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Subversive Finds
subversive0210a Subversive Finds: Carton Perforé
Carton Perforé: The Craft That Almost Killed Me
By Julie Jackson

I’m not sure where I first heard about French perforated paper that could be cut into intricate designs, but I immediately wanted to integrate some cross-stitch into this craft. This is back when I was sane, before I actually received the book and assorted materials from France.
Now, I’m not afraid of a craft project that ignites my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I’ve done some large-scale intricate paper cutting in my time, freehand, armed with only my trusty X-Acto knife. But I really had no idea what I was getting into when I was flitting around the la lambroquine website, optimistically tossing different items with French names into my shopping cart. I easily spent almost $100 on a basic book (in French) and assorted colors of perforated paper, plus a cutting knife. Be authentic, I thought. Go to the source, I thought. Maybe I’ll make little cross-stitch kits with perforated paper and offer a whole new thing for my customers — who knows?

When the package arrived, it was exciting: a bunch of matte and metallic perforated paper in a nice thick cardstock, a book with endless samples of patterns in posh wrapping, all smelling very French somehow. I was swept up in the adventure. I launched into my first little project and found that I was constantly cutting back (no pun intended) on the scale and scope because it was much more challenging than I’d imagined. I tried switching to an X-Acto knife, but my hands were killing me — and the piece I was working on was only about 2″x 3″. Afterward my hands hurt for two or three days — it was ridiculous. In my head, I could imagine French voices laughing at my feeble fingers, mocking me.
Then Valentine’s Day rolled around and I decided to give it one more try by creating a card for my mom that incorporated cross-stitch into a perforated paper card. This time I worked with embroidery scissors, took my time, and planned ahead. I mapped out the stitching first, and then surrounded it with guidelines I lightly basted in a rectangle around the text. You can see the results above and the steps I created along the way to make it work for me. Approaching it like a cross-stitch project made it somewhat easier, but the embroidery scissors eventually made my hands hurt, and every step took much longer than I thought it would.
Overall, I think it’s a gorgeous craft medium if you’re really patient and under 25 with nimble fingers and eagle eyes. As for me, I think I’ll stick to cross-stitch. Aïe!
About the Author:
Julie Jackson is the creator of Subversive Cross Stitch and Kitty Wigs. Her new book, Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs is now available in bookstores.

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