The March Scarf

The Idea

On November 15, I made this post to Facebook:

The response was overwhelming and positive. Sixty-three names and ages were collected. Much of what I've been doing since November 15 is thinking this project through. I'm not an accomplished embroiderer...I dabble, and much of what I've done is half-finished ideas that just lost steam. In order to finish this scarf, I'm going to need to hold myself accountable--enter the idea for the blog. It is Thanksgiving weekend, I have 55 days...and I work full-time. Time to get this project in motion.

The Materials

In 2008, I attended Obama's first inauguration, and much earlier, a NOW march or two, so I have some experience about what to expect in January 2017: it will be crowded and chances are it will be very, very cold. I was going to want something that would make the statement AND keep me warm. I would need a fabric that would take to embroidery and AND keep me warm. I chose white flannel and decided on purple floss--a nod to the suffragettes. That was the easy part, a few other questions need to be answered.

The Process

How to transfer the names to the fabric?
Originally I thought I would free form the scarf, adding names wherever at whatever size worked. But, as I mentioned, I am not an accomplished stitcher and maybe a little order would keep the thing from becoming a complete mess. I considered laying the scarf out using my MacBook, the thought being that I could iron on each name and then, if I don't get all of the embroider done, at least the names would be there but then I thought, ugh...that will feel so weird. Iron-on materials feels rubbery and patches of that wrapped around my the biting cold? No thank you.

Using a fabric pen, a t-square, and my own handwriting, I could still lay out the scarf in the same manner.


In this format, the names become a pattern--with room to add a line above for late comers. My handwriting is not this consistent, and while the tildes would be nice, they may end up simple french knots. A test was needed.



Which stitch?
I'm a fan of split stitch. I think it makes a nice, neat outline and is easy to control and cover mistakes, so I tested it on the "S" and it is as expected, nice and tidy. But 63 names! Perhaps the simple back stitch would do? The rest of the name is back stitch and it just looks like heck, IMHO. Maybe smaller writing will save time?

I never write my lowercase "a" like this--I usually stop the flow of handwriting and print my a's...I don't know why. I think cursive is the way to go but given my staccato-totally-not-Palmer-method script, I may need to plan out each name on paper before committing it to the fabric.

The Size
Contrary to my digital layout, given the length of the fabric (3 yards) I think I'll need to start the work at the edge and move inward. The plan is to fold the scarf in half (to cover the back of the work) and then lightly quilt the entire piece to keep it in place.



The Space
I do not have a workshop or a studio or even an extra room or closet. I have my chair and a basket. I could use the dining room table, but it is round and in order to get the t-square to work for my lines, I'll need a hard edge. The answer--a temporary table set up each time it is needed and a boot box to store the work under my chair. Stay tuned.