Cutwork 8/8/08

I just returned from a short trip.  By the time I got to Phoenix, it was 112° and it was 115° where I was staying.  Naturally that got me to thinking about . . . Christmas.  (I am sure there must be some sort of relationship there!) 

When I think of Christmas and all those gifts, I have three guiding thoughts; gifts must be unique, usable and unpricey.  (This is my blog, so I can make up words, Greg told me so!)

One of the most difficult to buy for is likely to be a woman who ‘has everything.'  But I have an edge, ME and ATG, so I have lots of ideas and I am going to share one with you today.

When one has ‘everything,' they may be a fan of items that others will cherish, such as heirlooms and keepsakes.   Family items such as wonderful china or sterling silver items may be terrific, but I am seeking something less expensive.   Occasionally, I will hear one of my children remark about something that they remember from their grandparent's home, like the special cloth napkins that were only used for special occasions.   I consider those napkins to be special even if there were stains or they showed significant signs of use.    All of the aspects of the napkins were part of the warm memories and stories of blueberry stains are a part of that.   There was even one gathering when Uncle Fred tried to bake a pie for a Family Dinner.  All we have to hear is "Uncle Fred's Pie" and everyone laughs joyously (it was still rather raw!)

So, I selected napkins from ATG's collection of blanks.  When I received the package of 12, I was just in awe.  I love the Ecru for its heirloom quality.  Then the fabric is 60/40 Linen/Cotton blend.  That will make it easier care than 100% linen and the size is so grand at 21" square.   A border of 1.5" is charmingly edged in a cutwork style of embroidery.  For illustration purposes, the background is my mat (What took me so long to buy one of these? They have so many uses!) 

    

                                                                                Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus $120 per dozen

When I was seeking the perfect design, there were so many here at ATG that just made me feel like I was creating something really special.  I know you understand that feeling; it is what this embroidery is all about.  I wanted to show you how easy it is to do a ‘cutwork' style of design and take your breath away at the same time.  I hope I succeeded.

My test sewouts exceeded my expectations!  And my first napkin was ready to be sewn.  This is really where "Perfect Placement Kit" does come in quite handy.  I worked with the placement and felt confident of my workmanship.  In the photo below, there is a ‘v' shaped mark which is barely visible, and that is the key for placement. 

                         

The floral design I selected has two rows of cut area placement.  I chose to do the first outline twice and the second outline once.  That is a personal preference because it makes the cutting line stronger.  The eventual design will make all the area sturdy.  I was very impressed with the digitizing on the design.  I have several other brands which did not have the ‘edging' stitches that this digitizer had placed in their work.

I did not hoop my fabric because I wanted to be sure there was no movement in the linen.  Linen is loosely woven and can have some variation in the thread lines.  So, I started with my basting circle.  Barely visible in the second photo is the outline.  I am ready to begin cutting.

     

I did my ‘rough' cut to start out with my over all cut.  Make sure that you do NOT cut your stabilizer!  The cutwork style is a ‘cousin' to free standing lace; therefore, that water soluble stabilizer (wss) is important to your project.  You can use a cut away stabilizer if you prefer but I felt my wss was working just fine for me. 

       

Once I completed the cutting (and snipping off any loose threads), I placed my hoop back into the machine.  I did use an identical color in the bobbin threads since this is a napkin that is going to be used from either side.  I was careful to cut the threads between change of colors so that those threads could not be a problem.

After finishing the cut, I replaced the hoop in the machine and embroidered away.

My completed design is ready for the final removal of the stabilizer.  The small openings inside the leaves were cut away using my smallest scissors.  That part is tricky and if a little amount of stabilizer remains, I could use a little water to complete the removal.  I am using a coin (sometimes I use a spoon) to hold and preserve the stitches and cut or tear away the stabilizer as appropriate.  This helps me take the pressure off of my fingers and hands.

    

If for any reason you think you might have cut the threads make sure you use something like "Fray Check" so that washing will not damage the embroidery.  It is so easy to nip a thread.  If you feel the need to press the napkin, place a dense towel on your ironing board and place the design face down on that towel.  Use a steam setting and your embroidery will not loose its 3D appearance.  I personally think that linen is meant to have a casual quality to it, so for me, ironing is counterproductive to the fabric's properties.

                              

I hope you will find time for this eye-catching project.  I know I had fun doing it and cannot wait to finish the set for a special Christmas gift, maybe for me!

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Comments (23) -

Hi Pat, I just love your blog! The pics are great. They really give perfect step by step guides. I now have the confidence to do cut work. What a great idea for Christmas gifts. I love the idea of the flower on the napkin.


Pat, I just tried my very first ME cutwork. I was Jazzed! I love it. I carefully cut all the holes with three different scissors,one was not better than another. This is the kind of ME that interests me most. I can hardly wait to try some more. Stitches


You must be reading my mind.  I have a friend getting married soon and was wracking my brain about what to do for her.  I've never done cutwork, but was thinking about trying it and (goody, goody) you have a step-by-step!


Thank you bunches!


Linda


You all are so welcome!  I am so excited about cutwork!  I have been thinking of where else to use these.  You can certainly put this on anything.  I was thinking about a short sleeve on a blouse or even on the right side of the bodice.  How cool would that be?


I would enjoy getting something like this!  I gotta do some items for myself.


Pat


alssweetheart 8/9/2008 11:36:34 PM

WOW Pat, your napkins are so pretty and you did an exceptional job explaining and the pictures are great!! Thanks so much, keep giving us more of your ideas and blogs!!!


alssweetheart


Pat,


Your cutwork is interesting & absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Being new to this, I have a couple of questions. . . You said you did not hoop your linen napkins. Did you hoop your stabilizer and put your linen (unhooped) on top of it, then sew your basting circle? Exactly how do you know where to make your rough cut? Did you somehow draw an outline of your pattern on the napkin?


I love your ideas! How about around the neckline of a scoop or square neck tee?


Thanks for the great blog!


Rosie


I live in the UK and cannot seem to find good quality blanks over here. I have ordered goods from the US but the postage is horrendous.


rnh-Thanks!  I love hearing questions and suggestions.  I did not hoop the linen because of its loosely woven properties.  Those lines could be pushed into an 'S' configuration with the amount of pressure that the hoops need.  The stabilizer was hooped, and I basted the linen before I began with the design.  That basting keeps the fabric from shifting which is important in this process.  A miss would be as big as a mile in this case.


Those photos were the best I could get.  I wish you could have seen the stitches better, but I had been advised to use a color matching the napkin.  I think that is not necessary.  I could have used a thread for better visibility, lesson learned.


I started the rough cut in the center and wanted to have easy access to the nooks and crannies that might be present.  In this case, the openings were sufficiently large to make a good cut with a small, sharp scissor.


I am glad people are responding to these because ATG has the best design for cutwork  I found on the Net.  The lacey items in the design pack are going to be fun to do as well.  


ValHomson-I wonder if good quality blanks are available from other places than the USA.  I would think that you might be able to get something from Ireland for instance.   Quality linen is always on the pricey side, so when you add the s/h, it could be a serious problem.


Pat


Thanks, Pat! I think you just gave me that perfect idea for the wedding gift I need in Nov! If I have any problems, I'll send out an SOS to you.


Rosie


rnh-I was thinking about when you do that, everyone who sees your gift WILL REMEMBER IT!  All the crock pots and coffee makers will be forgotten immediately, but your gift will be remembered by one and all not just the happy couple.


Pat


8/11/08-I was just looking over the new email from ATG and I noticed that I am always drawn to the "Heirloom" types of designs.  


That got me to thinking, I do my blogs with my selections of designs, that may not be your favorite style selection.  So, I want to vary my project designs, let me know what YOU would like to see.


That way, there will be more variety.  Thanks!


Pat


those are beautiful. thanks


Great job!  One of my favorite tablecloths is a cutwork one my grandmother did by hand when I was a child.  This gives me the courage to try this on a small scale.  Napkins would make great Christmas gifts for a couple of my friends.


Joan12-Your avatar is so beautiful!  Tell us about the flower!


Pat


Pat,


I'm glad I went to check out your blog.  The design is just beautiful and you make it look so easy.


Linda


The flower is one of many day lilies planted in my yard.  Since I'm not the gardener in the family I couldn't tell you any more about it.  I just enjoy looking out my sewing room window and seeing them.


Well, Joan, I love your flower.  Please take a moment to post it in the Media area.  I put my 'view from my machine' and I enjoy looking at it when I am embroidering.  Check it out:  http://www.annthegran.com/cs/media/p/4518.aspx">www.annthegran.com/.../4518.aspx  


Pat


Wonderfull Pat, I'm not after


Dinie


Dinie - you write english better than I write your language.  


I am happy to hear from you,


Best wishes to you and yours, Pat


Pat, love your cutwork.


I am not sure if we can suggest other ME designs? But there is one out there that does the basic outline, you cut the entire center out, and the design is made to "fill in" the rest of the design. Of course the downside is that that all the designs in this pack are Christmas.


I have done FSL, but have only tried a practice cutwork. I bought napkins and will have a go at those.


thanks for the pics.


cme


Thank you cme-I really enjoyed doing this blog!


I was a FSL freak for a long time and I have the designs to prove it, probably one third of my collection is FSL.  


I think that ME designs that are unique and/or specialized would be great to share.  I know I only found a few designs for cutwork on the Net.  My priority for this blog is to instruct ME users with my version of how to do things.  My 2nd priority is to point you to the materials I have used from ATG.  


After all, this site goes way beyond all the usual 'sales' sites on the Net.  There are forums, great blogs and I want to support ATG to keep these things free.  


I have also placed a new Forum Thread to assist buyers of PE700/PE700II machines.  Check it out, you might learn something. . . .  


WWW.ANNTHEGRAN.COM/CS/FORUMS/P/1218/5469.ASPX#5469">www.annthegran.com/.../5469.ASPX


Pat


Pat,


I tried a FSL bookmark a while back.  I turned out good until near the end of the design, then the needle broke and tore the aqua soluble stabilizer.  My pride made me throw it away even after I went back and tried to "mend" the edge with satin stitch.  I'll not throw away a sample again.  Must learn from all of them.  


I'd appreciate a lesson from you on FSL.


Stitches . .


LaRue


janmckinstry 10/9/2008 5:13:17 PM

Hi Pat     I love the cut work you are very clever thank you for your helpfull photos and tip I shall have a goat the way you did the hooping.


      jan McKinstry    ( Australia)


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The Avid Embroiderer Presents - What's in a Word?, Part 1. A Freebie for a Circus

The Avid Embroiderer Presents - What's in a Word?, Part 1. A Freebie for a Circus

As with any craft, there is always a language of its own. It may be jibbed-jabber to the uninformed, but it is very important to those who love and covet the creation. Here are a few that you may or may not know. If you disagree with my (personal) definition, please feel free to make a comment. This is not meant to be a perfect reflection of the interpretation, it is more for open discussion.

A center point – is the center of the embroidery design but NOT necessarily where the first stitch will land.

Adhesives – The use of adhesives to hold the fabric to the stabilizer has long been an issue for costs and safety purposes. Careful use of ‘clear tape’ or ‘painter’s tape’ can stabilize your project. Adhesive cut-away stabilizers, however, are important for ‘wearables’, especially in children’s clothes. It keeps the project stabilize for a long time after the needle has left its imprint..

Applique scissors - Scissors that are created for trimming around applique while in the hoop. A tight cut without cutting into stitches is an absolute. The layout of the scissor assists in that project. For those of us who are (non-war & non-tragedy) history buffs, check out my blog and the accompanying article are really interesting.

A really good pair of applique scissors are worthy of being a generation to generation treasure. What a difference a few centuries makes!

Basting stitches - Long stitches that give your project additional (and, IMHO) important to keep fabric from moving. It CAN be around your design or, with care, under the design. I.E. use the same color for baste as the design.

Birds nest – A top and/or bobbin thread that does not create a stitch but continues to go around the bobbin holder creating a clump of thread that stops all work until cleared.

Bobbin thread - Thread used on the bobbin of your embroidery machine. Many thread brands make bobbin thread in 60 to 100 weight. (See thread weight below.)

Density – The distance between the lines and the stitches themselves. Tighter density creates a thick project.

Discovery sew -  Prior to beginning your project, you need to assemble a 'test' sewing using the same fabric, design, thread and stabilizer to determine what you may need to adjust.

Embroidery thread - Thread design specially for machine embroidery. It comes in silk, cotton, polyester or rayon. Rayon has traditionally been the thread of choice. Polyester, with its unsurpassed sheen, is becoming the new standard. Types of thread, as above, example 40#, varies in the circumference of the core of the thread.

File extension – Multiple machine builders use a ‘proprietary’ 3 letters following the design name. They create the machine and matching designs for their own brand. A few are more flexible than others, i.e., “.pes” or “.dst” which MAY be used on multiple machines.

Fill stitches - Stitches that create a ‘large area such as the sky or the mountains. The method of patterns and stitch direction adds depth and dimension.

Float (Stabilizer) - Stabilizer placed under or over the hoop and fabric. Under the hoop adds a small amount of extra stabilizer in the event you under stabilized your project. Over the hoop floating is necessary so that stitches do not sink into a napped fabric such as a towel or felt.

Free standing lace (FSL) – The invention of machine embroidery combined with water-soluble stabilizer created a new and unique design form. The thread, by design, has the stabilizer removed and the project is left with thread interwoven into a design. This beautiful FSL is from Adorable Ideas. It is available for $3.95 or get a set of 12 for just $5.00. John Deer, Adorable Ideas owner, is sharing these at a very low price to give a little back to the embroidery community. These are heirloom quality from his Grandfather's collection. You are going to love the designs ❣

Hoopless embroidery – With some fabrics, i.e., velvet, silk or terry cloth, hoop burn, (leaving a permanent mark on the fabric), can occur. Hoop the stabilizer but NOT the fabric. IMHO, basting (see above) is absolutely necessary for this hooping stabilizer . Keep in mind that vinyl and leather or like fabrics will hold the hole permanently. In that case, you may want to use some type of adhesive like on a Post-it-note.

Watch for Part 2, August 2, 2019 - especially if you are curious about ITH - What the heck is that??


Well, after all that, you deserve a Freebie!!

The third in my circus series is a lovable Monkey that will amuse young and old alike.



I enjoy creating my blog and hope you find it interesting/enlightening/amusing - or at least, a good break from your daily life. Thanks for joining me! 
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