After considering the hanging direction of my Christmas ornament, I finally realized I wouldn’t know for sure whether it would look better square or on point until I finished the green shading. So I finished the green shading, and started the goldwork, then made one of those Moaner Mistakes…
My original concept for this ornament, as mentioned before, was to hand embroider a diamond-shaped Christmas ornament that would hang from the tip of the diamond, and be finished at the base with a tassel. You can see the original drawing of the pattern in the post where I was musing over different projects in planning stages.
Though I didn’t plan much beyond the initial design, I had in mind an ornament that would combine silk shading and goldwork.
Thinking Through the Embroidery Design
Originally, the four diamond shapes around the center of the ornament were to be silk shading in deep reds, raised on felt. But when I started, I discovered I liked satin stitch better for those. Then, once I got the satin stitch in, I found I liked the ornament turned as a square better. So I polled readers about it, asking which direction they liked better, and I think the majority said they liked the ornament hung on point – but many also agreed that the inside diamonds looked better turned. Well, it was too late to re-design the layout, so I decided to forge ahead through the green silk shading to see if it would make a difference in the look of the ornament.
Once the green was in, I was back to liking it on point, as a diamond shape overall, despite the direction of the little red diamonds within. I think it all panned out ok.
I suppose this isn’t the most “professional” way to go about working up a project – this trial-and-error, not knowing where you’re going for sure before you start, type approach. But I like undertaking projects this way, because there’s more discovery along the way. I really had no idea how the red and greens would look together in the design. But I find I like them!
Haste Makes Waste
Once the greens were finished, I was itching to start couching on the pearl purl around the green shapes! I couldn’t wait (I thought) to see what the whole effect of the gold around the green would look like!
BUT – perhaps it was the late hour… perhaps it was my overeagerness… perhaps it was mere carelessness…
I made a mistake. One of those “ooooooooh nooooooooo” mistakes. Just as it happens, you realize exactly what you’ve done, but it’s all so quick, in such an instant, that the fact and the realization of the error all come into being at the same split second…
There it is. In trimming the gold purl pearl, my scissors grazed the edge of my satin stitching, and (I thought) cut through several threads.
In fact, it grazed the threads, and cut halfway through two of them, but not all the way through either. Still, it wouldn’t do – that needed to be repaired before I could rush into the rest of the gold.
I examined from all angles, and realized the mistake wasn’t really noticeable. But the problem was actually the threads – they wouldn’t survive the test of time if they began Life on an Ornament already damaged. So … on to the repairs.
Repairing the Satin Stitching
The first thing I did was carefully snip off the lattice.
Then, using the eye of the needle, I separated the threads that were damaged, to see if there was any way I could pull just one or two threads to the back, and fill in with a couple new stitches.
As I pulled the threads carefully out, though, I realized it would be a matter of complete removal.
On the top of the work, I ran my scissors carefully under all the satin stitches on this one diamond, perpendicular to the direction of the stitches, and cutting the diamond right in half.
On the back, I did the same thing, but I had to be much more careful, because I had ended and begun threads from other parts of the motif in the threads on the back of the diamond. After snipping just the red diamond threads, I carefully plucked out the satin stitching with tweezers.
Tweezers, by the way, are a necessary tool in any embroidery work basket!
I managed to get all the threads out with minimal damage to the felt. The front looked ok, but…
… the back was a Whole Nuther Question!
These were the threads that were anchored in the back of the satin stitching, and it was important that they return to their anchored state, so I was pretty careful with them!
It didn’t take too long to satin stitch the diamond again.
Once I got the lattice back onto the diamond, I charged into couching the rest of the pearl purl. Once the gold outline was on, I was sold again on the notion of the diamond shaped ornament!
I love the look of the gold with these colors of silk!
A Lesson for Hand Embroiderers All
What have I learned so far on this project?
1. Don’t try to make decisions on a design until you get it to the point where you can really “see” it.
2. Haste makes waste. I was dying to get to th
e next step of the project, and, because I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, I had to pick part of the stitching out and start over again, using up valuable thread and valuable time. Take things slowly and pay attention to detail – in the long run, it’ll save you time!
3. But – everyone makes mistakes. As Shakespeare put it, “Roses have thorns, silver fountains mud. Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, and loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud. All men make faults…” At some point, we all have to take out stitches! So instead of dreading taking out the stitches – or allowing a mistake to hault us in our tracks so that we don’t go back to the project (that’s hard to overcome – I find I’m always put off a project when I make a major mistake!), consider the picking out just part of the project. Picking out is, in a sense, an integral part of embroidery – at some point, even the best needleworkers pick out their stitches and re-do. It’s all part of the process… and mistakes are part of being human.
Heh heh. That’s the philosophical me – but don’t think that, at the time, it didn’t irk the heck out of me!
NOW – what do you think about the diamond / square question at this point? Do you think the diamond works better overall now? What’s your take?