Whilst on our 10 year anniversary vacation, somewhere in California, at a JoAnn’s, I grabbed this embroidery kit (and like a whole bunch of other stuff, but that’s not what this post is about).

My intention was to return home and immediately create a commemorative embroidery of our tour of the USA. However, when we returned home and eventually settled back into work we had a few other things that were occupying our time, like, THINKING ABOUT A WEDDING and, like, FINDING OUT WE WERE HAVING A BABY. Because somewhere in New York we got engaged and somewhere in California, we got pregnant.

Suddenly there was a lot more pressure on this commemorative embroidery.

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The Holiday

Just in case you were wondering where we went… New York (Guggenheim), Somerset (Falling Water), Washington DC, Orlando (Disney and Universal), Miami (South Beach), San Francisco (where we picked up our Lost Campers van – Caroline), Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP, Yosemite NP, Death Valley NP, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Sedona, Wickenburg, Joshua Tree NP and Los Angeles.

The Design

The kit helpfully has a map of the USA with all the states marked (hence why I bought it). I decided, because I am lazy, that I would only stitch the States that we passed through on land. I traced the map with the states onto a plain white paper by holding it up to a light (classic sunlight technology). Once I had traced the map I used our home printer to make a photocopy as I just knew I couldn’t do this in one draft and I didn’t want to trace the map multiple times.

Using the classic small x I marked all the spots that we stayed and used the other classic – – – – – to mark the route. Helpfully, the kit provided a template for a few of the elements like the aeroplane and car and then I drew the rest of my own icons after searching the internet for various inspirations. So that I could play around with layout I drew all the small icons on scrap bits of paper so they could be moved and adjusted until I was happy with the layout.

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The Transfer

Once I was happy with the layout and design I used bluetak to adhere all the various elements in place on the paper. I then photocopied it and adjusted the scale to fit an 8” hoop. With the finished and scaled design, I traced the design onto the Sulky Solvy that I bought at JoAnn’s on the trip. It was my first time using it and I had high hopes.

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The Thread

I have a significant stash of embroidery threads thanks to my mum’s savvy garage sailing skills. I used my photocopied template and my 30+ year old Derwent pencils to colour the picture as I wanted it then used my thread stash to identify the colour and noted their codes on my template. If I needed an additional colour I just picked something out as I went. I was very excited to try my metallic threads and used these in the engagement ring and the two love hearts. Metallic thread is not fun but it sure is pretty.

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The plane turned out to be the most difficult part of the design and I cannot explain how many times I stitched it on but I was starting to be worried about the fabric! I was very pleased with myself for learning how to do French Knots and creating the sequoia foliage. Everything really was trial and error. And there really was a lot of error.

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The Finishing

Once the stitching was finished I had to wash it in water to remove the Solvy. I began by trimming away the excess Solvy. The rest was quite terrifying and went through several stages of complete panic but after a good ironing and being put back in a hoop, I could finally breathe out.

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The Result

I really was so pleased with the design and the result. I am confident that nearly everyone would be able to adapt this kit to suit their own unique holiday.

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Where was the last country you travelled to?