Week 16 ✂ French Knot (TAST 2012)

This week’s stitch for the TAST Challenge 2012 is the French Knot. I know I will never finish what I started—not in time for the round up on Sunday, anyway—so here is my sample, in all its half-assed, slacked-out glory:

An old doyenne of the great unfinished project, I’ve actually got a few stitch samples that I never posted on here because I didn’t finish them in time.

I gave up on Satin Stitch, because I messed up the background fabric, tried to ‘fix’ it with white gesso, which made things worse. I took this shot, then destroyed it, because it pissed me off...

TAST 2012 Satin stitch

There was Herringbone Stitch, which was going along okay until the “permanent marker” I used to draw the letters ran. And I didn’t manage to get the black to slowly blend into brown the way I’d hoped. Shame because I adore this stitch, which is also known as “Witch’s Stitch” (the German word for herringbone stitch is ‘hexenstich’ – literally, ‘witches stitch’) and is used for casting spells and sealing magic into clothing. Variations of Herringbone are in the almond shapes, and the two white triangles on either side of the word ‘bone’ are (left) Crow’s Foot and (right) Sprat’s Head. I was very disappointed in myself when I didn’t finish this one in time and the paints bled. This one I kept, out of respect.
TAST 2012 herringbone (unfinished)

From way, way back, this is Cretan Stitch, which I did a lot of work on, then ran out of red thread. There wasn’t a single bit of red thread left on the boat, this pig of a stitch gobbled it all up. I tried using other, reddish threads (more like orange) and it looked awful, awful! I think I was leaving for Malaysia around this time, so I just abandoned it. Looking at it again, I decided I would never finish it, and didn’t like the way it was headed, so I threw it out.
Cretan Stitch (TAST 2012) WIP


According to Sharon B., Week 15 marked an ending of the basic stitches, and stepping onto the threshold of stitches that become “more complex or less well known”. So it is time for me to decide whether I am going to continue the way I have been or not. Obviously I am not keeping up; that for me is a sign that I have once again ignored the huge discrepancies between what I want to do, and what I am capable of. The typography + stitch thing has not always been a great combination…some stitches, like the Whipped Wheels of week 11, while not impossible to work as letters, looked pretty damn ugly as letters. Seemed to defeat the purpose. I am defeated.

I have to also take into consideration the amount of time that these samples take up…last month saw me bitterly, bitterly broke. I should be making journals and stuff that I can take to the craft markets which are starting up in town now that the good weather of winter is moving in…I need the embroidery project to function as more than a solipsism.

I’m marking an end of my own—not to TAST, which I will keep doing because there really are a lot of stitches I haven’t tried my hand at yet—but to the stitches + typography samples. I’ll be trying now to use the weekly stitch to both learn and embellish my bookbinding and other projects. While I love the idea of  a personal book of stitch samples, it is a luxury and a fanciful project for someone in my position. I don’t really need one (especially not of stitches that I have long been familiar with, which so far is what we’ve covered in TAST) and can’t afford the time to be making such a thing; the projects I spend time on must serve some second, more practical, purpose.

And did you sign up for TAST this year? How are you doing? I really do hope you are faring better than I!

18 thoughts on “Week 16 ✂ French Knot (TAST 2012)

  1. Even partially complete, they’re all so neat! I love how creatively you decorate and style the words, and how you really try to do as many versions of the stitch as possible.


    1. I enjoy that, too, the many stitches, and trying to draw letters that somehow evoke the stitch. Some stitches are so suited to this, others…I dunno, in the hands of a better typographer it would probably work, whatever the stitch, so I can’t blame stitch-to-font incompatibility. Thanks so much for the visit and upbeat comment!


  2. Ii thought your top sampler was beautiful–the colors are glorious. I have more time this year then I have ever had before to do embroidery, but I know what it is like to not have a lot of time. Your work is beautiful. Just do the amount you have time for and if it does double duty, then so much the better. Don’t be so hard on yourself.


    1. The french knots sampler is coming out okay, I just posted early because otherwise I wouldn’t post at all, and I want my fellow TASTers to know that I have actually done a little bit! 😀 Didn’t think was being hard on myself, just feel that I need to reassess the format of my TAST samples, in the light of not enough time to do everything I would like to. Thank you for the morale boost, Valerie!


    1. It is a wise woman who knows her capabilities! It hasn;t upset me at all, but I realize that I’ve gone and wasted more time by half making samplers I don’t/won’t finish. Doh! ;D


    1. Not exactly a brilliant new idea, more a “Doh!” moment than a “Eureka!” moment. I am still devoting three hours a day to the project I owe you; I am so sorry if I am running late. Just don’t tell me I’m the only one you’re still waiting for…


      1. haha.. no no, you are not alone my dear. but the most recent “late” submission was so inspiring for me, i was at “awe”. lol


          1. I’m sure it is Nat. I just saw this reply today actually.. but yeah. 🙂 the zine is coming together a bit slower now that Fra is out of the country. but I’m feeling it will come out good. and even if I’ll be making just a few copies, its enough that we can have this “group show” on paper. 😀


  3. I am so glad you shared your “threw them outs”. It is encouraging to know that everyone has beutiful creations that just don’t make it. A lesson learned and not a waste. I also appreciate your comments about using your time better. I have little time to be creative and I hate it. I wish I could just stitch whenever I chose and have 50 projects going on at once. I love your blog. and good luck with your income. Oh and no I did not sign up for the TAST. Anna


    1. Hiya, Anna! I’m worried that I have more “threw-them-outs” than the average…too hasty, not enough planning, I tend to leap into these things without thinking them through. It gets frustrating after a while; as you say, a lesson learned, but I never seem to learn the lesson! 😉 Multi-tasking and the try hard life just aren’t my way, I couldn’t do it if I wanted to. Plod along and make mistakes seems to be my lot. Thank you for the comment! Good luck with your creativity, too!


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