Friday, April 28, 2017

Hawaiian Applique

First, a little story.  

My family went to Hawaii for vacation several times, when DaughterStitches and SonStitches were quite young.  At the place we stayed, they offered a lot of arts and crafts.  That was right up my alley, so to speak, so I really enjoyed these sessions.  I learned some Luahala weaving, some palm leaf crafts (including origami Christmas ornaments!), lei making, crafts using shells from the beach, and Hawaiian appliqué.  The woman who taught almost all of these was known as Auntie Eleanor.  Auntie was a dear lady, kind and patient and knowledgeable, and reminded me a lot of my own grandmother, who quilted, knitted,  and did a lot of other crafts, too.   As the years went on, Auntie Eleanor retired, but I always remembered her fondly. 

Now forward to a couple weeks ago, as I was looking through a cabinet of UFOs (unfinished objects).  I found this little blue and cream Hawaiian appliqué block.  It had about one eighth of the appliqué completed.

Below you can see the part where the appliqué had been started.  If you look close, you can tell that the stitching has been done by more than one person.  That was how Auntie's sewing sessions worked.  Someone would come to the table and want to learn how to do this.  So Auntie would show them, and they would start sewing.  Often, that person became bored, or frustrated, and left the project.  So there could be quite a few people working on one appliqué block!

I found it very interesting to see where Auntie Eleanor had probably started, then someone else added stitches, then maybe a third person sewed a little bit.  

This is where I finished up the block, using a lighter-colored and lighter-weight thread.

Close-up of appliqué.

The next step is to sandwich it so I can start the echo stitching.  This will probably be a pillow.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


I want to tell you about my embroidery teacher.  Her name is Jenny and she lives, literally, half-way around the world.  Yes, in Australia.  Jenny of Elefantz is her blog name, and she creates beautiful embroidery and appliqué designs, many of which she shares for free, while some are for sale in her shop.  You should go there to check out some of her wonderful work.

I've never met Jenny (although I'd sure like to some day!), but she has taught me about embroidery by sharing some of her secrets and methods with me and all her readers.  I've zoomed way in on Jenny's photos, and have learned that she gets such beautiful stitching results by taking very small, short stitches.  

Now I'll show you some of my stitchery.

Disclaimer:  the pen marks will disappear after I iron the pieces!

Another essential bit of information is that each back stitch gets taken in the same stitch hole as the previous stitch.  That sounds rather obvious, but sometimes it's harder than it seems!

Right now I'm working on some of Jenny's patterns, and I'll show you a few photos.  Not every piece is my best work, but I'm getting better.  One thing that I especially admire about Jenny's work is how  smooth, even, and regular are her embroidery curves.  Graceful, even!

A big thank you, Jenny!