In October I took a road trip to Knoxville, TN to attend a memorial celebration for Bill. I’m not usually a fan of long road trips, but I felt the time alone would do me good. Driving would also give me the opportunity to see as many friends as I could while I was there.
One of the first people I visited was Kathy Drew. I introduced you to this beautiful and talented lady last year in my first Sewing Superstar profile. Last year’s post focused on Kathy’s amazing quilting abilities. Today’s post focuses on something new.
Besides being passionate about quilting, Kathy is also quite enamored with machine embroidery. Prior to my visit, she said she’d been experimenting with embroidery designs and wanted to show me some examples of what she’d been playing around with. Yes, I said it. She was just playing around.
I sat in awe as she shared her latest creations with me. Each one a stunning example of machine embroidery and delicate applique, combined into one spectacular block.
Since these are not real—they’re just play—she is letting me share them with you. Enjoy!
Each block features a flower cluster as a focal point. She rendered each flower in a stylized, but realistic way. The appropriate fabric is selected and the embroidery adds the finishing touches.
A butterfly is used as a colorful accent to the flowers. I am sure she’ll incorporate more accents later—but remember—she’s just playing. I know what you’re thinking . . . I wish I could play like that too.
Each block is framed with an elegant, coordinating border treatment.
Unique background fills create a wonderful variety of textures and tones. These complex fills support the applique design and add interest to the muslin background fabric. That’s right. It’s just muslin. These are play things after all.
The detail in each block is amazing to see. This background fill makes me weak. It is simply stunning.
One of the things I love about Kathy’s work is how she has varied the width, length and direction the stitching. This attention to detail adds so much to the overall design. It also allows the embroidery thread to really show off. The fabric is there, but the embroidery thread is really the star.
The heavy gold lines framing each block are bold, but not overpowering. Kathy used gold thread, but it doesn’t come across as flashy. The gold sets the tone and elevates the overall design.
These blocks remind me of hand-painted china patterns.
Kathy is trying to decide which flowers she should work on next. We discussed focusing the initial designs on native Tennessee wildflowers, but that may be too restrictive.
The red flower you see above is a Poppie. It’s definitely not a wildflower from Tennessee, but it’s a beauty. Maybe this is the beginning of another series—we can only hope.
I love the movement in this block. Gentle curves and explosive colors give a wonderful contrast to the plaid background fill.
The lacy border treatment completes the block. Can you imagine how beautiful this block would looked framed?
Each floral element is packed with detail. The French Knots in the center of these flowers are TDF.
Don’t you love this butterfly? It’s hot pink for God’s sake. What’s not to love?
This circular background fill is so cool. I love how it resembles a traditional pebble fill, but it’s been taken to a completely different level. Yummy!
Well, I hate to have to tell you this, but the show is over. These are all the photos I have, but don’t be upset. I know Kathy has been playing a lot lately, so she may have more to share in the future. I recommend checking out Kathy’s blog from time to time—or better yet—subscribe to it, because she is always up to something—and like me—she loves to share.
Oh, there is one more thing I feel I should tell you. As beautiful as these blocks are, they are not the final designs. These are only the stitchouts. Kathy will stitch out each of these blocks multiple times as she finesses the details and stitch sequences. Can you believe it? These are only the rough drafts.
I must admit, that I rarely get excited about machine embroidery, but when I see what she has been able to accomplish, I think I might need to give this a try. After all, it’s just playing—right?
So, what do you think? Should I give digitizing a try?