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Cross stitch ... life ... art

More red letters
January 27th, 2009

No, not from my redwork alphabet … I wanted to do something special for the friend who kept the kittens most of the time that we were taming them and allowed me to show up at her house daily with little warning to visit them. I had this idea rattling around in my head — her name is 8 letters long, but only 6 letters are unique, and they can be arranged on a cube so that you can spell her name by turning the cube, so I decided to make her a name cube. (I know, weird. I should probably ease up on the word puzzles.)

I decided to do it in harganger. I have stitched hardanger before, following a pattern in a leafletI had, but I have never tried to design hardanger. It’s kind of mind-blowing because the basic units (Kloster blocks) are 5 stitches wide with each stitch covering 4 threads (which is 5 holes), and you arrange them corner to corner so you get squares. The pattern I worked before had each stitch laboriously drawn on graph paper showing exactly where each thread goes. I tried to do that but kept messing up. Finally I decided it would be better not to think too hard about it. I started by designing simple letters in a grid 6 x 5. Here’s my A.

The “pixels” in the letters are going to be the open places after cutting threads, so I moved them apart to allow for the stitching around them:
Then I sketched in my Kloster blocks around them. (Represented by the red lines — just pretend there are 5 instead of 2.)
The remaining spaces between the places that will be cut out have to be needleweaving, indicated by 8′s. If you haven’t done hardanger, trust me: they just do.
I decided I wanted a little more embellishment and was thinking of putting another row of kloster blocks all around, but decided that would look stupid and might not even work. Instead, I substituted a border of double wave stitch. This also made the letters bigger since so far the design is really pretty small.
I planned to do this on some of the Ariosa Fine that is left from my redwork alphabet, since it’s 22-count. (My hardanger booklets recommend 22-count fabric with #5 and #8 pearl cotton.) The thing I forgot, though, is that it has a rayon content, which means that the cut ends get kind of fuzzy. 100% cotton or linen would be much better. I played around a bit with colors for the stitching but there aren’t too many colors that come in both sizes of thread, so I settled on red for the Kloster blocks (#5) and needleweaving (#8), and gold (#5) for the outline. Once I had made that decision, I thought gold beads would be a nice addition. I ad libbed them but here is my basic approach to the bead placement (dots on the diagram).
Here is the finished letter A. I backed it with gold tissue lame. (I took a finished letter to the fabric store and tried different backings. I had thought about black, but liked this better.)
MRA kindly cut squares from mat board which is very hard and stiff and he got them all the same size, which I wouldn’t probably have managed. I glued the letters to the squares and also turned the corners in and glued them. I bought some special fabric glue while I was buying fabric — it was supposed to dry clear — alas, not so. (The red square isn’t centered on the mat board because despite much counting and measuring, the letters never came out really centered in the fabric squares I had marked.)
Next I stitched the squares together into an unfolded cube. To finish the cube, I had to fold two faces together at a time and slipstitch from the outside. To keep the fabric taut while I was doing this, I first basted opposite “seam allowances” together on the inside, making long stitches across the back of each square.

Here’s the finished cube. I was very pleased with it although I could do a better job if I were to make another one, which I have no plans to do. My friend would probably rather that I had taken her to lunch, but I had fun doing it.

4 Responses to “More red letters”
  1. From Alanna
    9 years, 10 months ago

    Clever Meredith! You really are a very know-how (or at least figure-it-out) kind of gal! To do something absolutely from scratch like that is so very rewarding, you should be very proud of yourself!

  2. From fenny
    9 years, 10 months ago

    Like Alanna said , very clever and it’s looking so adorable, great work Meredith.

  3. From rifestitch
    9 years, 10 months ago

    That’s very cool!! My limited experience with hardanger prevents me from even contemplating coming up with my own design, but maybe as I do more of it… I love the name cube finish!! Any time I do a new finishing technique, the first one is always the guinea pig :)

  4. From Amy
    9 years, 10 months ago

    Actually, I prefer having the box to going to lunch (seriously, do you really think I need more calories!). It was a nice surprise and something I’ll always cherish. Besides, it really is cool!

    That’s good! I could still take you to tea, though!

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