All Rolled up…the Roll-ups are finished…Thank goodness

Finishing: Roll-ups

(each type of finishing has its own specific ins and outs. )

Bottom of roll-up will only have a beginning and ending open area, no hanger.

14-09-06 cord apply 01 begin bury end1. Pin the cording to needlework burying the beginning and ending knots.

On roll-ups, if I have a loop end I start with this end, otherwise I bury the knot. Sometimes if long cord 14-09-06 cord apply 02  pinhas been made you will only have the loop for one of your finishes. Just bury the knotted in a twist or two deeper and loop through the twist; this takes some practice but it can be just as effective.

14-09-06 cord apply 03 other half2. Pin around top. I pin cording from left to right but sew right to left (see #4 below)

3. If making the hanger; run cording through the loop or cording twist. (see #1 above).

Leave a hanger length on the top. Then go through the cording again and bury the knot.

NOTE — Top hanger: if hanger has been inserted in top (see blog: just go through loop, knot twice( if extra cording is available), cut and bury the knot.

4. Using a waxed thread (sewing thread or a length of floss to match cording.) I sew with right side of needlework facing me; and I sew from right to left. I try to start right at the end where the two cords are buried and I catch the left end only and just tack it. When I come back around I secure the cording beginning and ending well (this is also where top loop hanger comes in.) This allows me some “fudge” room in case the cording is too loose or pulled to tight.

Remember to sew the opening(s) closed where the cording knots were inserted at the beginning and end. At these openings, I do not try to do a ladder stitch, but rather just slip stitch well. Ornaments do not take a lot of wear and tear so the cording just h14-09-06 cord apply 04 stitch through cordingas to be attached securely. I sometimes slip my needle back and re-stitch areas where the canvas has been left open and where the cording passes through itself and the knots are hidden.

14-09-06 cord apply 05 stitch through cordingGo through the cording, NOT over the cording. Going over the cording will make dimples in the cording (not pretty).

5. Tie off thread by running back and forth several times in the needlework. Cut close to finished needlework.


14-09-06 lewis roll upsAnd this brings an end to finishing the roll ups. I have six roll-ups waiting to be given as a gift and two for me.  The six are from a local needlework artist, Joan Lewis. She is no longer painting but I think she has some of her designs still left, if you are 14-09-06 betsy & TJinterested I will ask her. Thomas Jefferson and Betsy Ross are Ann Stradal ABS Designs and are available on her website (  I’ve stitched  Thomas Jefferson twice but this is the first one I finished. I am a TJ fan from way back, I think Monticello is the prettiest Presidential House of them all and if I had owned it I would have had a hard time letting go of it.  I always 14-09-06 TJ tricornsaw him was a triangular shape, even though it is backwards of the true Tricornes  ( And Betsy I did put a hanger on but for no14-09-06 Betsy hangerw it a ribbon down her back and I just love her basket and the bullions on her hat and shawl…not that I loved doing the bullions…I just like the way they look.


General thoughts on finishing:

I will tell you this from experience, the more you finish the easier it gets and when you do several pieces of the same type (i.e. Roll-ups, ornaments, pillows, etc.) you get into an assembly line rhythm.

You may not like finishing; finishing is not for everyone but I think you should try one time just so you appreciate the work that goes into this art.  The finishers I know are really good at what they do and are fast considering that they do many pieces every week and then think of the season rush…Christmas, Halloween and Easter. It is pretty mind blowing to me; I would never make it as a finisher. If I make a boo-boo on my own needlework, it is one thing BUT if I made a boo-boo on someone else’s needlework I would be devastated. And I think you have a tendency to be much more particular when you are paying someone to finish than you are when you do it yourself. Finishing is a completion of your needlework. Whether you consciously think about it or not, you have a finished product in mind while you are stitching the needlework. And after you are done stitching you take or send your needlework to a shop to have it finished. Scary. Most shops do not let you talk to the finisher, so you better be able to convey your thoughts to the needlepoint shop person. Do you want simple or elaborate. Remember, unless you convey to the shop (who conveys this to the finisher) what you want…you may not get back what your mind sees as the finished product.

Patty Morrison was a local finisher and God called her home much too quickly for her family and friends. Patty always had a smile on her face and was one of those uplifting people you wanted to spend time with every day. I asked her one time how she did so many types of finishing. She told me she tried when possible to lump several together, ornaments, pillows, stockings etc. (the assembly line production) while keeping them in close date order to the way they arrived. She looked at every piece of needlework as if she had stitched it and was giving it to a special friend. She loved it when a needle worker would say on finishing instructions, “Do your magic, I would like a blue fabric” Or “do your magic.” She also said she thought of finishing as having her art shine through other people’s needlework; she was helping people complete their idea.

I have lots more to finish but it will be a few weeks before I have any more finishing but I promise to post when I do. I also have a desk full of work, many new ideas floating around in my head for the blog and needlework designs and of course enough stitching to keep me busy for a long time.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue

All twisted up…making cording

This post got long and so I am dividing it into two postings. First we will make the cording and then I will finish up. in a day or two.


I spent the day making cording and applying to roll-ups. I used 4 strands of floss for all the cordings; black and white cordings are full skeins the others are measured cordings.

14-09-04 supplies allThese are the supplies I use to make my cordings: hand crank, electric crank (Dremel with a cup hook chuck), clamp and board with second hook and a fishing weight. I listed two cranks because I did make one cording with the hand crank, it took me about 1 minute to twist a 12 inch cord with hand crank; making the same length cord with my Dremel took about 5 seconds;  it was on/off almost. The Dremel makes life easier and my husband happy…he bought this at my insistence two years ago (I had finishing in mind back then too, just didn’t tell him.) and I just used it. I wish it had a reverse but oh well can use had drill for that.

14-09-04 cording sup hand crankHand cranks can be purchased from your local needlework shop or from Kreinik (


14-09-04 cording sup electric crankDremel products can be found at your hardware store and craft shops. You can also use an electric hand drill and some electric drills have a reverse that will be helpful when making specialty cords.

14-09-04 hook & clampThe cup hooks are 1 inch size, one is for the drill and the other I attached to a small wood piece. I also have a third permanent hook in the sewing area so when I am there I can make long cords. The portable one is just handy but not as stable as the one in my sewing room. The clamp is also from the hardware store. I have a couple different types of clamps, but this one I like best for holding the wood piece. I have had to make it clear that my hardware items stay in the sewing area and DO NOT migrate to the workbench area…the Dremel may be moving soon from workbench to sewing area.

14-09-04 cording sup weightsI have no idea what size the fishing weight is but it is about 1 inch long. I add the smaller one when making thicker cords.

Note: want to have some fun? Next time husband is going to the hardware or sporting goods store, tag along. You’ll both be surprised at the things you will find that you can use in needlework at these stores. I have some scissors with a hook blade, great for frog stitching, I have scissors that squeeze, great for arthritic hands, weights, clamps, and yes I have even found threads in the fishing department…fly fishers use great threads and feathers.

Back to cording…I used floss to make all my cording. Floss comes in a wide range of colors and is inexpensive and it has a nice sheen when twisted. You can use any uncut thread you chose, just remember every thread has a yardage. If you are going to make cording with threads that have dye lot issues, buy the thread for cording at the same time you buy the threads for stitching. This will mean you need to have an idea how you plan on finishing the project (ornament, stand up, pillow, etc…) The needlework shop should be able to help you with how many skeins/cards/reels you will need, every thread had a yardage.

Okay let’s make floss cording… One person can make a skein of floss into cording; just take it slow and as you practice it will get easier.

BTW: If you do not want to invest in either hand or electric crank tool; find a friend and two (un-sharpened pencils, chop sticks, dowel, etc) to insert in the strands to make twisting easier. Follow the directions below with each of you twisting clockwise.

Skein of Floss = about 30-32 inches of twisted cording

1. Pull skein of floss completely out.

2. Fold in half and then fold in half again; you should now have four equal strands of floss.

14-09-04 cording 4 strands and knot3. Knot the end with cut ends.

4. Place folded ends on stationary cup hook and knotted end on crank hook. I prefer to have the knotted end where I can see it, although this is not always possible; just make sure knot is not going to pull out as you twist.

5. Stand away from stationary hook so threads are snug but not tight between the stationary hook and the crank hook.

6. Twist…some say to count the twists. I have never found this very successful (I must be counting challenged.) I find that experimentation works best. And you will notice as you are twisting, the threads will start to pull toward the stationary hook. Keep twisting and keep threads taut but not pulled tight.

14-09-04 cording  test twistYou can also check the twist by grabbing the cord about four inched from the crank hook; keeping rest of cording taut, let the crank hook turn back on itself to see about how the twisted cord will look. This experiment can easily be pulled out and continue to twist until desire results are reached. Practice will make easier, and like riding a bike you will not forget from one finishing project to another.

14-09-04 cording ends together weight onOnce the desired twist has been reached place a weight near the center of the twisted cord and bring the drill toward stationary hook, keeping strands taut and separated. Once the ends are close together, secure so the ends will not move, pull the weight to center and begin “to walk” 14-09-04 cording weight walking athe cording. “To walk” cording; grab both twisted strands about six inches from weight, keeping remaining strands taut and separated, release the weight and allow strands to twist. Repeat this six inch release method up the strand toward the hooks. Once the hook ends are reached, carefully remove threads from hooks keeping a firm hold on these ends and place an overhand knot in this end and allow strands to continue spinning if 14-09-04 cording walking bnecessary. If cording had little bumps you can usually rub these out between your fingers by rubbing the cording toward the folded end.

Cording is completed.


To make a specific length of cording:

1. Measure around the finished needlework to find desire length of cording ( If making ornaments to not forget to add 3-6 inches for 1 1/2 – 3 hangers)

Ornament Example: 12 inches around + 6 inches for 3 inch hanger = 15 inches

I add 2-4 inches depending on project for safety factor ( I have made cording that comes up short) So 15 inches + 3 inches = 18 inches

18 inches x 3 (This is the standard not sure why used but I use it) = 54 inches

You will need 54 inch lengths of thread to make 18 inches of cording.

2. If you are using floss make two 54 inch lengths of floss, fold in half (you should have 4 strands of floss. Follow directions above from #3. When completed you should have a length of cording about 18-20 inches long. Enough to complete your ornament and if you have leftovers save for your notebook with notes.

After you have mastered simple cording with floss…

Try using two different threads (any uncut thread can be tried) in the cording I would experiment (good place to use hand crank…you will be able to observe the elasticity of the chosen threads, how they twist, if adjustments will need to be made when making cording for project) with the same type of threads leftover from another project to test how many strands you will need and how the two threads will twist together.  These threads do not have to be color coordinated, this is a practice piece. Keep the sample and notes on Number of strands, length of thread before twisting and length of cord made.

Example: Two strands 12 inch Very Velvet and two strands 12 inch Flair threads.  How do they twist? Does one twist faster than the other? Will you need to make one thread longer than another to compensate for the twisting? Only these questions can be answered by experimenting.

Making cording is an individual thing. Some like their cording very tight other not so tight. Practice and take notes.

A word about knots in cording:

Knots are never good in needlework; knots can show up and be unsightly and finishing is no exception. Sometimes you can bury them with no problem but if finishing a flat item you may want to consider binding the ends of the cording with a Hangman’s knot. Hangman’s knots are 14-09-04 cording end loopconstructed by making a loop of thread and laying it on the strands of cording. Begin to wrap back around the threads of the cording and the loop (leaving the open cut end open.)

14-09-04 cording end wrap

Wrap about 1/4-1/2 inch (depends on size of cording); slipping thread through the loop.


14-09-04 cording end pullThen pulling the end of the loop to draw all threads under the wrap.


14-09-04 cording end 2 ends cuttingYou will also need to do two of these and cut between when you have made cording for more than one project.


These knots are smaller than overhand knots and work better especially on flat ornaments. I have also been known to drop a drop of Fray check or glue on this area for extra security….just depends on how much of a purist you are.

In the next couple days I will post the finished needlework…

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue

I am all stuffed out

All rolled up and nowhere to go…Doesn’t seem like a month since I was last finishing but it was and I’m still not in the mood to get back to finishing. But today I read there are only 17 more Fridays until Christmas (don’t tell anyone, but Christmas is 17 weeks from Thursday). Scary isn’t it?

Anyway with the help of a couple good taped movies I made tops and bottoms for my nutcrackers and I stuffed and stuffed and stuffed some more.

14-08-25 #1 ill board and materialI make a template for the top and bottom of roll-up (each roll-up should be the same size top and bottom BUT every roll-up could be slightly larger or smaller than the next one… nothing is ever simple.)

I cover both the top and the
bottom at the same time but I sew all the bottoms on first. I cover my illustration board with a fabric to match the bottom of the roll-up. Cut the fabric 1/2 inch larger that illustration board and run a basting stitch around the edge of fabric and pull up and to secure around illustration board cutout. Do the top piece also, matching the fabric to the top of roll-up.

14-08-25 #2  attachI pin the bottom to the roll-up and using a waxed thread, ladder stitch the bottom to the roll-up. I leave a small opening to attach cording later.

If you want to make stand up’s only, I would weight with some kind of weight. You could use a nut from the hardware store, fishing weights, pennies, aquarium gravel (I wash and dry this to get the dust) or anything to give weight. I wrap the item in cotton batting or place in handmade muslin bag with drawstring and place in the bottom of the roll-up. I don’t weight mine but I stuff them so tightly that they are heavy enough to stand up.

14-08-25 #4a  fiberfill from bagBut I do stuff…I stuff and stuff and stuff some more. I use small pieces of Polyfill (  I pull it apart and I poke the Polyfill in with a chop stick 14-08-25 #4b  fiberfill fluffed(anything long and firm will do as a poker…large knitting or crochet needle, dowel anything about the size of a pencil).  I like my pieces stuffed firmly so I stuff until I can stuff no more.

14-08-25 #4  fiberfill & pokerI pin the top to the roll up and ladder stitch it on leaving openings on two sides for the cording and hander.






14-08-25 #5 Betsy topYou can also be creative and slightly pad the top for a puffy effect. Betsy has a padded top. You place three pieces of batting under the material. The smallest piece goes next to the illustration board and the largest is on top. Don’t forget to cut the material to cover this a bit larger to accomadate the filling.

14-08-25 #6 TJTJ is a triangle top and bottom for different effect. I always saw his hat as a triangular shape. During colonial times the hats were called Tricornes (  So I took some liberties and reversed my triangle so the flat part is in the front…it’s called creative license and it looks better too.

14-08-25 #7  ready for cordingAnd in a nut shell that’s where I am now…my fingers hurt from stuffing and sewing but I have 8 roll-ups ready for cording. I’m still deciding whether I am going to raid the work bench for an electric drill or just use the one I bought from a needlework shop…Kreinik sells one like mine (

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue