I do like making bookmarks. They are small enough not to take too long, big enough to be satisfying, and very suitable as carry-around projects.

They are also great for just doodling with stitches. This one is on 14 count Aida fabric in cross stitch and slanting Slav, with a buttonhole stitch edging. I made it up entirely as I went along, starting with the edging, then positioning my main shapes and finally filling in the smaller shapes and the background grid of cross stitches. That’s a very relaxing way to stitch – no pattern to follow, no pressure. Just do it!

This bookmark was worked with two strands of a fine spun-rayon thread, in white, deep pink and a variegated pink/grey. But it could just as easily have used stranded cotton, silk, or anything that would make a plump cross stitch on this fabric.

Aida is a very ugly fabric, so I made sure I didn’t leave any holes completely unstitched, even though there is quite a lot of ground showing between the spaced crosses. That allowed me to take advantage of Aida’s sturdiness and ease of use, while avoiding its harsh, mechanical look. I used cotton thread for the cord that holds the tassel, for strength. The back was not perfectly neat, as I wasn’t planning ahead, so I backed it with some lightweight iron-on interfacing. I stitched it down around the inside of the buttonhole edging so it won’t pull away if the glue loses its grip over time. 

Another good thing about bookmarks is that they only take a little fabric, thread and time. If they go completely wrong you haven’t lost much and you may well have learnt something useful. You can afford to experiment and try out ideas. I wasn’t expecting this one to ‘work’ – but I’m very pleased with it.

So if you want a little challenge, take a strip of fabric, pick a few colours, decide on few stitches and just design as you go. See what happens when you just relax and doodlestitch. (Warning; this can be addictive!)


8 Responses to “Doodlestitching”

  1. I’m so impressed with your bookmark – your use of stitches creates very cool effect. I’m an aida hater too but you’ve covered it up while retaining some lightness. Very clever.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thanks, Nays. I bought lots of aida in my cross-stitching days, and I still have plenty to use up. It’s filling all the holes that does the trick.

  2. I’m not too keen on aida myself, but as you say, there are ways of making use of the good points without having to see too much of it! And yes, this sort of make-it-up-as-you-go-along is very addictive!

    • suetortoise Says:

      It’s useful for learning surface stitches, and try-outs. It does work very well for some of the East European patterns I have been playing with for the last few years.

  3. this is so pretty! I love your design

  4. Hello Sue!
    My first visit to your blog. I really enjoyed reading a few of your posts today. I’m an Aida hater too, although I’ve been stitching a lot of cross stitch patterns this year on Aida! I used to stitch only cross stitch while I was working, then when I retired I was able to make other things, but it’s so easy to pick up a small piece of cross stitch and stitch for a few spare minutes that I have been tempted to pick it up again.
    I love your idea for the bookmark! It is certainly a good way to try out different stitches, and I think it is such a clever way to “hide” the holes! I have a bookmark I started earlier in the year ….. I must see if I can finish it now, as you have given me such great ideas!
    It was nice to meet you!
    I look forward to visiting again.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Barbara, and thanks for commenting. Aida is ugly, but sometimes the stiffness and simplicity makes hiding the holes worth the effort. It doesn’t have to be with cross stitches: many blackwork filling-patterns work, and can either be stitched in the same colour as the fabric for a texture or in a contrast. Simple running or double-running lines work well too, and I’m sure you can think of many more stitches.

      Good luck with getting your project finished. You can never make too many bookmarks!

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