July 19, 2006

Travel Stitching and An Unauspicious Start

As I mentioned in my last post, last year I had abundant time to stitch while my evenings were blissfully free of chores and responsibilities, because living in a hotel means not having to do much for yourself. No beds to make? Stitch! No floors to vacuum? Stitch and knit! Work was never more than 10 blocks away, so there was virtually no commute time, and I could even go "home" and stitch at lunch. Heavenly.

This is one of the projects I worked on while I traveled (more to come as I dig them out). It is an out-of-print leaflet called "Autumn Samplers" from The Prairie Schooler. I saw this as a framed model in my LNS and had to have it because of the squirrels. At the moment, my lone squirrel looks like roadkill because he's not finished.

Travel is a great time for stitching, but as I probably don't have to tell you, it's also a great time for acquiring new stash. In February I took my first-ever trip to Paris--solo--and with no one to please but myself, the very first thing I did was to go stash-shopping. There was a wonderful needlework shop, Celimene Pompon, just three blocks from my hotel. So within four hours of my arrival in Paris, I purchased this:

It's by a company called Compagnie des Ouvrages and it came packed up as a kit which seems to be more common in Europe--and more expensive--than being able to buy something just as a chart. And an awful lot of European kits have marvelous designs and nice thread and a big clunker of a piece of aida cloth to go with it. No offense to those folks who like aida, but you just can't beat a nice cut of sweet, not-too-firm, not-too-loosely-woven, not-too-vegetably/fibrous/slubby linen (I have an annoying slub on my HoHRH linen that sticks out of my gold house like a wart). This kit actually came with a nice piece of linen, plus gorgeous blue thread of some sort (not DMC, but something a little richer, maybe something hand-dyed?). The thread wasn't identified in any way--there was just a big hank of it tied with a pretty white ribbon. I've been so anxious to do this project. I believe it's Aesop's fables. So I got it out today at lunch and as I stitched, I decided I didn't like the two-over-two, and then tried one-over-one. As I picked out the little patch I'd stitched, I noticed two things: that the dye from the thread had already stained the fabric blue and that it had also died my fingers. My hands weren't sweaty, and I hadn't gotten anything wet (except for the tip of the thread that I wet in order to thread the needle). No way I'm using this thread if it's going to smudge everything in the vicinity. I understand that lots of fibers aren't color-fast but I've never had any bleed while I worked with them. So off I go to the LNS to find something more suitable. I spent the rest of my lunch hour working on HoHRH instead. Serves me right for starting yet another project.

Despite this setback, I still love the project and look forward to stitching it. I've noticed a lot of interesting developments in French stitchery, especially on some of the French blog sites I look at (I won't say "read" because my French is pretty poor and it takes a lot of time to figure out what's being said.) But I can enjoy the pictures!


Carol said...

I love your Autumn Sampler and would also love to cheer you along to finish it - the poor squirrel needs his full body :-) It's really a pretty sampler!!

Anonymous said...

Your PS piece is cute and the squirrels are adorable (when finished :) That's too bad about the blue thread in your french piece. I wonder what thread it is, I've never heard of that happening either without it getting wet. Good thing you noticed before you got too far along on the piece.

You mentioned your stitching HOHRH, would love to see a pic since some other bloggers are stitching it. It's in my stash, but who knows when I'll get it started.