Azorean Cutwork Finished At Last!

Stretching the Azorean Cutwork

Stretching the Azorean Cutwork

It has taken a long time, but I have finally finished the miles of close blanket stitch, the buttonhole bars, and the eyelets on the Azorean Cutwork, which I began in 2013. The idea was that it would be a good travelling project, but it really wasn’t. White on white rather needs good light, and good light is one of the things I rarely get when travelling.

I threw it in the washing machine, and stretched it on a cork board as soon as it came out. Already it is looking better!

Stretching Azorean Cutwork - SecondTime

Stretching Azorean Cutwork – Second Time

The next stage was to cut out all of the internal spaces, and then wash and stretch the piece again. The cutting is fiddly, and a bit anxious (what if I cut through one of those buttonhole bars? what if I cut through one of the edges?) and it seemed to me that it would be a good idea to be able to stretch it out to see whether I had damaged something. The edges allowed me to do that.

Some of the sections I was plainly too nervous to cut out well enough, so I was also hoping that agitation in the washing machine would help settle the stitching and slightly fray the edges that need more trimming.

Oh dear!

Oh dear!



Then there was some repairing to do. This wasn’t the only section that needed repair, and they actually didn’t take that long, but there were a few growls, all the same!

Trimming The Edge

Trimming The Edge

Next I had to trim the edges. The challenge lay in finding the right pair of scissors. I have loads of pairs, but what I really need is a sharpener. So many of them are only sharp at one part of the blade, and then the fabric simply gets chewed. “The scissors ate my homework” may sound eccentric, but it certainly felt like that!

Azorean Cutwork Finished

Azorean Cutwork Finished

Washed (yet again!) and ironed, I have finally finished it!

I may have some more repairs to do, when it’s had a little use, but in the meantime, it was an interesting exercise, if rather more fun in retrospect than it was at the time. I would do the buttonhole bars differently another time – they went too deeply into the borders, and caused a lot of muttering!


  1. Mam says:

    A notable achievement!

  2. Yes, I remember you getting this while you were in the Azores. I can imagine that it would be the sort of project to pick up now and again, rather than work at it consistently. There is only so much buttonhole stitch one can take! 🙂 But it has turned out beautifully, and I’m sure will be hard-wearing when you’ve secured the odd weak spot.

  3. Jenny Benton says:

    My goodness – that is quite an achievement. Congratulations!!!

  4. deanna7trees says:

    turned out beautifully.

  5. Sue Jones says:

    Congratulations. You should get a badge now, saying: I CUT THROUGH MY BUTTONHOLE STITCHING – AND I PUT IT RIGHT AFTERWARDS! Now you have passed Level 2 Cutwork and are qualified to progress to even greater errors and more frustrating mistakes….
    The mat looks good, seriously. Patience rewarded.

  6. Nice one, well done! =)

  7. Kim McCool says:

    Wow! This looks amazing. You’re a very brave woman to cut into the fabric. I’d be shaking like a proverbial leaf ;0)

  8. Erica Marsden says:

    It is so pretty! Enjoy it.

  9. Carolyn says:

    You are so brave taking on cut work bars. I have a horror of cutting that buttonhole stitching. That happened on a piece I did at school and I have kept away from it as much as I could. Your finished piece looks great and I can’t see the repairs but will you attempt another?

  10. Lady Fi says:

    Well done! It’s lovely.

  11. Lin says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Well done you. I do love whitework. xx

  12. Penny Baugh says:

    Oh WOW!!! What a wonderful piece of stitchery. I can’t even imagine this ‘all thumbs’ girl doing something like that. I suspect when it came to the cutting part I’d have to employ a more steady handed person. I know for sure that I would frame it rather than use it since it would be a ‘one of a kind’ for me *smile*.

  13. Dima says:

    Beautiful finish!

  14. Jules says:

    This is really lovely and so, so, beyond my comprehension! Congratulations on a job beautifully executed and completed.

  15. It looks amazing! I wonder what your blood pressure was like when you were doing the cutting out?!

  16. wendy says:

    This is so beautiful! I would never dare to put my embroidery in the washing machine even once!

  17. jenclair says:

    OMG–beautiful work, Rachel!

  18. Karen says:

    you threw it in the washing machine??? Oh my days….how very brave of you…

  19. I had to smile at Karen’s comment above because I had the same thought… She threw it in the washing machine?? After all that work… you are much braver than I would have been.

    It did turn out beautiful! What a sense of accomplishment you must have felt when it was all done.

    Thanks so much for linking up to last week’s Stitchery Link Party. Aloha hugs!

  20. Anita says:

    a beautiful piece.Well done ! Love the ladders in the center.You threw it in washing machine,really? Such a brave girl you are..