a long time coming: finishing an embroidery hoop

by Jessica

So, apparently I started my whole journey with embroidery on painted fabric in January 2018, and I only just finished my first hoop. Heh. I haven’t really been working on it actively, but rather working very slowly whenever I felt like it and whenever I had embroidery meetups with one of my best friends. But I’ve quite enjoyed this very slow way of working, I wrote a post on Instagram just the other day about how social media can make you feel like your creativity has to be fast paced. But I think sometimes it has to be slow. I’d say that the embroidery hoop I finished the other day is one of my favourite things I’ve ever created, and it feels worth every single hour I put into it.

I thought I’d walk you along the process a little bit.

So I don’t know exactly when I got the idea to paint on fabric and do embroidery on top of it. I’ve seen many people do so since I realised I could do it, but I think I got the idea when I was just painting on paper one day. (For me, all my best ideas for new things to create occur while I’m creating.) Here’s the first one I made, with some pink and blue (the only two colours I need really). I have NO IDEA where this is right now? I need to find it and finish it.

I got pretty far with this hoop (even though the actual hoop was more made for framing than working in and the fabric stayed taut for approximately 4 seconds). This was still early 2018, and I would sit outside and do some embroidery while and enjoy the return of the sun.

And then, for some reason, I started a new one. I painted some new fabric, and started on this hoop. I started with quite a large piece of fabric as I was thinking I’d make a large and square embroidery when I started this, but honestly I started to prefer the round hoop as I was working. This was somewhere around October 2018, so a year ago.

I did some work on this on and off all year, but never really focused on it or got a lot of work done. It wasn’t until less than a month ago that I really started working on it! I don’t have as many process shots of this as I’d want (well I might, but they are buried in MILLIONS of photos on my phone), but I can’t really do anything about that now!

Here’s what it looked like a few weeks ago. I felt like I was close to finishing it as I was doing this, but honestly I had quite a lot of work left. At this point I had already decided on framing it in the hoop I was working in. As you can see, I was working outside the hoop for a while, so some of the work I’ve put in ended up outside of the final piece. But I quite like that there are trails of the process I went through making this!

And here’s the final piece! Honestly, I’m so proud. The colours are perfectly me, I really like the big blue field of small stitches, and just the overall feel of it. I don’t love the shape of the purple beads, but I couldn’t just remove them all and start over. Well, technically I could, but I didn’t want to. What I worked on in the end was to try to overlap some of the shapes with each other, as I felt like it was a bit like just random blobs on a piece of fabric before that. I think making them “touch” really tied the piece together and made it more cohesive.

This is actually one of my favourite parts of this. I just love how the french knots turned out on top of the sprinkles. (That’s what I think of them as at least!)

I have no recollection of ever buying these long beads, but I found a small bag of them in a window in the house (haha I’m a mess) and thought they’d go well with the hoop!! I really like how they turned out, and they add a bit of sparkle to it!

The sequins are another favourite. I can almost see them sparkle in the corner of my eye as this hoop hangs above my desk. I could’ve stitched them to the fabric in a prettier way, using beads or something, but honestly who has the time for that!

And that’s about it! I’m really happy to have finished something (finally), and the response I’ve gotten from this one is quite overwhelming! I don’t think I’ve worked on anything for this long ever, but it just goes to show that you can make things you’re really proud of if you just give yourself enough time.

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