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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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Lacy Paper and Thread: I’m Twitterpated

 

When I was little, I loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I remember one story – I think it’s in The Long Winter – where Laura received a box of silks for embroidery, but couldn’t embroider with them right away because her hands were so rough (from twisting straw all winter).

As an adult who loves to use flat silks for embroidery, I can totally sympathize with Laura, when she ran her hands over the silks from the missionary barrel, and realized she couldn’t use them right away!

At another point in one of the books, Laura embroidered Christmas gifts for her mother on card or paper – and my guess is, keeping with the popular trends of that time, it was on perforated paper. For some reason (gee, I wonder why?), parts of books that mention needlework have always captivated me, even if, as a kid, I didn’t exactly know what embroidery on paper or card meant.

Embroidery on paper is no new thing. It was very popular in the Victorian Age, and today, it’s enjoying a come-back, mostly in the area of card-making and scrapbooking.

I’ve written about embroidery on paper before here on Needle ‘n Thread, and I’ve even considered devoting a separate website to the topic (though whether I ever get around to it is another question entirely!).

Recently, Needleprint featured an article on about embroidered bookmarks made from perforated paper and ribbon. I thought the bookmark featured in that article was quite charming. It was not just the embroidery that caught my eye – I love the lacy little edge cut from the perforated paper!

The article referred to a website in France, which, as of 2016, no longer exists. It specialized in perforated card or paper and the beautiful things that can be created with it. I found myself completely enchanted by some of the books featured on the website and ended up purchasing a couple. I’d like to show you one.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

The book, Broderie et Dentelle sur Carton Perforé, is devoted to embroidery and thread on perforated cardstock or paper. The projects within the book are really beautiful! And though the book is written in French, the instructions are easy to follow thanks to the abundant photos and diagrams within its pages.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

Perforated cardstock is certainly ideal for counted cross stitch. The perforations form a grid, so any graphed design – like the monograms in the photo above – are perfectly suitable for perforated paper.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

But the projects in this book go beyond embroidery. By cutting out elements from the perforated cardstock, intricate lacy designs are created, forming an elegant frame for embroidered centerpieces.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

The book shows different historical pieces made from decorated paper, and, using these historical pieces as models, presents a new approach to re-creating the same or similar looks with modern materials. This pretty lamp shade, for example, mimicks a similar antique lampshade made from embossed and perforated paper.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

Embroider techniques on perforated paper are not limited to cross stitch, as this pretty card demonstrates. Satin stitch and straight stitch are used here in combination to form a colorful border and a sprinkling of sweet little flowers.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

In the back of the book, you’ll find diagrams and charts for all the featured projects. The charts indicate where to stitch on and where to cut the perforated paper.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

If you aren’t able to read the French instructions, you can rely easily on the clearly presented diagrams that show how to achieve the different lacy results from the cutting the paper certain ways.

Embroidery on Perforated Paper

At the time I bought the book, the website that sold it also carried a wide selection of perforated paper in higher counts than we find in the US, ideal for paper cutting. Alas, I haven’t found a similar source since!

Where to Find

(2016 Update)

The only place I can find the book available now is through Amazon France.

You can find 14 count perforated paper available at Nordic Needle. It’s great for stitching on, but it does tend to separate here and there when using it for paper cutting. You might need to practice with it a bit and keep some archival glue close at hand for any separations between the colored layer and the stiffer backing.

Hope you enjoy!

 
 

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(8) Comments

  1. I loved the Little House books, too, but what I remember most clearly are the descriptions of food! I remember (switching gears) when cross-stitch on perforated
    paper was in vogue in the 1980s, but it was nowhere near as classy as this.

    I continue to be impressed by the depth and breadth of your needlework interests. I'm really curious — have you ever found a needlework technique that you thought you'd like but then found you didn't? Or are there some forms you're not even tempted to try? You seem to have tried just about everything.

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  2. Oh, yes – and Farmer Boy was the BEST one for the food descriptions! Funny, I forgot about that until you mentioned it, and now, I'm picturing doughnuts and cider and taffy pulls and Thanksgiving Dinner with every kind of pie for dessert. The one food item in the book that really, for some weird reason, enticed me the most: The baked potato in the coals in the early morning when they went out to save the crops from frost. Despite the eye injury, I always thought that sounded so good.

    Ok, enough of that! I haven't eaten lunch yet (at 4:00 pm!)

    Oh, yes, there are techniques I've tried that I thought I would love, but found I didn't after a few attempts. Strangely enough, crazy quilting is one of those. I love looking at it, and I can get lost in all the beautiful stitch combinations and so forth. I practically drool over all the threads and embellishments that can be used so freely in crazy quilting. But I haven't liked it much when I've attempted it myself. Part of the problem is that I don't like piecing together the blocks.

    I'm also not super-dee-duper crazy about counted cross stitch, though there are some aspects about it that I do like, and some types of designs that I like a lot, so, under certain conditions, I can be enticed into counted cross stitch.

    I wrote about huck weaving not too long ago, and I gave it a go on the towel kits I bought at Nordic Needle while on vacation. I quickly passed them on to my nieces. They liked the kits, so that worked out well. It's not that I despise the technique, but it didn't grab me.

    There are PLENTY of embroidery techniques that I have not tried! Every region, every area of the world has their special embroidery techniques – and I'd love to try all of them, but in the effort, I'd end up growing old and dying and never actually accomplishing any full project!!

    It all boils down to the age-old complaint…..

    So much to do. So little time!

    Now…. Lunch!

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  3. This book looks lovely, but unfortunately, it's no longer available on the site. The website only lists a single book now, and I can't tell if it's as detailed as the one you've described here. 🙁

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  4. See Mary? I'm runing against the time…
    Like you I like just to look at crazy quilting not try it.
    And despite cross stitch was the only stitch I've learnt early in my life I'm not fond of it.
    Lacy paper and thread doesn't call me too – but love look at it :))

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  5. I love this technique (agree with Glenda, the lampshade is beautiful) and would really like to try it. I have just started embroidering on paper (or stitching on paper). This summer I found a book on paper piercing which is not stitching but in my mind somewhat related. I am surprised about how much I have enjoyed working with paper.

    Thanks for your wonderful website and blog. I love all kinds of needlework even though I never seem to have much time to finish a product.

    I hope you continue to feature paper embroidery in the future!

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