Bargello iPhone Case

I ordered one of those fancy cross stitch-able iPhone cases on the Internet, in black. I didn’t know what to expect, but I am pretty pleased with it!

First off, the rubber is quite bendy, making it a bit harder to navigate your needle into the corners. The squares are also all perfect, so there is no need to be piercing through the plastic at any point. The holes are kinda small, but I think it’s only because I am being stubborn and using the whole six strands of my DMC floss. Why am I being stubborn? Cause I’m trying Bargello for the first time and want the best coverage possible.

According to Wikipedia: Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a “flame stitch” pattern.

A few years ago I found a book in a used book store called The New World of Needlepoint. It has super awesome, super sixties/seventies designs for needlepoint, Bargello and cross stitch, in absolutely terrible colour schemes. Of course I loved it and had to buy it. I had never had any canvas to work with, so I had simply looked through it up to now.

I was totally going to do cross stitch on the phone case; I even found this awesome blank template in order to map out what my pattern would look like. And then, I saw the worn purple book on my bookshelf, and all thoughts of cross stitch flew out of my head. After poring over the illustrations a few times, I finally settled on a simpler pattern, mostly because I didn’t know how hard working with the plastic case would be.

I did decide to change it up a bit near the middle, doing a full set of rows twice as tall as the rest of the case to break it up. I really love how it looks, and I love the colours I chose too. The best way to work Bargello, according to the book, is to work one horizontal line very carefully and slowly; the ones above and below it will fall naturally into place after it!  Again, I was being stubborn, and had the hurt fingers to go with it; by the end, I was using a small pair of pliers to pull the needle through, and that worked great.  With a few breaks, I finished the piece in about two days, so I’m super proud.

All photos for this post were taken with my iPhone, because I am a dork.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…

I have a particular piece of text, written by Shakespeare, which is very close to my heart. I have thought of getting it tattooed many times before, and I decided I was going to stitch it this spring. After figuring out how to make it pretty and round on the computer (thank you David!) I realised the smallest I could make the text is size 21. That is big for typing, but pretty small for stitching.

So I decided I needed a smaller piece of text for practice, something that was still going to be a good paragraph but nothing too fancy. So this happened:

For an awesome history of lorem ipsum, check out this page.  If you would like to stitch it, here is the full original dummy text (that has been in use since the 1500s) shaped into a pretty circle.  I picked a nice non-serif font in order to be able to trace it more or less in my own hand writing.  I didn’t want all the letters to be exact or too perfect.  The hoop is 5×5 inches.

I’m not sure when I will get to my Hamlet piece, which is easily twice as long as the lorem ipsum, but we’ll see!

Colouring Book Inspired Dress

This beautiful ombre dress pattern came out from Urbanthreads a few weeks ago. It is super delicate and adorable, and I wasn’t going to let the fact that I do not have an embroidery machine stop me from stitching it up. The hand embroidered version of the pattern is a bit chunkier than the machine version. I printed it out and started playing with coloured pencils, filling it a little bit at a time. After a few minutes, I stopped and looked at what I had done and really really liked it. It still looked airy and dainty with only a few splashes of colour.

I sent a picture to my friend Rebecca, whose response was: “Are you going to do it with beads or just stitching? Are beads going to look tacky?” Heck no! I went out to the bead shop and picked out two pretty pink seed bead bottles in different textures (one matte, one shiny) that very day.

I ended up switching out a few of the fill in spots with beads. Since I really wanted to keep the look of the pencil coloured image, I did all of the black outline first, and then only filled in with one row of split stitch even when it didn’t fill the entire space between the outlines. Some of the petal shapes were filled with a rough satin stitch. I really love the effect and the mix of textures that the beads and different stitches lend to the piece.

Once my oval wooden hoops from come in, I’ll definitely hoop this one up and put it up on the wall. It’s just too pretty and dainty.