How do you cope with the end of life of a dear friend? It’s never easy – especially when life seems to have been cut way too short. Whether you’re an embroiderer, sewer, crafter or other form of artist you have an opportunity to use your skills to create something special to honor the deceased’s memory. This month I decided to create a special monogram with a friend in mind. She passed away at the young age of 30 from ovarian cancer.
I enjoy the challenge of learning new software—so I chose to work with Art and Stitch 3.0 software. I was delighted with the built-in designs and features—plus the program is very intuitive.
Open the program, then select File / New. In the dropdown menu I chose Embroidery for the type of design and chose PES format.
I clicked on the Monogram Tools button and discovered a library of monogram styles to choose from. Keeping my friend in mind, I chose the Pioneer Monogram. The ribbon and flowers reminded me of her. I typed my friend’s initials in the letters box.
Although it’s Monogram of the Month—I didn’t want to stop with a monogram. I want more text and the opportunity to use more features in the software. Art and Stitch has a fun feature—adding text on a circle path. I typed “Loving daughter” in the upper portion of the circle then added “and friend” in the lower portion of the circle. While I could probably write pages of text, I figured those two phrases would cover most everything not only for her family but for people lucky enough to have known her.
I saved the design and sent it to the embroidery machine.
Depending on your work habits you could have chosen the thread colors in the software then saved the design. I usually don’t know what colors I want to use until I have ALL the “crayons” in front of me. Once in my sewing studio I selected thread colors that I thought would not only coordinate well but would celebrate Alana’s life. This is also when the creative process really did turn into a process!
First I grabbed some blue fabric. I liked the “almost” denim look and thought it would be perfect to stitch the monogram. But when it came time to select thread colors I realized the challenge of making sure the embroidery popped against the now not-so-nice blue fabric. The thread colors don’t merely need to be bright—they need to be attractive and coordinate. Not to mention they need to be colors my friend would have liked. That is a daunting task!
The blue sample above just didn’t work. What was I thinking when I stitched teal ribbons next to the green leaves? The colors don’t work well together. On the bright side, I did like the red thread.
Undaunted, I tried again. This time I switched to white fabric.
Now, before you scoff at this sample, let me explain my logic at the time. The leaves needed to be green. The red worked in the previous sample—so surely they’d work for the ribbons. But as I stitched I realized the sample was turning into Christmas with the red and green. So I thought I’d balance things out with the stark black thread for the initials – then a dash of teal for the lettering. I almost didn’t finish stitching this sample. It wasn’t my best color selection!
After the first two samples I decided to regroup. I focused on my friend’s favorite color: emerald green. I selected a pretty emerald green thread—and let it lead the way as I chose the rest of the colors. The rose and golden yellow coordinated well. I really wanted to incorporate teal—the color for ovarian cancer awareness. So I chose a darker version of the color than I had been using. Confidently, I stitched the sample and well, I think the results speak for themselves!
There is a lesson in this blog. Maybe a couple lessons if we look hard enough!
- Select one color and build around it.
- Be open to experimenting with different thread color combinations. If you don’t get it right the first time, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it on the next attempt!
- Every stitch-out is an opportunity to learn!
Now that it’s stitched it’s ready to be framed and given to Alana’s family.