Super Mo: Embroidery Stash

 Posted by on April 1, 2011  Crafting, Needlework
Apr 012011

Hello S4L friends,

My mom has a group of stitching friends that she has lunch with once or twice a month. Well, a few of them have been cleaning out their stash and passing it on to me. I have received frames, a lot of fabric pieces (which will be great for bookmarks), patterns, etc.

Stitching for Literacy, Super Mo's inherited embroidery stash

Stitching for Literacy, Super Mo's inherited embroidery floss, beads, etc.

This case which opens on both sides is filled with all kinds of floss and beads. My head is spinning with ideas of what I can do with all of this. Also, in this case were three needlepoint squares. I finished them off and made them into bookmarks. Here is a picture to show you. Aren’t they cute?

Stitching for Literacy, Super Mo's orphaned needlepoint turned bookmarks

They have given me so much stash that I have to share the wealth. I have a box ready to be mailed to a stitching friend. She’ll love it. I don’t think Mom’s friends are done cleaning out yet. My mother has also informed me that she is almost ready to clean out her stash as well. What am I going to do with it all? Any suggestions?

Jen chimes in:

What a haul! That’s some good stash.

I love getting stash surprises because they always include things I wouldn’t buy on my own, which presents the opportunity to create things I wouldn’t normally create. New-to-me stash also has a way of making me look at my old stash differently, inspiring new ideas and combinations.

Inherited stash challenges us to find ways to use it. I can imagine those orphaned needlepoint squares looking up hopefully at Mo asking, “All right, what can you do with us?” And now they are oh-so-proud bookmarks ready to serve a reader. What a great lonely-orphan-gets-adopted story!

Harriet has a wonderful story about trading unused stash with friends: Once upon a time, she received in a stash swap something she herself had off-loaded years earlier. No one had used it. This time, however, it spawned a Brilliant Idea, and Harriet put it to use at last.

Do you have a fun stash story?

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Mar 162011

I’m an embroidery designer.

I have always been an embroiderer, and more recently a designer, and have always felt that I couldn’t possibly get involved in any other type of craft because I was so focused on fabric and thread. I used to call anything to do with scrapbooking ‘the dark side’ and sit and scoff at those who were enticed there.

The rot set in about a year ago when I discovered cartonnage – the French art/craft of making cardboard boxes and covering them with fabric. I told myself it was OK because those clever French  girls (well, mainly girls, but I bet there are boys who do it too) also include lots of beautiful embroidery in their finishing. So … my studio expanded a little to include glue and board and lots of lovely patchworking fabric and I was happy for a bit.

Then I happened to need a little manual machine to cut circles which meant I had to go into a scrapbooking store. I REALLY tried to not look too closely at all that lovely patterned paper, and ribbons and stamps and glitter and, and, and …  I did, really! I bought my little manual machine and headed home. I played with it. I cut lots of circles with it. I looked it up on the internet and found out what else I could do with it. I was reasonably content that it wouldn’t take over my creative life, but it was there if I needed it.

I continued to design embroidery, and cartonnage projects and blend the two together. But then I decided I needed something a bit different. I needed an edge to what I was designing. I signed up for a wonderful on-line magazine which was full of the most amazing mixed media projects. I devoured every new issue as it was published. My creative juices started to run. I began to see possibilities. I could see how I could put a bit of an edge on my future design work.

And now it’s happened. I have crossed over to the dark side!

I have ordered (and eagerly await) an amazing machine which interfaces with my computer to design and cut fabric, paper and 1mm cardboard (chipboard) into anything that I might fancy designing. The only restriction is that it has to fit into a space 12″ wide x 24″ long.

My mind is full of ideas … journals, bookmarks, things to hang, things to sit, the basis of things that I can then cover with fabric and stitching. Did you notice I said stitching? I can’t let the stitching go … but now I feel as though I can include it into this wonderful world of mixed media which I have discovered lurking just over on the dark side.

Do I now sign up for classes at my local scrapbooking store? I’ve already signed up for two monthly newsletters from two stores close by to where I live. I think it’s only a matter of time …

Creative Gifts – Day #23

 Posted by on December 24, 2010  Crafting
Dec 242010

I contemplated calling it good at 22 Creative Gift Ideas, but it’s just not in me to quit this close to the finish line. It doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas Eve and that I have no images to illustrate the last two ideas. I still have half-a-dozen possibilities on my list; surely I can just pick two and post them, right?

Moonrise over Denali, Mike Weber Photography

Here’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years: embroidered cookies. Sugar cookies with holes poked before baking and licorice laces.

Actually, this could be nice for Valentine’s Day. Hmmm.

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Creative Gifts – Day #20

 Posted by on December 21, 2010  Crafting
Dec 212010

eautiful! Susan’s done another stocking. The next Creative Gift idea–a two-parter that begins today and ends tomorrow–can actually go inside a stocking, making this a nice illustration for today’s post. Thanks, Susan!

Heads up, friends–stitchers, readers, everyone–this is a creative gift idea you can really do this year, and I really, really, really hope you will.

Charity donations, gift certificates/cards, and coupons. I know it doesn’t sound especially creative, and it’s certainly not a new idea, but I’m serious.

Some people have all they want and need and more. They don’t want anything. Make a donation to charity in their names. Choose a charity that supports their interests and experiences.

Hand-embroidered holiday stocking

Do you feel lame giving gift certificates? Well, how do you feel receiving them? Most people I know like getting them. I don’t think I’d want it to become routine, but sometimes it’s a real treat. And a gift certificate to your favorite needlework shop can be the beginning of a very long and fulfilling stitching addiction for a friend.

Remember when we used to give our parents a coupon good for “one room-cleaning without complaint” or “an extra night of dish-washing provided with a smile”? Well, I think we should offer kids, friends, and relatives coupons for reading time together, trips to the library, shared craft time, and embroidery lessons. Giving your time is a wonderful gift: it tells the person, “I like you and want to spend time with you,” and specifying an activity guarantees a quality shared experience.

Now, I said this was a two-part gift idea; this is just part one. We’re going to make these gifts even better tomorrow, in part two. See you then!

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Creative Gifts – Day #13

 Posted by on December 13, 2010  Crafting
Dec 132010

De-stash. Wrap it up. Give it away.


Fox and ice candlesHey, what have you got in there? Can I see?”

Okay, let’s be honest, many of us have mountains of stash. Some of it dates back to when we were just learning to stitch and didn’t know what we were buying. We’ve changed our minds about this and don’t remember what that was for. Oh, and this–this was such a bargain, it was actually more expensive not to buy it.

Many of us hoard craft supplies, er, things we call craft supplies. Seriously, you never know when you’re going to want that old-fashioned door off a mailbox, and just because I don’t like that brown linen doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for some as-yet-undiscovered project.

I understand. Do not get rid of that mailbox door; where on earth would you get another? But pack that brown linen up. You’ve got fabrics you like better, and if push comes to shove and you have to have brown fabric, you can get more. If you haven’t used it in 5-10 years, and if it’s not one-of-a kind, don’t hesitate. Put it in a box and give it to a fellow or would-be crafter.

In sorting through our stash, we see what we have, remember what we planned, and become inspired. In off-loading some, we are better prepared to acquire what we’ll actually use. The recipient will see the stash as brand new and come up with all kinds of brilliant ideas for using it.

A box of random craft and needlework supplies is a fantastic gift for kids and crafters alike–kids are natural crafters.

Maybe even better is to host a stash-exchange with fellow stitchers. Refreshing our stash gives us fresh ideas.

Creative Gifts – Day #11

 Posted by on December 11, 2010  Crafting, Needlework
Dec 112010

I wear a wool felt hat in winter. I wear a wide-brim straw hat while gardening. I wear a . . . different hat when hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc. Sun protection, heat retention, and fashion: hats do it all.

The arctic

Embroidered stitchbands and ribbons = hatband.

Dress up and personalize a hat for a special gift.