This past weekend, I had a million things to do, and that awful sensation of not knowing where to start. I couldn’t start my next Big Embroidery Project, because I didn’t have one Big chunk of time to get things set up. So I took up a little embroidery project instead – a small silk ribbon embroidery kit that finishes as a little keepsake box.
This is a Bucilla ribbon embroidery kit. A friend gave me a slew of these kits (well, three or four), in case I wanted to use them for my summer embroidery classes. They actually do make great prizes – I gave one as a prize last year. But I thought, for the fun of it, I’d work one up to see how thorough Bucilla kits are.
Bucilla is a well-known name in needlework kits, simply because they’re everywhere. You can find them at any local hobby or craft store. But I don’t know much about their actual quality, as I’ve never used one of their kits. So this was an adventure (in a low-key kind of way!), and it was something to do late at night, without having to dig out a big project.
This is the finished product – a fairly sturdy keepsake box, topped by a little silk ribbon embroidery design.
The pros of the kit:
1. I like the idea of the box. It’s pretty, it’s sturdy, it has a magnetic closure, and it’s useful.
2. The stitches are super-duper simple stitches, accessible to any beginner, and the stitch diagrams in the instructions are clear.
3. The project is small enough to be completed in one evening.
4. The overall finished product is attractive.
5. The kits are relatively inexpensive. In fact, for me, they were free (thanks, Amy!). They were bought on clearance, which is always a good way to pick up little projects inexpensively.
The cons of the kit:
1. The fabric is too small, and it’s kind of cheapy fabric. If it is supposed to be hooped up, as directed, the beginner might wonder how to accomplish that. You’d have to sew extra fabric around it if you wanted it to fit in a hoop, unless you had a three inch hoop. A four inch hoop is too big, even. I worked it in hand, which isn’t so easy with ribbon embroidery, French knots, and so forth.
2. The print of the design was a little off center. This is noticeable when the piece is finished and mounted on the box.
3. There wasn’t enough light purple ribbon, but there was enough dark purple, so I just substituted that.
4. They used simple stitches, I guess with the beginner in mind. But there are ribbon stitches that are equally simple that would have been more attractive for some of the flowers. The bunches on each side of the spider web (pale yellow) rose are ok, but not that attractive. But I will grant that they are simple – they are cross stitches with a French knot in the middle.
5. For the spider web rose, they specified the light yellow ribbon, with the spokes worked in the same color floss. Strangely enough, there was only dark green and dark purple floss. No pale yellow in the kit. I could have used the dark green – and probably should have – but instead, I used the ribbon for the spokes.
6. Mounting problems: they supply on the box two borders of double-sided sticky tape (already on the box – you just remove the top strip). The inside border is where you mount the fabric, and after you’ve stretched it and mounted it on this sticky tape, you are supposed to trim the fabric straight along the edge of the tape. This would be done easily with a ruler and a rotary cutter (carefully – you don’t want to slice the box through). But they didn’t specifiy that. I started with scissors, but it was a messy job. Then, the outside mounting strip is for the window covering of the top of the box. It doesn’t work. The top would not stay stuck, even when I piled some heavy books on top of the box to press it down. So I resorted to Elmer’s glue, and glued it on. For good measure, I also glued the edges of the fabric. Then I wiped any excess off with a damp towel, and I piled books on top of the box overnight for it to dry. That worked.
7. Finally, you can see the pattern of the box behind the fabric when it’s mounted. If you’re expected to put a lining behind that, they should specify!
That’s the inside of the box.
Despite the longer list of cons, I think it was a good Quick Project. I’m happy to have the box and the other kits, which I’ll work up over a couple evenings. They’ll make great prizes for the kids’ classes!
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