Crafting · Embroidery

Strawberries in Winter

I’m teaching a live round of my Beginning Hand Embroidery class right now, and we’re having so much fun. My students are amazingly creative, and I love seeing how they interpret and practice each stitch.

strawberry embroidery sampler

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Creativity is my big focus for 2019. I’ve been feeling burnt out since mid-2018, and creative work has been a struggle. Teaching 1000 eager beginners has definitely helped spark my own creativity!

It’s also been incredibly helpful to start setting aside studio time to just play, without any projects or deadlines. It’s something that I let slip over the past few years, and it’s amazing how even a little playtime opens the creative floodgates.

One morning recently I was sketching out ideas during my studio time and realized I kept coming up with designs with strawberries in them. I decided to run with it, and sketched out a little strawberry embroidery of berries, leaves, and blossoms. I’m working each one in different threads and stitches, just to see what I like.

So far I’ve tried wool appliqué, satin stitches, and stacked rows of backstitch, using an assortment of cotton, wool, and linen. It’s a great way to experiment with different ideas while keeping the overall theme simple.

strawberry embroidery sampler

I’m particularly loving the Retours du Nord thread I picked up at Sajou in Paris last fall. I’m wishing I’d brought home more colors! A close second is the Londonderry Linen thread left over from last summer’s class kits. Two totally different thread textures to play with, both a lot of fun.

As I stitch, I’ve been listening to An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake. It really has me thinking about all the little things that have drained my creative energy, and how I can start replenishing it. Not surprisingly, that studio play time is high on the list!

It’s been a snowy week, with more predicted for this weekend. My plan is to cozy up in the studio with some cocoa while I stitch these bright little berries. They just make me happy, and it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes them or not. Once I finish this little sampler of strawberry embroidery, it is going up in my studio as a reminder that I need to play and experiment in order for my creative life to really blossom and be fruitful.

How do you recharge your creative batteries? I’d love to hear your ideas and book recommendations in the comments!

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