A HELPING HAND
OTHER PEOPLES PROJECTS
Several months ago I took my Mother into YarnWorks. We were in Gainesville and I needed additional yarn for a project that I was crocheting. After we returned home, my Mother, who has zero interest in handcrafts, inquired about the painted canvas and what it was used for. It was needlepoint canvas, and she thought she might be interested in trying it. I was surprised and excited to possibly share a craft interest with my Mom. I didn’t want to overwhelm her with picking a wide array of yarn and the huge variety of stitch possibilities. I recommended a “Stitch and Zip” kit for her. I thought if she could hang in there with a continental stitch or Basket-weave stitch we could go from there. The Inkle-Weavers Group meets at YarnWorks every Friday so I offered to buy her a small kit when I attended. Finding something small, not too flowery, and something she would like wasn’t easy, but I think I found the perfect one. An eyeglass case that helps fight breast cancer, a cause she cares a great deal about. I got everything ready for her, all the tedious steps that I actually enjoy. Sorting the floss, getting out the needle threader, scissors, magnification aids, project bag (there must be a project bag). Then we sat down and I showed her how to do the stitch. She worked on it most of the afternoon. After about a week I realized she hadn’t been working on it. When I asked her about it, she let me know that it wasn’t a craft for her……and there it sat until I was able to finish some of my own projects. This is how far she got.
At first I wasn’t looking forward to finishing this. I’ve been asked many times by people I know to finish projects that they start, and I almost always say, “no thank you.” There have been few exceptions. I really wanted her to have this case and it mean something to both of us since we both worked on it. Almost as soon as I started it, I enjoyed it. It was a bit like paint by numbers, my mind could wander as I watched the pattern grow. I even stitched the IFE in LIFE the wrong way and had to pick it out and re-stitch it. It was a relaxing project, and I might have to see if she wants to try another…..NOT
The basket-weave stitch is essentially the Continental stitch that’s patterned in such a way that it discourages distortion of the base fabric. Looking at this schematic for the Basket-Weave stitch, I have to say it looks pretty typical and rather confusing if you haven’t seen it done before, especially when you try to follow the needle path.
Basically, if you start in a corner (I find the lower left corner easier, I’m right handed) with one stitch, and always work a diagonal line, you work your row of stitches that connect with the recessed stitches. Then on your next diagonal rows you will connect with the stitches that were skipped that are now in a recessed position. Back and forth always making a new stitch connected with a recessed stitch and you’ll skip fewer stitches and avoid any distortion of the base fabric that’s so common with the Continental stitch. If you’re wondering why they call it the basket-weave stitch, turn your work over, it will look like a basket weave. The extra foundation needle-point fabric on the top should be stitched down with the two layers together as one and overcast on the very top. The last thing to do is trim the foundation needle-point fabric on the remaining three sides close and zip it up.
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