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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Art update- Learning to embroider with a fox

And by that I mean the fox was my first embroidery project, not that a fox came into my room and helped me work. That's the cat's job. ;)

My friend Cecily has been doing some absolutely lovely things with hand embroidery lately and that got me really wanting to try my own. After my fiancé bought me a messenger bag for my laptop I realized I now had the perfect canvas to put some embroidery. (While nice, the bag was kind of bland.) I'd had my eye on this Maple Fox design from Urban Threads for a while so I decided to jump right in with that design even though it was on the large side. I mean, a fox? With a leaf? Leaves and foxies are two of my very favorite things! How could I resist? ;)

Luckily I already had the supplies I needed (what supplies don't I have in my Craft Bins of Holding?) and I knew how to hand-sew, so after watching a how-to video and having Cecily give me some good advice (crafty friends are the best kinds of friends), I dove into this project today.

First I printed out the fox design and taped it to the window, then I taped a piece of light-colored fabric (it's linen-colored, so off-white) over it and traced it with a pencil.

Here's where I decided I may as well go all out with this. Using one of the tutorials on the Urban Threads site, I broke out my crayons (no idea why I have crayons, but like I said, Craft Bins of Holding) and colored in the traced foxy. After getting some help setting up the iron from my mom (my constant state of rumpledness can attest to the fact that I don't iron on a regular basis) and setting up the ironing board from my dad (thank goodness. Last time the board tried to eat me), I heated up my waxy fox, as well as getting out most of those wrinkles that filled the fabric (sheesh, even my art supplies are rumpled). I'm assuming I heated it up long enough because when I let it cool, it no longer felt waxy.

This is what it looked like when it was ironed:
Fox embroidery 1 - WIP


Hooray, now to get to the embroidery! I tried out two stitches but didn't like the look of the one, so pulled that out and just did the back stitch for everything. I used the full thickness of the thread (six strands) for the leaf stem and outline of the fox, and used half the thickness for the leaf, eye, ear, and nose.

I was going to outline it in orange (since that's the color of a red fox), but didn't have the right orange. I think the red looks pretty good, though. :)

Here's what it looked like after it was embroidered:
Fox embroidery 2 -Embroidered!



After I finished embroidering the fox, I trimmed off the extra fabric and sewed it into a rectangle. Then I went over about half of those stitches to sew it onto the front flap of my messenger bag. That was extra work to double sew it, but I didn't feel comfortable sewing it into a rectangle the same time I put it on the bag- the bag is really thick fabric, so I only really sewed over every other or every 3rd stitch. Had I not sewn it the first time, this would have been a pain to get flat.

Fox embroidery 3 - laptop bag


And here's a closeup. Sorry the photos are crummy- I finished it at night, so even with a good lamp the lighting was poor.

Fox embroidery 4 - closeup finished


Next to it is this keychain I made recently, but I think I'm actually going to switch that one with this one because the cleric keychain matches the fox in color and in theme (I'm into foxes because of my D&D and writing characters), and the green name one better matches my purse.

So overall, I think it came out well! :D I did learn, though, not to do all this hand sewing type stuff all at once. My bad hand is really complaining. Next time I'll space this out over a few days. But hey, this means that I want to get back into making pouches for my shops and now I have something that'll be a bit more sturdy than the acrylic painted pictures I used to sew on them. (I'm always afraid the paint will scratch off...) :)

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