I stitch all my designs (*). That may sound rather obvious at first, but for various reasons not everyone does. Some designers use model stitchers. Some offer a computer-generated picture of what the stitched piece will look like. Some offer a picture of the artwork the design is based on. In many cases the problem must be one of time – if you are a prolific designer of rather large and complex pieces, you’d need several lifetimes to stitch them all, and you might manage to offer one to the public every six to twelve months or so – not ideal.
Fortunately Hardanger is a relatively quick needlework technique, and my designs are never on the "tablecloth for a dining table that seats 24" sort of scale, so I have the luxury of choosing to stitch them all myself. Which is just as well, because as I’ve mentioned before I do tend to change things about my designs. Sometimes because it doesn’t look the way I intended; sometimes because it needs such fiddly and convoluted stitching that I couldn’t possibly inflict it on anyone but myself; and sometimes because what worked on paper turns out to be simply impossible with needle and thread. Whatever the reason, stitching the designs brings it out and allows me to change it.
It does mean, however, that I end up with an awful lot of stitched pieces, most of which just lie around not doing anything useful. Some of them get turned into cards, coasters, pen holders, Bible covers, bookmarks and bags (you can see them in the Gallery), but not everything fits into cards and coasters, after a while the supply of Bibles in the house runs out, and there’s only so many pen holders you can use.
Of course you can make them into pen holders, cushions, bags etc. for other people. Hand-stitched items make great gifts. The trouble is that I’m rather attached to all those stitched models – they are the first time each of these designs got stitched. Some of them have as yet been stitched by no-one but me. I feel quite maternal towards them.
But I came to the conclusion that I was just being silly, and so I’m turning some of them into "Mabel Originals" – items which have been hand-finished using an original piece of stitching, designed and worked by Mabel. Because they are useful and relatively easy to post, I’ve chosen to finish most of them as shopping bags, but there will be some other items as well. You can see them on the new Specials page.
Except for one which I’m going to keep for myself. I think it will be the perfect bag for some serious stash shopping at this year’s Knitting & Stitching show!
(*) Apart from the Rage Sampler. I admit it. But as it consists solely of words and uses only three shades (dark brown for the small letters and two reds for the big ones) I don’t think stitching it would have made a great difference to the design.