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Special Interview with a Stitching Enthusiast

Posted by Christen Brown on Feb 24th 2021

In honor of National Embroidery Month, I decided to write a few blog posts for C&T on embroidery. One featured tips and tricks, the other topic was a favorite stitch. I asked fellow authors and colleagues to contribute their thoughts. I was surprised at the variety of tips, and pleased that everyone had a different approach.

I asked Amy Barrett-Daffin our publisher at C&T if she would like to contribute her thoughts on those subjects. The email that I received was so much more extensive, that I felt it deserved its own post.

Amy Barrett-Daffin

Embroidery has been my go-to craft for the past several years as I started to travel more and more, I was on the road about 50 days a year and I could only do so much work on a plane. I would bring a project with me to work on at the airport, on the plane and in the hotel room at the end of the day. Since COVID-19 I have not been traveling and have really missed it, having the chance to just sit and embroider with nowhere to go and nothing else to do. Not that I have been bored at home, just the opposite! I have spent my time working like crazy, creating videos for C&T and making quilts, many quilts in the last year.

Here are a few of my favorite things, besides raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…I have tried both floss and perle cotton and I am in a committed relationship with perle cotton. Solid, variegated, thin, thick, I love how it sits on top of the fabric and creates luscious depth and texture. My favorite sizes are #8, #5, and #3.

My favorite fabric to stitch on is linen and for the past few years I have been digging Ocean Linen by Robert Kaufman. I back it with a fusible batting and start stitching. I learned this technique from Laura Wasilowski, author of Joyful Stitching. I prefer it because it is easier on my hands and doesn’t require a hoop. I do use a hoop when I work on some projects and then I use one of those fancy hoop holders that rest under your leg.


What do I like to stitch? I got into this phase where I had a great time interpreting famous paintings from our book Stitch a Masterpiece. I have done three pieces so far and am working on a fourth. So far, I've stitched up Starry Night by Van Gogh, The Kiss by Klimt and my favorite, The Scream by Munch. If you want to see more about the book and my style of stitching you can check out our video on C&T's YouTube channel. 

The Kiss (a gift to my husband)

Starry Night (a gift to my neighbors and good friends)

My other passion is abstract, freeform pieces and I’ve done a bunch of those. I start with a rough sketch and then improvise. I really enjoy the no plans, no rules approach and I almost always include some wool felt. I even gave Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching Embroidery Art a try and did 15 minutes of stitching a day during the start of the pandemic and it really helped me stay a bit more relaxed.

 

My first free-form piece called The Earth 

My Tree of Life

Abstract

Another thing about me and stitching is that I am left-handed, so all the stitches are backwards (in my mind). To solve that problem Judith Baker Montano wrote a book called Judith Baker Montano's Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tooland it shows both left-handed and right-handed stitches so that is my go-to guide.

And the big question, what is my favorite stitch? Chain of course. I love that it can be open or closed, big or small, cabled, doubled, circular, flowered, rosette, Russian, spiny, twisted or whipped. Obviously, a versatile stitch and one that will always be my go-to!

Special Note:

Here are a few other You-Tube videos that Amy has created:

Successful Embroidery Stitching

Transfer Embroidery Designs and Stabilize Stitches

How to Chain Stitch

How to Pistil Stitch

How to Use Iron-on Transfers

Thank you, Amy, for sharing your creative thoughts and your work with us!

~Christen

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