Saturday, August 8, 2015

PC: Blackwork Floral Bookmark Finish

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!


Karen said...

That tassel is so pretty! It really adds to the bookmark which is very pretty in itself.

I've had the same thing happen to me before when finishing something off. I can never bring myself to throwing it away though... even a small piece is a lot of work and it would seem like such a waste. I really like your mother's suggestion for the original bookmark. I know glue is supposed to be a big no no for anything stitchy, but another idea would be to glue it to a notebook or notebook cover as embellishment.

rosey175 said...

Erg, if that happened to me on one of my projects I'd probably not stitch for a very long time out of sheer disappointment. I'd eventually miss it and come back though lol. As for ideas on it, could you pick out the arched part of the pattern (by the hearts and replace it with more straight? Then you could have a few more little rows to maybe make a loop, like a napkin ring sort of thing with the bottoms of the hearts close together. It would be cutting it close though. If you then put a bit of fabric on the bottom, it could be a little basket for ORTs or pins or stitch markers. throws ideas to the wind~

Love the cheery tassel! Do you have to do anything to the ends of the PC to keep them from fuzzing out?

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

The bookmark turned out lovely! Could you try stitching the other one to a piece of felt?

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thank you all so much for the very helpful comments! You've given me a lot of great ideas, and I'm looking forward to experimenting, and I'll let you know how it turns out!

@ Karen: I'm right there with you, I can't stand to throw stitching away!! Even though this is a small piece, it did take a bit of time too. I use a lot of little notebooks to jot things down in, and many of them could use a bit of prettying up :) And the glue might keep everything together!

@ Rosey: I love the idea of having the hearts sewn together :) I might be able to put the ring on a glass jar or something...maybe a jar for ORTs! Hah. Thank you very much for the suggestions, it's gotten me thinking :)

Re: The Tassel - no, I didn't put anything on the ends, and I've been using it in my book this week and it hasn't frayed at all! It's amazing :) And the shine of the thread is so lovely, I'll definitely be trying more of these in the future!

@ Jo: Thank you so much! Felt is definitely another option I didn't think of, and I think I have some pink that will match :)