Sunday, 2 March 2014

Stitching Sunday: Chocolate is always the answer


Greetings all, and happy Sunday! After a week of chaos and lethargy in equal measure, I am feeling more relaxed and recharged today. Got some big school-related meetings and events out of the way, so today I’m enjoying some quiet stitching time.

I’m working on a candlewicking project, which I have been documenting on the &Stitches blog these past few weeks. It is a snowflake cushion kit printed with water-soluble ink. You can read about it here.


Candlewicking is a historical technique that uses two-strand cotton string embroidered on cotton muslin fabric. The overall effect is very rustic, with a texture that gives the single-coloured work some depth.  

Now, using cotton string is not as pretty as smooth embroidery floss, and stitching onto rough muslin fabric is not as elegant as fine linen, but it is very easy to see the difference in the stitches. And with such crude materials, I find inconsistencies in stitches to be even more glaring, even with small spaces.


Like all stitchers, I strive for neat lines with uniform stitches. Normally I can stitch along quite evenly, on my own designs or in a freestyle manner – but this kit is printed with definite straight lines and patterns (I have discovered that I am not a fan of pre-printed kits. I’m a bit of a control freak, and I like dictating my lines and stitches, even when I’ve traced a pattern myself). I found that as I toodled along with my needle, my stitches would come up short to fit on the end of a line. This happened on the left side of the diamond, you can see the bottom stitch is shorter than the top.


I realised this would be a project where I would have to actually employ some brainpower, heaven forbid some sort of mathematical formula to calculate stitch length...but like so many problems in life, it simply took a tray of brownies to make everything better!

When cutting brownies or other tray-baked goodies, I start by cutting a line down the middle of the pan, then I cut the halves in half, and so on, until I have lovely, even little pieces of yumminess. I was doing this the other day when the light bulb lit in my head and I realised the same could be done with embroidery.  


So I eyed the centre of the line – which mind you isn’t consistent with the spokes of the snowflake jutting out from the centre – and stuck my needle through to mark it.

Then I judged half of this line and started backstitching. The results were far more equal than the top side...


...just not as tasty as an even brownie square. But at least this will make quicker work of this cushion.

I’m sure the non-stitchers are looking at this and saying, “I don’t see much of a difference, they’re all such tiny stitches.” But you embroiderers will know what I mean. You know I’ll sleep better at night...hee hee!

Hmmm, I should keep embroidering...but I feel a little peckish now. Chocolate, anyone?

Link up your stitching projects below!
Chrissie x



38 comments:

  1. I totally understand :0)

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  2. Your post really made me smile, I love the idea of division by brownies.....

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  3. I'm with you on the control freakery of needing things to be neat and even, otherwise that dinky stitch which would need a forensic scientist to find, feels like a neon sign to the stitcher. It is why I don't make my own curtains or big things as my standards are much higher than my ability.

    I am also with you on the somewhat tenuous links to chocolate but still think we could write a book along the lines of Zen and the Art of Chocolate or the Da Chocolate Code. I'll be available later but need to go right now and see if I can find something sweet in a nice purple wrapper....lol!

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  4. the "cutting brownies" solution .....simple but very effective.......brilliant!

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  5. I do see the difference, and once it would have bothered me too if my stitches weren't all even, but lately I've embraced the uneven in the little stitching I do and just love how organic it looks! And yes, I can always be tempted with chocolate!

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  6. What a genius idea ..... and i totally get what you mean!
    It's looking mighty lovely by the way
    love Jooles x x x

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  7. What a great technique. Looking forward to seeing the final result.
    S xx

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  8. I get it!!! Enjoy the brownies!
    xx Shari

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  9. I'd just be happy getting my stitches so small....enjoy the chocolate! :) x

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  10. Fabulous post which resonates deeply with me, especially as far as chocoate is concerned :-=

    Happy sunday to you.

    Stephanie

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  11. I like your method! Any comparison to chocolate in any form always gets me interested...!
    Marianne x

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  12. Yes!! Chocolate is always the answer!

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  13. Well I'm not an embroiderer but yes I do understand!
    And yes please to the chocolate. :)
    V x

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  14. This is a great project Chrissie, it creates a lovely effect and I love the design - oh, and I love chocolate brownies too! Happy Sunday.
    Jane x

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  15. Chrissie I wish I could do the work you do as it is just stunning, I cannot wait to see it all finished, you are such a talent Chrissie and yes I would love more chocolate please. Have a fab week Chrissie, as always a fabulous post. Sending you lots of loves and hugs
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  16. You must be so patient to tackle a project like this! I find chocolate the solution for many problems. :) x

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  17. Hello lovely and ooh I love this pretty design and it will look fab when finished. I have to say that it took a couple of reads for me to get it, I know, but I now get it. It seems chocolate has many uses and yes there is always a yes for chocolate in this house even if it is raw cacao that I just put into the whole family's smoothie bowl, yum!! I must say it made me giggle when the kids scoffed it down at record breaking speed all because I told them the crunchy bits were chocolate, when in fact they were a mix of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, oh the power of chocolate, need I say more!! xoxo

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  18. I understand what you mean about the length of the sitches, you made me smile at the lightbulb moment with the brownies, and yes everything is better with chocolate. Off to the pantry now to find some.

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  19. I love candlewicking but haven't seen anyone do it in a long time. I think you may be bringing back a lost art, Chrissie. :)

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  20. Yes, I do see what you mean, and I understand why it's so important to you. It's that crafter's desire to improve at a task. The difference is definitely there. I'd never heard of candlewicking before, thank you for educating me tonight Chrissie! x

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  21. Yep, I totally get that, the second one does look better. No stitching for me this week, I am on quilt number two so maybe next week. Jo x

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  22. That's a clever way to go about it!

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  23. I've heard of candlewick bedspreads - my grandma used to have one - but not candlewick embroidery. Looking forward to seeing the finished result as it's a lovely pattern. And yes, nothing is so bad it can't be made better with chocolate. x

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  24. You are brilliant, even I can see that and I do not stitch. I bet the brownies were yummy.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  25. Dear Chrissie
    I definitely prefer more 'free form' design and stitching - so I do sympathise. I am sure it will look beautiful in the end though.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  26. I quite liked the look of this kit when you posted on &stitches about it, as it's so folkie and pretty, but now I see what you mean, I recently made a Rusty Fox from a kit that had pre punched stitch holes, it drove me a like bonkers, not be able to stitch freely, I blame the doodle stitch book, for setting me free
    Clare xx

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  27. Haha, I'm laughing here Chrissie, cause I adopt that method of measuring when picking up stitches on a cardigan front in order to knit on the facings, and it works fine, but oh boy, to have to do that with a wee stitchy would bug me a bit for I, like you, also like to have a free hand and more or less do as I please - within limits of course!!! So I am in deep admiration of you and the tactics you are adopting here - patience is a virtue - I don't think I have it, haha!!
    Your piece is looking very pretty, with very even stitches, and I know it will be beautiful, your work always is, and that is a big part of the reason why you inspire me (and many others) so much, thank you! Love, Joy xo

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  28. I've never attempted candlewicking although I have seen it in museums. Yours looks quite pretty. I am sure the end result will be quite beautiful.

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  29. this is fascinating as I knew nothing at all about candlewicking. I've already put a kit on my wishlist!

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  30. It's been years since I though about candlewickng - maybe thirty? Could that be right? My mother worked for Sunset Designs for years and I remember stitching a candlewick pillow with a pretty ruffle all around. I can never resist anything snowflake. ~Kelly

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  31. Oh I love that designs and your neatness.....and there is no doubt at all...chocolate is the answer for many things!!! Sarah xo

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  32. Good idea, Chrissie. Your candlewicking will be beautiful, your stitching is always so neat! And yes, everything is better with a bit of chocolate.......Have a happy week!
    Helen xxx

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  33. Sadly I'm one of those non-embroiderers but it looks good so far! I have one of those pens, it's amazing isn't it!

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  34. If it's British Chocolate... I'll take 2! :)
    I love your stitching, I can't wait to see it finished!
    Have a great week,
    Tammy x

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  35. I've never heard of candlewicking before - it sounds quite tricky! Lucky there's chocolate brownie.

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  36. Yay, another excuse to eat brownies!!!
    I have never heard of candlewicking either - it looks very precise, but fascinating - the design is lovely, can't wait to see it finished in all its white glory - will be gorgeous!

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  37. I can see where you're coming from and this idea to keep even stitches is genius! The devil is in the detail and it looks lovely, Sam xx

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  38. What a beautiful design and such lovely stitching! xo

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