Embroidery: I'm Your Native [Daughter]


Of course this year was like any other: I had very lofty goals to create handmade gifts for each and every member of my family this Christmas, but true to form I barely finished one!

In her 20s my sister traveled with a musical group that took her through several states in the Union (is it capitalized when talking formerly about the country?). So when I saw this on Pinterest (where else?) I thought of her immediately. If you weren't sure, the post title is a reference to the excellent song, "City of New Orleans."

The only problem was, how would I remember all the states she's been without going to her directly and tipping her off that I was investigating for a project? Fortunately for me, her musical group kept an online journal during their travels, and I was able to find them archived in the recesses of the internet! So I read every entry to find states to put on a list, and then used my own memory of my sister's life and her travels in the America: mission trips, choir tours, personal road trips or vacations.

After compiling the most complete list I could without outright asking my sister to list all the states herself, I went to work on the piece. I tried to pick a size that wouldn't be so small it swallowed up the...'spatially challenged' states (I grew up in the west, and haven't traveled much east of the Rockies--small states confound me) and not so big that she wouldn't want to put it up on her wall (not everyone has the same more-is-more philosophy I have about wall decor), so I decided the final product would be in a 10 inch hoop.

I started with my favorite states--which would include Arizona and Montana so this photo isn't a total representation--(I bought this print at a craft fair last month) and headed east.

The reason North Dakota looks so weird is because putting the fabric in a smaller hoop can warp the threads. I don't like having to embroider something in a smaller hoop but the tension can be much better.

I decided to put the abbreviations of the states Jenny's yet to visit. I've got to say, this project really helped refresh my memory of the size and location of the states.

I wanted to put some kind of title on the piece to explain what it is for anyone who sees it in Jenny's house, and I came up with what I consider a fairly clever phrase:

For the titles I used one of those ombre-changing color flosses.

After I gave it to Jenny on Christmas morning, she confirmed what I suspected--there were a few in the midwest that she's been to that I missed! So next time I'm over there I'll need to bring some floss to fill them in. I tried to make each state a different color, but within a more muted, neutral palate. Oh, and I accidently filled in Delaware, but it's so freaking SMALL no one notices.

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