Happy my tiny garden with pretty flowers

comments: 43

Tinygarden1_1 Yes to all the above! Happy my tiny garden with pretty flowers. Melissa was kind enough to bring me a book, Tiny embroidery Tiny garden (ISBN 4-277-31144-X) the other day and I got some linen, got me a new hoop, got out my embroidery floss -- got me no time! Though I was very anxious to start. I looked through the book about fifteen times. Thank you, Melissa! What a cool book.

Finally sat down with everything on Tuesday night and just picked the smallest, most winsome-looking one -- my first foray into crazy sewing all over something, then just freehanding it. Very liberating not to have to go through the horror of transferring a pattern, either with pencil or iron-on -- both make me crazy. In the book you see these mossy, grassy patches that look like a layer of green Brillo pad machine-stitched all over, and then the embroidery on top. It's really wonderfully realistic and gives kind of  a cool, very dimensional effect, but I can't figure out what they used for the bottom mossy patch. I used a square of green felt and then machine stitched all over it, which, surprisingly, was not as fun as it looked like it should be. I think I'm too uptight for such rampant backs and forths, though I tried to be spontaneous in the way I moved the patch under the buzzing needle. Apparently I'm not too uptight to actually square the patch up to the grain of the fabric -- everything is actually on about a 45-degree angle, which will make stretching it or framing it or whatever very . . . interesting. Uh, duh.

Tinygarden2_1 I love foxgloves, and I could hardly wait to get to that part, though there was a lot to do before I got there. (Hint: Start the green grass stuff in the top right corner and work your way down to the bottom left, so it layers properly. By the way, I feel like I saw one of these on someone's blog recently, but can't remember whose. Do you know?) Anyway, believe it or not, I could've finished it one night, I think, except that I had to concentrate so hard on what was happening in Veronica Mars I left the finishing bits until last night. But this really was so quick to do, and I am rather charmed by the sort of willowy, fresh result -- it feels like a sweet, leggy little meadow patch. And it truly is tiny -- probably not even 4" x 6".

Last week I also finally called Katherine Shaughnessy from Wool and Hoop to order her fabulous crewel kits for the store. She had been on my list of product lines to carry at Ella Posie forever, and though we had exchanged emails last fall, I had never talked to her in person. She lives in Texas, but I detected the echo of a Chicago accent in her voice (music to my ears), and we discovered that her hubby and I were classmates 5th through 12th grade back in the 'burbs, and lived just blocks from each other. How random is that. Anyway, her fantastic, tiny kits should be arriving any day -- they might actually be there now, so I'll have them priced and out tomorrow -- and I am psyched to make one up as a sample for the shop. I forgot how much I love to embroider stuff. Her designs are really sophisticated and mod. Colorful. I can't wait. It's even more fun knowing that she is sort of "from" the old neighborhood.

Last spring, or maybe it was the spring before, I can't even remember, I went through all my bags and boxes and little plastic boxes and drawers and found every skein of embroidery floss that I had bought over the last twenty years. I was determined to get it organized and rewound; there is nothing worse than all those floppy skeins in a big mass, or tangled on some piece of slotted cardboard, etc. Every time I wanted to make something my efforts were fraught with the tantrum of finding then untangling the flipping floss first. So, one by one, I wound them onto plastic bobbins.

Floss This was not a quick project. No. Not. At. All. There are some who would look at embroidery, at the process of pulling little pieces of thread through cloth with the needle, and say, "But, why?" We scoff at them, of course, the unenlightened, though in the middle of this process I, too, would've looked upon myself, covered in floss and bobbins and plastic boxes and shouted, fists shaking, "But why why why WHY?"

Nevertheless, I must say that the result has made every bit of hand sewing or embroidery I've done since very pleasureable. It feels good to know that everything is in its place. If I cut off a piece of floss, and only use two strands, I don't even bother to rewind the other four strands on the bobbin. Oh no. I throw it away. I do. Wantonly, recklessly throw it away. But you know, it keeps me going forward. If I thought I had to stop and rewind all those twisted pieces of thread back on  their blah blah, etc. -- ugh. Might not want to do any of it at all. So, I say, recycle cans, plastic bags, cardboard, bottles -- liberate yourself and throw the other four strands away. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, then, you know, reduce, reuse, recycle, rewind, crazy girl.

Oh and, started my first of the list, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, last night. You were right -- not easy to put down, just the way I like 'em.


That is gorgeous! Hmmm, another book for my list I think!

Were you thinking of this post?

I love how each little garden has its own personality. Precious!

That one is just darling, but I think I saw another one out there, too, without the fence?

Oh, Alicia, that's the sweetest!

and I love, love, love the wool & hoop kits...so gorgeous.

i also have spent countless hours organizing my floss boxes. I find it is an easy favor to ask my partner to do while watching movies! And it does feel so good when it is all wound and organized by color, you want to just jump right in! I bought some wool embroidery floss for crewel work, and that takes even longer! to wind up. plus it tangles a lot more.
I don't wind my end back on the bobbin, but I do stash all decent size leftovers in an empty slot and use them whenever i just want to do some handstitching on something and I don't care what color I use. I usually end up using all my scraps. Isn't it crazy how guilty you can let yourself feel. . .just throwing away a useable length piece of floss? kind of crazy if you think about it!
p.s. love the embroidered garden!

I loooooove this! The cutest thing I've seen all week!

craftlog also posted about the book recently too. i think the date on this post is wonky.



this was the second one in the series. i did finish the third, but i haven't posted it yet. I really enjoyed doing these..all machine embroidered. i totally agree about "being uptight". i really had to let go with these and it has opened a whole new avenue for expression for me! you little garden is just precious!

Ohhhh Alicia that looks gorgeous!!! So-so sweet :) The foxgloves look amazing.

What a sweet piece of embroidery! It is a wonderful combo of hand and machine stitching. I totally identify with Kelly's comment on the guilt felt when throwing away a perfectly good scrap! I recently had to justify my hord of scraps to someone...I won the battle : )

What a great project...it made me want to re-start embrodery and cross stitching again...love that stuff...especially if I knew what to do with it when I was finished!


what a lovely garden!!

i want to commission you to make me one of these. it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO beautiful. i want to see it up close on saturday.

Chris Howard says: April 13, 2006 at 12:16 PM

First of all, the embroidered garden is just lovely! I sense from all that floss that you must love to do embroidery/cross stitch. Being a long time stitcher, I would LOVE to see some pics of things you have done. Alicia, talking about the little bits of floss you throw away- did you know there was a name for them? I have cross stitched for 20 years, and I JUST found out that they are called orts. I have seen some cross stitch designers come out with patterns for little ort boxes. I have also heard people save the orts in small glass mason jars and use them as a funky little decoration. You can also get the clear plastic christmas ornament balls, and put your orts in there. All the different colors piling up through the year can look cute and folksy on the tree. You are such a crafty person and creative person, I bet you could do something neat with orts. As for me, well I'm lazy and just throw them away. Have a great day!

Okay, I'll confess. I'm a habitual rewinder. And I actually *use* the orts, later. Pathetic, ain't it?

That turned out *so well*. Truly. If that book lived at my house I would still be sitting on my duff obsessing rather than doing.

I'm worse - I keep the original band from the floss and attach my orts to it so I know what colour they are. They are stored in the empty compartments of my organiser in number groupings. AND I have a checklist in the lid and mark off the colours I have :-}

Absolutely gorgeous! Very inspiring! Love to see more.

It's the day of embroidery posts! Love yours!

i love your garden and there is nothing more fun to me than organizing embroidery floss! it gets tired quickly though!!! good job!!

That is one of the most charming things I have. Ever. Seen.

I feel another addiction coming on (I mean in addition to knitting!).

You've done it once again, A, and proved to be my inspiration.

I'm all about the embroidery these days - your garden is so beautiful & inspiring!

That is really lovely - the texture that you get from freestyling is great.

Your post made me remember that I still have a drawer full of floss waiting to be wound and stored with the other, neatly organized half of my floss. Gah. And while I recognize the wisdom of your advice (in theory), I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to throw out those other 4 strands. I'm fully aware that I'm an obsessive saver, and I've tried to change, but it's in my genes ... what's a girl to do?

(Also, great choice with 'Case Histories' - hope you enjoy it!)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.