A little while ago Vivian from Ecoyarns asked me if I would be interested in embroidering some new ecobags she has in her store.  I think she intends to use them for promotional purposes.  Naturally I was interested and have set about “designing”.  This is an interesting process for me as though I do make up my own stuff all the time, my pictures usually develop on the page, or fabric, or needles as I am stitching or drawing or what have you. Occasionally I have liked something well enough to want to go back and review, refine or improve upon it, but sometimes in doing that I lose the essence of what was moving me to create in the first place.    I guess you could say that at times I lack discipline.  I find this a strange admission, because all throughout my teenage years and 20’s I was the most disciplined person I knew. It’s taken me quite a few years to learn to “relax”, and I’m still working on it….more discipline, perhaps?

I’ve decided to use the blog to keep a bit of a record with how I fare with working on the bags, both in terms of design and in hours it requires. I thought it would be interesting to see how long this embroidery thing really takes, or how slow at it I really am – take your pick.

I was sent three beautifully coloured bags to work on.  These bags are organic cotton and made and dyed in peru.  They are very soft and pliable.

I decided to work on the Green one first as it spoke to me first.  It wanted to be fresh, not too busy, a little elegant if I could possibly make it so.

But not boring!

That’s better.  I originally imagined that it would be worked in monotone – a very dark green filigree sort of line on the light green background.  When I wanted to start stitching I found myself without green and so started with a mauve.  I like green and mauve together, usually.  But this was all wrong.  I don’t have a photo but trust me.  I think the purple I was using was a little too warm in colour and it clashed in a sickly kind of way. 

So the next time I was at the store I picked up a couple of differnt green threads and a muted lemon.  I think it works much better.  I originally began to stitch the dark green leaf-like motifs in Cretan stitch, but the arms of the stitch were too flimsy when made at a large size.  So I ended up using a whiped chain stitch. It’s worked well to define the motif and gives a good sturdy line that should hold up to practical use, I think.  The button hole circles have worked well and pulled in easily with this particular fabric.

So far, so good.  I’m happy with the way it’s shaping up.  Some smaller circles are planned to drop below the ones already in place, hopefully in a delicate scattered manner.

Time count:

Design/concept/drawing – let’s just say it took me approximately 30 mins of doodling and thinking and trying a couple of things out on paper.

Transfer of design to bag –  20 mins to measure up the bag into even sections, press it and draw the design on.  I used the paper folding technique for measuring, whereby I cut a strip of paper as wide as the front of the bag and as high as I wanted the top boader bit to be.  I then folded it into quarters, pinned it to the bag, using the stitched hemline at the top for guidance, and marked out the sections.   I then drew the design on freehand using the markers as a guide.

Stitching so far – Well I forgot to time myself with the dark green “leaves”.  But I can tell you it took a while.  I would guess at about 20 mins each.  Obviously I’m not including my own stuff up in using the purple thread and unpicking it. So that’s about 1 hour 20 mins for the dark green leaves.   I did time the button hole circles at about 6  mins per circle.  There are 15 circles and 2 half circles so far.  That’s about 96mins.  Rounding down that’s about 1 hour and 30 mins for the circles so far.

Subtotal of time to date: 3 hours 40 minutes.  

After so much structured work lately I let loose on a pastel drawing.  I think of it as “grandmother’s ghost”.   I’m still going on it, but I’ve enjoyed working on it so far