Snow Sewing

Friday Sunday

Picture8In today's random walk around the Web I found this picture of an antique offering basket from Bali. All that white stitchery holding it together includes white beads. I think it is beautiful and felt like sharing. :) If you click on the photo, you can go read about what the basket is for and how it is used to share the wealth.

Today was a rare beautiful winter day - mild temperatures (mid-40s), sunny blue sky, fresh clean air. :) I spent most of the sun shine time in my sewing room, visiting my friends Barbara and Patty via Zoom.

I started off trying to quilt another Valentines Day placemat. Had problems with my machine, though. The stitch length kept being too small - when I machine quilt, I set the stitch length to about 3.5 (maybe 8-10 stitches per inch?). The machine kept making much smaller stitches, consistent with maybe a setting of 1.0. Grr. I rebooted it, cleaned the bobbin race, rethreaded, cleared the memory ... nothing made a difference. Guess it really IS time for Nina to go to the cleaning spa. :)

Since I could not do any machine stitching, I picked up my newest handwork project to start on. I signed up for the Wisecraft Snowflake block of the month for this year which includes designs done with 'chicken scratch' or 'depression lace' embroidery. This is a technique I've wanted to play with for some time ... and now I have a chance. :) As embroidery methods go, this one is fairly elementary ... but the visual effects are pretty imho.

The design is worked on gingham fabric (a woven simple check print) and the pattern creator calls for 1/4" gingham - that is, gingham with each square being 1/4". Nowhere local could I find gingham fabric of any kind so I researched it online - every place with 1/4" gingham fabric was sold out. I found 3/8" gingham eventually (Kaufman kitchen window gingham) and ordered that as the closest available. Of course, if a pattern is drafted to size for 1/4" squares and I have 3/8" squares, I will need more/larger fabric portions to make the same design.

Ok, so the designer recommended cutting 11" squares for a finished 10" block ... and I cut 12" squares. Turns out that is not enough bigger to do the job.

Here is my measurement of the gingham size:


Yes, indeedy, those squares measure 3/8" each. :) So I started in on my first design ... before too long I discovered that the background square I had cut at 12" was NOT big enough:

ToosmallSee the square right at the edge where my needle is 'parked'? That is where the next row of stitching is supposed to start. Nope, not happening. :) RATS, I will have to cut another - larger - background gingham piece.

I have the floss I want to use on order (of course it's not here yet) ... in the meantime, I thought I'd use the bit of gingham I have been stitching as a kind of swatch and try some different threads to see how they compare. I could not find any plain white size 12 perle cotton for the X stitches (what's called for in the pattern) but I did have some other pretty white threads with glimmer I could try. Also had some lovely things to use for the 'o' part of the embroidery (6 strands of regular embroidery floss like DMCs is the recommended thread). Here is my experiment:



You might have to click to embiggen the image to see the shine on these threads. Some of the 'x' stitches are embroidered with Dazzle which is a spooled thread with mylar in it for shine; I _think_ the rayon thread I used to compare it to is Candlelight but I'm not sure (no label on the spool of thread).

I worked the 'o' stitches in several kinds of thread - #12 valdani hand dyed perle cotton, some variegated DMC floss, and some size 12 Aurifil thread. You can see there is quite a variation in the diameters of these threads and thus the thickness of the line created.

Mind you, I did all this in the hour and a half of chatting with my friends on Zoom. Tomorrow I hope to cut a bigger gingham square and make my first block. (fingers crossed) Who knows, maybe my Nina will have gotten over its snit and will sew to spec - one can always hope.

:) Linda


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