Last time we visited Stitch Fun 2021 – my yearly sampler that I am endeavoring to add a little to every singly day – I’d already laid the foundation for the composite stitch that makes up one of the decorative bands I’ll show you today.
There are a few things here I want to chat about. One is thread. We all like talking about thread, but today’s approach is more by way of a warning!
I need to branch off and get away from decorative bands for a while – and I started to do that the other day and then I lost my bearings.
So here’s where I am so far on this sampler. As we look at it, I’ll note a few thoughts, ideas, problems, and so forth.
When last we met on this project, we discussed the sampler down to the Algerian Eye line in red – it looks like square sort of stars, and on each side, a line of running stitch in white.
In that article, I gave you a stitch layout of different decorative bands. In the photos today, the excess fabric is rolled up, held in place with these huggers that we’ve already talked about, and everything is cozily tucked inside a small fold of wool felt, with my hoop held happily in my Needlework System 4 frame clamp that you can read about here.
Note, I said hoop!
Back in this installment on the sampler, I had migrated to a q-snap frame. Here’s why that happened:
A round hoop that was big enough to stitch comfortably to the edge of the bands was too big for the fabric. And a round hoop that fit the band width was too small and cut off my ability to stitch to the edge comfortably and finish threads on the back.
I really wanted something more square than round.
Normally, in an embroidery situation, stretcher bars or roller bars or a slate frame would provide a nice square or rectangular stitching experience. But on something like this, which is very long and somewhat perpetually growing, those are not convenient options.
So I tried the q-snaps for a while, and while they worked ok, there was too much about them that was inconvenient – most notably these three points:
1. I don’t have a stand that holds them;
2. I find them bulky and awkward to hold by hand; and
3. Despite the wool felt additions under the snaps to help keep things from shifting while I stitched, I was having to adjust them far too often.
Many people like q-snaps, and that’s great! For me, I found they couldn’t be an every-day stitching solution. A small, quick solution, sure. But having to work with them every day was not satisfactory.
So I moved the sampler to a different hoop… and I do believe I’ve found the perfect solution! I’ll show it to you in-depth very soon! I’m so happy with it! It’s a beautiful hoop – one of those life-long tools that work for so many projects and that will withstand the test of time. I’ve been flipping it between projects. I’m loving it and can’t wait to show it to you!
Now let’s talk about stitches!
The green and purple band in the photo above is a very interesting stitch combination that I enjoyed working. It’s somewhat time consuming, which is why I’ve not moved ahead very far. But I enjoyed working it!
It’s called step stitch, and I’ve added some variation to it. I’ll share it with you in detail, tutorial-wise, shortly. It’s a stitch that you’d most likely use for a decorative band. You could manage it on gentle curves, perhaps, and with a little manipulation, it might form corners to make a whole frame. But it’s mostly a decorative band.
Underneath the green and purple band is that … uh … wavy green line and some buds and bits.
The wavy green line is worked in Portuguese knotted stem stitch, using three strands of floss.
The larger buds are granitos in pink that have been stitched over diagonally across the lower half of them with red, to give the impression of a bud.
The other bits are French knots and little tiny cross stitches.
So this is where we talk about thread.
See that wavy green line:
I stitched the wavy green line with a stranded cotton that I knew, by feel, was not that great of a thread. It didn’t have a label. It feels exceptionally dry, and it fuzzes very quickly. I know it wasn’t DMC, because I have their current color card, and while they have some greens that are somewhat close, they don’t have this green.
It was a bad stitching experience. I was sorry I selected the thread, but in the spirit of using up threads rather than delving into new skeins and whatnot, I chose it. So I used it.
Some cotton threads have a dry and meager feel to them. They don’t shine well, they don’t “fill” the stitched area well. They are selfish and stingy with their coverage. And they pill and fuzz up fast. They also tend to break and knot and frustrate.
Craft threads (sold for things like friendship bracelets) and generic threads (like those found in very large bundles for cheap on Amazon or at craft stores) are generally these types of threads. They aren’t made to stand up to the repeated friction of passing through fabric. Keep that in mind when you’re acquiring thread. It’s worth paying a wee bit more for a good quality cotton thread!
I won’t use anymore of it, but since I started with it, I finished with it.
And the Thing
I have this unspoken (actually, I think I did say it or write it somewhere) that I won’t pick out anything on this sampler. And that’s one reason why the green yucky thread stayed.
But then I stitched that periwinkle colored Thing in the corner the other day.
I know my plan was something other than a decorative band.
It’s a Thing. But blimey. I have no idea what kind of thing!
I am ever-so-tempted just to pick it out.
I know I shouldn’t.
But I probably will.
Should I? Shouldn’t I?
This isn’t really a moral or ethical question, so I don’t know why I’m troubling over it.
That’s where we are!
We’ll get back to the strawberries on Thursday. And then we will move forward with a couple other delights! See you on Thursday!
(Oh, and happy Daylight Savings Time. Grrrrrrrrr.)
You can read all the articles about this sampler by perusing this list tagged Stitch Fun 2021.