Cross stitch embroidery on cork

Completed my latest experiment:

This is embroidered on cork. Not exactly the same cork which is used for bulletin boards, this one is much thinner. But the main idea is the same.

Received this embroidery kit as Christmas gift:

Cork layer is very thin, no more than 0.5 mm (may be even less) and it is glued to some kind of thin fabric. Reverse side looks like this:

To imagine the thickness you can compare cork cloth to a simple drawing pin which I used to keep the cork-cloth pinned to my self made embroidery frame:

It took me around 24 hours total to embroider this thing. This is what I’m thinking about this kind of craft at the moment:

  • Using frame is mandatory for this kind of embroidery. I wouldn’t risk trying to use hoop for this because of risk destroying cork material.
  • For cross stitch / half cross stitch there are laser cut holes. When you need to embroider in between them (this is needed for backstitch) – quality of cork is very important as the needle may slip very easily to incorrect position, make additional hole and you have no way of correcting this as cork would be damaged in that place. Unfortunately, this one was not perfect, so sometimes it was really difficult to make backstitches. Some of them are very long, I’ve tried to use as little stitches as possible.
  • I don’t want to try another one. Maybe I should find out who were original authors of such kits, maybe they use different materials and the experience would be different.

This is what I didn’t like in this kit:

  • No instructions how to prepare cork for embroidery. The cork cloth comes folded in half and the folding line is visible. I’ve spent some time trying to find out what others are doing. It seems most cork embroidery is done using embroidery machines, they buy rolls of cork and have no such questions. Finally I’ve risked ironing this from wrong side of cloth, using additional towel on top and very low heat. Seems this worked.
  • Smell and allergens. Smell of cork and smell of some specific glue which was used to glue the cork to fabric. Also something was causing a rather bad allergy for first 4 days: drying lips and hands after half and hour of embroidery, and runny nose after another half an hour. And I’ve started embroidery after 4 days after unpacking the kit. I’m a bit afraid to think how this would look like if I started embroidery immediately after unpacking… After 1-1.5 weeks from unpacking smell of glue almost went away. I still can smell the cork and I don’t like it.
  • Cloth quality. Cork layer is not even, some places do not have cork at all. And it can’t be due to item shipping damage, there was not loose cork in the packaging. Well, I haven’t seen any other cloth of this kind. Maybe they all are the same. In front of sunlight it looks like this:

  • Floss. Kit includes “mouline Palmira 180”. I was too lazy to find out who manufactures this. Maybe it is a good floss for embroidery on regular fabric, but it frays a lot when trying to use it for cork embroidery.

Happy I’ve finished this, now I can continue with something else. I think this is the only item so far which was finished thinking “I want to finish this as quick as possible so I could get rid of this smell”.


Tatting Infinity Rings

I’m not sure this thing is “officially” called Infinity Rings in tatting, but I liked the name suggested and it looks exactly like this. There are lot’s of ways to tat elements, so I’m going to review some of them.

The thing I call “infinity rings” is diagrammed like this:

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Tatted Snowflake

After lots of trial and error my first tatted snowflake pattern is completed. You can download it here. Pattern is diagram only.

Techniques needed:

  • Two shuttles
  • Onion rings
  • Loop tatted rings (LTR)
  • Floating rings
  • Lock joins

Additional recommendation: if you have a thread which twists on itself, don’t use it for this pattern. You can close simple rings using such thread by letting your shuttle to untwist, but it’s almost impossible to close LTRs (don’t ask me how I know this).

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Tatting miscommunications

I’ve tried to create diagram of my tatting pattern and asked several tatters to test-tat the pattern. Thank you all, this was great experience, it was really interesting and useful! I think now I understand why lots of books give only diagram, and only minimum of instructions.

Some parts of my pattern were tatted using at least 3 different ways. Some comments for “diagram has error here” were received only from 2 persons. I asked the other tatters for those places and they said they see no problem there, everything is correct. That’s where I got interested: what are we doing in different ways?

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Left slanting decrease tips for Combined Knitter

Knitting left slanting decreases is one of most popular topics among knitters. They don’t look as good as right slanting decreases, they tend to look like “stairs” in lace knitting, they… well, if you are reading this – you already are unhappy with something about them.

You can find lots of tips how to make them look better. Some tips will work for you, some – don’t. It depends on what are you knitting, your knitting style, knitting tension, yarn and lots of other things. If you are patient enough – most probably you’ll find something what will work for you. Especially if you are Western style knitter. If you are Eastern style knitter – you’ll also find something, especially if you understand not only western languages. Things come a bit tricky if you a Combination (or Combined) style knitter (I am).

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