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The Sticking Place
The Elizabethans and their cousins, the Stuarts, were fond of complicated tent-stitched cushions and wall hangings that included birds, moths, parrots, apples, people on horseback, hawks, dogs, strawberries, peapods, and seemingly whatever else entered their heads.
The Art of the Bawdy Song by The Baltimore Consort and The Merry Companions
All Tied Up At the Moment
Approximately 5"/12.7cm square, plus hanging loop.
The Sticking Place motif and border charts (PDF format)
The examples shown here were stitched with several different brands of embroidery floss. Go with your gut when it comes to color, but try not to use different brands of floss in the same project, as they may give different amounts of coverage. When using two shades of the same color in a single motif (as in the barbed wire border) choose shades that contrast much more than you think necessary. Otherwise the detail will be very hard to see in the finished stitchery.
A cross stitched version
The directions given here are for tent stitch. You can also do cross stitch, but you'll probably want to use fewer strands of floss, maybe three, in that case.
Stitch the Design:
Pick a border design and a center design, or choose one of the allover designs. Bind the edges of the aida cloth, mount it in the stitching frame or hoop, and thread a tapestry needle with 6 strands of floss which have been separated from each other, then laid back together, to increase the coverage of the stitches. Embroider your chosen design using the tent stitch (aka continental stitch). One square on the chart equals one stitch. When you have filled in the entire pattern, including the background, with tent stitch, outline any areas you wish to with two strands of floss using a backstitch. Remove the stitched aida cloth from the frame or hoop, block and press it. Sew on any beads or charms you like. Cut the excess fabric off, leaving 1/2" of unstitched cloth on every side.
Make the Cushion:
Cut a piece of backing fabric the same size as your cut out stitchery. Press 1/2" under on both the fabric and the aida cloth, and stack them, wrong sides together. With two strands of your background color floss and a hand sewing needle, sew the folded edges together using an overcast stitch. Start sewing at the top corner, sew around three and a half sides. Leave two to three inches unsewn, but don't tie off or cut the sewing floss. Just leave the needle hanging while you stuff the cushion firmly with fiberfill. When the cushion is stuffed, continue sewing the opening closed to within a half inch of the top. Knot the thread, then stick the needle into the seam at the knot, bringing it out of the cushion a few inches away at some random place. Tug the floss firmly, cut it close to where it exits the cushion, and let the end slip back inside.
Add the Decorative Cord:
Lay the decorative cord along the side that you just sewed up, with the end of the cord sticking just past the top corner of the cushion, over the small opening you left in the seam. Thread the hand sewing needle with the sewing thread, knot it, and bring the needle up from insided the seam where you made the last closing stitch. Run the needle through a bit of the cord, then put it back down into the cushion at the same spot. Bring the needle out about .25"/6mm further along the seam, working away from the top corner, go through the cord, and back down in the same spot. Continue in this way all the way around the cushion, making sure to put a stitch directly at each corner as you go.
If you like, sew tassels to the side and/or bottom corners, attaching them behind the cord. If you have made your own tassels, thread the ends of the top tie on the tassel into a needle and use them as the attaching thread. Knot and hide the ends of the thread as before.
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