Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cajun Corner - Vol. 4, No. 10

Cajun Corner – Vol. 4, No. 10 – March 17, 2012

Bon Jour!  Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


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I have always been a basically lazy person looking for short cuts.  When Mama taught me to hand embroider as a child, my embroidery never looked as pretty as I wanted and I would give up and put it aside until I got another urge.  Before she passed on and while she lived with us, I would take out my hand embroidery and accoutrements.  She would watch me as I embroidered, or tried to do a new stitch or whatever.  Then she would say, “My Mama would have been so disappointed in me if I embroidered like that.”  Never put knots at the end of embroidery thread, it is a big no-no.  At least in Mama’s world it was bad. The perfect embroidery should leave the tail and weave it into the back of the embroidery so that you do not know where one ends and the other begins.  I took the short cut, as usual.  One of the real beauties of hand embroidery is that it is 3-dimensional.  There are stitches that create all sorts of knots (the intentional kind of knot), flowers, balls and embroidery that pops right off the fabric.  How in the world did women of olden days create such exquisite embroidery?  They must have embroidered 24-7, but then they would not have time to do all of their other chores.  Some embroidery, of course, was flat against the fabric.  I’ve seen hand embroidery depicting scenes that looked almost as clear and vivid as a photograph with all of the proper shading.  These were true artisans. 

Why all of this carrying on about hand embroidery?  I have seen and touched some exquisite hand embroidery this week.  The pieces were the kind of embroidery that you gaze upon and know they are so far out of your league you shouldn’t even try.  That led me to do some searches online, especially at Pinterest, on fine hand embroidery where I saw additional remarkable pieces of art.

When I first began looking at machine embroidery, I was intrigued with sewing machine embroidery (differing from embroidery machine embroidery).  Again, these are some true artisans.  Yes, there are people in the world today that can make their old Singers do fine embroidery.  The machine doesn’t need any special stitches at all, just a needle and thread that go up and down.  You hoop your fabric in the same kind of hoop that is use in hand embroidery, except you turn it upside down for the machine.  Take off your presser foot and use an embroidery presser foot – some don’t even use that.  Lower your feed dogs.  Embroider.  Initially, I did a few, very few, items using this method. 

It wasn’t long after I discovered the sewing machine embroidery that I found Doris (my Singer home embroidery machine).  Since I have already established that I tend to be lazy and search for short cuts, the sewing machine embroidery idea went out the window in lieu of machine embroidery.  With the embroidery machine, I did not have to think and plan as much.  Then Boudreaux (my first commercial embroidery machine) came into my life and, well, life has not been the same since.  Oh, how I love Boudreaux.  Now we have Clothilde.  Bet you thought the new one would be named Thibodeaux.  Clothilde works faster than Boudreaux, is more precise and user friendly.  Basically, she does better work, with more precision, in less time.  Of course, it would be a female. Lol

The next challenge is to figure out how to make Boudreaux and Clothilde stitch comparable embroidery to hand embroidery.  Hmmm.  There are some techniques available, albeit time consuming.  Please recall last year’s Easter Bonnet with the 3-D butterflies and fringed flowers.  Admittedly, the bonnet was outrageous but the techniques were solid.  What if I could turn those techniques into fine embroidery? 

The technique of making nice, professional patches used to be reserved for the Merrow machine.  Since the advent of embroidery machines and some ingenuity, professional looking patches are now easily made on embroidery machines.  The Merrow machine uses an overlock stitch and the embroidery machine uses a satin stitch, but they basically look the same.

Now that Clothilde has moved in, she brought her own set of computer programs.  One of the programs has some items about Schiffli machines.  I do not want a Schiffli machine.  The Schiffli machine holds 1,000 needles and if you think I am going to thread that many needles, you are out of your mind.   The Schiffli machine takes embroidery machines to the level of repeating designs on a plain fabric creating a fabric with repeated embroidery motifs that you can purchase by the yard.  I’m sure you’ve seen this type of fabric.  These machines are incredible.  They also make the lovely lace fabric by embroidering repeated designs on tulle, I think.  All of this can also be done on Boudreaux and Clothilde but in much smaller increments and it would take a lot more time.

I have carried on about embroidery and I think I saw one of our beans sprouting today.  The beautiful weather and the yard are calling me outdoors.  My annual red snapdragons are still blooming after 3 years and now we have yellow and white snapdragons that are into their second or third season.  The catnip is lush this year.  In fact, I brought a bouquet of catnip in the house the other day and George thinks I may have damaged my cats permanently.  They haven’t been the same since.  Ah, well, those cats need to lighten up anyhow.  Cats can be so serious.  Blackberry cobbler season is right around the corner.  Those beautiful little white flowers are everywhere.  I am hoping for a bumper crop this year.

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I found the following Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears at
Shopping List (inspired by Cathy Macomber on the Tuesday Nite Wildcats)
1 bag of gummy bears or gummy candy of your choice
1 cup of Absolute or Gray Goose vodka (or enough to cover the candy completely)

Place your bears in a large bowl and pour over your vodka, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 24 hours. I wouldn't go further than 48 hours, they may start breaking down.

Pour out your vodka (serve if you like, it will be pink and sweet from the bears) and carefully skewer your gummy bears. Arrange and serve.


(Found this on Pinterest)

Skittle bombs: take bottles of unflavored vodka and packs of skittles. pick a skittle color and put them all in a bottle. shake until they dissolve. Freeze to chill before serving.


C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S.  You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

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