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  • This beautiful and useful biscornu

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    This beautiful and useful biscornu

    Biscornu is a French word, meaning something like “quirky”. You can see these cute thingies in almost every home. Even those who only sew on a button or two from time to time, keep them within reach as something to stick superfluous pins and needles in. A skillfully crafted biscornu may serve as an admirable decoration. But that’s all prattle.

    My point is this: almost all DIY biscornu tutorials concentrate on pincushions for cross-stitch embroidery done by hand, and practically nobody ever mentions the possibility of doing all the sewing and embroidery on a machine. 

    As I already said, the work “biscornu” is of a French origin. It literally means “something uneven”, “with horns or projections”, “irregular”, “funny”, absurd”. For the embroiderers, this word denotes a small polygonal cushion, more or less symmetrical. This skewed little thing may serve as a pincushion, a pendant, a keychain, a scissors fob, and even an ornament. If you add some suitable adornment, you can even hang it on a Christmas tree! Many people would be happy to receive one as a present. Let’s create a biscornu. In this article, I’ll tell you how I made my own.

    Biscornu with cross-stitch

    To make a biscornu, you’ll need:

    • 1. A piece of evenly woven fabric (linen or dense cotton).
    • 2. An embroidery machine.
    • 3. Embroidery threads.
    • 4. Optionally, buttons, beads or seed beads, sequins, and rhinestones.
    • 5. Water-soluble or tearaway stabilizer.
    • 6. A design (you may get one from our store https://embroideres.com/).

    1. Let’s start by hooping stabilizer and fabric. Tighten the screw and additionally secure the fabric with pins, so that it doesn’t shift during the embroidery.

    Hoop, scissors and stabilizer

    Stabilizer hooped and pinned

    2. Load the design into the embroidery machine, attach the hoop and embroider both parts of your biscornu.

    Fabric under presser foot

    White fabric with embroidery

    Upper square of biscornu

    3. Attention! The essential part of biscornu decor is backstitch running along the edge of the design. It will be used for the joining of the two parts.

    Backstitch at the edge of the square

    4. Both parts of our biscornu are ready. Cut them out with a 1 cm seam allowance.

    Upper part of biscornu

    Embroidered square wrong side

    5. Before you start assembling the thing, locate the centers of every side of your squares. Mark center points with pins. Join the center of one square with the corner of another. This will give the thing the required skewed shape.

    The assembling process is fun, but it’s also time-consuming, so switch on an audiobook or an episode of your favorite TV series. We’re going to sew the parts of our biscornu by hand.

    Center and corner pinned together

    6. Pick up the needle and the thread (same as you used for the backstitch), fold it in half so that there is a loop at one end. Move the needle through the first backstitch, then back and through the loop, thus securing the thread with an invisible stitch.

    Thread joining corner and center

    7. Pull the thread through 2 corner stitches.

    Needle moving through backstitch

    Two squares joined with an invisible seam

    8. Continue in this manner, joining the stitches of square No1 with the stitches of square No2, until your biscornu is stitched up on three sides. You only sew half of the fourth side, leaving an opening for the stuffing.

    Invisible seam clother look

    9. Snip the inner corners.

    Snipped corner

    10. Stuff the things with bits of polyester batting or another padding material.

    Stuffing for biscornu

    Opening on the side of biscornu

    Biscornu with stuffing

    11. Sew the opening.

    Opening being sewn

    12. Your biscornu is almost ready. Let’s add some finishing touches.

    Almost ready biscornu

    Almost ready biscornu other angle

    13. Fold the thread in half, so there is a loop at one end, and thread the two ends through the needle. Find the center of every side of the square, and with a long needle pierce the biscornu through. Then bring the needle back and through the loop.

    Biscornu with a needle

    Double thread loop

    Needle through the loop

    14. Pull the thread through the buttons, gathering your biscornu a bit.

    Biscornu with button

    Biscornu with button another angle

    Having looked at my biscornu the following morning, I realized that I didn’t like the buttons. So I replaced them with beads.

    Biscornu decorated with beads

    Biscornu with beads clother look

    Biscornu with a bead

    Good luck and easy stitching to you all! Creating biscornu is fun!

    Tutorial supplement. How to create a design for a biscornu

    Loading the design

    1. Open Embird Editor and click on Cross Stitch.

    2. Load the design via Chart Import.

    Embird Chart Import

    3. In the window, click on the part of the design and use the Crop tool on it.

    Embird Crop tool

    You should get something like this. Press OK

    Embird Cropping image

    While cropping the image and placement of the marks, use +/- to zoom in or out.

    4. In the next window, place the red marks as shown in the picture below, and click on Align Grid.

    Embird Align Grid

    In the window that pops up, you’ll be offered to place a number of crosses between marks 1 and 2, and also between marks 2 and 3. Type in 10 (the number corresponds with the real number of crosses between the marks) and press OK.

    Embird Spacing

    5. See whether the red greed aligns with the chart greed. If yes, press OK. If the two grids don't align, click on Undo Alignment and change the placement of the three marks.

    Embird Undo Alignment

    A 100% alignment is not necessary.

    The loading image FAQ 

    How to activate the Crop button? 

    Open your image (step 3), and immediately after that place the cursor in the spot A. Holding down your left mouse button, move the cursor to the spot B. Release the button. Now the Crop tool is active.

    Embird Crop troubleshooting

    Why did you place the red marks in those places, and not in the corners? Why 10 crosses?

    You can place the red marks whenever you want them, and set any spacing you like (even if it is only 1 cross). Play around with the options and see what works best for you.

    Drawing the pattern

    1. First of all, let’s choose the color. Click on the Eye Dropper tool on the toolbar. Left-click on the wine-red color. It will appear in your color chart.

    Embird Eye Dropper

    2. Click on Line and create the objects 1, 2 and 3.

    Embird Line

    3. Now, click on Pencil, and create the objects 4, 5 and 6.

    Embird Pencil

    Play with these tools a bit. Note the difference between them. Decide for yourself, in which cases you would prefer Line, and when Pencil would be better.

    4. Click on the Eye dropper again, but this time choose grey. 

    5. Now click on Line and draw the objects 1,2 and 3.

    Embird Grey Line drawing

    6. Click on Pencil and draw the rest of the objects.

    Embird Grey Pencil Drawing

    We’re done with drawing. Let’s proceed to the last part, copying and pasting.

    Copying and placement

    Before copying and placing the symmetrical pattern, you’ll need to change the size of your work area. 

    1. Go to the Options menu and click on Preferences.

    Embird Options Preferences

    2. Check the Keep Aspect Ratio box and change the value to:

    Embird Preferences settings

    3. Your work area now looks like this:

    Embird enlarges work area

    4. Click on Marquee (vertical toolbar) and select your pattern. Press Auto Repeat.

    Embird Markee Auto Repeat

    5. In the opening window, set the following values: right pointing arrow (1), mirror horizontally (2), spacing -1 (3). Press OK.

    Embird Auto Repeat horizontal

    6. Using the Marquee tool (step 4), select the pattern and click on Auto Repeat.

    Embird Marquee Vertical

    7. The window will pop up, where you set the following values: The arrow pointing down (1), mirror vertically (2), spacing -1 (3). 

    Embird Auto Repeat Vertical

    Your pattern is ready. Save the file in the necessary format.

    For those who don’t want to bother with all that, here you can download the design.

    Cross stitch design for biscornu

    Original text by Irina Lisitsa, tutorial supplement by Lisa Prass

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