There are certain tools you reach for over and over again. In my case these are the daily tools. I tend to use the same hopp for eveything, even when that is not easy. It is just my favorite one. I like two pairs of scissors, so I can have one on either side of me! The pewter needle keeper is handy for laying a needle down and not losing it. And, hey, safety first. We don't want the cat to eat a needle! The silver and lavendar pin cushion, that used to belong to Grandmom and then Mom, is now loaded with nothing but embroidery needles. The silk ribbon needle book, made by Mom, houses a tapestry needles, larger needles for crewel, etc. And I use water soluble markers for transfering and when that is not enough, or not quite right, I get the pencil and add whatever detail I need.
The other thing on the table is the orts jar. Orts is a word of Germanic origin meaning scraps or leavings. Originally referring to leftover food, people who sew use it to refer to leftover bits of thread. Apparently, such collections of threads were thought to confuse and ward off evil spirits. I started this one last year when we were not throwing anything away. But, I have discoverd that many folks keep an orts jar.
New Jersey artist Erin Endicott uses hand embroidery stitching on vintage textiles that she stains with walnut ink. The walnut ink goes into the fabric to create the organic outlines of the stitching. The series is called the ”Healing Sutras,” as the process of adding hand embroidery to the walnut ink stains is a metaphor for healing physical and psychological wounds.
I just really like the abstract, organic shapes and the red on the white.
I found this piece in my sewing stuff with the original instructions and floss all neatly packaged wth the linen. Mom claims it was not hers, so it must have belonged to her mother. Grandmom B. was an embroidery dynamo who sewed beautiful table cloths, pillow cases, bed covers, table runners, bureau scarves, doilies and so on. She taught Mom to embroider and Mom taught me. My embroidery keeps her stitching legacy alive and reminds me of my Mom and Grandmom with each stitch.
I stitched it up. And it is going to go to my sister's house where it can welcome all who enter and honor a granmother's memory.
(photo credit: Rana Nazzal)
I have never been a huge fan of cross stitch. I do not stitch it that well and never gave it much thought. I have been more intrigued by complex stitches and getting as good at satin stitch as Grandmom B. However, I love the colorful geometric designs of Palestinain embroidery, properly called tatreez. And, tatreez uses only cross stitch. Hmm.
(photo credit: Rana Nazzal)
Using only one stitch, the patterns and colors create a huge variety of designs. The Palestinian dress, or thob, is richly embroidered. Each village or town had its own embroidery designs. The thob through shape, fabric color and the color combinations and designs of the embroidery show where a women is from, as well as her social status. Patterns are often gepmetric shapes but include other designs like cypress trees, grapes, apple trees, cauliflower, rooster, pigeons, rainbow, roses, birds, flower pots.
While historically tied to specific localities, tatreez continues to evolve as Palestinian women continue their needlework and teach younger women the craft. The continuation of tatreez is a way to sustain heritage, community and cultural identity.
(wonderful slideshow- Philadelphia Folklore Project)
photo by Sarah Green
“After we were dispersed, all tatreez became Palestinian tatreez. You want to preserve Palestinian tatreez, not individual villages. They’re all under occupation, and it’s now gone.” –Alia Shiekh-Yousef