I love working on the whitework embroidery sampler! Exploring the different drawn thread techniques has been fun, and I’m itching to start on some other techniques, such as satin stitch over trailing. But, as with every long, slow project, a break is a good thing! So I’m going micro…
A while ago I showed you this unbelievable miniature embroidered sampler, remember?
I’ve really fallen in love with the little thing – the more I see it, the more I like it. I’m planning on having it framed in a regular frame, with a tiny hole in the mat…
So, here I’ve been, mulling this idea of miniature embroidery over in my head.
I know it isn’t anything new – some people apparently do miniature embroidery for the fun of it, with no distinct purpose. They like it, like I like goldwork. Others create little miniature projects for doll houses. Still others like the notion of petit point on silk gauze (which I’m dying to try – on 72 gauge!). There are plenty of miniature embroidery books on Amazon…. though some are apparently just “small” motifs stitched on regular fabrics. So I know I’m not talking novelty here.
But for my ‘break’ from the whitework sampler, I decided to go micro, and see about this miniature embroidery thing. This has forced me into an area of needlework that is not necessarily my favorite – I don’t particularly care for (sorry!) counted cross stitch! Oh, don’t get me wrong – there are some counted cross stitch items these days that I find really attractive and that I think would be great fun to work. I like the historical samplers, and the Quaker look, and I really like some of the Long Dog samplers – they’re pretty neat. But my stitching preference isn’t counted thread techniques. (I suppose you probably already know this if you’ve been reading my blog for a while!)
Still, I think it’s worth venturing in for a try. First, I’ll try counted. Then I wonder what it would be like to go micro with regular surface embroidery. Teeny tiny – super-duper-tiny – surface embroidery stitches on a wee sampler might be something worth trying.
But, for now, I’m counting. I selected a design that I have from a Sweetheart Tree kit I bought a few years ago when I was on vacation. Then, I picked out some linen. The choice was between two linens: Legacy’s shadow work or Legacy’s alabaster angel. Alabaster angel is 48 threads per inch. Shadow work runs around 56 threads per inch (I counted approximately 7 threads per 1/8 inch). I stuck with the alabaster angel for this first project. The shadow work linen doesn’t have much “body” in the individual tiny threads – it’s a relatively sheer linen with space between the weave. This is nice, but I wanted to make sure the stitches were duly supported. Plus… well, truth is, on the very sheer fabrics, you really have to be concerned with the back as well as the front, and I will admit it – I didn’t want to bother so much about the back! (Tsk, tsk! Shameful, I know!)
With this miniature embroidery stuff, especially on fabric that’s 48 threads per inch, a full cross stitch is too much when working with one strand of regular cotton floss. So the half cross stitch is what I’m using – tent stitch.
I’ve run into a couple little problems:
1. My needle is very small. Tiny needles have a tendancy to sink into the side of my thumb and cause the skin to split. *sigh* And it hurts like the dickens. Perhaps I should consider a “thumble” of sorts.
2. Tent stitch normally works pretty well when translating from a cross stitch desigh, but it doesn’t always work. Because of the one-way direction of the stitches, certain parts of the pattern become a bit disjointed, when they shouldn’t be. In some areas of the design, this is easily resolved with stitching in the opposite direction, though I realize this just “isn’t” done in petit point, from what I understand! In fact, the design has quite a few half cross stitches indicated, as well as the direction in which they should be worked. So it does help to change the direction of the stitching to fit more with the design.
3. The design relies heavily on beads for accents. I don’t think they make beads small enough! The Mill Hill petite glass beads loom over the stitching like giant doughnuts!
4. I made the funniest (most ridiculous) stitching mistake ever. Well, I think it’s funny! Perhaps most people won’t notice it, though, so I’m not going to mention it now. I’ll wait for the photos. Even then, I might leave you to guess!
The design itself is normally over 5″ square, when stitched according to directions on the little kit it came in. With the fabric I’m using, it’s just barely 1.5″ square.
Now, the nice thing at this point would be a photo…. but not yet! Look for it later this week. I’d like to finish the whole piece first.
Other than this, I’m DEFINITELY setting up a little (little, but not this little) goldwork project this week. Christiana sent me some photos of a beautiful little piece of goldwork (Or Nué) that she’s been working on, involving a peacock feather, and I just can’t stand it anymore! I must set up a project! And so I shall. I might even do a feather of sorts, too. Maines des Merveilles has a beautiful issue full of feathers, and I’ve never had a chance to do anything with them. Christiana’s is really beautiful, and as soon as she gives me the okeedokee (she made it as a gift…), I’ll post the pictures.
All that being said, I’m still enjoying the whitework sampler.
Don’t forget to sign up for this month’s embroidery stash give-away if you haven’t already – 12 different types of embroidery threads to try out! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.
Enjoy the day – hope you have time to get some stitching in!