This is a dumb joke, but here it is, nonetheless: “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Earwig.” “Earwig, who?” “Earwigo again…” (Sorry.) This is the re-beginning of an embroidery project that I began when I set up my slate frame. I subsequently messed it up, and had to start over – remember the photo from my embroidery mistakes and needlework frustrations? It’s underway once more – so, here we go again…
I’m making a linens pouch. This is an ecclesiastical piece of embroidery – the pouch itself will hold small altar linens. I wouldn’t normally make a linens pouch out of linen, but that’s what was requested, so I wanted to conform the project to the tastes of the receiver of the gift! I posted photos of a similar embroidered pouch for linens before – you can take a look at that to get an idea of what the finished piece will look like, construction-wise.
On this one, I have a cross, swords, and crown design on the front. When I initially drew the design on the initial fabric (set up on the slate frame), I used a pencil and was not pleased with the fact that the thread seemed to picking up some grey from the pencil. Rather than stitch the whole thing and risk the grey not coming out, I started over!
So this is the front so far:
Notice that the design (you can barely see it) is in blue now. I used dressmaker’s carbon to transfer it. Here and there, I did have to barely touch up a line with the lightest touch of a pencil. I haven’t gotten very far on it, have I?
This is the cross a little closer. Oh, golly. While I would prefer doing this piece in colored silks and real gold threads, I felt obliged, again, to try to match the recipient’s tastes. So I’m working in coton a broder. Since the linen is a good, solid medium-weight linen (Alba Maxima by Legacy), I’m using a heavier sized thread. This is #16 coton a broder.
But despite the fact that I’d might like to be working with other materials, I will admit that I do LOVE working with the coton a broder on the Alba Maxima linen. And – I LOVE Palestrina Stitch. This is a great stitch, and I think it looks really pretty in this thread on white. The stitch is fun to work – once you have the steps down, it moves at a nice rhythm. I really do love it. (Did I mention I like Palestrina Stitch?)
I want to fill the middle of the cross, I think. Since it’s the central focus of the design, I’d like to have it a little heavier than the rest of the piece. I could achieve focus on it two ways – by making all other elements filled, and leaving this “voided,” which would make it stand out. But instead, I’d rather fill the cross, so the “heavier” looking part is also the central focus.
The problem is, I don’t know what stitch to fill it with. Normallly, I suppose you’d do the filling first (if it’s something beyond seed stitch, anyway), but I wanted to get it outlined to see if I’d like it filled or empty.
Any brilliant ideas for a filling? Of course, satin stitch would be beautiful – it is a gorgeous stitch, when worked right – but the wider parts of the cross are just bordering on “too” wide for the satin stitch. I don’t want loose threads. I also don’t want to pad it, as I don’t want a padded look to the piece.
Nope. Still no clue as to what to fill it with. I keep thinking something brilliant will pop into my mind, but … nothing yet!
That’s a bit closer on the Palestrina stitch there – and you can see where I did some touching up with pencil. Rrgh.
And a little closer on the Palestrina stitch there. Gosh, I love that linen. Gosh, I love that stitch! Yet…
… despite loving the linen and loving the stitch, I will admit that overall, I’m not that pleased with the project itself. I spent 2 hours yesterday stitching on it (beyond what you see here), and almost as long removing all the stitches I had just put in. The piece simply isn’t coming together as I want it to.
Here’s a little teaching moment for you – this is the back. See the long strings carrying over to the sides? I started with “away waste knots.” That is, I started with a knot in the end of my thread, and took my needle and thread down into the fabric far away from where I was going to start stitching. Then, when I had finished the length of the thread, I snipped the knot off, re-threaded the needle, and ran the long tail underneath the stitches to secure the beginning of the thread. This is an easy way to start a line of stitching when there aren’t any other stitches close by to secure your thread under.
Oh, yeah. I do love the Palestrina stitch!
Any ideas on filling it?