This month's Stitch Explorer challenge was to incorporate something unconventional into an embroidery project, either in the background or in the surface stitching. For inspiration, I reviewed my notes from two excellent courses I had taken with Susan Sorrell: Personal Symbols and Fertile Earth.
For the background, I used a piece of painted cotton from a fabric printing project gone awry (why do I have a seemingly endless supply of those?). For a little texture, I added a few small pieces of fabric made using snippets of leftover thread from other projects. A plastic mesh onion bag from the grocery store was added on top followed by a piece of tulle. The sassafras leaf was made from wool felt embellished with wool roving. It was outlined with floss and then whipped with variegated rayon ribbon. The veins were stitched and whipped with variegated wool yarn. I think I will probably add some beads to the leaf and (possibly) some stitches to the background.
I have had so much fun with this and it has sparked some ideas for future exploration… I love when that happens!