Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tis the Season for Hand Stitching

Between now and the New Year, quality, focused time in the "studio" (term used very loosely), will be a rare commodity. Oh well, so it goes. My hands though, which happen to be a perfect fit for a needle and thimble, have promised to make themselves available at a moments notice. Having that promise in writing, (after publishing this post), I have declared November and December "Hand Stitching Season" at the Seams French HQ and expect efficiency and quality performance from it's staff of one. Can you hear the crack of the whip?

In the production line-up are some embroidery projects, as well as 3 or 4 (or more) boutis projects.

Last year's "Stars and Butterflies Baby Quilt" for the Lady H included a pocket on the back of the quilt to hold a collection of falling stars. My intent is to add a wish and a star to this collection annually, on the little lady's birthday.

Thread colours for this star have not yet been finalized, but will likely stay in the range of yellows and golds. However, there's a zip-lock bag of fun little tassel ends in the thread stash that is singing out to me; "how about us..., how about us... ". I'll let the spirit of the moment guide. (Does that count as improv? I'm trying:)

While in the mood for stars, I thought that Little H needed to start the Christmas ornament collection with a star as well. Years ago, I had purchased this silk embroidery floss in Italy and have been looking for a project worthy of it's application ever since. Celebrating the first year of life is about as worthy a project as I can think of. The ornament will be worked on a natural linen using a satin stitch for the center and some variation or other of an outline stitch for the scrolly bits.

I may throw in bits of gold sparkle if it feels right.

A third embroidery project are these 4 little cocktail napkins for my husband. These 4 napkins are cut from a large vintage napkin that I had picked up at an antique market in France. Two of the sides have the original rolled hem finished edge, and on the other two sides, I needle turned a narrow rolled hem trying to match the original.

Since scotch is his favourite, I decided to colour coordinate the monogram with the amber coloured beverage of choice.

The monogram and the surrounding shamrock are being embroidered with a padded satin stitch. I am using a stem stitch for the outline and padding with a closely stitched stem stitch as well. I learned this technique years ago from a French magazine I was reading at the time, and it seemed to work OK for these monogrammed napkins.

Outline stitch and padding in progress.

And of course, there is always my beloved boutis to work on. Working on boutis sends me into my own little land of Zen. Great for traveling.

Below is the progress I have made on my latest pouch, one of the boutis projects currently in the works.

I start from the center and work my way out. 

Stitching in the the center section has been completed.

Progress on the front flap.

November is already more then halfway gone. I'm still hoping for a window of time at the machine before Christmas, but if not, needle and thimble will be the "go to" method of the season.