Remember the finish on this embroidered kaleidoscope project, Party in Provence, that I shared with you last week?
Well, I’ve been working my way through a variation on the theme, which is supposed to end up as a pocket on a tote bag. If you’ve been hanging out with me a bit on Needle ‘n Thread, you’ll probably recall this discussion on twill and duck for embroidery, following this discussion on some preliminary explorations of poor choices in linen.
The last time I showed you progress on this project was here, where I was just beginningto sample the embroidery on the cotton twill.
As I’ve worked my way through this little design excerpt on the cotton twill, I’ve discovered a few things – some likes and dislikes, some things I’d probably do differently if I were to start over, and the recurring joy I find in stitching certain stitches!
One thing I’ve discovered about stitching on medium weight cotton twill is that the fabric can feel quickly spongy in the hoop, especially if you’re undergoing any drastic changes in weather. For example, on humid days, I notice a lot more sponginess, bounce, or give in the fabric in the hoop. And while that happens with other fabrics as well (I’ve noticed it with linen, too, to be fair!), on this particular fabric, it’s much more noticeable. What makes it more noticeable – could it be the weave? The softness of the cotton fibers? The quality of the fabric overall? I really can’t tell!
While habitually, I’ll tighten up the fabric in the hoop when it seems to be getting less taut, this isn’t always a sure-fire answer to a smooth finish. In fact, the re-stretching of the fabric when it’s somewhat spongy can warp things a bit, in relation to previously stitched areas. Puckers won’t surprise me, though I’ve been pretty vigilant about keeping tension in check.
I’m not sure things will go amuck upon finishing and blocking, but in the scheme of things, I won’t be surprised. We shall see!
Where the design is truncated on the sides – this is a quarter excerpt from a symmetrical design drawn in a radiating 8-spoke grid – I definitely didn’t think out the truncation of the design for the pocket. If I had thought about it more carefully, I would have extended the design beyond the seam of the pocket.
Embroidering beyond the seam or edge of the pocket would allow, I think, for a more “natural” truncation of the design in the finishing, by working the seam over the extended embroidery.
Live and learn! We’ll see how it turns out!
I think I may have mentioned a bit earlier that there was no real formal planning on this particular piece. I’m just winging it as I go, simply to experiment for the tote I want to make.
While I’d probably make some changes in stitch choices if I were to work this particular piece for this particular purpose again (for example, I’d forego the satin stitched dots in the middle), I’ve really enjoyed the whole approach of making spontaneous stitch decisions as I go. When it comes to fun embroidery, to me, this is it! I love playing with different stitches and combinations, without feeling constrained to a pre-conceived idea.
The stitches need to work together, though, and sometimes, an approach like this can end up a little too busy! There are some areas of stitching that could be toned down a bit.
On the other hand, I got to incorporate many of my favorite stitches and stitch combinations in the piece – funny how you naturally gravitate towards the stitches you like, isn’t it?
The photo includes most of them: there’s chain stitch, whipped chain stitch, French knots, whipped backstitch, stem stitch, lattice work, fishbone stitch, coral stitch, satin stitch, herringbone stitch, and long and short stitch.
Sure, it might be overkill. But, you know, that’s what I love about hand embroidery – the Massive Variety of embroidery stitches… and all the stuff you can do with them!
So that’s where I am on this particular needle-and-thread excursion. I’m going to do my best to get this finished and blocked in the next two days – before “eclipse company” arrives this weekend.
And then my plan is to sew the tote next week – well, if I can get over my sewing-machine inhibitions! Gaaaaaaah!
Favorite Kaleidoscopes Pattern Collection
If you’d like to stitch up your own version of Party in Provence, you’ll find the pattern available in my Favorite Kaleidoscopes collection – over 30 kaleidoscope designs for hand embroidery and other crafts.
The kaleidoscope designs range from small 4″ designs to large 8″ designs, from simple to complex. You can read about the collection in detail here, or jump straight over to my shop to grab your own copy!