Monday, September 6, 2010

Counted Cross Stitch Biscornu - Finally Finished!

It's been a lovely Labor Day Weekend here in Southern California. I had planned on doing some very serious cleaning of the sewing room, but I realized that I was on the home stretch of finishing my Counted Cross Stitch Biscornu that I had started way back in February.

I finished the border on both sides, then steamed each piece well to get out the very slight puckering caused by the pulled thread border.

Since there is a lot of open work on this piece, the directions called for making an inner lining so the polyfill stuffing wouldn't leak out. I used some scraps of ivory silk dupioni to make it. Notice how there is no needle on thread? It fell on the carpet and was waiting to be stepped on by my bare feet. Luckily I found it shortly after taking this photo. 

In spite of my ignorance in how the actual pieces get sewn together, and having to look up the instructions online, the lining went together fairly quickly.  Here it is all stuffed and ready for insertion into the outer shell.

Putting together the outer shell was definitely a challenge. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out from the directions how to sew the pieces together. Four false starts and three broken needles later, I finally settled on this. It consists of whipstitching the pieces through the picot edges of the turned border. It doesn't quite look like the photo in the magazine, but I rather like the look of it.

Sewing the outer shell took quite a bit longer than the lining, but here is the final edge being sewn together.

I added buttons to the top and bottom and voila! It's finished! So now what do I do with it? It's too light to be a pattern weight, and too pretty to be a pincushion. But I think that is what it's final use will be, I'll just have to be careful to place the pins where they don't pierce the embroidery.

So, now for the likes and dislikes:

I really like the pattern. I have never done any cross stitch before but somehow this piece appealed to me. It's a fairly simple design and has two different alphabets to work. I really, really love the Au Ver a Soie threads, especially the Soie Gobelins used on the letter E in the above photo. All the other designs were worked in Soie d'Alger floss, except for the pulled thread border, which was Soie de Paris. The colors were light and delicate and went together beautifully. The fabric was Ricamo 40-count linen from Needle in a Haystack in Alameda, California. This is definitely my favorite needlework store. They are very helpful and give great customer service, besides having absolutely wonderful stock.

What I didn't like was that the instructions were somewhat difficult to figure out. But that may be because I'm such a novice at cross stitch. I could not figure out how to put the biscornu together (which side gets sewn to which other side) until I looked it up online. Here is one site, called Own Two Hands. Follow the link to see how to put together the cute Halloween biscornu. I never did understand how to whipstitch the pieces of the outer shell to make it look like the photo. While I really like the 40-count linen, I had to stitch the whole thing under magnification! My poor eyes! The other thing, and this is pretty minor, is that the buttons go right over the design - in the middle of the crown on one side and the date on the other. I would prefer to have a design that leaves a space for the button.

While I'm not exactly hooked on cross stitch, I do think I'll try it again. I've picked up some really cute design from some French firms and have plenty of the linen left over. Of course the designs are in French but the shop where I got them put together a little dictionary to translate the main terms.

But now it's back to cleaning and working on projects that don't require so much magnification.


  1. Gorgeous Cynthia! I love the soft colors. Making a lining was a great idea to keep all the stuffing inside.

    Thanks for stopping by my site too...I've already ordered new background fabric for the "color blind test" quilt!


  2. Ah. You and me both - on two accounts: Au Ver a Soie Threads and Needle in a Haystack. I had So Much Fun shopping there last year!

    The biscornu is really pretty!

    I'm not entirely hooked on cross stitch myself - but I do like it when it's worked small, over one. 40 ct is a bit difficult over one, without the right thread, but still.... I do like it when it's Tiny. I think it's the challenge that captivates me!

    Beautiful job, as usual!

  3. It has come together beautifully.


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