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[I’m heading off on a business trip tomorrow, so I won’t be blogging for a little while. See you in December!]

Stitched or embroidered papers are an especially beautiful category of handmade paper. When I first began buying them, I thought they were machine produced, since their patterns seem so even. But after taking a closer look, I noticed slight variations in the pattern repeat, revealing that they are hand machine embroidered; in other words, a sewing machine is being used, but an artist is guiding the design.

Here’s an example of a full sheet with a simple style of blue thread on a blue background; a sheet is about 22 by 30 inches (56 cm x 76 cm). By looking at the full sheet, you can see how the pattern varies slightly as it moves across the paper.

This is a tight close up of another sheet showing the detail of the stitch. I shot most of these photos in sunlight to emphasize the texture, luster and dimension of the threads.

Here’s another simple sheet.

The sheets don’t have a “right” and “wrong” side, even though threads may hang at the end of a line. Here’s one side of another simple sheet.

This is the back. The stitch has a stronger, less choppy look from this side and changes the mood of the paper a bit.

I like to use both sides when I craft, depending on the type of texture I’m looking for.

There are many variations in stitched papers. The handmade paper that’s being stitched and the thread itself can be any color. The paper might be made of cotton, silk, banana or other material and the designs can even be custom made. The thread is usually cotton, rayon or wool. Almost all of the sheets are made in India. This paper has an elegant gold metallic thread in an abstract pattern stitched over prints made from a plant’s leaves.

This deceptively simple design is a beauty. It’s stitched onto card stock, a heavy weight paper.

As the designs become more complex, the prices rise. This sheet is a favorite.

Here’s a close up. Thanks to the crumpled texture of the sheet, the papers sometimes look like fabric. Although this paper may appear fragile, it’s strong and durable.

It’s easy to see why it’s hard to believe that these are hand-stitiched! The detail is amazing. This little section is about 4 x 6 inches (10 cm x 15 cm).

Now and then, a paper comes out of left field. This design, with strips of different patterns bound together, looks very much like fabric although it’s made from silkscreened sheets of paper sewn together.

Here are a few pencil cups I’ve made using stitched papers. The texture of the thread is always a nice addition to any design.

And to finish up, a few of the most luxurious sheets I could find. Again, these look like fabric, but are made of paper, just like the others. So inspiring!