Remember this? I started working on this Otomi inspired embroidery way back in January! Clearly I’m not very quick at embroidery! Not to worry though, the point is that I have now completed it. Yay! I turned it into a cushion cover that is now adorning a rustic, old ladder. I was going to sit it on the bed but given how long it’s taken me, I’m a bit precious about it. I don’t want it anywhere in the path of fingernails, watches, jewellery or our cat, who likes to curl up on the bed in the afternoons.
After posting a photo of the embroidery on instagram yesterday, a friend asked if I knew of websites offering tips on this style of embroidery. Unfortunately I don’t, as aside from using googled images for design inspiration, I just used my somewhat rusty embroidery skills that I learnt as a child. This is simply my own rather amateurish attempt at Otomi inspired embroidery and I’m not sure of any traditional techniques and principles behind the real thing. However, I thought I’d still like to share my own tips and a few things I learned from doing this project.
The main stitch that I used is called satin stitch, which is simply lots of long stitches sewn very close together to fill in an area. To begin with I tried to make all my satin stitches run in line with the grain of the fabric, but I ended up using a more haphazard approach, changing directions to suit different shapes. I think this added depth to the texture in the way the different areas reflect the light. I explained how I transferred the design to the fabric in buy initial post, here.
For the small line areas of the design, such as antennae and short stems I used back stitch, which I have previously done a tutorial for here. For larger/longer stems, such as at the centre of the design I used chain stitch. I recently used chain stitch to embellish a gift card and gave a brief tutorial of the stitch here. If you want to do this sort of embroidery, just give it a try! It’s more about bold colour and texture than perfection. Be prepared for it to take a long time though! My only other tip would be to buy heaps of embroidery thread. I didn’t buy enough and had to make a second purchase, which was unfortunately from a different dye lot resulting in an imperfect colour match. You can’t really tell in the photos, but I can tell. And it frustrates me. I guess I should re-read this last paragraph and remind myself that it’s not about perfection!
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