Sep 5, 2011

Linen ramblings

Hello all.  First off, several emails requested information on how I braided the candlewick threads to use for little ornaments.  I apologize for not making it clear.  I purchase candle WICKS, not candlewicking thread.  It comes in a package where they sell fragrance oils and wax, usually craft stores, is 100% cotton, and braided.  I also had requests for where to purchase the basket that is displaying France F.  They only sell in shows, but I have her number and will pass along any info I receive.  On to the linen weekend.

I found this unframed old piece that looks like the 25 count I used to purchase from Scarlet Letter, and this warm tone is what I'm looking for.  My higher count linens are not as light as this, even though as I've mentioned before, they are all "unbleached-raw-natural"- but all vary in tone and shade. 
                 
I don't know if I would like the recommended linen for a design since I have no resources, and my preferences do not lean toward the very light shades.   The natural/unbleached cuts that I ordered long ago came in darker and grayer than I expected.  This is the 30 count that's cut (YES!) in the drab grayish tone, so I prepared a bleach bath for it, in the tub.  I thought it would be the easiest way to submerge it evenly with the least amount of folds.  
The darkest is the original, beneath it the current shade, and the right is the same fabric soaked longer.  It's still too drab, so I may try to warm it with a coffee bath.   Am I wasting my time?  Sure seems like.  I have several yards of this and really want to use it for these big projects instead of purchasing more.  I have no idea what the multitude of color choices are like so even if I would receive new linens, would I like them?  Surprisingly, the amber color was in the bath longest and didn't flinch.  No change whatsoever.  I kept a swatch of wet fabric on hand to compare to the submerged pieces, checking on color change.  It became very mottled and uneven, but dried more evenly.   Months ago I had another brainstorm that if I washed and dried the 25 count linen on hot, it would shrink to a 28 or 30 count.  Well it didn't.  At all.  So I assumed this wouldn't either but it did - an inch in length and width.  The difference?  The first time I tried dyed/processed linen and this is unbleached/raw which obviously is more susceptible to shrinkage.  Which begs the question - would a 30 count cut become a 32 count if it shrinks?   Since the number of threads are the same, but smaller or tighter, wouldn't the design still fit since the stitches would also be smaller?   It will take some time but I'm running a line of stitches to make sure.  Logan's count is 474 x 412 and Metcalf's is 355 x 463.  WHAT?????  

Even though I have a ton of floss in all colors, I bought more.  I wanted everything ready, separate, starting from scratch in their floss and chart files.  Aren't they neat?

 

These are floss colors on the two linens, one too gold, and one too drab.  I'm spilling my coffee on it tomorrow and will decide then, but Logan will be on one of these.  

It took me quite a while, but I inventoried all my linens, even scrap pieces, and now have every piece tagged with size and recorded which is a huge improvement.  I don't know how much is considered a lot, but I think I have way too much of the same boring fabric.  For future projects, I'm going to order a few small cuts and hope the new colors are what I'm looking for.   WHAT?   Future projects?  These designs will keep me busy for a very long time.  a number of years. an eternity.  OK.... I'm done boring you with my linen troubles.  Frankly, I'm bored with it too but starting projects of this size and then deciding it's not the right background does not a happy stitcher make.  
So I'll say so long, have a great new day, be kind and generous to the homeless....
even if they're brats, wanting to eat ten times a day.


Thanks for stopping by, sorry I'm rambling about linen again.

Stitching begins today.

14 comments:

Chris said...

Hey Marly,
It looks like you are all set to go on your projects. You look very organized! I am looking forward to seeing your progress!
Happy cat!

Susan said...

I liked reading your linen adventures. I've never tried bleaching or coffee/tea dyeing but might be something in my future.

Shirlee said...

Marly ... I always look forward to reading your posts. We would get along very well if we were neighbors : ) I have never thought about dyeing or bleaching fabric but may give it a try. Right now I have 4 pinkeeps in the works & the directions call for staining them with tea after they are made into little pillows. I fear that I am going to ruin them! Hope not : ) Blessings, Shirlee

Joanie said...

I love how you've organized your stash! And I'm looking forward to your progress while stitching on them.

I feel your pain about fabric colors. I want a very warm brown tone and I can't find it!

The Evening Stitcher said...

Marly...I love the little organizers you have for your project. I bought a couple at a x-stitch shop with zippers, but they were $5 a piece!

I washed a 14ct aida a few years ago (because it was way too stiff)and I swear it shrunk to a 28 count! My design was so much smaller than the pattern..it still looked nice..just small! I always enjoy reading your informative posts!

Valerie said...

I love how you have organized your projects. Are those project bags from Staples or a similar store? A great idea!

Love the kitty pic...mine are currently in similar positions...enjoying what is left of summer!

Joy said...

I don't think the count shrinks...just the overall size of the fabric. I use just about anything to dye my fabrics with...even kitchen bouquet. No two pieces ever match, but I always seem to find the right color for the right project. Be sure to dye wet fabric, knowing it will be lighter when dry. One thing about using DMC, you can always dye it after stitching;) Can't wait to see your progress!

Penny said...

Those are some large samplers. Catharine Metcalf is pretty. I love how you've organized everything! I can't wait to see your progress.

Akila said...

Love the way you've organized your kits.
I have some linen which I'd like to "darken". Am planning to dye it in coffee too when am ready to start on the project

Glenna said...

Marly, I love reading about your linen adventures. If you ever want to send me a little sample of fabric, since I work in a needlework shop, I'd be happy to lay out your fabric next to the shop fabrics and just tell me what count, how large and what color you're aiming for, I can take a bunch of photos for you and you can decide that way. I can poke through that stuff forever, and it would be fun. We have Lakeside, Weeks, Wichelt, Cashel, Legacy--you name it.

Mouse said...

Hi Marly :) love your organisation skills and also your info on the bleaching etc .. I've done tea and coffee dying but not ventured further ... would the bleach not rot the fabbie ?? ... good luck with finding the right colours for your projects and if all else fails sell some fabbie to fund some new ..lol love mouse xxxx

Siobhan said...

Maybe stitch on one of the linens and then plonk some tea bags on it? It'd give it a nice aged look. I did that with Sarah Salter. I was obsessed with using Apple Blossom (think that's the name of it??) linen, purely because I'd seen a model that used it and I liked the name. I'm a sucker for names. Anyhoo, it was way too pink for the sampler but I didn't realize that till I was too far into it to toss it or start over. I finished it and then rubbed coffee grounds into it and I think also plonked it with a tea bag a few times.

Nice organization with the charts! I wish I was that organized.

Argante said...

I really appreciate how you've organized your stash! ANd maybe you could use some tea bags...

Hugs
Argante

Suzanne said...

Your projects are kitted up in the same bags that I use. They are nice and convenient and easy to identify.

I have done some tea and coffee staining on my fabrics and loved the result. I have never bleached them before, but I will have to give it a try.

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