Thursday Things: Embroidery with Rebecca Ringquist

In the summer of 2013, I had my first exposure to embroidery, through the blogs and social media of the likes of Susan B. Anderson and Jillian Moreno (of Knitty), among others.  I was intrigued so I went digging and I found the samplers of Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Samplers.  And I'm so glad I did. This week, her new embroidery book has been released and what a wonderful book it is.

Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshop

I find embroidery to be the perfect counterpoint, or balance, to knitting.  For me knitting is about precision and math, because as a part-time technical editor and designer I can't help but think about the structure of the knitting and pattern as the enjoyment of the knitting. By contrast, embroidery is totally freeform, yes the pre-printed samplers do give you guidelines, so much more of the design work is up to the stitcher.  I find this freedom enjoyable and totally terrifying.  While I know, intellectually, there are no wrong answers in embroidery, I can't help but think that I'm doing it wrong all the time. 

Thankfully, Rebecca Rinquist's Embroidery Workshops reminds me that there are some proper ways to make stitches, but other than that you can follow the mantra of the book "A Bend-The-Rules Primer" and just make your art.  And that the embroidery police aren't going to come and take away your work because you decided to try something strange and new. 

Also, that I need to throw caution to the wind, because some of what has been holding me back on the samplers I already have, is a bit of analysis paralysis.  I can spend a lifetime working out the right colors to use on a sampler, when really, all the samplers I've done so far are just fine, wait, no they are kind of awesome. 

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

But back to the book, it is broken down into 6 sections: Get Ready, Stitch, Trace, Draw, Layer and Finish.  Get Read, Stitch, Trace and Finish beautiful job showing the tools, stitches and techniques you need to get stitching and displaying your work, while Draw and Layer highlight the beautiful embroidery work of Rebecca and gives you projects and inspiration to go beyond the sampler.

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

So whether you are a totally new to embroidery, or have lots of experience, the book is suitable. For those of us who lack inspiration, her projects all have ideas on how to start.  

My favorite part of the book is that it is filled with Rebecca's lovely little illustrations.  

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Thing: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

They are so adorable and approachable, and makes the book feel like it's a gift from a friend who just wants you to get out and make art. The binding, a hardcover without a slipcover, is beautiful and the endpapers are printed in electric orange.  

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

And, there is a stitchable sampler right there in the book!  I will be leaving my safe and sound for now, because my pile of unstitched samplers is a bit large, much to my embarrassment.  But thankfully samplers pack up a whole lot smaller than a yarns stash does.

As a subscriber to the Dropcloth Stitch of the Month and Colorburst Samplers, and someone who owns nearly all of Rebecca's samplers that have been available since I first found her shop, I have a whole bunch of stitching to do, but this book serves as both inspiration and guide to help me make my way through them.  

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

I think what I might do is try to commit to doing at least one sampler a month, because it helps me turn off my knitting brain and engage with a completely different skill set.  I already have a head start on April's, but mostly because I think I started it last summer. 

Lone/Maple Studio's Thursday Things: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

So keep your eyes on my instagram feed, that is where I usually post my latest projects and finished designs.

Feeling like a traitor

Since my post about my attempt to do Spin 365, I've hardly spun.  I finished off the white-nep skein and have nice red hand-dyed fluff on the wheel that I really need to get back to. I have the first bobbin done, but I still have 3/4 of the second bobbin to go.

However, I'm feeling like a bit of a traitor, I'm more interested in doing embroidery than knitting/crocheting, spinning or weaving.

In the past week I've taken on, and finished, two of the monthly samplers from Dropcloth. I subscribed back in August, but I finally got the nerve to take them on and I'm LOVING doing embroidery.  So much so I'm not really knitting. And I feel like such a traitor.

Of course this is exactly what my goal was for the year, "Do the projects (knitting, spinning, weaving, crocheting, tatting, embroidery) I want when I want to do them" was allowing for, but I'm struggling with it.

So I'm making myself finish up my current knitting project, a pair of socks for my BIL Jim's birthday (which is next Friday), before I can start my next sampler. I know I'm not exactly embracing the "impulsive" ethos I set for myself this year, but I will get there.

Also, some other big stuff has been going on the last couple of weeks.  The first, and bigger one, is a very cool project that I'm not able to reveal yet, but y'all are going to love it as much as I do.  The other is that Jack (the cat) and I are officially family.  H]e got his neuter on Thursday and I officially adopted him from the Muskoka OSPCA (who are amazing and wonderful).

He came home from the operation completely stoned, and with a wicked case of the munchies, but otherwise no worse for wear. He has shown no interest in his surgery site so no cone of shame for him.  Although, as part of the operation they gave him a good nail clipping and he has had trouble climbing the furniture (and me!) since he got home. I, for one, am glad he can't claw his way up my body so he may find that I will be more proactive on his nail clipping in the future.

So, am I the only one who feels guilty when I don't knit as much as I think I should, or are there more of us out there?  If you do, lets commiserate, if you don't would you share your tips and tricks for enjoying your hobby without guilt so I can have some new tools when the guilt strikes.

Uh, oh here comes trouble

A Rainbow of Fun  

Thanks to a few posts by Susan B. Anderson and some tweets I came across Rebecca Ringquist's Etsy shop, and fell down the rabbits hole of embroidery.

I ordered the starter kit, as well as the paisley, colorwheel and the DIY Love samplers. I like the look of embroidery and also, it doesn't really take up much in the way of space (unlike the table loom I'm borrowing right now and is sitting on floor in the corner of my apartment because I don't have space for it).

So today, I headed to Orillia to run some errands and just go on an adventure (including a visit to Target).  One of my stops was at Michaels where they have an amazing wall of DMC threads.



Also they have some amazing pearl cotton and tatting thread as well as six bijillion colors of embroidery floss.  After feeling quite overhwelmed, I started picking the colors that attracted me.  Then I started trying to balance out the tints, tones and shades to get a good mix.  I think I did alright.



IMG_1071 - Version 2

One of the great things about having a computer in your pocket (aka my iPhone) is that you can use photo software while you are in the store to take picture of your potential stash and convert it to B&W which will let you know if the colors will play well together in the finished object. I heard about doing this from quilters, but it works great for people interested in color work knitting and all the stitching arts where you don't have a preset color palette.


I'm currently watching the New Girl and winding my floss onto bobbins, it is quite the relaxing way to spend the evening.

My spinning is also going well.  I started spinning Angel after finishing up yesterday's post and I'm already more than halfway into the first 100g bag (which I'm trying to spin all onto one bobbin, so far so good) and her fleece is absolutely beautiful.  There is a bit of VM in the roving, but to me its a great reminder of where fluff comes from, animals.



I'm not going to be able to make it to the Rosseau Market this coming friday, but Carla will be there so I may have to get her to get me more of this roving, there was one sheep who I didn't get any from, and I may have to get it because it is such a joy to spin this fluff.

So my dropcloth goodies are getting mailed out this week so I should have them just in time for the busiest day of the year at work, so hopefully I can get stitch on it on my well deserved long weekend following that event.