Friday, May 7, 2010

1344 French Knots!

Last fall I went antiquing with dh and I came across a box of linens to be embroidered. Most had never been started and some had just the beginnings of work done to them. I bought the box for $20 with 14 pieces to do.
My favorite piece is the one I did first and just recently finished it. It is a table runner or dresser scarf of 100% pure linen. I chose rather primitive holiday colors for it in hopes that it will sell in the shop where I do consignment.
The design is rather simple but kind of elegant, I think. I chose a deep cranberry for the French knots, did I say 1344 of them! Gold for the daisy chain accent stitches, a soft brown for the vine that I stitched in a back stitch, and a forest green for the "leaves", done in a fishbone stitch. They rather remind me of pine trees.
I hemmed it with a double turn 1/4" hem, hand stitched and finished with a back stitch in the same forest green.
My original thought was to find some vintage crocheted or tatted lace to sew onto the edge all around. But reconsidering, I didn't think I would find enough of one kind to do that and if so, it would be rather expensive. And that would add to the selling price. So I opted to just keep it simple and I am glad I did. The finished piece looks just right. Lastly, I hand soaked it in some warm water with a bit of Ivory dish soap. Let me just say that the linen was filthy. Don't know how old the piece was and how long it had been sitting in someone's house or attic or drawer. but after soaking and rinsing, I rolled it in a beach towel to get the excess water out before laying it flat to dry. Final step was to iron it from the back side and voila', done.

It Was a Good Idea at the Time!

I recently bought some beautiful yarns while on a road trip with my friend Peggy. I had some colors in mind because I wanted to crochet some simple scarves for next winter. One of the colors was black and I found a a small skein of a cotton, soft black tweed. It has little slubs of colors like red, blue, green, gold, and a little pink. Loved it.
When I was ready to start the project I remembered I had a tube of black seed beads. I thought that it would look nice to crochet the beads into the scarf, one bead/stitch at a time. The beads would give just a hint of shine now and then but not be glittery. Great idea, ah-yeeh!
First I needed to string that 30gm tube of beads onto some black thread so dug out a new spool and proceeded to string. Done at 15 feet of beads.
I started to crochet and soon found that this is going to be a very slow process! As i use up the thread along with the yarn, I have to let out some more thread way at the spool which means very carefully laying out the beads so as not to get tangled. Then unwind plenty of thread, slide the length of beads down the thread to bring up the bare thread close to the crochet hook. Whoo! As i crochet each single crochet stitch, I move 1 bead onto the thread where I am working and finish the crochet stitch. And so it goes, very slowly. I'm doing 20 stitches across which is about 5"-6" across and however long the ball of yarn will get me.
It's a good thing that I have started early because this will take a while. I exaggerate just a bit... it is slow going but I work on it in the evening once dh goes to work. The house is quiet but for some good music.
The project is turning out as I saw it in my mind's eye. There were a couple of times when I wondered if I was going to change my mind but I thought what the heck. I'm up for the challenge.
Here are pictures of getting started: stringing those beads, remember 15 ft. of them, the yarn etc. And then what I have gotten crocheted so far. I find keeping the beads in the metal lid on the floor while I work, helps to move the thread and beads along without getting tangled.