Failing my way to success
I have been working since last week on the border for Jean's atara/tallit neckband. The border serves both ta visual function and well as a structural one. Visually, just about anything looks better with a good border. ideally the border will repeat or emphasis elements that are found elsewhere in a tallit, its a visual coda.
From a structural point of view a good border serves the same function as those round white loose-leaf reinforcements that most of us used in elementary school. It gives an area of tallit that gets a fair amount of wear some additional stability.
The fabulous silk Jean chose for her tallit has a complicated strip pattern with straight stripes as well as squiggly zig zaggy stripes woven into the fabric. I realized that if I embroidered a ribbon with a combination of stitches and threads I could create something similar to the look of the stripes on the silk.
Given the size of the atara that meant embroidering 68 inches of ribbon several times, once for each layer of stitching.
I started with a stitch that looks sort of like a hand done cross intermittent cross stitch in gold. It looked great. I added a blue metallic diamond stitch. Again, fabulous. I am leaving out that the blue metallic thread was not actually meant for machine sewing but is a thin fragile yarn really meant to work in a knitting machine. I made it work.
Monday, I thought that I would add a bit of the blue/grey that is part of the striped fabric to the mix of stitches. I thought to add a diamond grid stitch..
I was wrong. It was a bad choice that weakened the composition and the impact of the blue and the gold stitching on the ribbon.
I slowly began to unpick the work. The stitch is a complicated one . The thread was a fine rayon one. Unpicking was a disaster. Finally I cut away the six or so inches where I had begun the failed experiment. Now I didn't have enough embroidered ribbon to go around the atara.
So I began to embroider another 68 inches of ribbon.
I sewed the new embroidered ribbon to the edge of the atara and then added a line of gold Lurex yarn to edge both sides of the border.
The border is just a small detail but it can make a piece so much better. I wish my earlier experiments hadn't failed, but they got me to where I needed to go.