Starting Over

Starting Over

It’s okay to start over again

knowing what you know and what you don’t know.

Moving on imperfectly,

and being at peace with that decision.

You don’t need a brand new book

 to begin writing a brand new story,

And although it marks a significant point in time,

You don’t need a brand new year to begin living

if you simply make the choice and begin

from the place where you are right now.

This is a book that I made for my stitch class homework. We were supposed to look at others who do contemporary machine embroidery work and this book is based on Cas Holmes work. She uses a variety of repurposed fabrics and layers with machine stitch. I was going to cover a small notebook that a friend challenged me to “re-do” but it didn’t quite work out that way.

I started off with the orange-colored fabric rectangles that I already had cut out to make cards. I backed them with Stitch N Tear and stitched flowers, leaves and bugs with black thread. I free motion machine stitched and didn’t draw ahead of time, just did it by eye.

Then the notebook I was covering was just a bit bigger than the stitched rectangles. So I had to add more fabric. All of the fabric came out of my stash. Some of the lovely bits of silk ribbon came from Karen (thanks kaz!).

The poem was from my friend Carole. She had made a silk screen with the poem and I had tried it out on a scrap piece. It was imperfect letters with some very obscured, to match the poem. I don’t know who the poem is written by but would love to give credit if someone knows. I looked online but couldn’t find it.

Once I had the collaged pieces together, I decided that if I was going to stitch over them to hold them down, I would need a backing fabric. I picked black felt to emphasize the black stitching and to calm down the overall random color scheme.

I was trying to be a bit looser in my design and not try to  make everything perfect. This flower was particularly ugly so I thought the word “imperfectly” fit it perfectly 🙂

I then added a variety of stitching to the background. This is really not my style but it was fun.

I then stitched around the edges of the page with black to hold everything down that hadn’t yet been stitched and to give a more finished look.

Then I went back to cover the spiral notebook and the pages were too thick to fit. But I decided that didn’t really matter too much as the pages were beautiful and I could do a hand sewn binding.

So then I sewed the pages back to back.

Each of the left edges of the book pages then needed to be marked at 1/4″ intervals so that the blanket stitch would come out evenly. If the stitches don’t line up, the binding doesn’t work very well.

Once all the pages are marked, then the left edges were sewn with knotted blanket stitch. The knot is added to increase the strength of the bars on the edge of the page formed by the blanket stitch.

After I stitched all the knotted blanket stitch edges, then I lined up the pages and connected them together with big safety pins.

The binding is then formed by doing raised chain band stitch over the bars of the blanket stitch. If you look back at the first photo you can see the binding.

The first time I did this type of binding, I found it a bit cumbersome but this time went much more quickly and smoothly. I guess my mother was right, “Practice makes perfect”.

Oh but I wasn’t supposed to be perfect!! Note to self, don’t listen to that voice in your head that sounds like your mother.

17 thoughts on “Starting Over

  1. I love this post. The poem intrigued me to start. I enjoyed ‘watching’ your steps both in pictures and in words. The comment of you mom’s voice just ended this post beautifully. Thank you!

  2. And with so many works piled up in my stash, I am considering printing them off onto new fabric and using it in some collage work. Why do we think that we cannot repurpose our own works. A full size oil painting can become a page in a small journal. Starting over is good. Yours looks great.

    1. Actually what you see on the binding is the raised chain band. The knotted blanket stitch just means you do a knot before going on to the next stitch. It keeps the little bars even and snug.

  3. Those pages are absolutely beautiful Ruth and I hope you are justifiably very proud of the book.

    The binding is perfect and I think you were right to listen to your mother’s voice in this instance.

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