So, I am back after a very busy week with a funeral at the other end of the country and my whole family visiting for a week. To keep me sane, I did what I always do: stitch!
A few years ago, I started to make small embroidered tokens to accompany the deceased or to be kept by the deceased's relatives. Often clearly Christian in nature, but sometimes more timeless and universal. Like the pebble in the picture above. Personally, I like embroidered pebbles best. Somehow, they have a funereally feel to them.
How to stitch a pebble? Basically you draw two identical pebble shapes on a piece of card or, in my case, template plastic. One is covered with one layer of padding, the other with multiple layers starting with the largest at the bottom and becoming smaller towards the top. The pebble shape with the one layer of padding is covered with a piece of calico. Laced thoroughly to follow the shape of the pebble well. For the top of my pebble, I used two layers of calico. In between I trapped various items to form the 'lumps and bumps' or leeches, so you will. In this case I used three kidney beans, two beads and a stack of three buttons. Cover the whole with a myriad of surface stitches and lace it to the other padded pebble form. Sew both halves together using ladder stitch. You can find a free tutorial here.
Since it was also my mum's birthday, I finally finished the last of three bands to adorn her antique cupboard. Years ago, we saw these cute little items at the Handwerkbeurs in the Netherlands (design: Spitzenträume by UB design). I offered to stitch them as a birthday gift. After all, how hard can a silly cross stitch pattern be? Well, actually, quite a pain in the butt. It has, however, nothing to do with the pattern. It is the linen band. I've never encountered a linen that was outright unstitchable. Quite an experience for somebody who can easily count threads in linen batiste...
And last, but not least: I made two more beaded pendants. These little gems are quite addictive! And besides beads, you can incorporate a myriad of other items. In this case I used ceramic buttons I bought in Greenwich years ago. This proves to show that stash is useful.
The coming week will be spend preparing for a box making class and a five-day course of black work or needle painting. You'll read all about the endeavours of my students in next week's blog post!
Jessica M. Grimm
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