Tried It: Embroidered Tennis Racket

Inspired by this woven heart badminton racket by Bloesem kids, I had to try my hand at the (very) rare art of tennis racket embroidery. What was I going to do with that old warped, wooden tennis racket anyway? I had found this one at a garage sale years ago and bought it for no reason except that I loved that it was a “Lady” Slazenger.

I can’t really imagine anyone else trying this project, but here is a tip in case you are so moved: center your design! I thought I had, but somehow it’s one row from being centered. I may add a skinny row for balance, or I may make peace with imperfection. Two other tips: I used masking tape to anchor one end of the floss to keep it taut and flat while I was “stitching,” and I ran my embroidery needle under the stitches to knot in the back (see center picture first row). That’s it. Point, game, match.

Make: Snow Day Embroidery

How many ways can I sew a quilt without actually sewing a quilt? My ingenuity at procrastinating finishing my quilt project (yeah, it’s been 2 years–why are you bugging me about it?) is impressive even to me. About a year ago I tried to trick you (who, really?) by making a dollhouse-sized quilt. 

This time I’m inspired by LUCKY JACKSON, an illustrator and artist who created & embroidered an art work every day for a year (see her fantastic 365 Project). This image of 2 pairs of feet sneaking out from under a quilt comes from her work. 

Lucky’s original is far more charming than my pale copy–I love how she uses vintage bed sheets and fabrics. Also, I’m noticing her stitches are lighter and sketchier. I outlined with a stem stitch, which, in retrospect, I realize is too heavy. I may have to try again with an original image or with one of Lucky’s patterns, but it was a good challenge and a small-enough project for a blizzard-bound snow day. Stay warm!

Tree topper

IMG_1768Until last year, we always traveled to Florida on Christmas Eve. Although we liked to fancy it festive to get up at the crack of dawn to zoom to JFK, jostle with fellow travelers laden with presents, and so on, it is infinitely better to spend Christmas in our own home. We can finally have a non-token Christmas tree–not only are we here to enjoy it but we can actually have a tree taller than a toddler. Resulting in a sudden need for ornaments. I’ve made some over the years and we bought some more, but we needed a tree topper extraordinaire. I made this star out of felt. I improvised the embroidery based on designs in the book Scandinavian Needlecraft. First I cut out two stars, embroidered the design on one side, then blanket stitched the two stars together. I left the side of one point open and used a chopstick to push stuffing into the points. Then I stitched a loop of ribbon into the open space before blanket stitching the star closed.  Here it is atop our tall tree!

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Embroidered Hearts

Before we kick into full valentine production at my house, cutting and decorating paper hearts for my kid’s multidinous classmates (maybe this is the best argument for keeping class sizes small), I thought I’d sneak in a little stitching.

It all started with this freebie download for bear and bunny dolls  from wee wonderfuls. I stitched bunny, but not bear because . . .

 . . . I was taken by the urge to create these lumpy little stuffed embroidered hearts! 

I had hoped they’d be reminiscent of these embroidered birds,  but alas, not quite. I learned that it’s really hard to turn small shapes right side out after sewing. Also that I haven’t mastered sewing perfect curves on my machine. And the elusive invisible stitch? I keep trying . . .  

But I did my messy best and enjoyed the embroidery. I used muslin for the front and for the back, scraps of printed cotton and denim and (pink!) cordoroy from recycled pants. The heart paper is from Paper Source in Cambridge. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!