Embroidery Beginnings

Posted by

Please enjoy Christen Brown's story of her embroidery beginnings, taken from The Embroidery Book

Detail of my vintage quilt made by Mrs. Olson

At an early age I fell in love with fiber, quilts, clothing, and dolls. My bed was covered with stuffed animals that my mom had made. The bedcover, a hand-pieced crazy quilt by Mrs. Olson (a neighbor of my grandmother), was made from fabulous 1950s fabrics. I came to love the colors and shapes within the printed fabrics. The embroidery stitches worked on the quilt were simple and perfect.

I was just seven years old when I first learned to embroider. It was the first needle art that I learned, and it continues to be a favorite pastime. For my birthday that year, I was given a small sewing basket that I filled with skeins of floss, as well as bits of precious ribbon, lace, sequins, and beads. I worked my magic on little pieces of felt that I turned into clothes for my troll doll.

VINTAGE STITCHES

Embroidered greeting cards 

Throughout the years, many generations of women in my family have cherished embroidered items. Everyday household items like tablecloths, linens, and towels were commonplace in our house when I was a girl. Embroidery even found its way into the greeting cards my mom made. My mom did the cross-stitch work on the card to the right; the embroidered card on the left was found in my grandmother’s keepsake drawer.

Embroidered handbags

Fancier items like handkerchiefs and handbags were also treasured, each kept safe in its own little box on a shelf in the linen closet. The handbag on the left belonged to my grandmother. Its hand-embroidered satin stitch design was worked in silk threads on a brown bengaline background. The little black satin handbag belonged to my mother. Its embroidered chain stitches were done in a rayon thread with a tambour needle.

STITCHES IN SCHOOL

In high school I traded my embroidery skills for the creative skills of my friends. I embroidered work shirts and jeans, and in return they made me ceramic pots or jewelry.

In college I used my embroidery skills on the cover of a report I had written. The assignment was to write about a clothing brand or company that you liked or identified with. At the time I loved to go to Judy’s, a store in our local mall that concentrated on the younger market.

Judy’s

RESCUED STITCHES

Small embroidered bags and appliqué

I have collected many embroidered textiles throughout the years, some purchased and some bequeathed. Whenever I find a discarded embroidered hanky or table runner at the thrift store, I wonder who made the item and why the family didn’t keep it as an heirloom. The two small jewelry bags were embroidered entirely in silk ribbon. The appliqué was worked in a counted cross-stitch in silk threads on a solid silk fabric background.

Donna Reed’s Tea Party

I made this jacket from quite a few found treasures. I started with an appliquéd and embroidered tablecloth that had had a “run-in” with a bottle of Merlot wine. Though much of the white area had been ruined, the appliquéd areas had not. I cut around these areas and combined those sections with another tablecloth, many hankies, a few table runners, ribbons, buttons, and lots and lots of embroidery.

Start your own embroidery journey with The Embroidery Book!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

  • The Embroidery Book
  • Christen Brown

Angular Momentum

Please enjoy this peek inside Fabricadabra—Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric: Discover the Hidden Potential in Your Stash by Paula Nadelstern. ANGULAR MOMENTUM, designed and pieced by Paula Nadelstern, quilted by Elizabeth Rosenberg, 36 ̋ × 361/2 ̋, 2015The 1/4 ̋ strips of stained-glass fabric adjoining each long horizontal silk strip in the middle add a feisty twinkle, but their initial [...]

Read More »

The NEW Ladies' Art Company Block Tool

Good news: C&T Publishing has updated and expanded the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool! Inside this reference guide, you’ll find updated block pages, each including a chart with the size of the cut pieces needed to make each block in five different sizes. We have even added project patterns for each of the 110 blocks!The projects include table toppers, [...]

Read More »

Puzzles, Challenges, and Games (Oh My)

Got a good logic problem? Count me in!It all started when we were looking for a fun follow-up to our best-selling puzzle book Happy Quilter Word Search—Volume 1. Would volume 2 be more word searches? What else could we do? It turns out that quilters like word games. And so do I! (I am a quilter after all.) So what [...]

Read More »

How to Feed Tricky Substrates Through Your Printer

Please enjoy these handy tips on how to print photos, illustrations, and more on all kinds of substrates, to up your art quilt game! These tips are taken from Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art.You can print one photo on two substrates, such as in this example of handmade paper, top and cloth on bottom.Thick SubstratesIn general, [...]

Read More »

The Charlie kraft-tex Backpack

My blog roll is a fairly straightforward one. I don't want any surprises as I scroll through, so I try to limit stressful things (I avoid the political blogs and other deep-thinking sites). Basically I use it for eye candy and inspiration. It's pretty evenly split between cooking, general sewing, quilting, and fitness, with a little reality TV, other [...]

Read More »

Use Your Yardage with Betsy's Quilt!

Please enjoy this free project from Fantastic Stash Quilts by Joyce Dean Gieszler.Finished unit: 4˝ × 4˝ • Finished quilt: 64½˝ × 64½˝Betsy’s Quilt, 64½˝ × 64½˝, made by Joyce Dean Gieszler, quilted by Cheryl Ferris, 2014Materials The feature project uses yardage for a consistent colorway. For a scrappy version, see Betsy’s Scrappy Quilt. PINK 3/4 yard (includes [...]

Read More »

Trending on Pinterest

If you're like us, you love to discover new inspiration on Pinterest! If you are looking for new quilting or sewing patterns, free projects, a library of video tutorials, or decor ideas, be sure to follow us on Pinterest. We have it all! Here's what our Pinterest community is loving this month...Our top pinned products:Sewing To SellIf [...]

Read More »

Fairies Want to Share the Year with You!

Excerpt from: Magical Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons: Make 25 Enchanting Forest Fairies, Gnomes & More from Simple Supplies by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes and Asia Currie. The forest has been busy since we wrote our first book, Forest Fairy Crafts. We continued to make magical fairies and crafts, and we learned that fairies love all the seasons and [...]

Read More »

Cuddle Fabric Is All the Rage

Wonderful, fuzzy cuddle fabric is all the rage. It’s soft, forgiving, and can be used for lots of different projects. If you keep a few tips and tricks in mind, it is the most wonderful fabric to work with. In Sew Cuddly, best-selling author Judith Gauthier teaches you how to: keep the fabric from stretching manage [...]

Read More »

×
×