Category: "Needlework"

Sue Bakker - Birds on a Branch, 24.75 hours

by brae  

Update on the Birds on a Branch rug. I didn't stitch as much as I should have this past month, but I feel I've gotten back into the groove. The Star Trek marathon each night on ion television helps. Now at 24.75 hours.

Sue Bakker - Birds on a Branch, 14.5 hours

by brae  

Update on the Birds on a Branch rug. After the last update, I lost a bit of motivation after deciding I didn't like the diagonal striped border. The knots were not lining up well, and it was becoming a jumbled mess the more I added. Here is what it looked like last.

I had two choices - remove the knots in the border or start over. At 11 hours of work, it wasn't a terrible thing to restart, but I decided to try removing the knots.

You can't just rip stitches when every stitch is a knot, because it will destroy the fabric. Instead, I took a fresh X-Acto blade, wiped it completely clean and slid the edge under the heads of the knots on the front side. This is as scary as it sounds. Nothing to lose if it didn't work, though, since I wasn't going to continue with what I had.

It did work, though. I used packing tape to lift the threads and fuzz left from cutting away the knots. There were three places in the fabric where there was some minor damage - not true holes but very thin remaining fabric.

I ironed on some fusible interfacing to patch those holes. It's very thin material, so it wouldn't build up any bulk while still providing more substance for the stitches to grab onto.

I opted for a solid border, which I already like better. I might make it wider later on. The diagonal striped border would have been nice, but it was too hard to manage with freehand knots in such a small area. A vertical striped border would have been too geometric with the organic bird and branch patterns of the interior.

I didn't count the time of the knot removal and redo, but I was able to stitch more after that was done. So, this is now at 14.5 hours of work.

Sue Bakker - Birds on a Branch, 11 hours

by brae  

First major update on the Birds on a Branch rug. :] This is 11 hours of stitching time so far.

Sue Bakker - Birds on a Branch, start and restart

by brae  

I spent some time working on the rug last weekend, and I do love it...but the linen isn't going to work. While I can see the threads with no problem, I'm running into the same issue I had with the silk gauze in that my knots are covering so well, it's hard to keep track of which thread line I am on. To that point, I am already off a thread across in one area of the pattern.

But, all is not lost.  I decided to go the way of the Persian (another poor project I let lapse). I printed the color photo from the pattern onto cotton and will follow the pattern that way. I had to redo the charted pattern anyway to choose new colors and change the border, so that was not a lost effort, either. Some of the areas will likely be simplified working on the cotton, but it will be easier overall since I won't have to follow thread lines. Should go a little faster, too.  :]

Here's the print after rinsing, before ironing and setting in the hoop.

You can see the tiny squares.

This is two hours of work, and I love it already. I'm still referencing the pattern and symbol chart for the colors, but I am not counting the knots. I use the printed areas as a guide and get the general feel of the pattern using the colors I charted. Much easier this way - working on the details and filling in after.

I like seeing the whole design at once, watching the various parts come to life as I complete the knots. As you can see, it doesn't keep the boxy shape as the knots are made over the pattern.

Sue Bakker - Birds on a Branch, prep

by brae  

I've set up my fabric for the Birds on a Branch rug by Sue Bakker. I measured my printout, which is roughly the actual finished size I'm figuring, and then tried it with my Morgan Lap Stand (my original review here).  This set has two no-slip embroidery hoops and extenders to create a lap frame. There are many sizes available, but I chose the 7" and 9" set.  You can use the stand with either the large or small hoop as the base. This is especially nice for French knot work or if you want to rotate the work at all. It can be used either on your lap or on a tabletop. You can also use either hoop by itself. These hoops will fit in my wooden Baby Z Lap Frame, too. It collapses for travel and storage, though you'll need a bag to keep all the pieces together (shown here with a previous project).

As you can see, the 7" hoop would work, but I like having more room, so I will mount the linen in the 9" hoop.

I purchased 40 count Flax Zweigart Newcastle Cross Stitch Linen from The Hobby House on eBay, which is somewhat pricey but worth the cost if you buy a larger cut. To save material, I cut a piece slightly larger than my hoop.

I cut muslin strips and sewed them to the linen to make it a larger piece of fabric.

After trimming the corners, I added a zigzag stitch all around to keep the fabric from fraying as I work.

I'm ready to test my French knots following a pattern. Unlike Elga's method, where she did one row at a time, I might be able to do the pattern and then fill in the background at the end. I'll see what I think after the test samples.

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