Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flag Needlebook in Berlin Work, part II

Step 1: Berlin Work.  Based on the originals discussed in part I, I made the flag 42 stitches long x 28 stitches tall.  Each stripe is 2 rows of cross stitch, the blue field is 17 x 14.  I opted to do the stars as single cross-stitches, and went with a simple grid of 32 stars.  I actually meant to do a 33-star flag, on the presumption that my 1860s unionist persona was on a patriotic kick during the spring of 1861, but realized too late that I did the rows as 6/7/6/7/6 instead of 7/6/7/6/7.  So, I now have an 1858-59 style flag.  Go Minnesota! (Sorry, Oregon.)
Cross stitched American flag with 32 stars.

Step 2: Making the cover.  I used a scrap of my 'candy-cane' silk to back the berlin-work, sewing around the flag motif on three sides (fabric right-sides-together) and turning the seams to the inside.  The double thickness of canvas and silk is fairly sturdy, but I decided to stiffen it further by adding a piece of pasteboard between the fabric layers.

To make the back, I covered another piece of pasteboard with blue (tropical weight) wool.  I experimented with using an unsupported back--either flannel or the suiting weight, but decided I didn't like the floppy back with the solid front cover.

Step 3: Pages. The two "pages" are each made from red wool flannel, cut smaller than the cover and edged in white or blue berlin wool (blanket-stitching edge).

Step 4: Assembly.  Both covers were finished (raw edges folded in and closed with a running stitch), and then joined with whip-stitches along the formerly-raw edges.    The "pages were laid inside the open cover, and fastened with small stitches.  Silk ribbon was added to the opening edge to make a closure; additional ribbon was laid over the spine to hide the assembly sewing.  More ribbons on the spine for decoration.

Needle book of an 1858-9 American Flag.
Needle-Book Front Cover

Wool flannel pages in flag needle book.
Inside View

Solid blue back cover of flag needle book.
Back Cover
Excepting the star miscount, I'm largely satisfied with this project.  Next time, I think I'll stick with one flannel page, as this material was fairly bulky, and two pieces folded in half is a bit fluffier than I would like.  Alternatively, I could effect a sleeker appearance by using silk for the back cover.  

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