How Not To Finish An Embroidery Project

I’ve been working steadily away on the Christmas felt kit I first blogged about here and to my great surprise, it has now joined the ranks of finished objects. Of course, I couldn’t just leave it the way it was meant to be in the pattern designer’s eyes… oh no! Follow the ‘recipe’? Nope, not me. I’m getting rather good at not following recipes, after all.

The pattern is a fun one… Santa on his sleigh, soaring high above the rooftops as his trusty reindeer prance merrily across a moonlit sky.

Santa’s sleigh was fun to do, filled with the big man himself with a sack full of toys, and with sequined contrails flying out behind. The reindeer however… those reindeer bothered me. See the problem?


No? Let me zoom in a little…

He’s just too plain! His harness and head straps are just… boring! Red and green, typical Christmas, but oh so very ordinary. What to do? What to do?

Add some embroidery embellishments, that’s what to do! Here’s what I did:

French knots in two shades of read on the head piece, and sort of detached chain stitch with french knots on the body harnesses, in a different colour for each of the three reindeer. Don’t they look cute?

There’s only one tiny little problem…

Once I finished fancying-up these three gentlemen, the rest of the piece looked rather un-embellished. So I fancied up Santa’s beard with french knots and bullion stitch and satin stitch and more. And then I fancied up the toy drum some. And then I fancied up the stars in the sky. And then I decided the edge of the finished pillow looked a little plain, so I bought some lovely gold cord to fix that.

So even though the project is, technically, a finished object… somehow it still isn’t finished.

What’s more, while I was busy un-finishing it, a certain little girl caught the bug and started an embroidery project of her own. Two projects, if I’m completely honest, and a third is now underway.

First, she decided she wanted to learn how to do those funny little french knots I kept adding to Santa’s beard, so I showed her. They do take some practice, and practice she did. She’s very persistent when she wants to be. Even when your needle comes unthreaded and your thread ties itself in knots and then — even worse! — wraps itself around to the wrong side of your embroidery project.

But if you are patient, and can rethread your needle when necessary, and then rethread it again because the pesky thing just won’t cooperate… well then! You can master anything.

And once you’ve mastered french knots, why satin stitch is positively easy!

In no time at all, you have yourself an environmentally friendly, completely reusable, non-synthetic wool and cotton poppy to wear on your lapel for Remembrance Day.

So what is project number three?

Ah… well… that’s a surprise, you see. But it involves lazy daisies and backstitch and stem stitch and running stitch and the cutest little Christmas ornament pattern you ever did see. It’s a set of six, of which three are being stitched by me and are destined for my mother’s tree, and the other three are being stitched by B, hopefully for me!



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