Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Working with Perforated Paper
Dazzle and Delight with Quick Stitched Tags, Cards and Ornaments
by Lois Caron

 The holidays are upon us and, if you're like me, there's too little time to accomplish too many things. Even if you're well organized and have done everything ahead, there are always unanticipated gifts you hadn't planned for, or that extra little decoration or memento you wish you had at the last minute.

 CARON Collection "Remembrance" design leaflet Gift Tags and Ornaments

Stitching an ornament, gift tag, greeting card or framed sampler on perforated paper is an easy solution. Perforated paper doesn't require elaborate finishing, you don't need to stitch all the background and you can stitch a small design quickly and inexpensively. Because there are no sewn edges or seams, you can create within wild shapes without a worry. Take a look at what 10-year old David Huber did for our first Design Contest. You'll find his submission in the Gallery ARCHIVES for October.

There are special considerations when working with perforated paper though. Paper doesn't take the abuse that fabric or canvas will and because it is inflexible, care must be exercised in choosing threads and stitches.

Most perforated paper has 14 holes per inch, but not all threads you would use on this count of fabric or canvas will work well on paper. You risk the danger of ripping the paper if you try to force thread which is too thick through the holes. This means that is is often necessary to use a much finer thread than normal on perforated paper. I have found, as a general rule of thumb, if a thread is suitable for 18-count fabric or canvas, it is perfect for 14-count perforated paper.

Because it is often advisable not to have the stitches share the same hole, design considerations are also different when working on perforated paper. With some threads you can share a hole once, but multiple journeys through the same spot puts too much stress on the paper. So, two cross stitches side by side may be OK (as with one ply of Watercolours), but a solid area of cross stitches where the thread will go through the same hole four times might not work. When the hole will only accommodate a thread once, you can still work a cross stitch, but you'll have to leave a whole paper "thread" between cross stitches. Antica and Rachelette are examples. Unless your thread is extremely fine (Wildflowers, Waterlilies and Candlelight are finer threads), that essentially eliminates eyelets and other stitches which share a common entry point. However, you have a new advantage in that you can use the paper as an integral part of your design. When planning a piece of this type be aware that the negative spaces are just as important as the stitched area.

The way a thread behaves will determine whether or not it can be used successfully on perforated paper for straight stitches. Some threads are "hard" and have very little give to them. They are tightly twisted and stay put when stitched. One strand of this type of thread will look skimpy when used for straight stitches on perforated paper, but two strands, which would give better coverage, can't be used because it would be too much thread to fit through the holes in the paper. A better choice for straight stitches on perforated paper are the softer, more loosely twisted threads. A softer thread has a springiness which accommodates itself to the amount of space available. For instance, two strands of Impressions would be a better choice for long straight stitches than one ply of Watercolours. A longer stitch over 3 vertical threads instead of 2, for instance, often looks better because the thread has more room to spread out.

Be careful about carrying threads from one section of the design to another. If you hold the pattern up to the light any threads which are not well hidden under already existing stitches will cause an unsightly shadow. Gluing on a paper or felt backing will help alleviate this problem. It is also a quick way to finish off your work.

Finishing a piece of needlework stitched on perforated paper is easy. Simply cut out your design, allowing one paper "thread" all around the edge. You may want to add a cross stitch or buttonhole border or glue on braid or other trim, and you might want to add a backing of felt, paper or foil, but you can choose to leave it plain without worrying about fraying edges. When adding a backing, I find it easiest to lightly glue it to the back of my needlework before cutting out the design. That way I can do an irregular shape and have all of the edges match.

Perforated paper designs allow a creative freedom difficult with some other mediums. For example, layer several pieces in a collage for a truly artistic effect or create dimensional objects such as table decorations or toys. Ornaments and jewelry can be any shape you like or make book covers, picture frames or other decorative home accessories. These are only a few ideas. Your imagination is really your only limit.

Flowing are some examples of how our threads look stitched on perforated paper with various types of stitches.

Our design leaflet, Remembrance (shown in the photos at the top of the page), is for gift tags or ornaments. See our Patterns section for detailed information. And, we'll have new designs worked on perforated paper in future features at this website.

If your local retailer does not carry perforated paper contact one of the following resources:

Yarn Tree Designs, (515 ) 232-3121 or check their web site for a list of retailers: www.yarntree.com

Rose Cottage, 209 Richmond Street. El Segundo, CA, (310) 322-8225, email: rosecottg@aol.com

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of this feature story nor the included designs/charts can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. or the featured designers. One time reproduction priveleges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.

© 1997 The Caron Collection Ltd./ Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com