I love getting into a new embroidery project — it is SO satisfying to see it progress, and often I can’t help but run my fingers over the new stitches. Recently I stumbled upon Jans Schwester‘s embroidery on Pinterest and fell in love with her gorgeous floral embroidered strainers. Once I started looking, I discovered even more amazing embroidery on strainers, colanders, and screen windows and doors, so I decided to give it a try myself!
I ended up stitching all my strainers using geometric shapes as inspiration, but in ombre colors for a bit of interest. These three pieces were not quick to complete, but once you get going they’re quite simple and are great to work on while binge-watching your favorite show, riding public transit, or just having a relaxing day at home. The blue strainer is 7 inches across and took me four or five hours to complete; the smaller green one took about three hours, and the vintage colander took less than one hour. Don’t let the timing intimidate you though — as with most embroidery, the process can be a bit slow, but the results are so unique. I now admire my strainers every time I walk into my kitchen. —Kathleen
-Embroidery floss (in ombre shades, if desired)
-Strainers (or colanders) in various sizes
-Needle (make sure it can fit through the mesh of the strainer)
Step 1: Before you even begin, do an online image search on “geometric embroidery” — there are some really beautiful pieces to look at and use as inspiration. For one of my strainers, I went with a simple hexagon shape. To start, I cut a length of dark green embroidery floss and split the six strands into two lengths of three strands each. Put one to the side, and thread the other through the needle, tying a double knot on the end. Start from the back of the strainer and come up through, pulling until the knot is caught on the mesh. Create your shape by counting the small squares in the mesh — this can be tedious for the first few shapes, but once you have a few on there you can use them as reference points for every other shape you embroider.
Step 2: Continue your pattern until you only have a few inches of thread left. At this point, remove the needle and tie a double knot in the thread right at the mesh. Trim the excess tail and rethread your needle.
Step 3: Since I wanted an ombre look, I kept the dark green thread to the bottom third of the strainer as shown below.
Step 4: Continue stitching as before, using a medium green for the middle area of the ombre.
Step 5: Once you finish the medium green, end with the light green thread. My finished strainer looked like this:
Step 6: For the blue ombre strainer, I made the triangular stitches by working within squares — I’ve shown the stitches below to help break it down a little bit. By no means is this the only way to make triangles, but I found it helped to have the squares as a starting point to help keep everything even.
Step 7: Last but not least was the vintage colander. This one was a bit quicker to do, but I love how it turned out. I used all six strands of the embroidery thread for this one, and instead of a needle, I rolled tape onto one end of the thread to help get it through the holes. I also did ombre on this colander, using tape to help keep track of where I wanted to change colors.
Step 8: Instead of tying knots to secure the thread, I used washi tape to keep them hidden in the back.