Monday, 19 March 2012

My first completed hand embroidery!

I have become a bit addicted to Pinterest lately and one of the first things to catch my eye was this quote which had been pinned by my Twitter Buddy, Anna Burnell (whose lovely blog you should check out, incidentally):

If the quote kind of sums me up, it most definitely sums up my tea-drinking, bookworm Mum so I knew immediately I wanted to incorporate it into a gift for her.  I decided to have a go at hand embroidery and just hope it turned out pretty enough to wrap up in a big pink bow and present to my Mum as a birthday gift.  

I decided I wanted my embroidery to consist of a huge teacup sitting on a pile of books, with the quote across the top.  I roughly sketched out on paper how I wanted the finished embroidery to look: 

Sketch of embroidery layout
I traced the outline of my sketch onto my sheet of white cotton in tailor's chalk*  and got to work. I was originally going to embroider all the details but decided to applique the book covers on to add a bit more depth and because I liked the idea of them being solid blocks of colour but not the idea of the many, many hours that would take me to achieve in hand embroidery.

I had intended to leave the embroidery in its wooden hoop, but when I finished, I decided it would look better in a frame.  This also had the benefit of disguising the absolute disaster of tangled threads and knots on the rear of the fabric. I'm all about the presentation and hiding the chaos behind the scenes so this was a good solution. 

(Excuse the poor photography. I was in a rush and still had to iron my masterpiece and
 mount it on black card to stop the tangled thread disasters showing through the cotton)
Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out and really like the appliqued book covers.  They were fiddly to cut out from the fabric but they ended up looking how I hoped they would.  I'm also glad I used my own handwriting for the quote, rather than some nameless font or existing letters pattern.  It makes the gift much more personal and anyone who knows me will instantly know the embroidery is my work, due to my handwriting not having changed since about Year 3 (I can write in joined-up letters too, honest).  Most importantly, the birthday girl loved it, yay! 

I'm definitely loving the hand embroidery and have already started a little seaside picture for my own home.  I just need to learn how to effectively manage those knots and tangles...


*I now know tailor's chalk to be the work of the devil and next to impossible to remove from white cotton, grrrr. 


  1. That looks awesome, especially as it is a first attempt! Love the quote too!

  2. It looks absolutely stunning! I just did a little squeal of glee as I scrolled down to see the final result! You're right, the applique looks so effective. I also love how you've taken a traditional image and managed to make it look vintage and yet fresh and contemporary at the same time. I love it!

  3. Aw, thanks both! I completely winged it so am pleased with how it turned out :-)

  4. For your first effort this is brilliant, well done. The quote could apply to me and my Mum as well.

    1. Ah, thanks for your lovely comments, Louise! The quote's fab isn't it, I can't believe I'd never heard it until recently! x

  5. That is a gorgeous piece of work! I love trying and working out hand designed and made embroidery pieces - they always have so much more meaning and thought behind them!

    Totally agree with the quote too!

  6. Looks adorable, great work! I'm a fan of C.S. Lewis myself :)

    Silken Spirits

  7. Aw, thank you ladies. Not only was this my first embroidery, but it was the first time I've ever posted one of my projects so your comments have made my day :-)

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