I finally finished my "Take to the Sea" embroidery! Hurrah!
I had so much fun stitching this project, and I'm really pleased with the (slightly wonky) end result. Brace yourself for an avalanche of photos...
Back in early July I decided I wanted to stitch something in celebration of the late, great website The Toast - as a gift for a Toast-loving friend.
I started with a sketch: one of the unofficial mottoes of The Toast - "take to the sea" - plus some abstract waves and a little boat with a T (for Toast). I wasn't sure how I wanted to stitch it (or even what materials to use) but eventually settled on embroidery.
I traced the design in pencil onto some white fabric and stretched it in an embroidery hoop. I started with the motto, sewing the letters and the outline of the boat with backstitch and half strands of very dark blue embroidery thread (floss). I then began slowly stitching the waves.
I used half strands of blue embroidery thread for each wave, sewing curving lines of backstitch to gradually fill the space.
I started at the top of each wave and worked downwards. When I got near the bottom of a wave I'd sew the top line of the next one to make sure I could then sew right up to the new colour.
I have to admit that I got slightly addicted to working on this, and stayed up late several nights in a row working on it!
It took a lot of hours of stitching to complete all the waves, but it was such a relaxing process - and so satisfying seeing the piece develop.
I ran out of thread a couple of times and had to stitch some of the waves in two similar shades. When this happened I made sure to make the dividing line between each block of colour a nice organic wave shape to fit in with the rest of the design.
Sadly my chosen hoop wasn't tight enough and the fabric got pulled about a bit as I stitched so the original circle shape got a bit distorted, but who cares?
Okay so the perfectionist part of me is kinda bothered by this, but for a first attempt stitching something this detailed I'm very pleased with how it turned out. And this is the joy of personal projects (as opposed to things with deadlines and paychecks) - you get the chance to experiment with new things and it doesn't matter so much if they don't turn out 100% "on brief".
Once I'd finished the waves, I used white embroidery thread to "colour in" the little boat and its sail.
This is what the back looked like when the whole piece was finished: so much thread!
After the excitement of finishing the embroidery it took me a couple of weeks to get round to tidying up the hoop, trimming the excess fabric and finishing the back neatly with a circle of felt to cover all the mess.
Here's how it looked before I packed it up and popped it in the post...
A little different to the original sketch, but close enough!
I love the texture of all that dense stitching. Lots of work, but totally worth it.
I kind of want to spend all my spare time embroidering things now! Mmm... embroidery...
Fancy a stitchy project of your own? Click here to find all the free embroidery patterns I've shared on my blog.