A finish, a near miss and a new product

Father-in-law’s birthday weekend went very well, we had a wonderful time with all the family and everyone enjoyed themselves (even when several of us got up to sing an appropriately rewritten version of “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” in honour of FIL’s flying days). I managed to get the card finished before we set off, but forgot to photograph it. I did take a picture of the completed stitching, though, and here it is, with silver filling stitches:

90th birthday complete

Of course I couldn’t possibly go off for a long weekend without my stitching bag, but I wasn’t sure which project to take. Walled Garden was calling to me loudly – all those pretty colours in my project folder waiting to be used – but it’s a bit too big for a travel project, so I decided on a model stitch for the next Guildhouse course. It’s a variation on Round Dozen, using double wrapped bars and spider’s web filling stitches. A nice quick stitch, not too complicated and the perfect opportunity to try out a new Caron colour, Calabasa, a warm and sunny variegated orange. Like the Appalachia/Jade combination, this one is definitely going to get used more often! Perhaps with Daffodil, another cheerful, sunny colour.

Remember I called this little project “not too complicated”? Famous last words … I’d done all the surface stitching, Kloster blocks, brick stitch, satin stitch, Queen’s stitch, everything, and had started to cut. I’d completed about half the cutting when I came to a Kloster block that made me stop in my tracks. It took me a while to work out why it had set the alarm bells ringing, and then I realised – I’d stitched two of the block’s five satin stitches into one hole!

A mistake in my Kloster blocks

There was no way I could cut along the Kloster block like that; the fabric thread at the bottom of the block was unsecured and although it was unlikely to make the whole thing unravel, it would certainly be a weak spot. It also looked wrong, would forever annoy me, and set a very bad example for my students. At that point I could have decided to give up on it and restitch the whole thing, but that would have been rather a waste of time and material, so I attempted a rescue operation. I cut the perle #5 on the corner where the misshapen Kloster block met its neighbour, carefully unpicked both blocks and fastened off the two cut ends. I then restitched the two unpicked blocks, pulling less firmly than usual so I wouldn’t distort the fabric threads that had already been cut. It worked, and with a sigh of relief I resumed my cutting. Can you tell from the photograph which was the rogue Kloster block? I can’t. So if you ever find that you have miss-stitched a Kloster block, or accidentally cut your stitching while cutting the fabric, don’t be too down-hearted – you may very well be able to salvage it!

Hardanger with spider's webs and double wrapped bars for the 2013 Guildhouse course

During the courses I teach I like to suggest ways of finishing projects; this project and another Round Dozen variation which I haven’t stitched yet are just the right size to be made into coasters. You can see two sets in the Gallery, one using Round the Year, and the other using Kaleidoscope. As I was considering how many coasters I would need to get for the students, I thought I might as well order in some more and make them available on Mabel’s Fancies! They’re really nice ones with rounded corners, and quite hard-wearing – the one below has been in constant use on the little table by my stitching chair for the past eighteen months or so, and apart from a few very slight scratches it’s absolutely fine, and still shows the stitching off a treat.

Acrylic coasters to finish your stitching off in style

You can find the coasters on the Squissors & Kits page, per pair or in a set of 4.

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