Thursday, April 3, 2014

Finishing a Drawn Thread UFO

Following a request at the local embroidery guild to exhibit the drawn thread bags we made in a workshop with Moyra McNeill, I dipped into my box of work in progress, otherwise known as unfinished objects or UFO's. I was momentarily stunned when I realised that Moyra visited South Africa in 1994. That is 20 years ago. Wow! Where did those years go to?

Bag started with Moyra McNeill
I'm always curious about why some things like my bag don't get finished and others do. For me there seem to be three main reasons.

The first is variety. I so admire those people who can work on one project at a time and see it through to completion before beginning another one. I seem to always have a few projects on the go at any one time and move from one to the other as I start losing interest or strike a small challenge. Rotating between projects seems to make them fresh when I get back to them after a little break. Lack of variety however was not an obstacle to completing my little drawn thread bag. I enjoyed stitching it and because it moved along quickly, it remained interesting.

The second reason for my UFO's is that often when I start out on a project I have this mental image of just how perfectly it is going to work out. Well, reality is not quite like that, is it? Things sometimes don't quite match up to expectations and sometimes for me that means they end up in the UFO box. Again, that was not the case with this project. I was quite happy with the way it was turning out.

This brings me to the third reason for my ever expanding UFO collection. Its the finishing off. In this case I just couldn't figure out how I was going to fit the lining into the bag neatly. More importantly, how to do it without too much fiddling to get it right. This was definitely my stumbling block here.

To finish the embroidery on the bag I needed another row of woven bars at the top to complete the holes for the drawstrings. Moyra had suggested weaving every second group of threads into woven bars. This I did down the front where the ribbons are tied on.

But at the top I wanted to weave over all the threads and not leave some loose threads as Moyra had suggested. Now because of this I ran out of the DMC stranded cotton I was using, with the bars across the back still to complete.  Usually quite careful about keeping the little tags with the colour number on it, somehow I lost the little tag.

A quick visit to our local embroidery shop, ThreadNeedle Street and I found the thread. Its an almost exact match after 20 years. Does that say something about DMC threads!

OK, now for the lining ... well, I hope to have more on that next time.


  1. Wow, that IS a long time between nearly finished and finished! I like your analysis of why things get left. I am a bit of a fanatic finisher. I get more stressed by the unfinished object than by the things that go wrong - usually(!). It is a beautiful piece of work and your finish is clearly going quickly. It will be terrific to have it complete.pp

    1. Hi Jillian. Thanks for the insightful and interesting comment that its the stress of the UFO that keeps you going to the finish. That's food for thought for me. I have managed to finish the bag and will put up a post as soon as I have the photos.