free-motion embroidery

I have long admired machine stitched pictures, but had never tried it myself – seemed like a very scary concept. The instruction to “lower the feed dogs” alone had me trembling in my slippers! However, I have been inspired by others’ work and when I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Rebecca Bourne, it was the push I needed to dig out my darning foot and lower those damned feed dogs.

Attempt 1 was for my sister’s birthday card (to match the fabric I used for the bags I made her). I was quite pleased, but realised I should have used an embroidery hoop. However, my oldest friend Karen (the one I have been friends with longest, rather than the most aged) leapt to my rescue and explained that I needed to buy stitch and tear to stabilise the fabric and then would not need a hoop. She is right, of course. Karen is an incredibly talented embroiderer and all round arty person but annoyingly, and despite my nagging, has no form of online presence for me to show you her work!

beach hut free-motion sewn card
beach hut free-motion sewn card


Attempt 2 ‘sew n sew’ at the Bath Guildhall Market obligingly had stitch and tear in stock so I bravely re-lowered the feed dogs and attempted a second card. Now my control of the thread drawing does need some work and the likeness to the intended Swedish vallhund is not all I could wish, but I think it was sufficiently successful for me to want to try again…

free motion swedish vallhund
free motion swedish vallhund


Of course a card alone was rather miserly, and when the Vikings invaded in March for a weekend on a canal boat, the Vikings had been rather enthusiastic about our English hot water bottles, so I thought I should venture in to another new realm; that of the hot water bottle cover. A soft fleecy, quilted number. There is something very satisfying about sewing with cuddly fabrics like fleece and flannel…the fabric equivalent of apple crumble and custard.

hot water bottle cover
hot water bottle cover


I played hookey this morning and spent several glorious hours celebrating Gail’s birthday at the Pump Room with tea and Bath buns (with cinnamon butter!) accompanied by a really excellent quartet of musicians. In recent times the Pump Room has rather been edged out of my affections by Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms, the Tea House Emporium and the Royal Crescent Hotel, and I had forgotten how lovely it is. The music was amazing and the service was impeccable and the setting has such Jane Austen echoes (if I half close my eyes and squint I can almost see Anne Elliot rushing to greet Admiral and Mrs Croft).

I spent the afternoon putting together a photo book before my credit expires – so much easier and nicer than a photo album. All good stuff, but tomorrow I need to sit myself down at that sewing machine and restock my shop (thanks to lovely Teresa, Nick and Claire! – I hope you like your goodies). I spent last weekend with my stepmother in London and she kindly gave me a large bundle of fabrics and trimmings, amongst which was some black velvet. Yesterday morning I was out in the garden in my slippers taking photos of dewy spiders’ webs and I think an embroidered spider’s web on black velvet could be rather lovely…what do you think?

So is anyone else mid project? Come on, spill the beans…what are you sewing???


2 thoughts on “free-motion embroidery

  1. Annika September 5, 2013 / 07:12

    Black velvet with spidereweb – sounds just perfect! Will you use a silverthread? And maybe add some diamonds (or at leaste fake ones 🙂 ) ?
    Looking forward to see more of your embroidery, hugs from Annika

  2. Irene September 5, 2013 / 21:14

    I find the Swedish vallhund particularly endearing. It sits on my mantelpiece and looks just lovely. A bit more quiet than the original though…

    I can also report that you did a grand job of the hot water bottle. It has now been used for the first time and was a success!

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