A workshop finish and a floral calendar

Some time ago I showed you the model for the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show workshop – duly stitched, and finished as a patch on a gift bag, using white cross stitch to attach the stitched piece to the cotton bag. It was photographed and the photograph turned into a kit cover and that, I thought, was that. It wasn’t. I’d scribbled some rough notes on the chart to remind me how mucht hread would be needed for each kit, but they weren’t very clear, and when I came back to them I wasn’t at all convinced that I’d got it right. Fortunately I was looking for a quick project to take to my in-laws last weekend, as Treasure Trove is rather too big and complicated, and so I decided to stitch another model, this time using Anchor Multicolor perle #8 instead of a solid colour – variegated threads give such a nice effect for no extra effort and I thought it would encourage the workshop participants.

Part of our visit would be spent marshalling (i.e. helping out) at a vintage car trial, but as it happened I had quite a bit of stitching time on the Friday, and finished all the surface stitching, leaving only a small amount of cutting and filling – easily finished on Saturday, with time to spare. As I would like to take this model to show at the workshop, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to finish it in a different way from the first one. How about giving it a buttonhole edge and then cutting it from the fabric? Still a patch, and attachable to bags, cushions and what not, but showing a different technique. And I had plenty of white perle #5 with me. I didn’t quite manage to finish it, but there’s not much left to do.

Buttonhole finish to a workshop model

That gave me another idea. I’ve been thinking about what to do with the 18 Floral Lace models. Because of their size, cards spring to mind, but this suggestion was met with indignation by both my mother-in-law and the ladies at my stitching group. They felt the designs deserved a more permanent fate. But what? I’m no good at patchwork so the idea of a quilt didn’t appeal to me. I can’t easily make them into coasters bcause of the beads, and anyway the house is rather well-stocked with stitched coasters already. Then I remembered that one of the ladies who joined the Song of the Weather SAL was planning to use the 12 designs as a calendar, finishing them all separately and then changing them over every month. She had used a backing fabric and finished them a bit like ornaments, but buttonhole edging was surely an option too!

There was a possible problem, however. The workshop model is stitched on Hardanger fabric, which is relatively stiff; Floral Lace is worked on evenweave. A line of buttonhole stitch on evenweave can pull away entirely. One option is to vary the length of the stitches, which can look quite attractive as well as making the edging more secure. Another might be to make use of the fact that the projects will need a backing of some sort. I came up with the following: find a colour of felt that will complement the design (I may end up using black for all of them, or I may vary the colours – I haven’t decided yet). Cut the felt slightly smaller than the finished patch will be and attach it to the back with running stitch, then work buttonhole stitch over the top. This should strengthen the edging and stop it from pulling away simply because the stitches bite into the felt (which doesn’t fray) as well as the evenweave. I might still use variable length stitches because I think it will look nice, and it will add even more strength.

So there we are – over the next months I will be buttonholing Floral Lace in between other projects, then choose a frame or possibly a canvas or even a cork board to which I can attach a different one every month. I may or may not add a calendar underneath; perhaps I’ll just keep it as an interchangeable display. Whatever it turns out to be in the end, I’ll post pistures here of the process!

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