Thank you all so much for your incredibly kind comments on my blog the other day. I honestly was really touched by you all taking the time to be encouraging and sympathetic. I don’t know if it was the sheer loveliness that got me really wanting to stitch again or maybe that post was blowing off the last bit of the cobwebs for me to emerge out of the cave I’ve been hiding in. The best part is, here is all the embroidery for my lovely canvaswork piece finished with another great story of human kindness to go with it.
I feel a little sorry for this canvaswork piece as it has been a really great project. I love the design, colours, the kit is absolutely excellent with really detailed instructions. This is the first canvaswork project I’ve tried and, although I guess I’ve got a relatively good grasp of the embroidery basics, I think the project does a great job of being interesting enough that it isn’t boring or repetitive but simple enough that it’d be suitable for patient beginner.
The reason I feel sorry for this piece though is because it has been my ‘I really don’t feel like doing much’ project. I think something this nice really deserved to have been done with a bit more attention to detail. Overall, most of the stitching has come out well – I did notice I misread the pattern with the direction of the tent stitches on the background of one of the diamonds but I think this is a relatively invisible mistake and some of the threads don’t have the best tension.
I did strip down and prepare all the threads but there are a few points where they haven’t been lovingly stroked and tamed into place and look a bit slack and fluffy. I didn’t find working out of a frame too problematic until then end, when the weight of the embroidery made it hard to keep the canvas from flopping over itself and getting in the way of the stitching. It’s interesting because most embroiderers will insist on highly tensioned fabrics, preferably in a slate or scroll frame, but one of the best silk shaders I know uses either small temporary frames or no frame at all. It makes the piece a lot more portable, which is why I didn’t bother for this canvaswork, but I do like to work with two hands and there’s something immensely satisfying about properly drum-tight fabric and sharp needles. It’s much more predictable and reliable on the stitching for sure.
I mention that there was another story of human kindness to go with this piece… When I was finally approaching the end of this one, excited by the prospect of finishing but finding the project seemed to be going more and more slowly with each stitch, something rather unfortunate happened. I found myself out of the pale variegated thread. Not exactly your standard Anchor or DMC where you can pop down the local haberdashery to find any.
Now I have to say, I really have no idea how I managed to run out of thread. One of the other things I really like about Sue Hawkins’s kits is that she is incredibly generous with how much thread she provides. Running out under any normal circumstances should not be a risk. I suspect I might have lost a few skeins while carting the piece all over several countries. This is another very well-travelled piece of needlework.
I phoned Sue to apologise profusely for my misuse of her well-designed kit and to inquire whether it was possible to purchase some extra and she very generously just stuck a few extra skeins in the post that were with me the next day. How fantastic is that? A good portion of my job seems to be dealing with people whose entirely philosophy can be summarised as ‘that is not my problem’, despite being the gatekeepers of something that is very much now my problem, so dealing with someone who was just super professional, generous and understanding (and managed to get things resolved in record time) was so refreshing and wonderful. I was having a bit of a bad day in the fight against bureaucracy so having someone who went above and beyond to get things fixed, and was even pleasant and friendly about it, was just fantastic. Go check out Sue Hawkins’s shop and designs – they’re really fantastic kits.
This one isn’t quite finished as it still needs forming into its final, pincushion form but having all the stitching done is great. I haven’t quite decided what to use to weigh it down and stuff it… I might steam some of the weights intended for my kumihimo work but I’m not sure if I have 500 g to spare right now. I just hope it’s going to go together okay without destroying too much of the stitching. I suspect some of the embroidery might be too delicate to really survive as a pin cushion but I think it’ll make a nice little piece of bright sunshine somewhere.