Little Whimsy

Remember the little Made labels I did during Me Made May ? Well, they have kindled a love of embroidery in me. 

I don't know why I love embroidery so much.  It might have to do with the fact that I'm beginning something new--learning new techniques are fun !! (except in woven fabrics. Sorry.)
It also might involve the fact that the more that I sew, the quicker I am, and therefore the less time I actually spend at the machine, which is my favorite part. The hum of the machine and the mindless concentration needed are calming.

And I think I get that calm feeling with embroidery. There's very little prep before you start, and from then on it's all needle in, needle out, focused love.

During May, I didn't focus much on technique, but now I am, and I found this fabulous book that teaches you sooo much.

The book is called Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond by Aimee Ray, and I love it.
First off, it has chapters on basic embroidery, cross stitch, and applique. However, it also delves into lesser practiced stitching like redwork and crewel. I love that it contains the traditionally Asian works of sashiko and shisha alongside work such as cutwork and stumpwork that I could imagine Edwardian ladies making handkerchiefs with.  There's just so much variety in this book !
It also contains projects for every section, and many of them have variations presented in the book.
At first it was confusing because I didn't know what stitches they were talking about, but then I found the stitch glossary (duh. Right, Regan ?) which has diagrams.  They're not always the most easy to understand, but I fumbled through.
So ! I know, you guys are like where are her creations ? ? ? Here they are !
This is supposed to be a flower on a lily pad. However, my cousin says it looks like a pink frog. The petals are all just straight stitches. The outline of the pad is done in split stitch, which I luuurve. Then I used long stitches and couched them with stab stitches for the inner pad. It looks amazing ! I love how Edwardian it would look if the flower actually resembled a flower !
Then we have the cactus in moonlight, or as my cousin said, the cactus flinging a boomerang.  The cactus is made of split stitches.  The prickles are what the book calls the Fly stitch, and it's made similar to the daisy chain stitch.  The moon is a poorly done satin stitch. The sand is random daisy stitches with some long stitches and couching, because I wasn't crazy about how crab-like the daisies were. And then my new technique with this was the sea green French knots in the sky. I like them.
Finally we have my whimsical shrub. It was made with random, fake eyelet flowers. Everything else literally is long and short stitch ( a variation of satin stitch) or satin stitch. My mom loves this one, because it's so "full looking", but it took soooooo long to make.
Oh ! Materials used: I used two strands for the lily pad flower/frog.  Everything else used three strands, which was recommended in Doodle Stitching.
I barely even scratched the surface of what is in this great book; I can't wait to try shisha or crewel !
Have you guys ever tried embroidery ? Or if the sewing machine isn't the part of sewing that soothes you, what does ?