Embroidery Sampler 1

Young girls used to make samplers to learn (and show off) new skills. In today’s day and age it is an exception rather than the rule for someone to know how to embroider and to make a sampler. My mom taught me some embroidery basics when I was young, but last year I decided I wanted to learn more stitches. Around the same time I came to this conclusion I created a Creativebug account and found Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery sampler tutorials. I went to her Etsy shop and ordered all 3 of the samplers she had Creativebug tutorials for.

I love how fresh and new these samplers look, especially compared to older designs that can feel stuffy and outdated.

In my head I thought I would work a new stitch every day for about 3 months and have 3 new samplers and a decent knowledge of embroidery stitches by the end of first quarter, 2021.

I started off well, and dutifully worked my stitch a day for about 10 days. Then I missed a day and made up for it the next. I would miss days and then work multiple stitches in one go. Invariably, I missed more days than I made up.

My first sampler took me from January to the end of April, so actually longer than I thought all 3 samplers would take me. But that’s alright. I enjoyed the first one, and I’m looking forward to the next two.

I used this collection of beautiful ombré embroidery floss. I’ve had this floss for years, and have always been afraid to use it because it is so beautiful and I don’t know where I got it and I don’t want it to be all used up. But what are beautiful materials for if not to be used?

Using a collection like this also helped me to keep my palette limited. When I needed to add a different material, such as yarn for a couching stitch, I tried to choose yarns that would coordinate with the colours in the floss. I also couched around the “hoop” part of the design with handspun alpaca, which felt like an extra special touch.

I had a lot of fun working this sampler, and I learned a lot! I have 2 more samplers to go and lots of embroidery floss left, so I will be embroidering on and off for a good long while.

Trying New Things

My mom and my Nana are both expert Crocheters. One summer when I was maybe 10 my mom made this incredible afghan with textured roses on a tan and white background. She taught me the basics of crochet, but for some reason I wasn’t very interested. I preferred sewing/embroidery, reading, and playing outside with my brothers.

Now that I am an adult I have a renewed interest in learning ALL THE HANDCRAFTS, so I’m dabbling in crochet again. Through my public library I have access to CreativeBug, and I’m working my way through a Crochet Stitch Sampler class with Twinkie Chan. So far I’ve practiced single crochet, half-double, double, and treble stitches (US terminology). Increasing and decreasing seem straightforward (though I haven’t practiced them yet) and I am excited to learn the proper way to work in the round (I’m pretty sure I messed that up last time I tried it).

Learning new crochet stitches has reminded me how much I love the simple Granny stitch. I’ve been browsing crochet patterns on Ravelry (as one does) and found a simple chevron Granny stitch cowl pattern. After a bit of dithering on what yarn to use, I settled on an autumnal handspun skein I finished around this time last year. There is nothing like a beautiful handspun yarn to elevate a simple project.

I seem to be incapable of simply following a pattern: Instead of using the suggested yarn and hook, I used a much smaller yarn (DK vs. Bulky) and thus, a different hook than called for. I worked the pattern for a few rows before deciding the fabric was a little more stiff than I wanted it to be. So I ripped it out and started again with a bigger hook and slightly smaller stitch count.

I very much like the fabric I am getting with the larger hook, so I’m hoping it will be smooth sailing from here.