Bookmarks for Practice, Part 2

Two weeks ago, I pitched the idea of using bookmarks as practice pieces, modern day samplers on which we can experiment and learn.

Well, how’s it going?

I finished my first one–in as much as I can finish it now. It’s not ironed/blocked and it has no tail as yet. Those will be done later. I am starting a second, also focusing on hemstitching and fillings used with hemstitching.

After a recent e-conversation and Needlework Nutshell article on how to experiment with embroidery, I wish I’d thought to take pictures of all the steps so I could share what I was thinking (shockingly little, I assure you) every step of the way. I may try to do that with the next one. Here are some bits I recall.

I wanted it to be asymmetrical. Mike and I both tend to be symmetrical sorts, so I wanted to shake things up. I think it made it easier to do different fillings, since the spaces were different sizes to begin with.

Mike’s first comment was, “it’s not symmetrical.” I think it’s hard for him to look at.

I made all the pearl silk by hand from Dinky Dyes six-strand silks.

My favorite element is the woven pink-red-blue-purple “flower” element in the bottom right (used to be) open square.

The three spider webs in the other three corners are continuous, and that was new for me. I started in the upper right open rectangle, and with one long strand of size 12 pearl, threw the spokes for the first web, wove the center circle, then continued across the top hemstitched area, grouping fibers with double and single coral knots. I made the next spider web with the same fiber, continued down the vertical hemstitched bar, and made the final spider web. Here, I neglected to throw a last spoke after weaving the circle. I wasn’t continuing on with the fiber, so it wasn’t strictly necessary, but I think it would look better if it had one. Lesson learned.

The empty space in the center seems to call out for a bit of reversible blackwork or something.

Whatever goes there, if anything, has to look okay from the back because I don’t plan to back the piece. I like the back side, warts and all.

Send me pictures of your experiments! I promise not to post anything here without permission. Even if you don’t want the whole world to see, I hope you’ll share your experiments with me.

Categories: Crafting, Needlework

3 replies »

  1. Super cool! I got a canvas one done. I way like it. I’ll send a picture and description. I used only things I had in my stash and they really pulled together.

  2. I love the asymmetry! (Maybe it’s a personality thing? I actually get frustrated with symmetry and its predictability. I would guess that folks who like symmetry are also list makers–I’m neither.) I think it’s the very asymmetry itself that pulls the eye to the flower in the bottom right, which just happens to be your favorite element. Please don’t put anything into the center. I can see how it calls out to you to fill it, but I think that if you do, the piece will become busy and will no longer pull your eye to that wonderful flower. Sometimes less really is more.