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  • VIP Commission…transferring the pattern

     

    So my pinboard which I usually use for damp-streching my finished work has been taken over by swans (and toadstools).

    Progressing with the pattern transfer. This was a lesson in trusting one’s instincts versus trusting one’s ruler. It was a draw.

    Here is my prepared piece; you can see the backing cotton under the doily with tacked centre lines and circular lines attaching both together.

    On goes the tissue paper pattern and I line up the centre lines. Here’s the start of my problems. Because I had tacked the two fabrics together in a rough circle, it was fooling my eyes into not seeing the actual circularity (real word?) of the doily. So I started not trusting the position of the swans when lining up the centre line. Out came the ruler. Slight adjustments were made. I pinned. I hooped.

    Here I have used bog-standard sewing thread to running-stitch around the whole thing. It’s important to properly stab-stitch – insert the needle at right angles to the fabric, not at a slant otherwise the pattern goes a bit wonky. Then the bit you think will be fun but isn’t – rip out the tissue leaving the stitched outline.

    You can easily see how the pattern is off centre at this point. However I was unconvinced the centre line was truly central. Until I unhooped and looked at the whole thing and realised it was definitely wonky. Sigh.

    Out came the ruler again. I realised the problem. Because the doily is handmade, we are not working with a perfectly symmetrical canvas in the first place. The cutwork is different on one side to the other, and I failed to spot this so measured from what I thought was a mirror image spot on each side. And obviously my tacking lines weren’t helping my judgement. Squinting ensues. I have an internal battle between my laziness and my perfectionism. Perfectionism, of course, wins. I pull out the right swan and start again.

    So the thing to realise with this is, the whole thing is a hand-work of art; so there are no nice factory-made straight edges to work off – it ultimately has come down to artistic judgement and I just have to trust myself. I’ve done the maths. This is now perfect. The hard bit is over.

    I am hooped up and ready; tomorrow starts a 3-day embroidery marathon!


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