Thank you very much to Deb for leading us on how to make embroidered postcards. The links here: Embroidered Postcard Instructions contains Deb’s detailed instructions. This programme will run from February through to May.
Like the Embroidered Boxes programme, some of the members have experience in making postcards. However, there are several of our members who have limited, or non-existent, experience. Below are pictures of completed postcards, along with stories from the creators.
Suz – I did a lot of needle felting of pieces of felt, fabric and wool together, then I used straight stitches to anchor the buildings and to create movement in the water, plus to anchor the grasses. The grass stems are straight stitch with either french knots or bullion stitches to indicate the seeds. French knots and bullion knots were used to create the pebbles on the ground, although they may not be very visible due to the colours used. I wanted to keep them subtle so they didn’t compete with the grasses, but add texture and depth. Some of the longest grasses have a straight stitch across the stem to hold them in place. More straight stitch was used to create the far shoreline, to add shadow to the rocks, to seat the rocks into the water, as well as to add shadow at the base of the land rocks. Stab stitches were used to create shape and texture in the large rocks. I zig-zagged around the outside.
Fiona – I combined this challenge with a colour challenge for another group. Chose 6 colours (though I cheated and used variegated Valdani) from the picture and then did it on faded denim.
The backing is just cotton fused to the embroidered denim so it’s not very rigid. It’s called “All you can see is the sea”, as the blue sea rather predominates.
Wenda – The background was done on my embellishing machine which, I had to dust off before using! I pounded two layers of organza in a horizontal direction for the sea with a piece of black upholstery felt for the backing. The rocks were done with four layers of organza, using a circular motion. Then it was lots of little straight stitches and colonial knots.
Jan – I was entranced by the pattern of the worn paint on the upside down row boat, and how the colours of the boat changed through the various light levels. I used handmade felt as my background, and fused fabrics onto a muted underlay, cutting out the grain pattern from the outer layer of fabric….. it sort of looks like the worn paint did up close! I used a darker fabric for the side, and covered all but the end with tulle to suggest lower light levels and shade. The rocks are 3d, needle felted in wool, and the grasses embroidered. Finally I couched a meandering thread to represent the sand and pebbles underfoot.
Suzanne – At first glance, my eye was drawn to the white church in the background. I fused fabric to a piece of Decor Bond by Pellon for the church and the background. Then I embellished with simple embroidery stitches. For the water ripples I used my sewing machine to free motion embroider.
Seanagh – The picture is worked on a rough spun cotton, painted first, some definition put in with fine marker and then stitched in straight stitch only, using a single thread of floss. The back is just hand drawn on card stock, and as I liked the Louisburg stamp that I found, I figured I would take a dream visit there too!
Maggie – I used burlap from a bag of rice and old tapestry yarn. For the grasses, I used a lot of Cretan stitch because I liked the loopy effect. Interspersed was straight stitch and some lighter weight DMC. The bottom half was seed stitched in several different colours.
The back of the postcard was just muslin inscribed with a thin sharpie and a red pen for the stamp. Between the 2 layers was a stiff piece of Pellon. I loosened the tension on my serger and stitched around the card twice to give it the effect I wanted.
Carol – Seaside Village: I was sure I couldn’t do water so I concentrated on the shore and a section of the little village. I saw the church with its tall spire as a beacon for fishing boats returning to a rocky shore. I relied on a “paint-and-stitch” technique before embellishing parts of the scene with stranded cotton threads.
Linda – This postcard has a painted background. Free motion stitching around the rocks and water. Used pieces of rock to embellish and used the turkey stitch to indicate grass. Added texture to the water with stem stitch.
Jan – My postcard is 3 dimensional with softly felted blossoms and leaves, and needle felted buds. The window is a shiny fabric (lining) outlined in back stitch. The yarn is a cast off from a friend’s weaving warp! The linen background is upcycled from an old napkin I think.
Carol – The stem, flowers and buds were first painted with a light touch of acrylic paint and then stitched with 3 shades of pink, and two of green, stranded cotton. The background is a small swatch of cotton coloured with water-soluble wax pastels done in an EGP workshop a few years ago.
Suzanne – I wanted to show the texture of the photo background on my postcard. To do this, I overlapped and fused various small pieces of white fabric. I was drawn to the flowers themselves and therefore decided to do a close-up view. The flowers were cut from batik and hand-dyed fabric. I fused the flowers and the leaves to the background and then embellished with beads and embroidery floss.
Wenda – My version was to use the pulled thread technique for the slightly wonky block work in the background on some linen that a friend gave me. Then I dove into my silk ribbon stash to create some three dimensional hollyhocks….felt good to make use of that almost forgotten treasure!
Cynthia – My first made postcard. I kept it simple and not much embroidery on it. Found the ready made ribbon flowers in my stash to use for the hollyhocks.
Norah – This is painted with watercolour and then embellished with stitching and a few beads and then the charm of the bee was glued on.
Suz – I was enticed by the different textures in the photo, and wanted to try to capture them. However, once I added the leaves and flowers, all the wonderful texture disappeared. I decided to remove the hollyhocks, leaving the stems to add a vertical element. I like how the textures now peek through the stems.
Linda – This postcard was made with linen. I used water colour pencils for the background. Colonial knots, detached buttonhole, chain and stem stitches were used. I am pretending to send the card to my grandmother who planted the flowers every year.
Marilyn B – This is done on raw silk. I painted the window as well as some spots to indicate stucco. Being a relative newcomer to embroidery, I decided to use the stem stitch for the stems, French knots for the top of the plants and my version of the Pekingese stitch for the window panes. I did not finish the reverse side.
Deb – The inspiration for this was an incident 20 years ago, when someone in my house got a new hedge trimmer…the year when EVERYTHING in the garden was levelled to 5’ 10”. I’ll look at this and remember what could have been…
Technique: Background of raw-edge cotton strips with running stitch; appliquéd cotton leaves and flowers, Romanian couching, detached chain, with French and colonial knot accents. Supported by Pellon interfacing and cotton backing.
Maggie – I stem stitched the outlines with Valdani thread and then I admit that I used left over fabric paint from when my kids were little to fill it in. I tried stitching it but it became overwhelming. The fabric is scraps of linen/cotton blend left over from pillows I made a few years ago.
Deb – Our inspiration for April perfectly lined up with the excitement around seeing the pink supermoon, which was named for the phlox that was, I guess, blooming in someone’s garden at the same time…hmmm…As it turned out, NOT in my neck of the woods! And I missed seeing the moon because it was, yet again, cold and cloudy…
Wool felt ‘phlox flowers’ stitched on a ground of brown linen with really haphazard kloster blocks to represent that beautiful moon gate…my sincerest apologies to Mary Anne, who taught me how to do a proper kloster…but this exercise was a good reminder of why I gave up hardanger embroidery for good…
Suz – I used white muslin on black felt for the fabric, then used fabric paints, fabric felt pens, and gel pens to create the picture. The gate was created by couching black gimp in a vermicelli lace pattern for the grillwork.
Suzanne – The gate inspired me to try my hand at Blackwork, which I found to be quite meditative. In order to make a decision about the centre of the blackwork frame, I researched the kinds of flowers that are typically found in Chinese gardens. The peony, one of my favourite perennials, is also a popular garden flower in China. The technique that I used for the flower was raw-edge applique.
Carol – This piece is done with water-soluble wax pastels on a white cotton background. A piece of window screening serves as the gate. The painted boat is outlined with backstitch and the characters in the boat are embroidered.
The inspiration for the scene is from Makeda’s 9-yr old drawing when EGP members were involved in stitching the French Lifeboat badges. Further inspiration is from Charlotte Gray’s biography of Pauline Johnson who was born in 1860 near Brantford, ON to a Mohawk Chief and an English gentlewomen. Pauline was a published author, poet, actress, activist and much more. Pauline’s main means of travel was by CANOE on the Grand River.
Wenda – The greenery was fun to do…lots of lazy daisies, but then came the gate. My original plan totally flopped so I thought I would use some black lace but it totally obscured my background stitching. Then I found this veil netting which I doubled and unfortunately moved a bit in the end….oh well, on to the next.
Seanagh – I laid down a bunch of mostly transparent fabrics and stitched the foliage texture over them in floss and silk threads. The actual gate was made by zigzagging the angular design onto Pellon and then cutting it out and applying it over the top. I did think of doing it in cutwork and then I thought again!!
Carol – The colours in Marilyn’s spectacular sky scene made me think of fall so I stitched some Canada Geese on their way south. The background of this postcard is white cotton coloured with water-soluble wax pastels. The Canada Geese are stitched with 3 strands of black DMC stranded cotton.
Wenda – Shocking, yes, I did pastels! I cut strips of organza and frayed their edges then, simply held them down with running stitch. I attempted to get an airy feel to the piece.
Jan – I tried a number of approaches, starting with Aquarell pencils (too washed out), then snippets of organza under netting (inspid), then layered on my version of random stitching. It was interesting being able to adapt the shading and tones of each block of colour by adding more of one or another colour. BUT very time consuming. I added the tree in the foreground in a muted purple as it seems that dark shades often appear that interesting colour at sundown.
Seanagh – I thought this one would be so easy … gorgeous colours, etc. Well I couldn’t get to first base with it! I eventually made a print and in desperation started tearing it into strips — voila! My postcard. Paper torn and re-aligned then stitched with some silk threads for a shiny sun just setting.
Suz – Created on a felt background, I added strips of fabric for the sky colours, using buttonhole stitch to anchor them. Black gimp strips turned into the tree trunk and branches, and embroidery floss was used for the leaves and a few grasses.