I loved the blue linen that I used when I first set up this Jacobean “whitework” embroidery project.
But since it is a discontinued fabric, and since I had some design tweaking I wanted to do, I decided to start over.
I couldn’t find a blue linen I liked well enough that is suitable for surface embroidery like this, so I’ve opted for a natural colored linen. I still intend to incorporate some blue – but we will see how that plan pans out a little further down the road!
Now, it’s not unusual that I start a project and then re-think it pretty soon after the start. I prefer it when this doesn’t happen, but sometimes, it just does. And while starting over may seem like a waste of time and resources, I always learn something useful in that process. Plus, the materials from the first attempt come in handy for testing theories for the next attempt.
Combine those positive benefits with the fact that I don’t like to put a lot of time into something that I already know is dissatisfactory, and those provide me with my excuses (they’re good enough!) to start over.
After the last time we spoke about this project, this is more or less as far as I got on the opening attempt at this project. The embroidery is pretty straightforward – nothing complicated! – and it was working up quickly enough.
It was right about then that I got the confirmation that the blue linen is discontinued. And, in fact, a couple parts of the design were bugging me already.
Many of you encouraged me to stitch the project on the blue, anyway, regardless of its discontinued status. But for me, this doesn’t make sense. The project will be here on the website in time to come, and keeping up with repeat inquiries on where to get the fabric, and having to disappoint folks repeatedly with the news that the fabric is no longer available, just isn’t worth it! Plus, if I want to turn this into a stitch along or an ebook or anything of that sort, it really makes no sense to use a discontinued fabric.
My favorite part of the first attempt is the chunky and textured outlining on these larger leaves. It’s amazing what a little addition like a whipped stitch can do to a line of chain stitches. It binds the line up, smoothing it out to a degree, while adding an extra texture and lift to it. I like that tight ropiness!
After much consideration, I decided to go with a natural colored linen. This is a 45 count linen – high count, and good for surface work and for drawn thread options, in case I decide to incorporate any drawn thread or pulled thread techniques.
The linen is called Woven Sedge, available in the US & Canada at any local needlework shop that carries fine hand embroidery linens from Access Commodities. It’s a Graziano linen, so if you’re not in North America and you’re looking for something similar, look for the 45 count Graziano linen in a somewhat dark natural.
I’ve backed the linen with a fine white cotton batiste, to give some extra support for the stitching. Like I mentioned when I started with the blue linen, I’m toying with some ideas in the back of my mind about exposing the backing fabric, and I want the contrast of the white. This approach might not materialize, but just in case, better to start with a backing than to wish I had used one later on!
Batiste is a very light, finely woven cotton, and it makes a good backing fabric for finer embroidery techniques, when you want a little extra support behind your ground fabric, but nothing that is hefty in any way.
Once I made my final (I hope) fabric and design decisions, it was just a matter of the set up work. The fabric is now framed up on some Evertite stretcher bars (I love these frames – you can read about them here), and pretty much ready to go!
I’m going to go over my thread choices again (various weights of whitework threads) and experiment with the possibility of adding in some blue elements. We’ll see about that!
So that’s where I am on this project. Even though I’ve been a little distracted with the Wheat Field motifs that I wrote about Monday, I’m still moving ahead!
Interested in Exploring Whitework?
I’ve reviewed several whitework (and related) books here on Needle ‘n Thread. These are the ones that may come in handy for this type of embroidery project:
Monograms: The Art of Embroidered Letters
RSN Stitch Guide: Whitework
A-Z of Whitework
Whitework with Color
You can find all of these books available on my Amazon Recommendations page, here, right at the top of the page. Each book has its merits, and if you’re exploring whitework, too, it’s always good to have at least one reference on hand. Of those listed, the first two are my favorites for this type of work.
In the Background…
Today, it’s studio cleaning & organization (sorting threads – a never-ending project!), fabric cutting, paper template cutting, and some plain sewing on the machine. It to be a busy day!
I’ve also been designing a new kit. It’ll be a while before it’s launched, but there’s a lot of work that goes into kit preparation well before the kit can be made available. Maybe we should talk about that some day?
Speaking of Kits
I have only a few more materials kits for A Thousand Flowers still available. If you’ve been thinking about the kit, now might be the best time to get it. I don’t plan to keep those kits in regular stock, so it will be a while before (if) they’re available again.
You can read about the kit and the e-book here. You can find the kit and e-book both available here in my shop (as a bundle).
If you purchased the ebook individually already and you are just deciding you want the kit after all, go ahead and purchase the bundle and then drop me a line and I’ll refund the portion of the discounted ebook.
Hope your Monday is going well! Friday, we’ll take a look at some figure embroidery, and then I’ll be taking a short break for Easter. When I come back, I’ll have some exciting news to share with you!
This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations page, where I list my favorite books and some embroidery supplies that are conveniently available on Amazon. Purchases made through this link result in a small commission for Needle ‘n Thread at no extra expense to you. Thanks!
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