… Just waiting for my thread to arrive.

As I planned, after tracing the Unstitched Coif pattern onto my linen, I cut the cloth and hemmed the top and bottom of the piece (left below). Then I trimmed the left and right edges with a folded and ironed piece of wide cotton twill tape offset a bit from the linen itself, so that any side lacing would have something to bite into that would not distort the ground. That’s sewn on with simple running stitch.

Once the ground was prepped, I mounted it on my largest scrolling frame. Because the entire coif fits in the frame’s center, I don’t need to employ any scrolling functionality. That’s why I made advance accommodation for side lacing. I used plain old heavy cotton crochet string for the lacing. The ball of it lost its label long ago, but I think it’s Coats & Clark’s Speed-Cro-Sheen. Here’s the entire thing, set up on my stand using the large frame extender (the wooden arm with the metal tabs grasping the work), and laced tighter than most costume-drama heroines.

Note the brick just barely visible at the bottom right corner of the photo. Because I swing my frame out like a barn door to exit my knitting chair, two bricks of extra weight on the paddle foot of my stand are necessary to counterbalance the mass of this large frame when it is positioned perpendicular to the foot. Someday I’ll knit or crochet neat little covers for them as yet another household whimsey, but for now they’re kept tidy with plastic wrap.

Because so much of this is a trip into the unknown, I took the side slice of linen left over after I cut my project piece, and traced a couple of motifs onto it. That’s going to be my “sidecar” – an as-I-work sampler used to try out ideas before I trust them to the main project. I didn’t bother hemming this bit. You can see it on the arm of my stitching corner chair.

I’ve begun playtesting countwork on this linen on the sidecar, but I haven’t received my ultra-fine thread or needles yet. One ply of the Golden Schelle thread is almost fine enough for fills, but I want to see the others in comparison because my first efforts with it are wobbly enough to be unacceptable. Plus stitching on this stuff with a #28 tapestry needle is like passing a log through a window screen, and I am still adapting to the magnifier; both of which complicate matters somewhat.

I know one of the threads I ordered will be here later today, and hope the other two plus the blunt beading needles will arrive some time this week. For the record none are the Piper 30/2 that others are using – the cost of overseas sourcing plus the time to ship made me look for a domestic equivalent. More on all three when they arrive.

For journalistic veracity, I present the shameful and discreditably woebegone initial counted bits, and threaded #28 needle, plus a US penny (at 7:00), and UK penny (at 12:00) – both for scale. Be kind, I hope to work out the kinks before attacking the project, proper.

I will be testing out the Schelle silk, plus the Tied to History Allori and my other unnamed stash-aged silk in the mean time, trying out various treatments for the outlines and possibly the stems. I am still hoping to incorporate metal threads in the stems, but plain couched doubles of the #5 may be too stark.

Obviously for me at least having the sidecar is a total necessity on this one.

10 responses

  1. steve sternenberg | Reply

    Umm..”please be kind”.? You’re working a counted pattern on almost uncountable ground with the wrong tools and learning to use a new magnifier. But, still, you got the spacing even, even on the zig-zags. Nobody needs to try to be kind. You are doing a tremendous job. When you get this dialed in the actual project will be just…wow.


  2. All I can say about this project is: Wow.

  3. I can send you some of the Piper’s stuff I have floating around if you want to try it–not sure if I have any 30/2 though

    1. Thanks for the offer, but I think that the three stashed options plus three on order options are all I can handle right now. Unless nothing works out and I have to go to Option B (whatever that is). Again thanks!

  4. I can mail you some 60/2 silk from the US if you want to give it a go.

    1. Thanks for your very generous offer, but I’m going to see if between the three heavier threads plus the three finer threads on order, if I can meet the needs of both fills and outlines. Experimentation (as soon as they arrive) is in order. If things go awry however I may be back in touch with you. Thanks again!

  5. I’ve enjoyed seeing your stitching area! I’m pondering how to better set up to use a slate frame for a goldwork/stumpwork project. I’ve never done either technique or used a slate frame, only scroll bars or hoops, so this is a real learning project!
    I may need to get a couple of bricks so I can move the stand so I can work more comfortably. Bonus trick – it all needs to be fairly easily moved and put away when baby granddaughter comes, so she, the project, and the stand are safe.

    1. This is a scrolling frame, but I am using it in a hybrid fashion, extending it fully and supplementing the frame’s scroll bar grip with lacing on the other two sides. If this were a slate frame I would have edged all four sides with extra fabric or very wide twill tape, and laced all of them.

      1. Thanks for the though of lacing all 4 sides! I’ll try that on the next panel. The instructions said to whip stitch top/bottom of the linen panel to the tape on the top/bottom rails, and lace to the sides. I did that, but it was a real pain to figure out whip stitching the 2nd side in the right location to have the fabric taut but not over stretched, AND have the pegs in line with holes on the side rails. Or I may see if the work area will fit between the scroll rods on my scroll frame and lace the sides as you are doing here.

        1. The old slate frame I had (now of blessed memory) wasn’t the kind with the permanent twill tape mounted to two sides. It was just four bars with corner pegs and holes for lacing around all of the sides.

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