This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Yesterday afternoon was all mapped out, scheduled, spoken for, even. Yesterday afternoon, I was supposed to be working on the Mission Rose – finishing up a part, photographing it, preparing an update on it.
But there was so much enthusiastic response on yesterday’s article on tambour embroidery. And enthusiasm and interest like that – well, to a blogger, it’s infectious. You get excited – I get excited. You express interest – my interest increases.
The same thing used to happen in the classroom. Students would get excited about a subject – which would further heighten my excitement – which would lead to an extension on the topic so that we could delve more deeply into it. It’s a normal part of human relationships, I suppose. People tend to feed off each other’s enthusiasm – and that can be a very good thing!
But it can also be very distracting!
I went out to the workroom yesterday afternoon, as I normally do, to get some work done in a number of areas. My first stop was at the table, where my tambour stuff was still set up. Here, I determined to undergo Only Thirty Minutes of practice on the scribble cloth.
But tambour work is a bit addictive. And thirty minutes morphed into an hour.
Or was that an hour and a half?
I kept thinking I would grow bored. Tired. Develop achy muscles or something. But it never happened. I was Good and Stuck.
After fighting myself mentally for a while, I gave in and moved onto a little project that had been seething in my brain ever since I started my practice regime with this damnably addictive hook.
The project idea I’d been musing over involved this autumn leaf border pattern (originally meant for soutache embroidery, its continuous line makes it perfect for tambour work, too), two blank vintage linen hand towels that have been beckoning for embellishment for some time now, some autumnal thread, and the ever-enthralling hook.
This is the culprit, up close, for those who asked to see it. The tip is very sharp, enabling the hook to break through the fabric. The thread slides into the hook area, and is subsequently pulled to the front of the fabric. In the process, there are some twists and turns with the thread and the hook to enable all this to happen smoothly.
And, once I got the autumn leaves underway, this was my set-up, for those who asked to see it. It is less than ideal, but it was hastily conceived in my excitement to get started. I’m using a small hoop because the design is right on the edge of the linen towel. I just shift the hoop when I need to.
My hoop is being held by my frame clamp on my Needlework System 4 table stand. It’s not an ideal set-up for tambour work. The frame clamp gets in the way of the tambour handle.
I’ve got a tambour hoop and stand combination that I bought years ago from Lacis, but the stand is broken down for storage and the hoop (which was not a very good hoop, anyway) is no longer with us. RIP.
For practicing, I used a much larger hoop, and I’ve also used scrap fabric mounted on stretcher bar frames. The key is that you want your fabric stretched tight.
I’ve practiced on several different types of fabric so far, starting with a scrap of silk organza, and then working on cotton muslin, a cotton flour sack towel (a bit fuzzy, but it works), shadow work (handkerchief weight) linen, medium weight linen, and then heavy weight linen.
One reader yesterday suggested using tulle to practice on, so that you can easily see what both of your hands are doing. I think that’s a splendid idea! For practicing, the synthetic tulle sold at the local fabric store is easy to come by and inexpensive.
For thread on this particular experiment, I’m using a spool of Sulky’s Cotton Petite Blendables, in Autumn. Though I’m not a huge fan of variegated threads, I do love them for some applications. I thought these changing fall colors went well with the leaves, echoing the changing of colors and the whole movement of the pattern.
You can find Sulky Cotton Petite Blendables online through Anita’s Little Stitches, or check your local fabric store that carries Sulky products.
The cotton petites work well with the 110 hook (which is the largest hook in the typical set of tambour hook and needles that’s available from Lacis). It glides in and out of the fabric really easily.
We’ll talk resources soon!
And hopefully, I won’t get sucked in by the hook again today….
…but I don’t guarantee it.