Keep Reaching for the Stars

Last summer, I had a brilliant idea for an embroidery series where I would stitch up a tribute to the number one song on the Top 40 charts each week. As happens with many of my brilliant ideas, the project fizzled not long after it started, as I got too ambitious with the pieces, got behind, and eventually ended up with just a couple more hoops in my pile of languishing UFO’s.

I don’t know if it was Casey Kasem’s death yesterday that got me waxing nostalgic, or just restlessness with my current projects, but I pulled out my unfinished Top 40 Katy Perry hoop and have been contemplating it.

Casey Kasem was a staple of my childhood. Between the American Top 40 Countdown that we listened to nearly every Sunday during the hour long car ride to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and Shaggy from the Scooby Doo cartoons, Casey Kasem’s voice was a familiar one to my sisters and me. Even now, though it’s been many years since Kasem hosted the Countdown, the Countdown itself still reminds me of childhood and makes me think about the passing of time, the way music becomes connected to memory.

I still really like the idea of the embroidery series, and might take it up again. In fact, maybe I’ll go back and begin from somewhere in the 80’s during Kasem’s reign. Before I get ahead of myself, however, I WOULD like to finish this piece:


I found the tiger in a circus coloring book of Eliot’s, and traced him onto tracing paper, then layered the printed background fabric, the white fabric, and the tracing paper in my hoop and stitched directly through all the layers. You can tell in the close up photos that there are still bits of tracing paper stuck under his fur. If I were starting a project like this now, I’d use Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy, so I wouldn’t have to dig and pluck those little tracing paper bits out from under my stitches with a set of tweezers and my needle. Ugh!


I was planning to use couching to incorporate gold cording for the flaming ring that the tiger is jumping through here. It looks a little weird with that part missing–Ha! And then I was going to stitch a few lines of the lyrics in bubble letters: probably just “I got the eye of the tiger, dancing through the fire” or something to that effect.


I put it away mostly because I wasn’t happy with the white background and the way I’d cut around it. The flames look weird to me. Maybe just the tiger itself should have been on the white. I liked the patterned fabric background, but was afraid it would be too busy on its own, and that the tiger and the flames would be kind of lost on it.

That’s generally how pieces end up as UFO’s, for me. It’s not that I get bored with the project, or I’m not interested in finishing it anymore, usually. It’s that I don’t plan things out entirely before I start stitching–I make decisions about the process as I go, and then sometimes end up hating what I’ve done so much that instead of finishing out the piece, I just abandon it. 😦

Sad, but true.

Any suggestions for salvaging this guy? If so, I’d love to hear them. Hell, once I finish out my tiger, I might even go back and finish the Macklemore piece I started the week before Katy Perry hit #1 with Roar. It was shaping up to be pretty cool, too. πŸ˜‰


4 thoughts on “Keep Reaching for the Stars

  1. I think it looks awesome. If you aren’t happy with the flames, maybe get out some acrylic paint and fill in those blank spaces with some firey colors. I’m really terrible at couching, so I tend to color inside the lines with paint, or even crayon, if I need to fill in a space. I love the idea of this series, too, so please don’t quit!

  2. I love the idea for this series, and I love this piece (despite not being a Katy Perry fan in the slightest). I actually really like the way the flames look on the white, you could add more stitching inside the flames if you wanted to give them more texture and substance, but I think the layout is solid as-is. Have you tried using the Sulky transfer pens? They are my favorite, because you don’t have to fuss with an extra layer (and how to remove it). I really hope you finish this!

    • Thank you! It’s really nice to get someone else’s eyeballs on a project and have a second opinion. I don’t know anyone else IRL who embroiders, so sometimes when I get stumped, the project just gets ditched. lol
      I appreciate your feedback!
      I’ve tried Sulky transfer pens once or twice, but I seem to have trouble getting a good solid line without gunking everything up. Maybe I just need more practice. πŸ™‚

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