We had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a family friend earlier this month in Boston. As with many couples during these Covid times, Basil and Katherine had to postpone their wedding by a year. It was a lovely event and we felt happy to be a part of their special day and to see old friends. For the past decade or so, I’ve been making personalized wedding banners as gifts. They combine two of my favorite things, hand embroidery and handwriting. You can see this and other banners by scrolling through the archives here.
This post includes three Stitch Minute videos, which give closeup views of my process in action. The idea of making a series of short snippets of different aspects of my working methods came about when I saw the overwhelming response to a simple cell phone video of me stitching French knots that I posted on Facebook and Instagram. Since then, Rob and I have set up a filming studio in the basement, where we can control the lighting and camera positioning. Everything is ready to go, so it’s easy to bring whatever I’m working on in my studio into the basement and film a little bit. Of course, Rob has to be available, so I work around his schedule. In sharing these videos, my aim isn’t to instruct, but to inspire, by offering a glimpse over my shoulder.
Whenever I begin a project like this, I choose a color scheme and pick out materials that I might use.
I wrote Katherine and Basil’s names in cursive handwriting on paper and using that as a template, I made a 3-dimensional copy with memory thread.
In this video, you can see how I wrapped embroidery floss around memory thread and formed cursive letters..
Then I cut out a felt background with my customary wavy edge; I tend to resist straight sides and sharp angles.
After choosing 2 shades of green embroidery floss to contrast with the red letters and lavender felt background, I blanket stitched around the outside edge and slits.
You can watch a minute’s worth of blanket stitching in this video.
Then I pinned and sewed the letters to the felt background.
Throughout the process, I brought out various threads, beads and doodads, to see what to include in the design. Not everything ended up in the finished piece and through a process of elimination, many potentially interesting items were put aside.
For this banner, I settled on a heart shaped vine for the featured decoration, which incorporated glass leaf beads and tiny seed beads.
Watch this video to get a close up view of making the wire vine.
Next, I wrote out their wedding date in blue letters and numbers and made a separate contrasting background.
I blanket stitched all around the outside edge of the blue banner with variegated pima cotton (Watercolours by Caron). Then I sewed the different pieces onto the banner and added dangling shells to the 3 bottom flaps.
I looked through my driftwood collection and found the right sized stick that would work as a hanging bar.
I drilled holes to thread beads through.
Then I attached a leather strap to hang the banner from.
Congratulations on your wedding Katherine and Basil. We are so happy for you!
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So beautiful, Salley! 🥰
Reinspired all over again. Thanks for the short new videos too.
Just gorgeous, Salley! 💜
All your work is just so beautiful! No matter how long you look at one of your works, you can see something you didn’t notice before. I’ve seen some of your work at Highfield Hall and looking at the images is like falling into a fairy tale.
Here’s the thing Salley. You can’t beat a beaut doodah! Love ya work. Susie
Hi Salley, So neat to see how you make these again! And so exciting that Basil got married! Sorry we didn’t get to chat at Sheila’s party….the end of an era….quite sad, but necessary…. Love, Maria
Always looking forward to your posts ~ this is lovely … just another of your ideas to ‘tuck and way’ and give a try in the not too distant future. Perhaps you feel the love and energy you give to your fans – and lend even more desire to share with us who attempt to emulate your art.
Gracias Salley por inspirarme con tus preciosos y delicados trabajos. Muy bellos y originales. Y por tomarte el tiempo de compartirlos. Me encanta leerte, el camino creativo que realizas. Gracias👏👏💖💖💖💖💖