I’m not exactly sure if this really a Christmas card. It was supposed to be! I’m supposed to be embroidering baby booties, Christmas cards, and a Christmas ornament right now. But I already demonstrated (much to my embarrassment, in retrospect) how easily distracted I can get when it comes to needlework! Whatever the case, though, I finished embroidering the chicken.
Inspired by Christine Bishop’s book, Schwalm Whitework Embroidery, I adapted her little chicken design to a card. After drawing out the pattern and dotting it up for piercing, I transferred the pattern to a red piece of 5″ x 5″ textured cardstock and started stitching with #80 DMC white cordonette. For different parts of the design, I switched to #60, and I even used #50 at one point.
My plan is to mount this on white card stock. As luck would have it, I have just about every color of cardstock except white!
With the eyelets, I was originally planning on open, un-stitched circles, as seen on the card before it was embroidered. My idea was that the white from behind would show through and make the dots white. They would. But I held the card up to blank paper, and it didn’t look quite as I had pictured it. So I decided to outline each eyelet with little stitches.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t pierced the cardstock for those stitches. I contemplated going back to the drawing board (piercing foam) and carefully pricking in a few hundred little holes… but then I opted for the lazy approach, and just used my needle, pricking and stitching at the same time.
Taking that approach didn’t cause any trouble – it was rather easy, actually – but I did notice that it slightly dents in the card, more so when pricked before stitching. Still, in the finished scheme of things, it didn’t make any noticeable difference.
Overall, I like the little fellow a lot. But, this is the thing: it took quite a few hours of stitching to finish this little 5 x 5 piece of paper. And in the long run, though I do like the idea of time and effort going into handmade cards, I’m not sure if 6 hours a card is a feasible idea.
That being said, I’ve got a couple other Schwalmish schemes bouncing around in my head. I’ll let you know if they come to fruition.
If you’re looking for patterns for stitching your own Christmas cards, I recommend Erica Fortgens book, Merry Christmas Embroidery on Paper. I really like it. I’ve made a few embroidered Christmas cards with her patterns, if you’d like to give them a look. I like the fact that, on many of the patterns, you can take just one little element and situate it in the corner of a card or gift tag, or in the middle of a miniature card. If you’re not familiar with any of Erica’s books, you might want to check them out!