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Embroidered | Just Dream Mandala rev 1.2

"You can't depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus."
~ Mark Twain


In freestyle embroidery you grab a color, pick a stitch from your handy list of stitches, and go for it. Read about that at Threaded Doodles. But if you are a beginner and you want to embroider your design drawn freehand on fabric, it takes some thought. 

Thoughts as I analyzed the process:

  • Strange to draw on fabric with blue fabric pencil, it drags
  • Have to draw something I could feasibly stitch
  • Wow...I'm used to thinking in 2 dimensions, this adds a 3rd
  • Not sure I like the drawing
  • What lines should be the same color?
  • Need to figure out what "order" to sew
  • Which layers are "under" the others?
  • Does it matter where to start?
  • Not going to choose the entire palette... but what color first?
  • I'll do one of the circles first, and the "petals" second
  • What stitch? Which one do I remember how to do?
  • I'll start with a split stitch because I already know it!

So I don't know if that adds any value but that was my thought process. I'm 3D impaired. I think that's why I cannot redecorate my living room, but that's another topic.

"The Embroidery Stitch Bible," by Betty Barnden, is a lovely book with detailed instructions and photographs of embroidery stitches. For the stitches that I could not wrap my directionally challenged brain around, I watched the stitch in action at the excellent Video Library of Hand-Embroidery Stitches at Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. I highly recommend this site. Mary provides a high quality, concise video of each stitch. Seeing the stitch makes it so much easier to learn! 

The stitches used on the mandala so far: split stitch, loop stitch, blanket stitch, running stitch.

I've mastered threading the needle by getting a different needle! Needles are cheap. I'm still having knotted threads or one thread getting caught up when the floss is pulled through, but it is happening less often. Still to come... a ridiculously simple step I just learned which should solve many of my thread challenges.

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Reader Comments (4)

This is really looking good! I'll have to check out the link to the video library you talk about! Your stitches
look very even, that's the hard part i think!

01.11.2010 | Unregistered CommenterEden

This is a great idea. I might have to give it a try on the next road trip. (That seems to be when I get most of my hand sewing done.)

01.11.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen Eskridge

I learned to embroider as a kid but it's been quite some time since I've done any. You're tempting me to try it again. Your stitches look great!

01.11.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

*Eden, Glad to hear the stitches look OK! If anyone had told me 2 years ago that I would like embroidery I would have disagreed, that's why it's so good to do experiments.

*Jen, I'm allergic to sewing machines. Really. They make me cry. But embroidery is just pure enjoyment. Loo forward to seeing your road-trip creativity.

*Janet, Do you like to do all sorts of art too? Lately I'm switching between mandalas, art journaling and embroidery. With a coffee filter chaser. If that makes sense.

~ Tammy

01.12.2010 | Registered Commentergypsy

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