I was creeping ever-so-steadily towards the halfway point on the Hungarian Redwork Runner this past Sunday. It was an indoor day, quiet, gloomy and cloudy outside with threatening storms, and perfect for some simple stitching. And I thought to myself, “Today will be the day I hit the halfway point!”
And I really thought it would be!
I found myself starting to nod. I don’t normally nod off over my stitching. But the weather, the silence, the perfect peace of the day, a late night the night before… you see how it can happen, right?
Then a Brilliant Idea struck me! I would do something I rarely (as in, pretty much never) do. I would watch a movie while I stitched! Imagine that! A quiet day, no interruptions, rain outside, a really good movie (I’m a sucker for BBC dramas). Doesn’t that sound ideal?
And it worked! I hit the halfway point on the runner! And I was pleased.
And I looked at it.
And I thought a bit.
And then I realized….
… I had made a mistake.
The very last element that I stitched was all wrong – the wrong thread, the wrong stitch. Where I should have used perle cotton #8 and Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch, I had used coton a broder and regular chain stitch.
I didn’t have my camera with me (one reason I rarely watch movies and stitch – I tend to forget important things!), so I didn’t get a photo of how very obvious the mistake was.
When you’re working with red thread on white linen and you have to pick out a a good bit of it, it’s not unusual to end up with Residue of Red tarnishing that pristine, white surface.
I don’t like stitching over an area that has thread residue on it, like this one does. The little fuzzies tend to cling to the new thread and give it a fuzzy appearance. So I always make sure I’ve cleaned up the linen as much as possible before re-stitching an area like this.
Now, there are actually tools made to help you do this. There’s a tool called Judy’s Boo-Boo Stick, for example, which I wrote about some six years ago.
But in fact, you don’t really need to invest in a real “tool” for this type of clean-up job.
I think many embroiderers are familiar with this tool. It’s the Finger & Tape tool. And it’s normally free.
If you take a bit of regular transparent adhesive tape – any mild tape (this isn’t one of those Duct Tape Fix It Jobs!) – and roll it around your finger so the sticky part is on the outside, you can tap the tape all over the fuzzy surface and very effectively remove the residue.
And voilá! The surface is pretty well cleaned up. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was, and ready for stitching again.
And now you know why I generally don’t watch movies while I embroider. Most people probably do, but I tend to get too involved in the movie and not pay as much attention to the stitching. Audio books are different – I have a good collection of them and listen to them all the time, and some several times over. And I like music or silence. But movies? I get too sucked into them, and precision and accuracy tend to go out the window.
On the bright side, I get to relish that sense of accomplishment One More Time when I reach that elusive halfway point on this project!
What about you? Are you a movie (or TV) watcher while you stitch? Do you prefer listening to something – music, books – or do you prefer silence? Or the general hubbub of the household? Do you prefer a specific atmosphere? What’s your ideal stitching situation? Would love to hear it – maybe to try it myself, maybe just to daydream about it! Have your say below!