Monday, 22 August 2016

Take to the Sea: a Nautical Embroidery Project

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.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

So fun!

Julie.C said...

So much lovely neat stitching, it's really effective I love it.
Julie.C

Ariadne said...

Lovely pattern and so much work. I hope you will make more!AriadnefromGreece!

Angela said...

So pretty! I love the dense stitching and the whole thing is so soothing.

Amy Mason said...

That is amazing - I wish I was as talented!

Amy from twentytwelveblog.blogspot.com

BugsandFishes said...

Thanks guys! Being able to share this as I've worked on it made it even more fun xxx

Amy - this is definitely a project that involves more time than skill! You just need to know one stitch and have a lot of patience to sew it over and over :)

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