Last week I received the super-adorable Sew and Stitch Embroidery by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish to review. I received it on a Thursday and had to have my review done by Saturday, so time was very tight.
In spite of all logical time considerations, this little owl pillow called out a siren song to me:
I wasn't about to trying sewing a pillow, but I might have enough time to do the embroidery, if I hurried... I went to the mall that night and picked up a pre-made pillow that looked stitchable and two hemstitched linen napkins, in case the premade pillow was a bust.
The premade pillow was a bust.
I did everything wrong - my problems started with the transfer process. I had to enlarge the pattern (easy enough, my printer does that) and trace it onto my fabric. I didn't have tracing paper, so I tried an elaborate system of poking holes and marking every so often and connecting the dots with a charcoal pencil. But as I stitched, the faint lines disappeared - argh! The material seemed soft, but it had an almost impenetrable backside - getting a needle through it was worse than stitching through jeans. I was also silly enough to try to stitch it while stuffed. I finally unstuffed it and had better luck stitching, but not much better. The fabric was also a little stretchy, so all my satin stitch and long and short stitch areas buckled. I was beyond frustrated.
I reached despair and acceptance and tried the linen napkin instead. I'd never tried long and short stitch successfully before, and I was afraid it would be even harder with yarn - but yarn and linen were a perfect match!
I really love the soft texture it made on the face:
Instead of that terrible charcoal pencil, I tried one of my Prismacolor pencils and it showed up perfectly. If you use one, I'd be careful - I'm not sure they wash off, and the blue color transferred a bit to my white yarn, but I was so happy that I was past caring.
Everything just worked better on linen - these are the yarns I used:
From left to right: Caron Simply Soft, white; Caron Simply Soft Light, Capri; Caron Simply Soft Light, Heavy Cream; Caron Simply Soft Light, Black; Patons Beehive Baby Sport, Delicate Green; Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, Orange
Here's my finished owl, ready to be stitched into a pillow:
I really love the subtle simplicity of this owl on linen - just a gorgeous project. If you love cute, simple designs, I recommend the book, for sure.