One of Johnny’s nicknames is “pickle” or “pickle pants.” I have no idea why I call him that, it just happened.
I wanted to try and vary the stitches I used on this piece so, the letters are all worked in just a simple backstitch. The outline of the pickle is done in a stem stitch (I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of that one. It’s eluded me for some reason.), the eyes are french knots, the facial features are split stitch so they stick out a little, and the pickle bumps are isolated chain stitches done a little wide.
Hopefully I’ll be finishing up another paper piece soon.
As I’ve said before, I got this book from the 1870s for a quarter at a book sale in college.
My favorite page talks about the metric system. There’s something really nice about the quality of the paper. It’s a little bit more cloth-like than most paper you’d just run across in a 21st century book. It’s almost more like construction paper in its texture (though not nearly in thickness).
Sometimes I sketch on a plain piece of paper, then scan it, flip it, print it back out and trace the sketch using red transfer paper. And other times I don’t feel like it, and I just sketch directly on the reverse side of the page that I am going to stitch. I learned the hard way the first time not to sketch on the front, that the outline will subtly show through. You have to look for it, but it’s there.
Then I poke some holes. Sometimes I do a whole line, sometimes a whole section. I’ve found that doing the outside lines first makes my life easier. But I generally don’t do holes for the french knots. Sometimes they get too big and it pulls through. Not good.
I split my floss in half, so I use three strands. When stitching, the tension is important. You don’t want to pull to tight or the paper will rip. Not tight enough and the stitches are too loose. I’m extra careful when pulling through so I only take the stitch in one direction at a time. It feels a little extra-elementary, to pull the floss all the way through in one direction only, but it’s worth it.
I entered this piece into the Feeling Stitchy Rainbow of Stitches contest, and I think that I’ve made the first cut, and am just waiting and a bit anxious to find out who won the color category. There was a lot of good stuff entered, and I’m happy to have caught anyone’s eye.
I’m currently at work on a third piece, and there will be a fourth. I’m planning on putting them up in our bedroom. After that, who knows what’s next.
Since I started embroidering I’ve been looking for something that I can call “my style”. I love making little things for other people: onsies for babies, Johnny’s wall hanging, Bridget’s pillow and so on. But what I really wanted, was to go beyond tracing a pattern and to create something that I had thought up.
I’ve been keeping an eye on lots of other people’s work on flickr and elsewhere, and just trying to get a sense of what I like. (Including this one of a scorpion on paper.) One day I was flipping through these old Math books from the mid 1800s that I picked up for 50 cents at a book sale in college and one of them had some line drawings scattered through it. I tried following the outline on one of those pages but it didn’t turn out as well as I had wanted.
Still, something about it was interesting. So I just started doodling, like I would in the margins of a book, only across the whole page.
I am pretty in-love with the results and am planning to do a series of them (and then what, I don’t know…). I learned some things as I was stitching that I think will improve the results even more the next time around.