's called African Folklore Embroidery . Ordinarily, I don't think very much of kits. They remind me of paint by numbers. These "kits" are nothing like that. The images, which depict scenes from the everyday life of the Ndebele tribe of South Africa, are simply but beautifully drawn on black fabric. The kit includes a braid of thread, a needle and some basic instructions about various embroidery stitches. It's completely open-ended. You decide which colors go where or even if you want to stick to their palette of threads. You choose whether to add embellishments such as felt, beads, buttons, etc. I was so excited about these kits that I ended up buying three kits, one for myself and one for each of my girls.
We've been off and on working on our kits and here are our works in progress:This is Rachel's. She's almost done. I especially love the way she combined two different colored threads in the lion's mane and the felt ball that she cut in half, stitched to the surface and embellished with seed beads to create a three dimensional sun.
Here's mine. I too am nearly done. I've had a terrific time couching threads, adding bits of felt, and using both the thread provided in the kit and some wool threads from my own stash. I think I've even used some fingering weight yarn in this piece. I'm planning on quilting the embroidery and using it as flap for a bag. I can't quite decide if it will be a book/messenger bag or a backpack.This one's Abi's. She's actually just started working on hers. She is in an embroidery class that uses these kits. I came home super excited about these things and decided to offer a class at our homeschool co-op that incorporates these kits. Currently, I have six 9-11 year old girls happily stitching on their pieces. Also, I've proposed teaching a summer camp at the Art Pad that utilizes these embroideries.

No comments: