Embroidery has always been evolving and creating so many beautiful stitches and it is hard to keep up with all the latest techniques. One of my personal favorites was always the French Knot. I remember the first time I did that knot, I thought I had reached the highest level in embroidery. It was as if I had invented it myself and I was putting them everywhere.
American embroidery was brought from all over the world, but in the 1700's, techniques were generally from England. Tone on tone was a popular design, so to have embroidery standout, it had to stand out. That is, the French Knot was a great way to make the project "pop."
The colonists had limited resources and the tariffs from the Old World were a real sore spot, vis-à-vis, the Boston Tea Party. (Isn't history more interesting when the example relates directly to the people?) The designs were simple, if you have some example from some distant relative, you know I mean. Please post a photo in "media" if you do happen to have an early design, we are always interested in those.
If a woman was in a family where seeking new places was a life style, she found herself in a covered wagon and living in harsh, lonely places. As is still the case today, the woman mostly made the humble structure a home which she did by embroidery, among other things.
Perhaps due to the fact that materials were scarce, she may have changed the French Knot into the Colonial knot. That is my guess, and I am sticking to it. This is an example of the Colonial Knot, on the left, and the French Knot (I do need some practice if I am going to do these!) is on the right.
Traditional candlewicking is white on white or cream on cream with the fabric being fine muslin. The thread is usually thicker such as a pearl cotton or Cordonnet. Cordonnet is usually a multi-cord mercerized 100% cotton thread used for crochet or tatting.
Machine Embroidery cannot duplicate the twist of the hand style, so it invented a version of candlewicking which gives designs a 3D effect. The design I am using is a Bird on Holly circled by candlewicking. The holly berries are also candlewicking.
When I chose a design to demonstrate a stitch, the first consideration is to show the topic. But, I try to go further to show other things about good design. In this case, the bird design is extremely well digitized. For just under $6.00, all the stitching is ‘placed,' meaning that the feathers are laid on top of feathers, like shingles on a roof, beginning at the tail feathers. So, when you complete the design, there is another element of natural lying of the stitches. On some designs, the digitizer might choose to do a ‘fill' where the stitches will run the length of the bird, but not in the way the feathers actually grow. The leaves, branches and holly are all done in the same manner. Another feature of this design is that the branch, bird and feet are all separate colors, but all listed as "dark brown." The separation of color allows for three separate dark browns, again making it more natural. Quality digitizing is a joy to stitch out and make a detail oriented gift.
Refresher: Hoopless Embroidery Blog for hoopless work on a small tote.
The tiny tote I chose is only 5" by 5" and the design is 3.9" x 3.9." So, I reduced the design area to 3.5" x 3.5." My original test sew out was in the original size. When I compared the two, they were identical except for the size. Since my area was so tight, I did slow down my machine in case I had a problem. I did need to use ATG Adhesive, Water Soluble Stabilizer to hold this project, it was perfect for the small area I had to work with.
I am really pleased with the results. The flash from my camera shows off the sheen from my Polyester threads nicely.
Money Saving Tip: When buying thread, colors for flowers and various items can be your own choosing. However, when it comes to doing animals, birds and other fauna, you will want to have certain browns, golds and greens for a more realistic design. ATG has a 40% off sale on "Fall Thread Collection."
This is 25, 1000-meter spools of 40-weight polyester embroidery thread collection for less than $2.50 per spool. Whether you do a puppy or a whale, you will be reaching for these spools over and over again. I see a kitten in a meadow of daisies in this group of colors right now.