Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Bullion or Knot to Bullion

Recently I started working on something completely different for me, a counted canvas project called "Midnight Garden" designed by Orna Willis. The project is an online class at the Caron website, and all the threads used are either Waterlillies or Watercolours. This is my first time using these threads, and they are just wonderful to work with. The stitches have been fun to do. At least, that's what I was thinking until I reached the section with the bullion knots.

Most embroidery and needlepoint stitches are pretty easy to do, even when they look complicated. Even the dreaded French knot is something I enjoy. But bullion knots have defeated me in the past. I forget now why I was trying to learn them, but I remember the failure of those wraps refusing to stay wrapped, and giving up in frustration. So I saw this portion of the garden as a hurdle.

Luckily, on the web there are several websites with stitch instructions. I went to the ANG's Stitch of the Month page and carefully read how to do a bullion knot. Then I pulled out my doodle canvas and some floss, and went to work. Somehow, this time the bullions turned out right, and I could proceed on my sampler. The other night, I did 36 bullion knots on "Midnight Garden", not without some mishaps, but bullion knots are easy to undo, so you just try again. The secret to a good bullion, I learned, is not to wrap the thread too tight, so your needle can go through them. Just hold them in your left hand, while you pull the needle through with your right. Most importantly, be fearless in your execution. Don't be afraid to try it, because you can always rip it out and do it over.

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