My recent post on the wonderful thread known as Perle (Pearl) Cotton brought an old, unfinished project to mind, and I'm happy to say that I final-finished it at long last! I first wrote about my Blackwork Floral Bookmark way back in 2013, when I was running the ES Bookmark SAL and intended to write a tutorial on making the tassel. I never did get around to it, but there are lots of tassel ideas in that post :)
Perle Cotton (PC) is not just for useful for embroidery - it's amazing on Aida cloth too! I used a 14 count for this project, and at first I wanted a dark colour to show off the gorgeous Anchor variegated PC #8 (1315), which has pinks, oranges and yellows all mixed together! It's very tropical feeling and cheerful :)
At the time I was stitching this, the only dark hue I had that even remotely matched was the tan, but after I put the first few stitches in, I thankfully switched to white instead! Unfortunately, the white was a remnant from a bad batch of Aida, which I didn't realize when I chose to use it. Also, it was really far too narrow, and I now know from experience that it's better to leave a little extra than to be too short!
So I actually stitched this design twice:
At top is my final finish, and at the bottom was my first attempt. Things were going along fine until I turned it, at which point the top edge of the Aida frayed apart so badly that there was no way of fixing it. I tried stitching the frayed parts together -
- but unfortunately I wasn't able to salvage it. I used a different backing fabric for this one, a dark pink polyester cotton that also frayed badly at the seams inside.
It was a mess, and I was so disappointed with it that I put it away for a long time :(
Thankfully, I remembered it when I was writing my post on PC, and I worked up the courage to try again! I had already restitched the bookmark and still had the tassel, so it was just a matter of assembling everything, which is always the scary part ;)
The green PC I used is also seems to be #8, from an old unlabelled ball in my Stitchy Guru Mother's Stash, which was a huge tangle when I found it. So I wound it around an empty Gutermann thread spool to keep it neat. It's a beautiful colour!
The variegated PC was so lovely that I went back in and added a few simple filling stitches to the pattern just so that I could see more of those tropical tones. The flower is one of the prettiest motifs I've ever seen, and was fun and quick to stitch. Also, I love the way the stitches resulted in a little pulled eyelet at the center!
I am glad that I used a different backing fabric, because the thicker cotton was so much easier to stitch and was more comparable to the weight of the Aida, making for a smoother look. The first fabric I used was so thin and flimsy that every stitch pulled a little at the seam. Never buy anything with polyester if you can help it!
I think my favourite part of this project is the tassel :) PC makes wonderfully thick and shiny tassels!!! Instead of making cording for the tie, I made a simple braid, and the extra texture is pretty. I would love to try a fancier beaded version ;)
Finally, here's my Blackwork Floral Bookmark in an actual book:
This is the first novel in Mercedes Lackey's updated fairy-tales series, and although I haven't read it yet, it's been highly recommended so it's at the top of my reading list!
I only added one layer of quilt batting as filling this time (versus the two-layer padded insert I used in my SAL Bookmark) and I'm much happier with it :) It's quite a bit flatter, and a single layer adds little bulk beyond that the seams naturally add.
As for my first botched bookmark, I've kept it even though I'm not sure exactly what to do with it! My Stitchy Guru Mother suggested cutting it down into a band to use on the top of a scissors case or needlebook, but I would like to keep the length out to the two cute little hearts on either end. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!