Butterfly Bookmark (aka Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday Aunt Sue)

The is the long sad tale of a bookmark that was supposed to be a Christmas present, and ended up being a late birthday present instead.

bookmark-3
Fully aware of the wonky corners. I swear they were straight as a pin until I got them under the presser foot.

Meet my Aunt Sue.

She loves to read, and if the gifts she’s accumulated in her house over many decades are any guide, she loves little embroidered things.

Either that, or people have been giving them to her for years and she’s been too nice to say she hates them. In which case, I have added to her stockpile of unwanted embroidered things, and I apologize.

The bookmark project is from Inspirations magazine. (Issue #82 if you’re trying to track it down.)

bookmark
What it was supposed to look liked, plus the accompanying needlebook project.

Being me, I couldn’t leave the directions alone, and had to “improve” upon them. I did this in two ways: 1) The use of hand-dyed linen instead of the white irish linen recommended, and 2) using a bit of buckram in the middle to stiffen it, instead of cardstock or stiff paper.

The linen was maybe not the best choice. This was a piece from the bug juice test dyeing of a few years back, and it is a lovely shade of pink (Aunt Sue, please don’t think about it being stained with the blood of dead lady cactus beetles). The colour contrasts quite well with the butterfly colours. But the linen is quite fine which, while perfect for less heavy embroidery, turned out to be a challenge for thread painting. There is so much thread and it is so thickly layered, and it’s hard to be precise with needle placement when the fabric warp and weft are placed rather spaciously. I think it turned out ok, but it could have been better, for sure.

Post-surgical intervention
Post-surgical intervention

The buckram would have been a fantastic idea, if I’d remembered about turn of cloth and not cut out a piece exactly as big as the finished bookmark. Once I’d sewn it together, flipped it around, and then topstitched it flat, it buckled in the middle something fierce. Very disappointing.

I got that far just before Christmas but couldn’t bring myself to mail a wobbly bookmark to my Aunt.

And there it sat for three months.

Just before her birthday I finally straightened my head out, took out the seams, removed the buckram, cut off a quarter inch from the top and one side, put the buckram back in, and sewed it all up again, after pressing as many of the creases out as I could. So much better. Now it’s smooth and much less wonky looking.

 

I know some people are big fans of wonky but it’s not a look that works well with thread painting.

In its new home, sporting a new ribbon.
In its new home, sporting a new ribbon.

Anyway.

Aunt Sue is a lovely, warm-hearted, generous, and unbelievably positive woman with a kind word for everyone and a possibly limitless capacity for forgiveness. It was a lot of fun to make her a little something. Here’s hoping the next time I do, I’ll remember to mail it before at least one of its intended celebrations.

7 thoughts on “Butterfly Bookmark (aka Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday Aunt Sue)”

  1. Aw this is so nice to read. She’ll be tickled to read it. She showed me her new treasure just last night. It’s beautiful!

  2. I love the bookmark, and you. Early or late, I love being on the receiving end of one of your needlework pieces of art. Thanks also for this beautiful blog. It warmed my heart on a rather chilly April morning.

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