When my great-grandfather passed away last year I received some embroidered tablecloths my great-grandmother made. Some are worn out and mended, some have broken stitches (like the red mushroom heads above), but all are so carefully stitched by hand.
Sadly I don’t have a tablecloth of my mother’s elaborate embroidery. I adored her blue stitches when I was a child and I still see her on that sunny bench in summer at my grandmothers house embroidering while we play around the garden.
This is a great example of what happens if you put a n old wool embroidery into a modern washing machine. The surface stitches felt and pull together the fabric underneath. I wonder if you can’t use this effect on purpose…
Lately I have been embroidering a lot. After seeing so much otomi embroidery with all these filled shapes, I wanted to make new pillow covers with shapes. I started with horses. Not the easiest shapes to start with and I chose chain stitch as a fill stitch, instead of herringbone stitch like you would with Otomi embroidery. Being quite big each horse takes almost 1 skein of embroidery thread – using 3 of 6 strands for the stitches.
Sitting there on the couch, my daughter said she wanted to embroider some horses, too. She tried to embroider last year and gave up pretty soon, but she sounded serious, so I prepared a piece of cloth in a hoop, she sketched her horses, threaded the needle all by herself (she told me her father showed her how to do that – wow) and began to stitch.
This time she kept embroidering all of her horses and remained calm and concentrated – I have to admit I was really proud of her and impressed. I told her her grandma would love to have an embroidered piece by her, so she wanted to make another one for her grandpa and she sketched their house. Seeing her embroidering and seemingly enjoying sitting there with me doing the same like her mama and my mother and many generations before us, I felt so happy and fulfilled.