My Very First Appliqué

First Surface Embroidery
First Surface Embroidery

Rummaging in the archives is a very salutary experience. This indescribable piece of appliqué is the first embroidery I did without guiding holes in the fabric (like the little mat I described in an earlier post). I remember starting it when I was visiting a friend – it was a rainy day, and I think her mother was at her wits’ end with us. She sat us down with fabric, needle and thread, and (I suspect) prayed for peace and quiet..

Even though the stitches are dog-legged and the colour choices leave a lot to be desired, the piece still reveals things about Rachel-the-Stitcher that I recognise today. One side of the piece for the house is sewn down with blanket stitch, two with running stitch, and one with zigzag back stitch. You can take that two ways – either as evidence of my butterfly mind, never sticking to a single method, or as evidence that even then I was thinking about the implications of a stitch. Blanket stitch is a good “grounding” stitch, because of the combination of uprights and horizontals, and the zigzags are rather reminiscent of the wavy edges of some roof tiles.

The tweeds chosen for the windows and the pattern-woven braid for the door also show early signs of thinking about what I’m doing – the square patterns of the tweed recalling leaded windows and the pattern-woven braid creating a different texture for the entrance.

The braid edging glued to the frame is also symptomatic of a tendency to over-complicate, which I’ve not eradicated to this day. I think I keep it under control, but that is all I’ve managed to do…

Incidentally, like all those little girls of long ago, working on samplers with their governesses, unaware that students of social history and students of needlework would be poring over their work in the future, I noted on the back when I finished the piece – 30th September 1975. Unlike most of those little girls, I also noted – in so many words – that “It was fun.”

13 thoughts on “My Very First Appliqué

  1. How wonderful to see your early start! Obviously you were, even then, on your way to becoming a master stitcher.

  2. Rachel, it’s really charming, and wonderful that you still have it. I wish so much I had kept my earl achievements. A very Happy New Year to you!

  3. Lovely to have. Are you going to put it on the wall?
    Happy New Year to you and the family.
    Janice. x

  4. It looks so much like the houses I used to draw when I was little…cloud and walkway included.

    My favorite part was “It was Fun.” Happy New Year. I hope it’s fun!

  5. Aw………..
    and that’s so brilliant that you can see the origins of your style today.

  6. It’s lovely and so interesting to hear you going through it and thinking about your possible stitch and fabric choices.

  7. Wonderful memories! I’m happy that you’ve kept it . I use to draw a cloud in every landscape (irrespective of the theme) when I was a little girl 🙂 and it was the one which caught my attention as soon as I saw your piece,some habits never go I guess :).

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