One of the blogs I follow is Wild Olive. The author is very charming and down to earth, and provides some of the cutest free embroidery patterns I have ever seen. You may remember that I bought some patterns from her at the end of the last school year to make teacher gifts with. Well, about a month ago, she generously decided to host a stitch swap – anyone who was interested was asked to provide a little information about themselves, and promise to embroider something that would fit into a 4-inch hoop to send to someone else. Of course I signed up – partly because I’ve always wanted to be part of a swap (who doesn’t like getting something fun in the mail?!), and partly because I have been in a sort of creative rut, and I thought this might be what I needed to get my butt in gear.
My swapee, Amy, likes Chihuahuas, robin’s egg blue, and is a librarian. Ok, I thought, I can work with that. Three weeks later, the deadline looming, I still hadn’t found a pattern that I was particularly enamored of. Turns out a four inch hoop really isn’t very big. The only Chihuahua pattern that I could find was bigger than the hoop and even though I probably could have reduced it with copy machine, I kinda didn’t want to stitch it. I just didn’t like it. So I searched and searched some more. Then: Light. Bulb. I searched Flickr for retro library posters, and found this:
Which became this:
I’m ridiculously pleased with how it turned out (even though this is attempt #3 because I kept messing up the coloring part). The librarian’s hair is done using a bullion stitch, which is often used for making roses and other fancy designs, and I colored the fabric with colored pencils. I actually colored another version with markers, and I really didn’t like it. The colors were too saturated. The books are little rectangles of felt that I glued on. I wanted to put titles on the book spines, but then I came to my senses. I had intended to put actual lace on the librarian’s dress so that it would match the picture, but since I couldn’t find any in my stash that was small enough, I opted for the necklace, instead.
I also threw in some extra goodies:
A felt pin made from a pattern in Super Cute Felt by Laura Howard, a dish rag – because you can never have too many! – and some chocolate, which you can also never have too much of. (Laura also has some really great free patterns on her website.) I mailed everything on Saturday, and hopefully it gets there soon, because I can’t wait to find out if she liked it!