Exploring Biscornu: A Pictorial Update

Rissa Peace Root 2010

   
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After seeing the tremendous variety my friend Celeste used to create her biscornu, I was inspired to share photos of her work with our readers. Clearly, when making biscornu pincushions, you are not limited to cross stitch patterns.  Celeste created one Blackwork and one Cross Stitch biscornu, but she also used some techniques I have never seen on biscornu; Surface Embroidery, Silk Ribbon Embroidery, Casalguidi, Bead Embroidery, Stumpwork, Huck Embroidery, Shisa Embroidery, and of course, Crazy Quilting! 


If you would like a refresher on  Biscornu Basics, check out my article from Volume 6, Issue 4 of CQMagOnline.com.  Celeste tells me that variety was essential for her to complete the ten biscornu she had promised.  Along the way, she discovered that using Aida or linen to back her surface fabric made it easy to do surface work and still create even Backstitched squares around the patterns, so that they could be assembled the traditional way, using Whip Stitch.  Since I assembled and stuffed the five in the photo on the far left, I can attest to how well the method worked. 

Celeste did write a short narrative for the CQ biscornu that I thought I would share.

"What I did do was to piece the block and then use the sewing machine to stitch around the square so that I'd know where the seam line was going to be. I based the seam treatments on ones I found in Judith Baker Montano's book Elegant Stitches but I made them simpler - the ribbon is laid down with Herringbone and then I went back and added French Knots; there's one with Herringbone with Detached Chain Stitches stitched to look like flowers; there a row of Buttonhole Stitch where I varied the length and then added Fly Stitches and French Knots at the tips; and there's a row of Feather Stitches where I added beads to the tips. I had that big square of purple to fill so I just stitched a flower using Detached Chain Stitches for the petals. I really didn't even plan out what I was going to do for the seam treatments - I just sat down with a bunch of different threads and just grabbed threads to work with.

In terms of putting the biscornu together - I had machine stitched the same size seam on a plain square and just used those two machine stitched seams to hand whip them together (I was afraid it was going to be a nightmare which was why I didn't send it to you to finish). The hardest part was the seam with the ribbon, because the ribbon laid over my seam line. And sometimes I couldn't get my needle under the stitches so I just grabbed fabric with my needle instead of just whipping through the stitches...doesn't seem to make a difference though. "

Editor's Note: Although Celeste did assemble her CQ biscornu by hand, it could have been done by machine. 

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