Hearts stitch journal, 07 February 2018

Snow. It was the first thing I saw as I stepped out of the door and the flakes began to fall, whirling around my head. For the first time this winter, the landscape looks like a Christmas card, though it’s not cold today and I don’t think it will settle. The threads this morning are white lustre DMC six-strand embroidery thread, white lustre Kreinik cord, white rayon machine embroidery thread and white coton à broder no 2. With the exception of the coton, they were a nightmare to sew with: what I really needed was a silky, lustrous white rayon. The rough DMC lustre entailed several stop-starts, as it would just not pull through the fabric. I tried the outline in Mountmellick, but that was no-go, and then I tried split stitch with no more joy. In the end I opted for simple running stitch, as that was about all I could achieve with the wiry thread. Once on there, I didn’t like the look of it anyway – it was too grey – so I whipped it with white rayon (still too grey), then with white coton and finally threaded it with the Kreinik cord to bulk it up a bit. Lesson to self: lustre whites do not look good against grey fabric – I should have chosen cream.

The rather dodgy snowflake in fern stitch also took two attempts, as the white rayon looked grey once it was in, and I unpicked it and did it again in the Kreinik cord. So, what should have been a simple little design ended up taking ages, also interrupted by the plumber turning up to get the airlock out of the water pump and install the new plaques on the woodburner. Still, at least we can now put the ashpan back in the stove instead of having it underneath, where it’s been all winter (I ordered the plaques in September and they’ve just arrived – this is rural France for you!). Now to reheat my breakfast coffee and start again.

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