Monday, April 09, 2007

I stitched this guy, from a Sublime Stitching transfer, with a dear friend in mind. I'd intended sewing it onto mulberry paper, then affixing it to cardstock, but I think the traditional muslin I turned to in frustration was a better choice. Stitching onto paper was a fiddly, fussy process, and it didn't look half as good as I wanted after spending twice as much time as I'd intended. I like how the rat turned out on fabric, but I wish I'd taken greater care over the blanket stitch. I meant for it to look crudely charming, or charmingly crude, or something l ike that, but I'm afraid it just looks amateurish.

The children were intrigued by the possibilities of what Robin called 'picture sewing' so we had a grand time looking through some vintage and new embroidery transfers together. Both were astonished when I told them they could also draw their own pattern, using tracing paper and a heat transfer pencil. While I finished up all but the hem of Wren's pinafore, they worked on their embroidery designs. We talked about some basic design issues, such as how very intricate details would be difficult to execute in embroidery thread and might in any case get 'lost in translation'. We also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of very large and very small designs, and about the quirky charm of an original, freehand drawing as compared to a copied, symmetrical rendition of the Jolly Roger (Wren's choice).

Robin began with a pretty standard 6 yr. old's version of the human body -- large round head with stringy hair, smiley-face mouth, circle eyes and nose, rectangles for arms and legs, and a dot for a belly button. I asked him if 'that was all' and, hyper-sensitive to the slightest implication that all was not perfect, he started counting off body parts to be sure he'd included them all. I explained that I merely wanted to know if he was well and truly done, but he decided he'd better embellish a bit, and ended up with a 6-armed, 4-legged and very adorable alien. Happily, I have two heat-transfer pencils, so they both could work on tracing their designs right away. I ironed them onto muslin for them and Robin has commenced stitching. He's not keen on outline stitch, but his backstitch is remarkably even and he intends using that for most of his work. Wren, as expected, has lost interest for now, but I know she'll pick it up again eventually, probably at our next handwork club meeting.

dinner tonight: cornmeal-crusted tilapia, spicy black beans and corn, salad

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