To pick up the story of the needle book…(read the first installment here)
I had discarded the fraying flannel pages that I’d quickly snipped out from the inside cover of the needle book. It’s possible that if I’d adjusted the tension on my sewing machine as RM suggested I could have kept the flannel from stretching, but nothing I could do would have kept the flannel from fraying. It was simply not the right material for this job.
Beginning again with the inside of the cover, the printed fabric sewn to the muslin, both pieces having been folded under on all four sides before being sewn together, I attached the new felt pages. I used strong, ivory colored quilting thread left over from my quilting days.
As I worked the row of back stitch that held the pages into the inside of the cover, I noticed that the ivory stitching looked really pretty next to the slightly rusty red felt. An idea popped into my head (my head was pretty empty at this point so there was lots of rooms for ideas to pop around!). ‘What if I put numbers on the pages to correspond to the number of the needles?’ So a page for only number 3 crewel needles, a page for only number 5 needles and so on. And then I thought ‘What about stitching a little running stitch line half way down the page so I could store the needles by brand?’ Bohin on the top, JJames on the bottom, etc. I left two pages at the back blank for any other needles.
I found some ivory stranded cotton and quickly stitched in the numbers (tiny back stitches) and the dividing lines (small running stitch). Once that finishing work was done, it was finally time to attach the inside cover complete with pages to the outside cover that I’d embroidered. I placed the inside cover on top of the outside cover, centering it and then pinning it in place with straight pins. The muslin side of the inside cover was face to face with the wrong side of the embroidery. Lastly I stitched them together using an invisible stitch again. It was necessary to slightly adjust the fabric as I worked.
The next step was to press the front and back covers with a gentle steam iron, placing a folded towel underneath the needle book so the crewel work embroidery didn’t get flattened by the iron.
The very last thing to do was to sew a little green button on the front and a green loop on the back to hold it closed. Notice, I’ve put my initials on the back cover so I won’t lose it and so someone, someday, might remember who made it.
It’s rare that I write about how I finish the pieces I embroider. That’s because I rarely finish them! I have an ever growing portfolio of embroidered pieces and I have no idea what to do with them. I see them as really involved practice pieces, not necessarily as pieces to be framed or made into pillows or whatever.
The cap project I’m working on now is different from all the other pieces: it’s going to be a little cap on a little wooden hat stand (to be made by my wonderful father in the future!). Trevelyon’s Cap will be like a little sculpture or decorative piece which sits on a table in my home and sparkles in the lamp light. The screen project (which is coming along, slowly, but still on the horizon) is also already destined to be something.
Honestly, though, the upcoming goldwork piece I’ll be doing during the RSN course in a few weeks time is like the others in my portfolio: it will perhaps be framed. I didn’t frame the crewel work piece from last year’s RSN course until Easter 2012 and then only because all the students from the Rugby course were asked to contribute their work to our first exhibit of RSN work in Rugby. If I hadn’t been asked to have it framed, it would probably still be sitting in the portfolio.
This brings me to you, dear readers; what do you do with all your pieces of embroidery? Do you, too, have a portfolio or a drawer where all your beautiful embroidered pieces languish in the dark? Or do you frame them all transforming your home into a gallery showcasing your talent? Or do you have so many cushions that your entire neighborhood could sleep at your house and there would be enough pillows for everyone to have at least two?