Creative detour into machine embroidery

I’ve never been one for seasonal decor. Even the minimal Christmas decorations I put up have me feeling claustrophobic by Jan. 1. But I realized last year that by ignoring the holidays, I was missing an opportunity to recognize the rhythm of the seasons.

I decided that this year, I would at least have a nod to the time of year with some mantle decorations and changing out of the tablecloth on my dining room table. (The table is never bare. Too many Girl Scout troop crafts have happened there. There’s a swash of glittery blue something in one spot.)

I thought it would be nice to center the mantle decor around a seasonal framed picture. As charming as that sounds, it also sounds expensive. Instead, inspired by a recent experiment with machine embroidery on an ill-fated sewing project, I decided to get one matted frame and embroider a new seasonal picture to put into it about every month.

I’m really pleased with how the first embroidery file (from Embroidery Library) turned out:

If you look closely, you'll see jump stitches I didn't trim and the spot where the thread got tangled and I didn't back up the stitching enough to redo all of what was missed. But I still love it!

This pretty design is roughly 5 inches square. 

For it being my first serious foray into embroidery, I’m pretty happy with it. It took more than an hour to complete, and if you look closely, you might see jump stitches I neglected to trim and the spot where the thread got caught and I didn’t back up the stitching enough to redo all of what was missed. But it’s all part of the learning process, and I love it!

Here it is on the living room mantle:

The Valentine's Day mantle.

I think this is subtle enough not to be overbearing. 

The embroidery file cost $5.49, and the matted frame was on sale for about $10 at Jo-Ann’s. The flowers cost $3.99 at the grocery store. That seems reasonable to me.

Between Embroidery Library and Urban Threads, there are so many beautiful and intriguing embroidery patterns, it makes me dizzy just thinking about them. I have to figure out some creative ways of using them.

Meanwhile, I’m back to sewing. I’m in the middle of a project right now and have everything I need for the one after that.


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