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!

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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!