wip: sea captain embroidery


I don’t remember the exact details of how it happened, but it happened. Inspiration struck and I had to learn how to embroider. This was my first year of college and before Instagram so I know I didn’t see a captivating image that inspired me. I was reading a few blogs at the time, so perhaps that’s where it came from. All I know is that one day I was not interested in embroidery, but the next day I was. 

I’ve talked before about my inspiration process. Inspiration strikes me pretty hard and heavily. Then there is this immediate need to follow through. That’s how it happened with embroidery. So, I went to Michael’s and bought a pillowcase kit- on each open edge of the pillowcase there was a garden of flowers. There were suggested colors, but I don’t follow rules, so I picked out whatever colors I wanted. I filled up my cart with the pillowcases, many DMC flosses, a thread box, spools to wind the floss onto, embroidery needles, and a hoop. When I got home, I knew exactly how to wind the floss onto the spools, thanks to years of watching my mom wind her spools for cross stitch. I wound them all and color coded them in the box. Though it was about 20 years ago, I still remember getting my mom’s boxes out of her closet and looking at all the colors. She used her thread for cross stitch- my sisters and I used it for friendship bracelets. 

Now I had my very own colorful box. I got to work on my pillowcases. That night, I had a meeting. I wanted to cancel on the meeting so I could work on the embroidery instead (story of my life), but I was responsible and went to the meeting. To this day, I have arrived late at events because I was finishing up a project. Friends, thanks for being understanding of my ridiculous ways. 

I wish I could post a photo of my finished pillowcases, looking cute on my bed, but the reality is this: they are still WIPs. Yep. 7-8 years later, they are unfinished. But they are where I got my start and I haven’t stopped since. 

My current project is both intricate and simple- the pattern itself is quite detailed and almost intimidating, but the actual stitching required is very easy. I am having so much fun with this project. I have used only straight and back stitches so far, but I’ll throw in a few French knots soon. I am using only one strand of floss, which is something I never do, and I’m not using any knots to secure the back of the stitching, something else I never do. The back is by far the neatest I have ever done. 

A neat back!

Something else new in this project is my transfer method. When I found this pattern I fell in love with it, but I couldn’t imagine transferring the image onto the fabric- so many lines! Luckily, the creator of the pattern included a special tip, one I had never heard of: Sticky Fabri-Solvy. This magic stuff can be run through your printer, so all you do is print the pattern onto it, peel off the back, and stick it onto your fabric. You can stitch right through it (though I will say that it can make you needle a little sticky and it’s slightly harder to push the needle through) and when you are done with your project, you just soak it in water and all of the fabri-solvy dissolves right before your eyes. Magic, I tell you. I’m not joking when I say my life has changed. It is that amazing. 

Unlike the flowered pillowcases, this project is destined to become an FO in a timely manner.