Monthly Archives: January 2008

TIF January

This is as much as I think I’ll do on this particular project.

As I mentioned, the person I was thinking of in doing this piece was my grandmother. Not that she ever did this type of project (at least, not that I’m aware of). If I really wanted to honor her, I would have finished the cutwork tablecloth that I’ve had in a bag for the past 5+ years. It needs about 3 weeks of work trimming threads, repairing buttonhole bars, and other nitpicky stuff. Or, I would have done some broderie anglaise on fine linen. But this piece does have some pulled and drawn work. It has her recipe. And it has purple, my favorite color – and has been since I was little, as she knew.

I had a terrific cold for about a week – the type where you wish you could amputate your nose, just to be able to stop sniffling and sneezing – and am finally getting over it. That made it very hard to concentrate on stitching.

There are parts of this piece that I like – I like playing with drawn threads and pulled threads. The top border is a 4 sided box, where you draw out the horizontal threads above and below, but leave the threads in the center intact. The bottom border uses twisted bars, which are great fun to work. However, I don’t particularly like the wrapped buttonhole bars in the inside box. That section is looks too heavy. The algerian eye decorative section at the top, with the satin stitch and running stitch around it, doesn’t thrill me – it is cute, but not particularly interesting, and I’m not that fond of cute.

I’d like to do a variation on this idea some time in the future. I think that I would print, rather than embroider, the recipe – embroidering “baking powder” got tedious and took much time which could have been spent on more interesting ideas.


No stitching for the last few days

I have a bad cold, and a needle feels like it weighs 15 pounds.

Can this design be saved?

This is a UFO I’m trying to finish – a faded pink linen tea towel which came with a stamped design.

I think this is a very uninspired design. The center is stem stitch, with chain stitch leaves. I’ve added in some French knot flowers. The outside is cross stitch. Here’s a closer view of the design.

detail of tea towel

The cross stitch is in off-white – difficult to see clearly in the image.

This isn’t something I’d chose, but since it is taking up room in the closet, I want to finish it. Any ideas how to improve it? One thought was to add a border around the outside of the cross stitch area in green, but that doesn’t really grab me. Another idea is to weave more stem/leaves through the cross stitch, but that seems a lot of effort for a piece that I’m not crazy about.

I’ll have to soak off the remnants of a label at the bottom.

More on January’s TIF

More progress on January’s Take if Further challenge.

The left and right sides are have a pattern of pulled threads.

The top is drawn thread with a square stitch. I’m planning to do the bottom with a different pattern for drawn thread. Not sure yet what I’ll do with the center.

(This is not a great photo. The white splotch in the middle is the camera flash, and the yellow showing through at the top is from the desk this was placed on to photograph. It is not part of the piece.)

If you’ve never done drawn thread work, that first snip of the thread can be scary. I check and recheck before cutting. It is possible to repair if the wrong thread is cut, but I’ve never gotten it to look exactly the same, and repairs are tedious.

This is a more traditional needlework piece than many of the fabulous TIF projects that I’ve seen people working on. I see a lot of techniques and ideas that I would like to try, but for this piece, based on my grandmother, I want to stick with “regular” (?) needlework.

Angela had a good suggestion several days ago, about using some of the remnants of my inherited stash on the piece. I liked that idea, and have some beige perl cotton that I might try to work in. The main problem is that the colors that Sharon B. suggested for January – especially the purples – are ones that I like and use a great deal. Much of the colors I have left from my grandmother are ones that I don’t use a lot of – yellows, mustard shades, odd greens and tans.

Moving forward with January’s TIF

I’m starting with a recipe from my grandmother.

I wanted to incorporate some cutwork, but the fabric I’m working on is not well suited for that type of work. Instead, I’ll use something somewhat related – pulled thread or drawn work – haven’t decided yet.

January TIF

I’m moving forward with my TIF for January.

Here’s my rough “plan” for this month –

Not very informative, is it. I can’t draw. I use 4×6 sticky pads to note ideas, since that automatically limits me to the size that I want.

As I mentioned before, a person I greatly admire is my grandmother. My thoughts went from grandma, to food, to cooking. My grandmother insisted on the importance of family, and food is closely tied into that, and into memories. She was a good cook, and as a starting point for my needlework, I took my grandmother’s recipe for mandlebrot (a.k.a. biscotti).

A quick disclosure – these days, when I bake biscotti, I don’t generally use my grandmother’s recipe. I usually prefer a recipe either from Marcy Goldman (her apricot sunrise biscotti are fabulous) or from Dori Greenspan.

Challah cover

I’m still thinking about how to proceed with this first TIF challenge. I want to combine needlework with a cooking theme. The major challenge, I think, is keeping this to a project that I can finish by the end of the month. In the meantime, I’m going to post some images of past project.

This is a challah (bread) cover I did a few years ago.

This started as a Hardanger sampler, but I couldn’t stick to the instructions. I added some lacing with silver cord, and some pulled stitches. The edging is hand sewn (yes, that much buttonhole stitch is very tedious). As a challah cover, it is actually a bit narrower than I’d like.  Here’s a detail: