Friday, November 7, 2014

- Pillow continued: Stitching a woven cloth base


After struggling mightily last night, I realized that I needed way more safety pins to keep the woven cloth strips from shifting while I stitched.


I also realized that stitching on either side of the strip borders wasn't turning out the way I wanted. Fortunately, I resisted the urge to tear last night's work out and start over. Instead, I just tried something else ...


It's a subtle difference that will result in half the stitching ... and with a bit of practice, I'm hoping the intersections will become more recognizable cross stitches.

Finally, for all you thread-nesters out there, here's my latest attempt at organizing my floss. I have to confess that I've always pushed the limits on thread length (30" on average), but I cut everything in half and secured it all with a bit of considered weave. So far, I haven't had to untangle a single thread knot.


And while I don't think I'll ever be happy about having to re-thread my needle more often, I do think the shorter thread lengths will encourage more color changes as I work. At least that's what I'm telling myself ...

4 comments:

Mo Crow said...

two of the most useful bits of advice about stitching that I have received from Jude Hill's classes is use short lengths of threads (the back of my work is now legible rather than a wild thick nest of knots) and never put a pin in your mouth (and if you do stand on your head!)

Marti said...

Liz, what a fine way to organize threads and the colors of your threads are so softly soothing that I would hang them on a wall.

Threads and I have a tangled history beginning with my childhood when my mother tried in vain to teach me to embroider. My parents came from Spain, I'm first generation, and they had pretty fixed notions of what skills girls needed to know...me, I just wanted to play with the threads, braiding them etc. I never did get the hang of embroidery.

Cue forward some 60 yrs and I am faced with a dilemma: what do I do with the ever increasing dyed cloths that I am making. The only thing to do was to figure out a way to stitch some of these cloths and that meant, thread and needles...now I should say that I have done mending and even at one time owned a sewing machine and made a couple of outfits for my twin daughters when they were little, even attempted a long skirt and shift for myself and a few ties for my husband but my heart and you could say my skill level were just not there. So it was with much grumbling, I bought embroidery thread since everyone said that was what worked best with cloth. Told myself I would just buy three, white, black and brown but when I found the embroidery thread section, I was blown away by the colors and the many, many choices...too many since I work primarily in earth tones, but how could I ignore the many shades of green and a bit of rust and several shades of brown, and white and cream and even a gold yellowish shade for my golden rod cloths and lavender and turquoise a color I don't care for all that much but some of my first copper pot dyes had a turquoise hue.

Well the long and the short of it is that I had no idea about thread length so I just pulled and pulled and used what came and before too long, it was all a jumbled mess and was driving me nuts as I am an orderly sort, Virgo, I had to do something but had no clue.Then one day in the mail came some thread from friends, the thread was a silk type thread and it was already cut into lengths, about 12 ". How terrific to use but what to do with my jumble? What I came up with was to cut thin cardboard into strips, 2 1/2" in length by a little over 2" wide and I cut a notch in one end. Won't tell you how long it took me to untangle the threads but they were wound round and round on these cardboard pieces that fit just fine in my little wooden sewing container. I am down to just two colors now since I'm not doing much stitching at the moment and those little cardboard organizers still do a good job with my thread angst...

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

for what it's worth, I think you're doing an amazing job, this pillow case is beautiful; it's a finicky project that you want to turn out just so.....I know the feeling and also the urge to undo stitching I'm not happy about; sometimes I can resist, other times it all has to come undone.....
as far as my embroidery threads go: mine are all tangled up and I love that, I like diving in and coming up with a colour I would not have chosen but happens to work out great on the project in hand.

thread angst indeed, Marti. I love the idea of you two organizing your threads each in your own way, oh isn't this thread and cloth business just too crazy at times, what we do for the stuff we love

Liz Ackert said...

Mo - I don't know if I can ever break the habit of putting pins in my mouth, even knowing Jude's story. When I was decanting dye jars recently, I had gloves on, but was blithely putting safety pins in and out of my mouth all the while ... I was mortified when I realized what I was doing and sure I had poisoned myself.

Marti - If I ever win the lottery I want to buy every DMC earth-tone color by the box! I've also been a big fan of silk floss, but I do too much heavy yard work these days and the silk just catches on every bit of rough skin, making me crazy. Probably just as well at the price.
I've tried winding off floss in every way imaginable over the years, including braids, looping onto hangers and rings, and thread nesting. This latest try is probably doomed to failure, but it was insanely satisfying to cut and straighten it all for however long it lasts.

Saskia (gee this is fun) - I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that the harem cloth is not stable enough for the size of the woven cloth ... so the question that I wrestled with was whether to cut my losses and start over or create a work-around. That has yet to be decided.
And I'm hoping my new thread organizer will encourage a little more serendipity in color selection ... but it's still to early to tell for sure.

So ... thanks all for coming by. I'm heading out to decant 4 canning jars and will report back when they're presentable.