Monday, March 28, 2011

Damn those Frenchmen and their Knots

Here we are at the end of March, and I have just completed the February project for the sew along: embroidered pillowcases. Actually, I fudged a little bit on this project. The choices Annette gave us for this month were either a floral pattern - which, for whatever reason, didn't speak to me - or monograms. I really did like the monograms, but for Scott and I the monograms would have read "S" and "M", and I just wasn't sure about that.

So, instead I chose to work on the Queen Anne's lace pattern from Alicia Paulson's blog. The instructions say that you could finish a pair of these pillowcases in an afternoon. Well, not me! Okay, if I had an afternoon to work on them - maybe. But in reality, I worked on this project during five minute segments of stolen time, so it took me about a month to finish.

This pattern used three stitches I had never used before: stem stitch, satin stitch, and the French knot. I didn't have any problem with the satin stitch, and the stem stitch was pretty easy for me, too, although my stitches look kind of sad compared to those in the examples I have on hand from Scott's Grandma, Ruth.

Those French knots, though. Argh! It took me forever to figure them out. I finally went on-line to find a tutorial to help me with this, and the one that helped me was this one from Jenny Hart.

The magic trick seemed to be setting my work down on a table so that I could use both hands for the knot. Also, before I read this tutorial I had not been using a hoop - once I did it was a lot easier to make the knots! Anyway, I am done with my pillowcases now, and I love them! Here they are in our bedroom/living room.

I did not sew my own pillowcases for this project - I used some that I found at IKEA. They are fabulous pillowcases, with an extra little flap inside that prevents the pillow from ever coming out. Take a good look, because it is very likely that this is the last time you will see them ironed! Oh, that painting above the bed? It's by Spokane artist Peter Presnail, who is also fabulous.

One last thought - while I was searching for my magic French knot tutorial I found Feeling Stitchy, a truly amazing blog about embroidery. Check it out!

And, while you're doing that, I will try to decide if I am going to work on the March project for the sew along or just let it go and jump to the April project . . .

7 comments:

annette said...

It took me forever to master french knots also. I had my mother-in-law show me, no dice. I read instructions in book after book, no dice. It wasn't until reading through The Embroiderer's Companion that it stuck. Those french knots just seem to come together like magic now.

Come stitch April with me! You can always go back to March's project another time. It would be nice to know someone was stitching along.

skrapyram said...

Maybe I will skip March for now. Those Daisy curtains might be just the thing for our front door . . . I could possibly do those AND one of the birds to go in a frame :)

knittinginatree said...

I think the finished product is beautiful!

skrapyram said...

Thank you - they do make me happy!

Christina Claassen said...

Nice embroidery work Mary. You impress me with all of your beautiful projects. Sweet!

Melissa Placzek said...

I saw the Queen Anne's Lace on Posie Gets Cozy too...thinking I may have to try this :) So pretty. You did a great job!

skrapyram said...

I have to admit I pretty much love everything from Alicia Paulson. I get a lot of inspiration from her :)