Saturday, July 8, 2017

Don't get bull about bullions. . .

Bonnie Blue Butler, it's a very strong sounding name for a fragile little girl. The original "daddy's girl". It's difficult to think of her without associating her with her character's tragic end, but we'll think about that tomorrow. Beyond her being the apple of her father's eye, she was also her mother's daughter in that she was simply beautiful, again with the gorgeous skin and hair, those amazing ringlets! So knowing what we have in mind for Aunt Pittypat's ringlets (I say "we" but as you may remember from my first post, it's GOING to be Fidelis who does that!), how do I stitch Bonnie's hair to give it justice? After much debate I kept having the same thought.... Oh, no, it can't be.... It can't be.... Fiddle-dee-dee, there must be another option???  Dare I say it? Bullions!!! Oh bully!

Bullions can send shivers of fear down the spine or even the most serious and advanced stitcher, but not too long ago I decided to get over it and try and tackle this sometimes elusive stitch. First of all, the most useful materials I've found about bullions is Mary Corbet's video on Needle N Thread. Yes, I realize this is an embroidery site, but the stitch is the same and I have learnt so many technique from Mary. If you haven't spent significant time on this site, I highly recommend you do. I am also a big believer of tools... In general I love stitching accoutrements and going to the trouble of getting bullions needles really is worth it in my opinion. For one thing the eye of the needle is the same width as the rest of the needle making it easier to pull your wraps through, for another the extra length or the needle helps with longer bullions so your wraps don't keep falling off. I suggest getting a package with assorted sizes so you can experiment and find what's best for the situation at hand. I used the 3 1/2 size and I will admit they were a bit too big, I probably would have been fine with the next size down, but this worked fine. I used the ones put out by Colonial Needle and if you go to their website they also have instructional videos which is a nice bonus. 

Some other things to think about, don't wrap the needle too tight (or too's kinda like Goldylock's bed) and after the last wrap, I give the wraps on my needle a quarter twist in the opposite direction of the  direction I wrapped, hold the wraps firmly but don't squeeze and pull your needle through. I personally do the little quarter twist because I tend to me a tight wrapper and I find it just helps. And most importantly, do NOT be afraid. Even if your bullion looks really messed up as your pulling, just keep holding and pulling, I have saved some really dire bullion knots and had them come out just fine in the end... sometimes you have to finagle a bit by putting the needle under the knot and running it back and forth sometimes even with a little tension and then re-pulling it to help smooth it out. Bullions are used a lot for natural things like hair, flowers, fur and quills, none of these things are perfect in nature so don't over analyze your bullions, they're not "imperfect" they're "realistic". 

For Bonnie's hair I used Vineyard C-042 Dark Earth and really packed them in. I even had to do some bullions almost on top of others, but I wanted a certain look. I followed my "hair rules" that I wrote about in my previous blog previous post by breaking it up with a few directional knots and then filling in.

In our next episode we're going to focus on the mark of any proper Southern young lady (besides her manners that is), her attire, so if you haven't subscribed, please consider doing so and you'll get our next edition in your inbox!