Punch-Needle Embroidery

I tend to be a little overly ambitious. About a month ago I received an e-mail about an art competition for UW grad students, and I immediately started planning. I decided my technique would be punch-needle embroidery, which was probably a bit silly because it’s a slow process and I only had a month to finish the piece. I spend about 30 hours a week at the VA between my field placement and my part time job, and I’m also taking 5 classes. So not much time for crafting!

The part that takes the longest for me is drawing out the design. I can’t draw very well, so by the time I’m done I’m usually surrounded in tiny eraser shreds. I start in pencil, then go over the pencil with a thin marker for a bolder line, and then try out a few colors for inspiration.

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Next, I have to trace the design onto the weavers cloth, which is why the bold line was necessary. This doesn’t take quite as long, but it’s still a slow and not very exciting process. I’m sure there’s a really fast and fancy way to do this using transfer paper and an iron, or a light box, but I don’t have any of those. That’s right, no iron!

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Then I stretch the fabric onto an embroidery hoop and I punch away. And I keep punching. And I punch some more, until I get this!

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This is my biggest piece to date, being about 13 inches tall and 9 inches wide. The deadline to submit to the art contest is tomorrow. Of course I finished mine about 10 minutes ago, so just in time. My theory is that the judges will either love it because it’s different or they’ll hate it because it’s different. Either way, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I haven’t done much with shading or blending colors before, and I’m impressed with what I managed to do. If I don’t win then I’ll get to keep it or try to sell it in my Etsy shop, so it all works out in the end.

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Long Weekend

It’s the last weekend before the semester starts, and thankfully it’s a long one.  We celebrated Ad’s birthday, took a chilly walk, ate some yummy food, and I wallowed in crafty goodness.

We’ll start with the birthday fun. Here’s the man of the hour, tearing open his presents!

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And blowing out his candles on his fancy home made cake! I found the recipe for the cake here, and it’s a real doozy. Rich, moist, chocolatey  and of course – very easy. You start with a boxed chocolate cake mix and add to it.

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We went to Mickey’s, a local bar, for supper. Our friend Sean surprised Ad with this snazzy Mickey’s shirt!

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Today we took a very cold post-birthday walk. We saw some brave ice skaters, and some even braver ducks. It was 16°F.

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Back to our toasty warm house.

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And of course, I did some crafting.

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Ad fixed some delicious food in his brand new toaster oven, but he’ll tell you about that later!