Thread Sampler Cover

I have been working diligently on my Thread Sampler.  It’s unfortunate that life keeps getting in the way or I’d be onto the first page of threads!

I finally came up with a title for my fabric book.  I wanted something that sounded kind of Medieval and definitely wanted to use an old English script for the lettering.

The title:

Specimens
of
Threads
Sampled
by
Julie Castle

The lettering:

Thread Sampler Cover Graph

I like the letters, but not the spacing

Thread Sampler Cover Graphed

The little numbers represent the width and height of each word.

I like the lettering which I found on the (free!) alphabets pattern page at Embroidery and Embroider.  But I decided I want only one space between letters, two between words on the same line, and three between lines.

I don’t like the program I used to graph this.  It’s really hard to move things around and copy and paste repeats.  So where I would expect to graph in an ‘e’ once and copy and paste where needed repeatedly I ended up graphing it over and over.  Very tedious. Graphing colors could be easier, too.  In November I’ll be taking Sharon Boggin’s course on using GIMP which I’m hoping will be the answer to my design software needs and wants.

I am loving the Kreinik silk Mori thread.  It is so soft it makes me think of one of my favorite scarves/shawls.  A very warm and comforting feeling.  But I ran out.  Actually I should have had enough to do the full cover, but I think the last length of six strands walked away with a dog (most likely my black and silver mini schnauzer, Taz) and is probably hanging in a bush outside somewhere.  Ah well, a bird or chipmunk will have access to some real luxury nest material!  Next week I’ll go to my favorite local shop and pick up a couple more skeins.

Thread Sampler Fabric Book Cover

Title of the thread sampler fabric book stitched thus far in cross stitch with Kreinik Silk Mori, two plies of black

And here is the back of this piece:

Thread Sampler Fabric Book Cover

This is the backside of the stitching thus far. It is not supposed to be reversible, just very neat.

Part of the reason I wanted the space between the letters to be one stitch width is so I don’t have to worry too much about being able to see lines of black thread being carried from letter to letter from the front.  I use a loop method or away knot to start my threads and bury them as soon as I finish a length of thread.  In this way I can assess my neatness as I go and there will be no disappointments when the piece is completed.

Now, on to the actual thread samples and the pages of this fabric book!

When we get to Alabama for the winter I will order some fabric for the book cover that will frame the title stitching.  I’m thinking a brocade, something sturdy and heavy.  I like this and this, too.  I’ve done some research on what might have been used in early book binding and really don’t want to use leather as my sewing machine probably wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Which of the cover fabrics do you like best?  You might want to seriously consider this question because if I order too much I may just have to give the extra away to some lucky reader!  I’ll keep you posted!

Blackwork Thread Sampler Continues

I have stitched my first stitches on my Blackwork Thread Sampler!  Feels good!  Of course, I’ve already had my first snag.

I was going to use the Trebizond for the cover because it’s so shiny and pretty.  But I didn’t like working with the silk.  Let me be more specific.  I did not like working with stranded Trebizond.  I will do some more research to find out if there is a way to handle stranding the twisted silk so it will handle more neatly in the stitching.

Instead I decided to use an old faithful—Mori stranded silk from Kreinik.  I have used this before and enjoyed it.  It is soft, but strong.  It does not fuzz up while you’re stitching, nor does it break as some threads do.  It is a matte finish, but I can live with that.

So, what exactly am I stitching?  Let me back up a step or two.

I mentioned before there are some factors to consider before laying thread to fabric.  And these are the factors:

  1. The threads should be identified clearly in the sample or there should be a legend that will never be separated from the sampler.
  2. The threads should be used as fully as they would in any worked piece.  In other words, if the thread is a stranded one, then strand usage should be incorporated to the piece.
  3. The sampler should answer any question a person might have about the thread as used in any type of work.
  4. The threads sampler should show very clearly the differences between the various thread samples.

I also said that I wanted this work to be like the Encyclopedia Britannica of blackwork thread usage.  For those who don’t know what the Britannica was, it was a reference book, the oldest English language encyclopedia in fact.

So, I’m making a book!  A fabric book!

It took me a while to find information about how to construct a fabric book.  I had a basic Idea, but I really am not interested in trial and error when it comes to finishing.  I want a fail-safe method that will make me proud to show my work to others.  I found a very nice answer at Shade Tree Art.  My model will be my take on Shade Tree’s model.

  1. My cover will be the title stitched in black silk on linen.  This piece will be bordered with the “cover fabric.”
  2. Each page of the book will be devoted to one thread.
  3. There will be a Table of Contents identifying the order of the threads sampled.
  4. I will leave several end pages to accommodate threads that will come to market in the future.
  5. I’m not sure if I want each page to be the linen with the thread sample or a muslin page that I appliqué the stitch sample onto.
  6. If I do attach the sample to a foundation page, I will embroider the page number and identifier info onto the foundation fabric to show how the thread handles on a different ground.

Boy, this is a lot of work to do just to stitch a sampler!  But I’m loving every minute of it, truly a labor of love energized by passion!

What do you think about item 5?  Should the stitched sample be applied to a foundation page or be the actual page itself?  Tomorrow I’ll show you where things are at with the cover.  And for now I’m going to go stitch on it some more.  Feedback, people, feedback!

Orts

Orts

Ort: noun Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal. In this case bits of thread left from stitching!
Pattern for Ort Box Designed by Marilyn Owen
Color Design by Julie Castle

Just a quick note to let you know I have posted something I think is important on The Shop Sampler about the increase of infringement of confidential and copyrighted information on the internet.  Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Also I’ve been updating some info on my pages (see tabs associated with header.)  Still checking links, was surprised to see Seba Blackwork Designs web address had changed.  Good thing I’m checking!

Preparing for a dinner party and my current TAST challenge, so will catch up with Blackwork this weekend!  BTW, my Trebizond silk has been ordered and is on its way here!  Yea!

I don’t really like the idea of “reblogging,” but when I read this article I’m thinking I may have been wrong. I could never say what this young man says so well. He deserves to be not only read by everyone, but followed, too! I know I am!

Cristian Mihai

There’s a part of me that believes art to be a primordial aspect of the human condition. Art inspires, art is a way of achieving greatness, of building a better world. Art turns strangers into friends. Without art, without artists, we wouldn’t be ourselves anymore.

Because I feel that within the confines of any artistic form of expression, we allow ourselves to wear a mask. The artist hides behind words or paints or brushes. And he feels safe. He can be anyone he wants to be. His freedom is limitless. And he plays this bizarre game of hide and seek with the rest of the world, constantly changing the rules, until he decides – maybe on a mere subconscious level – to  be himself, thinking that people will never find out.

View original post 497 more words

Synchronicity and Thread

Do you believe in synchronicity?  I do!  Especially when I put a question out to the Universe and the answer is sent to my e-mail box!

Yesterday I shared my Thread Sampler thread list with you and asked for input about any threads that would be good additions to my list.

Today I got my daily e-mail from Mary Corbet’s website, Needle ‘n Thread.  And what was she writing about but,Trebizond!

I’d forgotten it’s on my wish list of threads to buy and try.  It is a lovely, shiney 3-ply twisted silk from Access Commodities.  Your finer embroidery suppliers will have it or know how to get it.  Or you can click on the links in Mary’s article!

I’m adding it to my list!

The Thread Sampler Threads

This Coptic motif is 34 stitches by 34 stitchesWhile we consider if there are other questions I have missed (see previous post), I thought I would tell you about the threads I’ve gathered to sample.  

  1. Caron’s Impressions, color 0020—This thread is 50% silk and 50% wool.  It is soft, slightly fuzzy, and has 3 plies.
  2. DMC’s Medici, color noir—Another soft, fuzzy thread which is considered a fine weight wool that is not divisible.  Wool threads are non-reflective so will provide a very matte finish.  And it’s mothproof!
  3. Vineyard Silk Classic, Jet Black—While this thread is 100% Chinese silk, it feels like the Caron’s Impressions.  It is non-strandable and supposed to not untwist when you’re using it, nor get dented by the needle.
  4. Needlepoint Inc. Silk, color 993—This 8 ply thread is 100% Chinese Silk.  Since it is reeled as opposed to spun the fibers are longer and should hold together better.
  5. Belle Soie, Noir—French for “Beautiful Silk, black” really does describe this 12 stranded spun silk.  The color is not quite as intensely black as the others, perhaps because it is hand dyed.
  6. Baroque Silk, Witching Hour—This company’s colors are so rich, I’m looking forward to stitching with this hand dyed 3 ply thread.
  7. Splendor, S801—Rainbow Gallery threads are probably familiar to the average stitcher of today.  Splendor is their 12-ply hand washable silk thread that is manufactured in France.  While I haven’t used this color, I have used the thread in several projects and I love working with it.   This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about the product:  This is a 12-ply silk floss with an unusual construction. It has three bundles of four strands each. It is easiest if you pull the bundles out first and then take out each strand. The twist of each individual strand is tighter than most silks. This makes Splendor easier to use. It will not snag on all but the roughest hands. Be careful to ply and lay the silk to keep the nice shine. I have also stitched with each bundle as it comes. This silk is perfect for people who have been afraid of silks. Many of the usual problems experienced with silk will not occur with Splendor. Anyone that stitches with cotton floss will have no problem with it.
  8. Mandarin Floss, M801—Have you played with any of the newer untraditional threads?  I have used Sea Grass with success and now love it.  Mandarin Floss is in this category for me.  It is 100% Bamboo and has 6 plies.  It feels so nice that I may start with it!  This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about their product:  “It lays better than cotton because it is softer and yet is still quite strong. You can use slightly longer stitching lengths since it wears better too.  It is less costly than silk but has many silk-like properties. Its semi-matte finish doesn’t overpower your other stitches.  Most matte threads lines have gone off the market and Mandarin floss works well as a  substitute. Blends well with with metallic filament for cross stitching.  Great for French Knots, Turkey Work, tassels and twisted cords.”
  9. DMC Cotton Floss—I’m sure everyone is familiar with this 6-ply thread
  10. DMC Cotton Perle #3, #5, #8, #12, color #310—Everyone is most likely familiar with these, too!
  11. Sulky Cotton—This is my favorite sewing machine thread.  I have also used it for hand quilting.  I like working with it so thought I would add it to my list.

What threads would you have on your list?  Any recommendations for one or more that I really should add to mine?

Blackwork Experimental Sampler In Progress

This Coptic  motif is 34 stitches by 34 stitches

Please ignore the arrows. This motif is 34 stitches by 34 stitches. It would make a charming border

This little project is a marriage of my love of blackwork and my love of samplers.  Anyone who has been following The Shop Sampler blog will know that I have been playing with samplers and stitch practice for this year through the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge at PIn Tangle and with the support of the Stitchin’ Fingers community.  I have also joined the Yahoo group The Sampler Life.  (As if I didn’t already have enough internet reading to do!)  It is also a good group that is supportive and very creative as well as opening up even more of the international stitching world.

I mentioned in my last post that I am an avid fan of the Antique Pattern Library and have joined that Yahoo group, too.  It’s the best way to keep up with what’s new at the Library.  Also an international community of stitchers, I’m expecting that anyone needing help with translations can find someone there.

So, here’s the deal.

  1. I have struggled with what thread I want to use for my Mystery Sampler project.  I’ve looked at and bought a sample of every black thread out there.  I have read about different people’s preferences.
  2. I have been playing with different (colored) threads in my TAST projects and it is very clear how certain threads work for one desired effect and some threads will not work in the same situation.  Like twisted thread works well for Double Twisted Chain, but stranded thread just looks messy in that stitch.
  3. It is clear—Thread matters!
  4. Samplers are the tried and true method of testing patterns!  Hence birth of a new sampler!

Oh boy!  You would think you could just pick up your fabric and start stitching.   WRONG!

Well, maybe a little right.  But I want this sampler to be useful, to be a really good reference, like the Encyclopedia Britannica of blackwork thread usage.  Or Wikipedia entry of blackwork thread usage for those of you who are younger than Baby Boomers!

So what features should be incorporated into this sampler for it to be eternally useful?

  1. The threads should be identified clearly in the sample or there should be a legend that will never be separated from the sampler.
  2. The threads should be used as fully as they would in any worked piece.  In other words, if the thread is a stranded one, then strand usage should be incorporated to the piece.
  3. The sampler should answer any question a person might have about the thread as used in any type of work.
  4. The threads sampler should show very clearly the differences between the various thread samples.

And another thing—

  1. How does ground affect the thread usage?  How can I work this into the sampler?  Certain fabrics tend to “eat up” the pattern.  Like Aida 14 or Fiddlers Cloth just don’t show silks off at all, in my opinion the fabric is too heavy and overpowers the delicate strength of the silk.  [Are there fabric/thread combinations that you simply would never use?]
  2. How does the thread work with colored threads in the case I want to get into the latest thing in blackwork—Colored Monochrome?  I don’t know about you, but I have experienced how different colored threads behave differently than the exact same thread in another color.  Because the dye has an effect on the fiber.  I have found reds can sometimes be rather knotty to work with.  [How about you?  What thread colors have you had weird experiences with?]
  3. [Can you think of other questions that should be considered in planning this sampler?]

I have answered some of these questions, in fact many of them at thigs point.  But before I tell you what I have figured out, I want to hear from you.  How would you answer these questions?  What other questions do you think would be important? You tell me then I’ll tell you.  Deal?!

I’ll give y’all a couple days to mull this over before I post again!