My First Proper Embroidery Project

I’ve been interested in embroidery for a long time but other than a few simple embellishments on a sewing project or two, I’d never really had a serious try. Then, about a year ago, my aunt came over from Sydney and showed me some of her amazing work. She’s been doing embroidery for most of her life and has produced some of the most intricate work I have ever seen.

She got me inspired to give embroidery a proper try and also told me that I happened to be living quite close to the shop run by her favourite embroidery pattern designer Jenny McWhinney. It was only a couple of days later that I had begun Mr. Carrots a pattern created by Jenny and began my embroidery journey.

What I Learned

It took me over a year to complete the kit and I thought that I’d detail what I learned. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress but my “long-stitch short-stitch” (also known as filling stitch) really needs some practice. I feel like despite the fact that it comprised most of the stitches that I never really got the hang of it. I was left with a fair bit of uneven stitching.

I’m pretty proud of how cute he is but despite that, I think that next time I’ll be a bit more patient with the eyes and face. I was a bit too excited to get stuck into the project and I didn’t realise how much the facial expression makes or breaks a project with an animal or person in it.

One thing that I failed to do was learn how to do bullion knots. They were supposed to make up the orange part of the carrot but I switched to french knots after a great number or tangled threads. To be fair I don’t think that the actual problem was the bullion knots but the fact that I was trying to learn to do with woollen thread that kept snagging on itself. I will try them again in the future with something a bit more slippery.

The Kit

I can’t remember how much the kit cost but I do remember thinking that it was reasonably well priced. The only thing not included was an embroidery hoop but I had my own anyway. The kit included a card with instructions on how to do each kind of stitch which I thought had some very good explanations. However the instructions for how to do the embroidery seemed a bit jumbled, the rabbit pictured was slightly different than mine (didn’t have cheek pads), and there were a couple of steps that seemed in a strange order or left to the embroiderer to figure out themselves. It wasn’t massively problematic since the solutions were quite intuitive but it still would have nice to have more flowing instructions since it’s aimed at complete beginners.

What Next?

Well I’m at a bit of a loss with what to do with Mr. Carrots know that he’s complete, I don’t really think that he’s good enough to display anywhere, but I have begun another embroidery kit for Jenny McWhinney that I think I might turn into a pencil case. I’ve also inherited a large number of DMC embroidery threads from a family friend that I need to figure out what to do with. I now have five of these big boxes so any suggestions of things I could embroider are welcome.

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