project: stitching a lampshade
I was very honored when Lamps.com invited me to be a part of their blogger challenge to take a basic lampshade and embellish it into something really special. There was no question...from the very beginning I knew that I would be embroidering on the shade they sent me. What I wasn't immediately sure of was what this would look like.
But before I get too far, I want to point out that this challenge is also a combination contest and giveaway. You can vote for me (please do!) while entering to win a gift card for you!
Back to this lampshade. I'm a bit of a stickler for keeping the back of embroidery as neat as possible, but there's bound to be some jumping between areas. That doesn't work so well on a piece that will have light glowing from behind. I needed to stitch something that would use that light as part of the design.
So I settled on sashiko. When the light is off, the design is traditional (I used a pattern from this book), but when you switch the light on, the back of the stitching shines through, altering the look. I'm not gonna lie, this is a big project requiring quite a few hours and some mighty sore fingers...but I love how it looks. Here's how you can make one too.
First, you'll need a copy of the pattern to place inside the shade. I taped mine inside, then moved it along as I went, making sure that everything lined up properly.
Use a marking pen that will disappear with time, but test it first to make sure it really will go away. You don't want to get stuck with these lines! Also, be sure that you're marking only as much as you'll stitch before the lines go away.
Use a sharp needle to punch holes to stitch through. Try to space them evenly, and take into account how they will get stitched. As I punched, I was counting and saying to myself, "stitch, space, stitch, space, stitch." It mostly worked!
Now you stitch! I used perle cotton, working with just enough thread for one scallop. Tie a tiny knot with little or no tail, and stitch back and forth through the holes. You'll need to work back and forth, looking at the front and back as you go.
At last, you'll have a beautifully stitched lampshade!
While I recommend that you hold the shade up to light as you get started to see how things are showing through, there's nothing quite like lighting it up for the first time!
Oh and remember those sore fingers I mentioned? Yeah. Things got a lot happier and easier one I taped my fingers. I told my sister that it made my feel like a hockey player...she said it made my fingers look more like turkey legs. Whatever. This is what we do for our craft!
Now, please, please vote for my lampshade over on the Lamps.com blog, and take a look at the lovely things they have to offer while you're there. Remember you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card!