The GLF Embroidery Project, Part 1

So I’ve been working on my “Trout Potatoes” burlap sack embroidery project for a while.  And I’ve discovered some things in my creation of same.

And in those discoveries, I’ve realized that if I do this project again, I have to make this work more effectively.  In fact, I’m putting aside my plan to stitch this burlap bag into something compelling …

Thus begins a new art project … with a different burlap sack … this time involving the initials GLF.

I shall explain.

In 1920, a collective of farms and farmers created an cooperative known as the Cooperative Grange League Federation Exchange, or GLF for short.  GLF operated radio stations (the Rural Radio Network) and feed / grain stores throughout rural New York, existing from the Finger Lakes to the Capital District.  The GLF later merged with two other cooperatives to make the company Agway, whose stores still exist today.

During my travels, I came across a burlap sack with a red-black “GLF” logo, all surrounded by crisscrosses and smaller GLF logos.  Now I have some ideas with this.

I definitely want to embroider this thing up.

And I must not make the same mistakes I made with the Trout Potatoes bag.

For example:

  1. Don’t cut the burlap bag apart.  There’s enough room in the sack to stitch and sew, and once it’s done, you can stuff some cotton or other fibrous material inside and create a nice decorative pillow or mat.
  2. Get some stabilizing fabric.  This was a mistake I made with the Trout Potatoes bag; burlap isn’t a very stable fabric, and as I sewed into the weave, the strands would bunch and pinch together.  Stabilizing fabric, when attached to the back of the burlap bag, keeps the fibers from driving and pulling and bunching.
  3. Get an embroidery hoop.  A good one.  One made of wood, with a nice groove inside the hoop to keep the fabric tight to the frame.  Get two of them, that way you can work on different parts of the bag at the same time.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to the colors of the original bag.  This is important.  You’re not replicating what the bag is now; you’re creating what you can imagine the bag to become.  Be artistic, Chuck.  Show your skills.

Okay.  Embroidery hoop installed.  And I started work on the center logo.  You see it there, it’s the one with the serifed letters “GLF” and the script “Quality” beneath.

I started with a “satin stitch” along the “G” in the center GLF logo.  And with the stabilizing fabric backing the burlap, the finished stitching was, for me, more constant and even.

After I stitched the black yarn through the burlap, I trimmed around the G with some white metallic yarn.  And you know what … when I really take my time to sew this properly, it can actually look rather impressive.

Sort of reminds me of that old Mr. Rogers song about taking my time to do things right.

Now if I can just get this lined up properly…

Here’s what the “G” in GLF looked like before I started stitching…

And on the right, here’s what it looks like with the black yarn and the white trim around it.

This bag needs to be seen, don’tcha know.  And that metallic white yarn, accented off the black strands, will definitely make this thing pop.

I stitched up the “L” and “F” in the center logo, then used black yarn to stitch up the script “Quality” at the bottom of the logo.  I didn’t outline the “Quality” script in white strands, though, as I wanted the “GLF” to have more accentuation in the logo.

Then, after adding some white metallic yarn as additional accents…

I’m at this stage of the process.

Nice.  Look at me being creative.  Self-high-five.

Horizontal black yarn for the lettering and script, vertical white metallic yarn for the accents.  All right.  Dull reddish brown for a background will not work.

Okay … now where do I go from here?

Hmm… how about hot pink?

Yes, I said hot pink.

Look, this is my artwork, you don’t like it, get your own yarn and your own needles and your own burlap bag and make your own project.

I decided on alternating angular stitches.  This is what it looks like after several stretches across the lower part of the logotype.

That will look SO much better once the entire circle is covered in hot pink strands.  At least I hope it will look so much better.  But I won’t know until I finish the stitching.

And thanks to the miracle of writing a blog post over a period of days…

I finished the background for the logo.

Now that looks swank.

Now I have to look at the diamonds around the logo’s perimeter.  You can see them.  Seventeen different “GLF Quality” logos.  What can I do with them?  Embroider them?  Cover them?  Stare at them until my eyes bug out?

I tried one thing to start.  In the lower left corner, I used dull green satin stitches to fill in the diamond.

And in the center – where the GLF miniature logo resides – I tried my luck at creating a woven spider wheel.

Here’s how it’s supposed to look, courtesy of YouTube…

And here’s how it ended up, courtesy of Chuck.

It’s kinda rough and it’s kinda raw … but it’s also kinda looking nice.

This GLF burlap bag project is moving a lot farther forward than my Trout Potatoes project.  I can still chronicle this creation throughout the wintertime.  And if I can finish it in the next six months or so …

I could enter the GLF Project in CS2018.

That’s “Competition Season 2018” for those who speak acronym. 😀

More to stitch.

So stay tuned.