Obsessing over Handwork

I have always loved handwork.
It's portable and requires very few materials.
I made this embroidery project in '70's.
I've also created a lot of projects with needlepoint and cross stitch.  I still have a very large ufo cross stitch which I call my Eternity Project because that is how long it will take me to finish it.  Especially since it has been a few years since I've stitched anything.  I seem to have some sort of nerve damage in my hands and stitching can be painful.  However every time I see stitching like this or this or this I go crazy and I want to stitch!!!  Let's couple that with the fact that volleyball season has hit and I will be sitting in the stands watching games two or three times a week not to mention a few all day tournaments.  I really need something to do in-between games.  Last weekend I decided to pull out the needle and thread and try something simple.

I quilted the piece with perl cotton and then meandered with a simple chain stitch and threw in a few lazy daisies to create an art journal cover.
I was excited that my hands didn't give me too many fits and so I moved on to another piece.  I was at an all day tournament so I had plenty of time.
I drew a flower onto the black fabric with a chalk pencil and traced it with a back stitch and threw in some french knots and a chain circle for the center.
I really love the way this one turned out.
The simple quilt lines on the back and front are all done with the same variegated perl cotton I used in the embroidery.  I'm so excited by the results that I need to piece together more journal covers and make sure I always have one with me for down time.

My biggest problem now is that I don't remember how to do other stitches besides the ones above.  I need to refresh my memory and learn more stitches.   I know there are a lot of tutorials on the web as well as great books on embroidery stitches.  Does anyone have any great suggestions of where I can learn more stitches? Please feel free to share them with me in the comments section.


I, too, spent a lot of time doing handwork when I was younger, but eventually had to give it up becuase of pain in my hands. After about 10 years, I started doing alittle, and discovered that I can do hand work as long as there is no resistance ot it. this means never again will I try canvaswork, or stitching through heavy fabric. But I can do cross stitch, and almost anything with silk, especially if I use a product called Thread heaven, on my silk. I have also found I can do things like Sashiko and simple quilting ( running stitch), but my stitches are not as small as they were when I was younger--nor do they need ot be! I use silk or cotton perle, or Sulky Blendables, which are even better for hand work than machine work. Keep experimenting andyou may find the joy in the work again.
Pat F in Winnipeg
aka fndlmous
Robin said…
Your handwork is beautiful. I have enjoyed handwork all my life and hadn't really thought about doing such an organic drawing the way you did.
My hope for you is that your hands hold up so you can keep finding the joy of handwork!

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