Thursday, December 12, 2019

Every Year. . .

Aside from wrapping up this month's FLOCK bird block shipment this week, I'm also wrapping-up a year-long project that I've hinted at here and there this year.

If you are a long-standing Good Migrations subscriber, then you know that years and years ago, I started a tradition to include a hand-made Christmas ornament in my holiday greeting cards each year.

Last year, I had the foresight to start early and avoid the typical it's-Thanksgiving-and-I-don't-even-have-my-ornaments-started-yet brown-bag-breathing panic mode.

Since that early-start concept worked out pretty well to keep panic-mode at bay in 2018. I started the 2019 ornaments way back in January.

Since the 2019 version of my greeting-card stuffer ornaments are fairly labor-intensive, I made it a goal to complete one per week throughout the year, usually starting on Sunday, finishing the ornament that day or a day or two later.

The pattern involves some pretty traditional elements of Hardanger embroidery. Something I didn't even know existed until I saw it in Eastern Europe a couple years ago on vacation.
Like most traditional Hardanger, the framework for the ornaments starts with a series of kloster blocks (satin stitches grouped in fives). Around that, I added blanket stitches encircling the entire ornament.

I did these two steps in traditional white thread, then experimented with some variegated threads in a couple shades and weights for the ornaments. 

Next I added a diamond of cable stitching. I've also seen this stitch called faggoting. Then a variation of a diagonal eyelit - or four of them clustered in the center

Then I added more eyelets in the square spaces created by the kloster blocks and blanket stitching.

I used the same thread that I used for the eyelets in the center.

Next comes the hard part - at least it's the hardest part the first time you do it.

Because Hardanger stitching is pulled tightly, it creates gaps in the stitchery fabric at the stitch edge.

Trim away the excess fabric by nestling small, sharp fabric scissors right over that line of gaps in the fabric. Then cut.

I tried not to cry when I was doing this. It helps to have clear vision for this step. Visions of a pile of threads are hard to eradicate.

And there you have it.

Traditional Hardanger doesn't necessarily have a back. Although, since this is a tree ornament, I did pair up a few of them, and stitched all the way around the outside edge with fine thread, to join two one-sided ornaments back to back. Since that doubled the work, most of the ornaments are one-sided, and I simply tried to keep the back of each one tidy as I buried thread ends.

From there, I added a hanging thread, and these are ready to stuff in my Christmas cards.

Wa la! (wink!)

I just realized I'm out of postage stamps! Better get to the Post Office before they Holiday rush--I may have missed that window!-- So much for planning ahead!

I made a few variations of the ornament. Different color combinations; different sizes. The 'January' ornaments are larger than the 'November' ornaments. Somewhere along the way, I had a facepalm moment - these would take less time to make if they were smaller!

There are about 40 ornaments ready to go in this basket.

I realize that I ran through those details pretty quickly. For those interested in a more in-depth close up of the step-by-step process I used to create my ornaments, I'll be adding a new module with much more detail to the Stitchery Crossover group this week!

Not to mention this new little winter project inspired by a cross stitch chart from the current issue of Cross Stitcher. I want to try my crossover technique with something other than square blocks. This heart-shaped project will be a real test. You can join the fun over in the Stitchery Crossover group, if you like.

Happy Stitching!


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