Createwhimsy has a great post about the many things you can do with the lowly running stitch. The post “Run don’t walk running stitch” features a tutorial I did about a Chinese-inspired running stitch variation for a design from Bewitching Botanicals. I like to think of it as fusion folklore: an older traditional Chinese stitching style used to work up a newer Hungarian traditional design. Fusion across space and time!
But I also just love this kind of running stitch because it gives a rather full outline and it works up so quickly. There is definitely something deeply satisfying about being able to make a beautiful thing quickly, every now and then, no?
Here’s another design (this one is from Cabbage Rose Fancy) I worked up using the same technique:
I’ve been stitching a fair amount lately. My girls and I were traveling again, which always involves a lot of time spent waiting and not being able to do much. During the past several months I’ve spent quite a bit of time in doctors’ waiting rooms too. My immediate family and I just have niggling health problems, they’re time-consuming and keep me from doing a lot of what I want to do but really, they’re fixable and we’re fine.
Although – having to call the airport doctor while transferring flights in Brussels was perhaps one of the more stressful experiences I’ve recently had, something I would not like to repeat anytime soon… But once the child for whom the doctor was called was declared ‘Fit to fly’ (with an official letter, recorded in all the proper places and so forth), the three of us got special treatment on both the flight and at all subsequent airports and anyway, she’s fine now. There are more serious things in our extended family that aren’t so easily fixed and – there is always a lot of rather anxious waiting involved. I find embroidery is so soothing for times like this.
While waiting around, my younger daughter draws obsessively with her iPad mini. She’s making a book: a long-long series of pictures, one for each page. It’s a very large album now that I’ll have to get printed and bound for her. My older daughter prefers to work in her diary, which she now keeps under lock and key.
For my part, I draw with thread on fabric. Remember the story I posted a while back about the origins the wildly exuberant florals of Matyó Hungarian embroidery? In the story, a young girl, the heroine, uses her thread, needle, and fabric to conjure springtime in the darkest winter, and save her beloved from an evil spirit. I think this is why I do it too, and why I appreciate this craft. I can use simple, everyday tools to bring colors and joy to everyday objects and into tougher times. And the repetitive motion, laying each thread one by one, watching the design grow, stitch by stitch, is so calming.
My latest finish is an upcycling project: I took a plain white cotton Old Navy blouse I never wore and embellished the front with a few designs from Faraway Garden:
I love how it came out, and wish it was warm enough already so I could wear it! I’ll have a tutorial up soon about how I used the Faraway Garden hot iron transfers to do this.