My mother-in-law has stitchings like this all over her house and since embroidery is one crafty skill that I like and am actually pretty good at (those two rarely come together!), I have added to her collection regularly.
When I saw this free pattern from Char over at Crap I've Made (isn't that a fantastic blog name?) the week before Mothers' Day, I knew that this was what we wanted to do for my wonderful MIL. (We really did have other options in mind, but, hey, I work best under pressure...)
I used Char's pattern entirely, with my own little tweaks, of course:
- Personalizing the family. Char provides several different head/body options in her pattern download, so I opened them up in Photoshop, cloned the bodies, and swapped the heads until I was happy with how the foursome looked. You could definitely do the same thing on a hard copy, but I like me some Photoshop. :)
- Subbing french knots (of various sizes) for backstitching in a few spots, most noticeably the curly hair of the girl on the left (love ya, Les!). I love the finished result:
If I were to do this again (which I might, although stitching the 8 kids in my family would be a bit more work...), I would
- Think about the colors more in advance. I had all of the bodies stitched in brown before it occurred to me that all of the kids in my husband's family have brown hair, more or less. To liven up the stitching some, I mixed floss colors to get their hair colors (i.e., two strands brown, one strand light brown). It worked out okay, but some of the hair just looked funny because the two colors weren't really blending. If I had thought ahead, I could have used a different color for the bodies.
- Color the stitching in with artists' chalk. I think it looks so great and adds so much color to a simple stitching! First, though, I have to learn how. If any of you know, I'd love some pointers!
- Dye the muslin with tea before stitching. I always forget how much more character it adds to have that antique-ish finish on the fabric, and I wish I had done that with this one. I'm not sure I'd combine the chalk and the dye, though.
This is my maiden link-party project! Woohoo! Linking up at the blogs listed in the left sidebar.
UPDATE 5.24.10: In response to Amber's question, I transferred the design to the material (in this case, plain ol' muslin) on a makeshift light box: (hardware lovers, avert your eyes!) my computer screen. I displayed the design at 100%, tipped my monitor on its side, and then just laid my fabric over the top and traced the design with a regular pencil (I've never had a problem using just a regular pencil, but the fabric pencils are awesome, too!). I usually spare my computer screen the trauma and print the design and trace it using a window and the bright sunshine outside, but I started this project on a dreary day after what little sun we had was gone. :)