The Sharp Needler will be taking a break for the holidays. See you all in 2018!

31 March 2017

Starting with a Finish

Welcome to the first post of a new blog. Let's get things going with a finish!

I recently completed a table runner. It started out as a kit, but, as I'm in 'what if I did this...' mode, the finished piece looks just a little different from the original. 

The colour palette on the original is what caught my eye. I liked the summery pinks and yellows/oranges.


There is a tablecloth version as well as the runner. Although I really liked the tablecloth I was glad (relieved?) that a runner was available. I've stitched a few tablecloths (i.e., teacloths) and they are a lot of work. Additionally, there is a lot of motif repetition and after stitching the first instance of a given motif I generally get bored...extremely bored.

So, I thought that working on a runner would be less boring than stitching an entire tablecloth. More on that later...

The tablecloth is from a company in Hungary called Duftin who produce many other stamped pieces. The fabric is pretty standard if you've stitched European-based table linens. I think it's cotton and has a nice finished edge.

The palette is decent, but limited and the colour that appears as dark orange is more of a peach. The threads seemed reasonable, not dry as you might find in some commercial kits. I used as many of them as possible.


When I first saw this runner I had just finished a Canevas Folies kit where I was introduced to House of Embroidery variegated threads for the first time. I loved working with them, went a little crazy on the Canevas Folies kit, and ended up with quite a bit of leftover thread some of which went well with the colours in the runner's kit. Hmmm, I thought, this could be fun.

I added some darker DMC greens, deep DMC orange, and several House of Embroidery threads to the mix and came up with these variations on the original motifs.

This is the first motif and my favourite.


This might be more geeky than necessary, but here are the details on the threads. The leaves and yellow/orange flower petals are solid colours from the kit and/or DMC additions. There are four shades of green on the leaves. The big pink flower is composed of three different variegated threads with DMC French knot centres. The orange-y pink petals on the pansy-like flowers are also variegated. I found that I liked having a mix of solid colour with the variegated. I don't think I could stand all variegated! I did a little bit of redrawing on the sort-of-pansy to make it more pansy-shaped.

The orange/pink petals are stitched in regular long and short stitch, but I did keep an eye on when the orange was going to show up. I controlled its placement a bit. The other variegated threads had less variation in colour so I didn't try to control them.

I decided to stitch the border garland that surrounds the entire runner with variegated. I used a pair of subtly shaded greens. The dark one was used on the 'stems' and the lighter version on the 'leaves'. This was inspired by my Canevas Folies experience. The runner's border was stitched in hand with stem stitch so as not to allow the hoop to affect the stitching.

Since I was experimenting with variegated threads I tried using them in different ways. On the second motif I stitched one group of the small leaves with long and short and the other with satin stitch. I didn't care for the satin stitched version--too stripey--so out it came and was replaced with long and short.


I'll stop talking now and just share photos of the rest of the motifs.



To finish things off, there was a repeat of the first three motifs. I did get bored, very, very bored. I didn't allow myself to work on any other embroidery projects until I finished the runner. I wasn't sure I would finish if I started on something else. I realised that part of the boredom or perhaps tedium was caused by the ground fabric. It's not particularly well-suited to surface embroidery especially if you want tidy edges on the elements. It has too much of an open weave so you must split the ground stitches on every stitch that is creating a given element's edge. If you don't do this you end up opening holes in the ground fabric and it looks awful. The fabric is also a bit coarse--it's a real thread shredder--so working in longish lengths was difficult.

The runner needs to be washed and ironed, but the stitching is finally complete.


I'm glad I stitched it and I'm even happier (i.e., relieved) that it is finished!

References
 

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