Needle and Thread Doodles

I've been having a love affair with linen ever since I discovered the Fabrics-Store website. Linen had always been that fabric that was itchy and hard to iron. That had been my impression as a child and it stayed that way.

Then I came across an ad on Facebook (I notice I've been discovering lots of treasures there along with lots of trash) and the photographs were of reenactors, household accessories, and even baby clothes all made of what looked like really soft linen. Unable to resist, I followed the link. Well, before I knew it, I had made my first order.

There was no turning back the moment I received the fabric. I've made tea towels, throw pillow covers, a slipcover for the only seat in our living room (still no sofa, I'm afraid, and it's been a year!), and even an apron.

Because I tend to order in 2-yard increments, I'm usually left with scraps large enough to turn into everyday table napkins. I started with the fringed kind because I remembered doing it in grade school for our Work Ed class. It was repetitive but having to keep track of the number of threads per stitch kept me interested. I decided to add it to my list of projects to do while watching Netflix.

After I made the apron, I was left with scraps of that wonderful cherry colored linen. More napkins, I thought, but a different kind. I began with finishing the edges by hand with a running stitch. The running stitch gave it that rustic look. Also brought back memories of my grandmother finishing the edges of a flat bedsheet that she trimmed down for a reason that escapes me at the moment. Her stitches were small and even. She must have been in her early eighties at the time.

Mine are not as perfect. Then I felt the corners needed a bit of something but the thought of doing the same motif more than once was discouraging. If I used one of the stamps I'd carved, that would make quick work of it. But I wanted something with texture to go with the running stitches and it meant embroidery.  So I decided to doodle whatever came to mind and to do it with a needle and thread.

I was rather pleased with the outcome and even more pleased that the napkins could be tossed in the washer. It's true--linen gets better and better with washing!

With the onset of warm weather, I had no desire to pick up my yarns so I found myself empty-handed when I sat with the hubby to watch another Netflix offering (on weekends, we rent Redbox videos if anything interesting happens to be available and if all else fails, we do reruns of The Great British Baking Show series). I knew I wanted to keep working with my linen scraps so I did a Google search on embroidery and found a post about doing at least one kind of embroidery stitch a day for a whole year.

The photograph got me interested. I didn't think I could stop at one stitch so I decided I'd do it the way I doodle on paper. Best of all, I didn't have to do endless repeats of the same stitches. I could do all kinds and just put them all on one piece of leftover linen. So far, I have what you see in the photograph below.

There's no clear direction project-wise. It could end up as anything. I doubt I'll frame it. It could end up as the central design on a throw pillow or maybe it can be part of a mixed media wall hanging. For now, I'm content with just being able to try out stitches and threads and working with my beloved linen!


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