I have a Tree Dilemma.
Remember Autumn Fire that we talked about the other day? Well, I just finished sample five.
It’s a good thing it’s a small project!
I’m in a quandary, and I don’t think I’m the only person in the embroidery world who has ever been in this quandary. I figured it might be worth discussing.
The next project we’ll be doing in the Stitch Snippets series for 2022 is Autumn Fire, a little embroidered tree that I’ve been holding in the wings for a while.
This particular autumn tree is part of a wider series of projects that sprang from my Spring Tree of many moons ago, that I’ve since redeveloped. (We’ll re-visit the new version of that tree in 2023).
My dilemma is the ground fabric.
Linen Letdown: Color Dearth
If you’ve been in the embroidery world for a while, and if you love linen as a ground fabric for hand embroidery (it really is among the best of fabrics for hand embroidery, for many reasons), then you’ve probably already experienced a Linen Letdown.
Linen Letdowns can happen with a variety of aspects of linen, but for me, the greatest Linen Letdown is the dearth of good-quality needlework linen (not clothing linen, not upholstery linen) in a variety of colors.
And by colors, I don’t mean multiple versions of white, a gazillion versions of cream or natural or drab or gray or sand or barely-there-somewhat-gray-hint-of-blue-not-really-sure-what-color-this-is color.
I’m talking about color, color.
I know color is a trendy thing, and of course, linen manufacturers aren’t going to produce every color of linen under the sun, in every shade and level of vibrance that I think should exist, because they’d shortly undo themselves financially and we’d all be left without any linen at all.
There is color out there in the Needlework Linen World – it’s just harder to find. This is a subject that will most definitely surface again on Needle ‘n Thread. I’ve started bringing in some colored linen for sample packs (like those found in my first colored linen fabric sample pack), but I plan to expand the offerings in the not-too-distant future.
But back to the Tree Dilemma.
At what point do you sacrifice color for the exact quality and type of linen that you want to use?
Or at what point do you sacrifice the exact quality and type of linen for the color you want to use?
Well, the tree in the photo above is worked on the color that I would like it to be on. It is as close, color-wise, as I could find to that deep autumn sky blue that makes fall foliage glow.
But truthfully, it is not my favorite linen fabric to stitch on.
The linen in the photo directly above is more akin to my favorite linen for embroidery.
But can I find, anywhere in the Whole Wide World, that shade of vibrant autumn-sky-blue that I really want to use, in the type of needlework linen I prefer to stitch on?
And I’ve tried!
I can come close to it in lower thread count linens, but on a surface embroidery project this small, the weave of the lower count linen would be too dominant. (I tried it!)
I can find blues that are a lot duller, more of the “country” or “vintage” blues, in good needlework linen.
I can find lighter – much lighter – baby blues in excellent quality linen.
But I can’t find that vibrant autumn-sky-blue that I want.
If I want that color, I’ve only been able to find it in linen that’s made for clothing, as opposed to linen made for needlework or home goods.
1. I could paint that fabric.
2. I could have someone hand dye some linen for me.
3. I could go for the lighter color of blue and just act like that was my intended color for the project.
4. Or, finally, I could go with a linen that I wouldn’t normally use for needlework, that might be a little more challenging to use in some respects, but that offers the color result that I want, that makes the finished project absolutely glow.
I’ll give you one wild guess which choice I’ve opted for…
Autumn Fire Timing
At this point, it seems that we will most likely be able to launch Autumn Fire in the first or second week of September. I really hope it’s the first week. I was shooting for the end of August, but getting supplies is taking a bit longer than anticipated.
Autumn Fire will be available in a series of articles as a free stitch-along here on the website, like Cotton Quartet and Bee-Jeweled Pincushion.
I’ll also offer PDF downloads of each installment, as usual, for members on Patreon.
And yes! There will be a materials kit that includes everything you need to complete this project: fabric, thread (silk and cotton), needles, and specially cut mat board and mounting board for the finished design. I’ll also have some hoop options available.
As the time draws a little closer, I’ll give you an exactly launch date for kits. We’ve gone out on a limb (heh heh) with the kits and we’re putting together more than usual, so keep an eye out for more information if you’re interested in this little project!
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