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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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HELP! Considering a Fabric Choice…

 

I think I may have made a mistake. (Shock! Horror!) This is a fabric mistake, and actually, it’s not very surprising. I tend to make mistakes, and I tend to especially make mistakes when I settle for one thing, knowing deep down I should just waaaaaiiiiiit. This is the problem: I received an order of fabric today!

Receiving a fabric order isn’t the worst problem in the world. In fact, I was happy to see the package arrive! But it had this fabric in it – this 36 count natural Edinburgh linen, which is exackitackily the color I wanted to work my whitework sampler on.

Now do you see the problem?

Let me show you the difference…

Linen: 36 count natural Edinburgh vs. 32 count flax Belfast linen

The linen I’m presently using is a 32 count Belfast linen in flax (that’s the color). The new linen I recently ordered is 36 count Edinburgh linen in natural. It’s the top linen in the photo above.

The natural Edinburgh linen is definitely darker than the flax Belfast linen, and it’s the color I had in mind when I set about contemplating the whitework sampler. But, see, I had the Belfast linen. And I didn’t know what the difference would be in the two colors – I actually thought the natural would be lighter. But in my head, the color I wanted was the color that arrived this morning!

Linen: 36 count natural Edinburgh vs. 32 count flax Belfast linen

Now, you may be tempted to ask what the heck? What’s the big difference? And, to a degree, you’re right. But there are some pros and cons to switching fabrics…

The advantages of switching to the darker fabric:

1. Better photos – it’ll be much easier to see the white threads and the patterns they form, etc., on the darker fabric.
2. Higher count and smoother hand – the Edinburgh linen seems to have a smoother hand, and it definitely has a higher count thread, which is good for non-counted, non-drawn-thread whitework techniques, such as regular surface embroidery. The higher the count, the easier (I think) it is to work trailing designs, satin stitching, and so forth.

The disadvantages of switching:

1. OHHHH – it’s SWITCHING!!! I probably don’t need to explain this one!! I’ve already made some progress, I’d have to rinse and iron and re-frame the fabric… you know the drill. Argh! We could almost include wasting the other fabric in here, but I don’t really consider it a waste, and it isn’t that much fabric. UGH! The set-up of a project is not my favorite part, needless to say!

2. The higher thread count also poses a con, when working drawn thread techniques. It’s just downright easier to do drawn thread work on a lower count fabric. Also, in the Ukranian drawn thread stuff, I wonder if 36 count might be a wee bit too high? I’ll have to contact Yvette on that one….

So —- HELP!!!

Whadyareckon? What are your thoughts? What should I do?

To switch, or not to switch – that is the question!
Whether ’tis nobler to suffer with discontent of color,
Or to take scissors against this framed-up pale stuff,
And by cutting and unframing, end it?

 
 

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(13) Comments

  1. I really like the darker color too. I think it depends on how much work is already done on the lighter fabric. Obviously you’ll have to cut off the part already stitched (unless you can make it into a bookmark or something small like that). If it’s ‘throwing away’ much fabric at all I’d continue with the lighter color. But if it’s only a small bit, then I’d switch, but that’s just me. For me the thread count doesn’t even come into the issue, one is just as good as the other. Not much help here, but the darker fabric is sooooooo much prettier for whitework.

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  2. Hi Mary,

    Yvette Stanton here! You called?!

    You asked about working Ukrainian drawn thread embroidery on 36 count. There should be no problem with that. You will have to adjust your thread thickness accordingly.

    When I was at the Ukrainian museum in New York, I did see one piece that was done on about 38 count. So it should work fine. It will just be very fine!

    Keep in mind as well, that the design will shrink a little further, if you are taking the fabric count from 32 count down to 36 count.

    I have done a little hardanger on 40 count, and while it was fine (and exquisite at such a small size) it was ok to work. Its not the sort of thing that I would ever put in a book though, because its way too fine for most stitchers. Don’t strain your eyes doing it – use good lighting and take breaks by regularly looking up and refocusing in the distance.

    As for the colour of the fabric, I like either. The paler one will be better for your Mountmellick section (I’m assuming you ARE having a Mountmellick section!) as it really should be white on white. But I think for your drawn thread, Hardanger, Schwalm etc, the darker colour with the white thread will be just lovely.

    But of course, its up to you!!

    Personally, I wouldn’t let the fact that you’ve already started on the other one put you off. If you keep going and regret it, you’ll probably never finish it. If you REALLY want to use the Edinburgh linen, then you must swap over to it, otherwise you just have disappointment and a UFO in the making.

    I once worked a whole hardanger project and then decide that the thread for the needleweaving was wrong. I undid it all, redid it with the new thread, and was MUCH happier with it. I would never have been happy with it if I had just left it.

    I actually think you’ve already made your decision. You just need the courage to act on it. 🙂 Go for it!!

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  3. Switch! You’ll regret it later if you don’t.

    I’m guessing Mary Corbet is an English Lit teacher by profession. Just a hunch though. I could be wrong !

    MGM

    3
  4. You are not the only on fooled by Naturel (thinking it should be lighter) I order some fabric Natural and it was a lot darker then I would have thought.
    Jaci

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  5. Hi Mary, dont’t switch. I know the logic is flawed, but think about it. If you complete on the original fabric, you will then have a spare gift for someone and you can do something similar for yourself on the new fabric.

    Congrats to Melissa for the prize.

    Also, I found a copy of Inspirations 61 in my book store. Yup, bought it! Read it! the pomegranate has gone to “the list”, but I was delighted to find instructions for a/an Etui. I have wanted to make one for ages years, but no-one had a pattern for me.

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  6. Hi Mary, dont’t switch. I know the logic is flawed, but think about it. If you complete on the original fabric, you will then have a spare gift for someone and you can do something similar for yourself on the new fabric.

    Congrats to Melissa for the prize.

    Also, I found a copy of Inspirations 61 in my book store. Yup, bought it! Read it! the pomegranate has gone to “the list”, but I was delighted to find instructions for a/an Etui. I have wanted to make one for ages years, but no-one had a pattern for me.

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  7. Do what you feel is right- what does your heart say? You may get lots of suggestions, mull over them and decide- finally what matters is whether you like what you are doing or not.

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  8. Don’t do it!! Don’t switch!!
    Just finish the one you’re doing – mail it to me – then begin again.

    Call this one practice. or whatever you want. The other will still be there waiting for you.

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  9. Mary, first I have to thank you so much for your descriptions on drawn thread work. They are the very best I’ve ever seen. Doing this type of needlework scares off a lot of people. I think I can actually do it now!

    I’m thinking you should stay with the white for your lessons for us. On the lower count fabric it is easier to see the individual threads. I do agree that there would be more contrast with the darker fabric. Best shot would be the darker fabric in a lower count! Uh oh, now I’ve opened another can of worms!

    Whichever you decide to do, I’m with you all the way and am anxiously awaiting more instructions on decorative stitches.

    Marilyn

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  10. Oh Mary, this is one of those “it’s got to be your call” things.
    I always consider this: Will I be happy with the piece when it is finished or regret having gone ahead with it forever?

    I suspect you already know the answer 🙂

    Hugs, Marlon

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  11. Oh Mary, that’s a conundrum, isn’t it?! I like the look of the white on the darker linen, but I also like the look of true white on white… So I’m a bad person to be answering this…

    Hmmmm. Take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, contemplate the pretty, smug camels and then do what your heart tells you. (From reading your post, I’m suspecting it’s going to be switching, but I’m just guessing here.) The imperative: don’t do something you won’t love doing.

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  12. Mary,
    I think you’ll be much happier with the sampler done up with the darker fabric, but I can think of a few things to do with that little bit you’ve already done on the lighter fabric. It’s almost a square, so what about backing it with a pretty pastel shade …. blue maybe, so it will show up nicely, and making it up into the cover of a little needle book for a gift for a friend? Or just put it in one of your next monthly giveaways. I’m sure someone would be delighted to have it.
    Tess

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  13. The darker fabric looks an awful lot like a recent project of yours. Don’t do whitework on dark fabric, Mary; it just misses the point. And besides, do you really want teeny-tiny pulled work on that higher count linen? Stick with what you started-that’s my vote!

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