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Cording Question and Finishing Talk

  • Posted on December 6, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Von asked a good question in her comments about how I attach my cording and I thought others might be curious, so I thought that I would answer it here for everyone to see and then ask how others do it. She asked whether I glue or sew on my cording.

The answer is that I glue the cording onto pieces where I use mat board fronts and backs that are glued together. That way, I can run the glue right along the groove between the two pieces and seat the cording just where I want it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of using a lot of glue. I used to lace the fabric to the board and then lace the pieces together, but it is AWFULLY time consuming to do it that way and I don’t have that kind of time right now (or probably ever). I actually prefer gluing the fabric to the board now because the tacky glue sets up so quickly and allows me to get the piece stretched out nicely, mitered on the back and whatever else I need to do. I think it actually looks nicer along the edges when it’s glued. And the nicer your edges look, the thinner you can make your cording (I’m cheap on threads, what can I say? It takes A LOT of fibers to make a piece of cording!) because you just need to cover the gap. I would probably choose to lace fronts and backs together, if I had the time, for longevity. Of course, the thread could decay just as easily as the glue could let go… but that’s a whole other discussion.

If the piece has sewn edges, though, I try to sew on the cording. Note the key use of the word “try” in that sentence. I have not yet been able to invisibly attaching cording by sewing. It’s something I need to work on and read into on Judy O’Dell’s website. I think she has some good tips on how to expertly sew on cording in her finishing section. Of course, I don’t always add cording to a sewn piece, either.

Von also mentioned that she would like to learn some of my finishing “secrets.” To be honest, I don’t really have any. I haven’t been finishing for very long, so every time is a learning experience, though I think I have the mat board sandwich process down pat now. ๐Ÿ˜† But, to be honest, it isn’t very tough. Cut your mat board, cut your batting (if desired), glue batting to board (if desired), glue stitched piece (over batting) to board, repeat with another piece of board and a coordinating fabric, glue front and back together and press under at least one (two if you have a lot of excess fabric in the middle) large book for 24 hours or so to ensure a good bond. Add cording and voila! You’re done.

Well, I guess there is more subtlety to adding the cording. Probably to the entire process, too. Cutting the mat board to exactly the right shape and size can be difficult. I use scrapbooking equipment to help with the shapes when I can. I can’t seem to cut a square or rectangle straight; I have to fudge it. Inevitably, things are always a little off, but it’s handmade, so isn’t that supposed to be part of the charm? As far as the cording, how you hide your ends, form a hanger loop, create a tassle, etc. is often up to the personal style of the finisher. If I’m going to make the tassel from the cording, I start at the bottom, sink the end in between the two layers at the middle of the bottom of the design, then run the cording around until I’m at the middle of the top of the design. Then I make a loop for the hanger, just like a roller coaster track loops, with the cording passing in front of itself and then going along its merry way, back around to the bottom, where we began. Here, I sink the other end in between the layers, just beside the starting end, glue the cording right up to that point, allow it to dry for a little while. You’ve now created a loop of excess cording between where you finished gluing it to the piece and where you sank the end. I cut this loop, unwind the cording and cut my little tassel to length.

I’ve also done the tassel where I create the cording to the exact length I need, leaving a long section of untwisted fibers after the knot that secures the cording. Using this method, when I start the cording, I don’t sink the looped end (with your cording, you always have one end that you knotted or secured that contains all of the cut ends, and one end that is looped) in between the layers and I don’t glue it down, yet. This will eventually slip over the end knot of your cording when it comes back around. I’m not sure if this makes sense? You’ll run your cording around the design, as usual, and when you get back to the center of the bottom, you should be right at the knot at the end of your cording (make sure you plan it out so that you create the hanger at the right length so that your knot is where you need it to be). Open the looped end of the cording slightly and past the knotted end through the loop. Smooth the looped end back into shape and glue it down. Now you should have the untwisted length of fibers left after your knot and this forms your tassel.

Finally, I would note that you can create your hanger slightly differently by simply wrapping the base of the hanger loop tightly with sewing thread. This gives a little more polished look to your finishing. You can do the same at the bottom of your design when you create the tassel. If you do this at the bottom and you’re creating a tassel from your cording, you wouldn’t have to sink either of your ends. You could leave an excess of cording at each end, then wrap sewing thread tightly around the base of both, then unwind the cording and cut your tassel to length.

You could also do more traditional tassel creation and attachment, but I don’t feel like going into that right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

I could write up a tutorial sometime with pictures, if anyone wants, but I think that there are lots already out there, so I wouldn’t want to reinvent the wheel or anything…

P.S. Von, the VS Baby’s 1st Christmas ornaments DO stitch up very quickly, so I would highly recommend that you do some for your grandsons. You can crank them out in no time!

Two More Ornaments Finished!

  • Posted on December 5, 2005 at 11:41 pm

Two more ornaments finished tonight. To be truthful, I did everything but attach the cording last night, so it was easy. I’ve also cut out the matboard for my Christmas Hearts ornament tonight and will try to do the same for another round ornament, so hopefully two more on the way in the next day or so! If I can get through all of the ornaments that require matboard this week, I will be happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

As usual, these are just thumbnails that you can click on to see the larger photo. On the left is Christmas Jewels by Elizabeth’s Designs. On the right is Penguin Hugs by Paw Printings.


Christmas Jewels Ornament

Penguin Hugs Ornament

And now it’s back to the drawing board, er… craft table, for me!

Three Successful… Ornamentalizations?

  • Posted on December 4, 2005 at 11:48 pm

While I didn’t get them all done (in truth, I’m less than 1/3 of the way), I did get 3 done today, despite yet another lovely headache. Yep, I’m still at one headache a day. But that’s another story. You know, I forgot how long these ornaments can take! Or at least, how long they take ME. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m going to post the thumbnail versions of all of these; otherwise, this post would scroll on too long. Click on the thumbnails to see the full photo. Also, all of the ornaments you see here were published in the 2004 Just Cross Stitch Ornament special issue.

First up, I finished the Never Too Big ornament from Dragon Dreams. And then Noel Birdhouse from Brittercup Designs.


Never Too Big Ornament

Noel Birdhouse Ornament

And finally, la piece de resistance (darn, I have no idea how to add the accents – bummer!) … Christmas Poinsettias from Cindy Valentine Designs.



Christmas Poinsettias Ornament


This is my favorite so far. I used so much thread in the cording that it’s absolutely luscious! I already promised this one to someone who commented when it was first posted, but I have to admit that I’m having second thoughts. I hope she won’t be too terribly disappointed if I keep it. ๐Ÿ™ Who knows, though; I haven’t even gotten to the ones that I was planning to keep. I may have a whole new set of opinions by then!

Well, back under the books these three go so that they can spend the next 18 hours or so curing under weight to keep them from pulling apart at all. I wonder how long the next ones will take me, since I’ll have to cut the mats in circles and ovals for the next few. Eeek! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Christmas Hearts Bellpull Finished

  • Posted on December 4, 2005 at 1:02 am

Well, almost completely finished-finished. I just have to paint the bellpull hardware white and permanently tack down the top flap.



Christmas Hearts Bellpull

This took me several hours because I took pictures at every step to help guide the completion of the SAL and because the sewing beast was most uncooperative.

I did not have the grand finishing session that I wanted to have today. I stayed up until 2:30 AM just pulling out all of the ornaments, deciding how to finish each one, then picking coordinating fabrics and threads for cording and/or tassles, where needed. Five hours of sleep and I was up at 7:30 AM because we had to go pick up a moving truck that we reserved for the day. We then packed up our measly little dining room set (oval cherry table and 4 chairs), drove over to Terry’s dad’s house, ate lunch, unloaded our old dining room, and then packed up his parents’ dining room set (16 years old, solid cherry set with larger, rectangular table, 6 side chairs, 2 arm chairs, lighted china hutch and side table), his parents’ china (a lovely, retired pattern from Noritake) and crystal (which, ironically, appears to be the exact same pattern as what we were starting to accumulate) plus his mother’s souvenir spoon cabinet and basically anything else from the dining room that his dad could pawn off on us. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We also went upstairs and went through all of his mother’s jewelry, which his dad gifted to me. After over 30 years of marriage, including all of the birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts, there was a good bit to go through. It was overwhelming and tinged with sadness. A bittersweet time, considering I now have enough nice jewelry to last me a lifetime, but at what cost?

Anyway, so we packed all of that up, headed back home, unpacked the furniture, then folded up the 24 furniture pads that we had rented, stuff them into the truck, drove over, dropped it off and came home. I then washed dishes, made dinner, ate dinner and then went upstairs to work on the bellpull. At some point, I’ll have to go through all of the china and crystal, wash everything and put it into the china hutch. Plus go through all of the other miscellaneous stuff and sort it into what we want to keep and what we’ll give away. But that’s for another day, because I’m out of time! It’s nearly midnight, I’m more than exhausted, it’s been an emotional day with lots of physical labor thrown in, I’m running on not enough sleep (for me) and the dog still needs to go outside for the last time tonight before I can brush my teeth and crash into bed. Terry’s already asleep, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yeah… busy day. And tomorrow, I’ll try to do some ornament finishing, but we’re also going to the grand opening of a good friend from college’s game store. At this point, I’m really looking forward to next weekend, which is the only real weekend that we’ll be able to relax all month long!

One Down… Many to Go!

  • Posted on December 2, 2005 at 8:08 am

There’s nothing like starting the month off on a good foot. In this case, I’ve already knocked out one of my stitching goals for December. Last night, I completed my second attempt at the Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament freebie from The Victoria Sampler.



Baby's 1st Christmas Ornament #2

Yeehaw! Now, my plans for the weekend, if carried through successfully will see the completion of two more goals as the result of a serious ornamentification session. If I actually make it through everything, I will offer up all remaining, unclaimed ornaments right here on this very blog. Leave a comment on which ones you might be interested in, email me your mailing address and I will pull a random name for each available ornament and you will receive a surprise gift on your doorstep before Christmas (hopefully… maybe late for anyone overseas).

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, as I haven’t really looked to see what I have left that will go up for grabs. I’ll post the exact details when I’m ready to post the photos and availability. ๐Ÿ™‚

December Stitching Goals

  • Posted on December 1, 2005 at 1:01 pm

So, let’s see. What do I want to get done this month?

  • Complete and send back model
  • Complete this month’s JCS SAL ornament
  • Complete Chatelaine Tiny Rose Mandala Garden
  • Complete 2nd Baby’s First Christmas ornament
  • Complete SBEBB Garden Exchange piece
  • Finish, photograph and submit all 3 Silkweaver’s Stitcher’s Showcase entries
  • Finish (ornamentify) both Baby’s First Christmas ornaments
  • Finish (ornamentify) all remaining Christmas ornaments
  • Finish Christmas Hearts as a bellpull
  • Kit and start (?) Valentine’s Exchange piece

Probably overly ambitious of me, considering all of the weekend time I won’t have this month due to parties, decorating, planning, shopping, etc.!

November Stitching Goals in Review

  • Posted on December 1, 2005 at 12:59 pm

My goals for November were hefty, but I managed:

  • Start and complete this month’s JCS SAL ornament – DONE!
  • Start and complete Christmas Hearts Bellpull SAL – DONE!
  • Continue working on Sweet Dreams baby afghan – YES – Not a lot of progress made, as I had to put it aside until the colder weather sets in and I wanted to work on more immediate deadline-driven projects.
  • Continue working on Tiny Rose Garden Mandala – YES – I made some good progress on this one and would say that I’m at about 75% now.
  • Continue working on Heirloom Memories Sampler – NO – Now, honestly, I could have cheated on this one by putting in a couple of stitches just to say that I did, but I didn’t do that. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Complete Baby’s First Christmas Ornament – DONE!
  • Start piece for SBEBB Garden Exchange – YES

In addition, I managed to start and complete the matching Christmas Hearts ornament and start another of the Baby’s First Christmas ornament, plus I worked on a new model stitching assignment that came in. Not too bad for a month’s work, eh?

SBQ – December 1, 2005

  • Posted on December 1, 2005 at 12:28 pm

Today’s “Stitching Blogger’s Question” was suggested by AngelSan and is:

Do you have rules in the way you stitch? (i.e., Do you start in the middle? Do you determine which blocks to stitch first? Do you always start from the top or the bottom? Do you have special paths to prevent wasting thread?)

I was taught as a little girl to always start in the center of a design. I pretty much stick to that rule, except with band samplers. When stitching a band sampler, I often start with the band closest to the center and then move downwards or upwards. However, that changes if I’m working through a stitchalong or a cyberclass where the bands are expected to be worked from top to bottom. In that case, I do as I’m told. See? I’m such a obedient little thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I often sit and analyze the pattern and pre-determine the path of a specific color before stitching. That helps me to find to most efficient way around the design. Oh, and I always stitch /// then \. But, other than that, I don’t have many hard and fast rules for stitching. That would take the fun out of it a bit, wouldn’t it?


My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com