Given there are only so many hoop framed embroidery pieces I feel inclined to hang on my wall and given my ever present affinity for practicality, I often find myself looking for embroidery projects that can actually be useful in some way. It was towards this aim I decided to start a series of posts I’ll call Practical Embroidery. The first of which begins with a classic: the pillowcase.
Pillowcases are often embroidered with floral motifs, or curly cues, or they’re monogrammed. I’m not big on monograms myself and even though I like flowers, when it comes to pillowcases I like the thought of them being decorated with something a little more in keeping with bedtime.
I adore, for instance, the pillowcases I’ve seen with the elegantly simple, “sweet dreams” embroidered along the edge, and the pillowcases with whimsically embroidered sheep to count.
After some deliberation I ultimately decided the phases of the moon would be the perfect design befitting a pillowcase. While the moon phases on their own would be perfectly lovely I decided I wanted to add a little more complexity and detail so I brainstormed a few night time animals I could include, like frogs, owls, maybe a fox… settling in the end on a cricket and a blue heron wading in the moonlight.
My sketches for the project:
Work in progress:
I used my own variation on prick and pounce, which I nicknamed prick and pence, to transfer my design onto the pillowcase, you can read about it here if you’d like: Embroidery Transfer Technique ~ Prick and Pence
Because I was embroidering along the edge of the pillowcase I used a very light stitch to temporarily attach some extra fabric along the side, so the piece would fit inside my embroidery hoop.
In all honesty I don’t love the way my moon phases turned out. I had this beautiful silver thread I really wanted to use, unfortunately it wasn’t showing up very well. Right from the beginning I could tell it wasn’t working but I had my heart set on using this thread and I stubbornly thought I could make it work, so I kept trying different things trying to force it to look good, the end result is my moons definitely look “overworked” and have a bit of a Girl-Scout Patch appearance to them. The old adage, less is more comes to mind. Unlike my moons, however, I really love the detail I put into the blue heron and cricket and think they turned out lovely.