This small square was pieced with a few leftover squares from a Moda Charm pace, the rest of the squares were used in Paris Flea Market. I added two complementary fabrics to complete the nine-patch design and borders. The border row stitches were worked in one color of perle cotton #8 to straddle each seam. The decorative and detail stitches were worked in five colors of cotton floss, and two colors of seed beads. The color and stitch changed depending on which side of the border row they were stitched. I used three colors of glass buttons and charms and added brass buttons as an accent color.
Question: Do you like to work with solid color fabric, or prints?
Cogs and Gears, by Christen Brown
This piece is a variation of the project Blowing Bubbles from my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching. I used a printed piece of felt (shown right), for the base, with the embroidery following the design of the print. Vintage and new buttons were used to add color and focal points.
Question: Do you sew functional forms or fabulous frivolities?
Gypsy Treasures by Christen Brown
This little purse is made from a beautiful cotton batik fabric by Hoffman (who else?). The fabrics were heavily quilted and textured, using a twin needled for the quilting. Surface techniques include a vine created from yarn, covered in gold metallic threads, fabric yo-yos, and machine couched novelty yarn details. The sections of fabric are embroidered with raised and textured stitches, beaded embroidery stitches, shisha mirrors, and buttons.
Question: How do you choose a color pallet for a project? I start with the fabric, and work from there.
Beautiful Beaded Blooms by Christen Brown
This project started with two colors of moire fabric, and a cotton print that came with a bounty of an array of greenery options. I paired the foundation pieced block, with lavish amounts of embroidered beading, vintage buttons and charms to create an opulent-looking wall hanging that hints of an earlier era.
Question: When you design a project, do you like to use what is in your stash, or do you prefer to go to the store and search for materials? I usually work with what I have on hand, then go to the store for additional materials.
Eastern Influences by Christen Brown
This piece started with the small scrap of fabric that I used for the center. It had been sitting in my stash along with the print that I used in the border, waiting just for the right project to come along. Additional fabrics were a machine embroidered cotton, and plain black cotton. Glass seed beads were used for the embroidery, along with vintage bugle and hand-blown glass beads, and nail heads. Vintage buttons are sprinkled throughout along with large glass beads and charms.
Question: I like to sew strips, and straight seams. What do you like to sew?
Sizzle and Pop by Christen Brown
This is a strip-pieced base comprised of Hoffman and hand-dyed batiks as well as cotton floral prints. The lines and seams are embroidered with beaded stitches, with buttons and sequins used for additional embellishments.
Writing a book, is never easy, and often comes with a myriad of challenges. There were many instances during the various stages of this book that I asked myself, 500+ stitches? a dictionary? WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!!
Did you know for instance?
That pages are printed in a run of 12, (ie: 136, 148, 160, etc.)? There is no adding one or two pages if you are over your allotted number.
That the actual size of the book itself determines the number of words on a page, which of course is lowered if there are pictures?
The content on each page of the book, is arranged individually, no magic program here or magic wand.
That each photograph and illustration have an individual number or name to identify it?
There are DEADLINES, and DEADLINES, and DEADLINES?
Thankfully I have always had a team of professional, talented, and caring women and men that create a book from my manuscript (a bunch of words) and visual content (snapshots and bags of stuff) that we all can be proud of.
As a reader you probably identify the cover, title and content with the author’s name, but in all fairness, it does take a village, and all hands-on deck (to use a few metaphors), to create a book.
Let me introduce you to the team of experts that were involved in the editing, producing, publishing, and promoting of the Hand Embroidery Dictionary.
Roxane Cerda, Acquisitions Editor: She took my initial idea, and helped to develop it into a viable proposal for the Editorial Staff. This is where the bones of the book are determined in the Outline, as well as the number of pages, illustrations, and photographs, which also helps to determine the price of the book.
Editorial Staff: This includes Amy Barret-Daffin our Publisher, Gailen Runge the Creative Director, and a host of the following editors. They make ALL the decisions, from the initial OK, to the cover and face of the book, and so much more!
Liz Aneloski, Senior Editor: Once the book proposal was approved, she presided over all the stages and aspects of the book. She held my hand, she listened, she advised, in her calm and easy manner. I can’t tell you how many emails and video chats we had!
Karla Menaugh, Developmental Editor: She took the first draft of the manuscript in her sturdy hands and determined what needed to be changed before the final draft was turned in. In this case we found that the content would run 15 pages over what I was allotted. YIKES! Through many hours/weeks, emails, and a few phone calls, we got that worked out for final manuscript.
Helen Young Frost, Technical Editor: She took on the next stage of the manuscript where the text was corrected and re-drew all the 1000+ illustrations for the illustrator to follow. As you can imagine, there were many emails, and yes quite a few phone calls involved during the entire progression of the book!
Linda Johnson, Illustrator: She took those hand-drawn illustrations and the ones already in the C&T library and created the remarkable illustrations for the book.
Estefany Gonzales and Lauren Herberg, Photographers: These ladies photographed each of the gallery and sample pieces for the book, including the samplers that held all 500+ stitches!
April Mosteck, Cover and Book Designer: She created the cover of the book, and every page within. Kudos to this talented artist for fitting all the illustrations into the chapter “Embroidery Stitch Dictionary”. Again, more challenging than we all thought it would be!
Tim Manibusan, Production Coordinator: He took over the next two stages of the manuscript. In these stages the photographs and the illustrations are put into the manuscript. Remember that each of these has its own individual number, not a job certainly for the faint at heart!
Jennifer Warren, Production Editor: She worked on editing the final rounds of the manuscript and inserted all the page numbers. If any re-arranging had to be done to fit the text, photographs, and illustrations on to the page, she took care of it.
In addition, to Tim and Jennifer, the remaining production staff, Alice, and Zinnia were called in to meet the deadline! WHEW, we did it!
Promotional staff: Lynn Ford, Alexandra Quilici and Jessica Vaughn: These ladies take the book under their wings and help to promote the book and get the word out to stores, shops and to you, the reader.
My deepest, heartfelt gratitude and thanks are sent to each one of these people, who were involved in this project. And yes, I still ask myself WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!! Luckily the resounding answer was, we’ve got your back!
If you know my work, you know that I sneak a spider and a web into many of my creations. I am in awe of the beauty of a spiderweb, but deathly afraid of real-life spiders! In recreating a spiderweb, I try to capture the beauty of the delicate woven structure. However, when I embroider the spider, I try to create a more whimsical version to somehow confront my fear!
Thank you for looking, and Happy Stitching to you all!
These are a few wall hangings that I have made using buttons. These are all featured in The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.
This wall hanging is randomly strip pieced with scraps of silk, moire, and bengaline fabrics, with accents of vintage lace fabric. Their are vintage celluloid buttons with a few fabric buttons mixed in. The embroidery is worked in perle cotton and seed beads.
For this piece I choose batik fabrics that varied from rust to brown. I found these wonderful blue buffed celluloid buttons, which I paired with brass buttons, buckles and both vintage and new keys. The rust and vintage blue ribbons just keep the colors flowing.
This piece started with a crazy pieced base of cotton prints, I added in lace and ribbon as accents. The embroidery is worked with perle cotton and cotton threads. The embellishments include vintage and new buttons, ribbonwork vignettes and garden tools.
The base of this piece started with strip-pieced batik fabrics, that were machine quilted to resemble the wood grain of a fence. I chose clear glass buttons in a variety of sizes for the flower centers, and clear painted back buttons for the accents. The embroidery is worked in both perle cotton and cotton floss, with beads added in for accents.
The base of this piece is synthetic felt, the pre-cut houses are made from a rayon/wool blend felt that was a gift from Barbara at Joggles.com. I added in a dyed rick rack border, and stitched the details with both solid and variegated perle cotton #8. The buttons are all new, except for the four large buttons in the corners, and the one in middle of the center house.
Hope that you enjoyed looking! Happy stitching! ~Christen