Or nué completed

I have now finished the stitching part of my goldwork project. It didn’t get any easier, if anything a bit more difficult. For some reason I found it even harder to get the gold threads to lie down smoothly and evenly on the fabric. Anyway it is now done.IMG_0266As you can see the second semicircle is far rougher than the first one. Not sure why this is the case. To complete the design I wanted to add something different to the remaining unstitched fabric. I decided on something very simple – a very loose curve. For this I used an extremely fine gold thread. Lots of these fine threads in fact, held in place with some couching, using one strand of the dark rose cotton thread. This time the ends have been deliberately kept loose. This provides a clear contrast with the close stitching for the semicircles.

I was quite surprised to find that it only took just under 14 hours of work to complete the stitching. A more experienced embroiderer could have done this in less time. I now need to find a way of finishing the whole thing off. Tidying up the back, in other word.


Or nué revisited

I am currently working on a goldwork project. It includes some Or nué work. I tried this specialised form of embroidery a few years ago on a course. It was not a success, Or nué I found was a bit beyond my capabilities. Still I kept the fabric and the gold threads, hidden away in a box. For some reason way beyond my comprehension, I decided to give Or nué another go. In doing this I was breading a well established and proven maxim – if at first you don’t succeed, give up! There is usually a very good reason why you didn’t succeed first time round.

Anyway as I said I am giving it another go, with, predictably, as little success as before. The same basic problems, getting the two gold threads to lie nicely and gently down on the fabric and the difficulty in covering sections of the thread with a fine cotton thread. With Or nué you are supposed to couch over the gold threads either completely or at least a large amount with your chosen coloured thread. I just find this extremely difficult. Two challenges – 1. Getting the couching threads close together without any gaps and 2. getting the gold threads close enough to the previous line to avoid any of the fabric showing through. Hard, very concentrated work! Here is where I am.IMG_0265

My design includes two semicircles, each of which is to feature some Or nué work. So far I have finished one of these. The original idea was for the rose coloured section to reach all the way down to the edge of the semicircle and even extend beyond onto the ground fabric. However I ran out of steam and decided to cut short the Or nué bit and even to flatten out the goldwork so that it is no longer a full semicircle.

I may have made things a bit more complicated by laying the gold threads horizontally across the semicircle as opposed to laying them in a circular line. Either way I would have ended up with some short lines. Plunging the ends of the gold threads into the fabric is another little challenge I could do without.

To complete the design I intend to do something different and leave the gold threads just hanging on the fabric. Less couching for me, so with luck may be easier to do. Wish me luck!

Albanian Design 2

My latest embroidery piece is a variation on an Albanian design from the DMC book on Turkish Embroideries. I did a version using the pattern in the book way back in 2017, which you can see here. Despite its title the designs have little to do with Turkey, but feature 19th century patterns from the Balkans. The one I am using is from a towel trimming from Albania. This time I have varied the design to use only squares as this fits more easily into a hoop, which I wanted for this piece. Here it is.IMG_0256As you can see I have gone for red in a big way, with a little light blue for contrast. The fabric is a 16 count Aida in bright red. The vertical and horizontal surrounds for the squares I stitched with Caron Watercolour, one of my favourite cotton variegated threads. This one is Flame and I used just one strand for the simple straight stitches.

There are two patterns for the insides of the squares. One is a simple diagonal stitch, which covers nine meshes at the long diagonal. For the red squares I used one strand of a luxury silk thread from Debbie Bliss. Created for knitting I use them now and again for embroidery. Gorgeous soft feel and shine finish.

The blue is a Perfect Blue from the Rajmahal Artsilk thread, which is made of rayon and some silk. Very shiny and very difficult to stitch with. I used all six strands in an effort to fully cover the space. Needed some extra rows to achieve this.

The remaining squares are filled with what the book calls openwork cross stitch. Looks a bit complicated, but is really quite simple, once you get started. As the book describes it, you make two journeys going and coming. The first is worked upwards and downwards over three meshes. The second is worked horizontally from right to left and back again.

The book recommends using a tammy cloth, whatever that is and for the openwork cross stitch you are supposed to draw the thread tightly to secure an open, pulled effect. This drawing and pulling does not work with Aida fabric, so there is nothing in the way of an open look to these squares. Still they do give the finished piece a different look.

The hoop for this a Nurge No 4 which is just over 19cm diameter. These are lovely, solid wooden hoops, easy to use and good to look at. So far I have spent around 13 and a half hours just on the stitching. Still to tidy up the back and make a cord for hanging. Happy stitching.




Six Palestinian motifs

For something completely different I decided to stitch some very small pieces which can be used as patches to put on items of clothing. I chose a selection of traditional Palestinian motifs for this challenge. Here they are in the hoop I used for stitching. IMG_0234

The top motif is Damask Rose. In the middle from left to right the motifs are; Stars, Rose buds and Beads. The bottom ones, from left to right are; Olive branch and Love tree.

The fabric is an 18 count Aida in pale green. Cross stitches were used throughout with two strands. The threads are all cotton from the Anchor range. I limited myself to a couple of colour schemes. Green and violet and turquoise and red. Though for a couple of the motifs I mixed up the colours a bit.

The idea behind this is to use the motifs as patches to attach to items of clothing. I plan to use Bondaweb for this. Still figure out which bits of clothing to attach them to. More decisions!

Another Biscornu

As a bit of light relief I like to indulge my love of Biscornus. This time I did not use one of Louison’s patterns, but instead used a couple of Blackwork patterns. Below are the two patterns and the finished biscornu.IMG_0221IMG_0224The fabric is my usual 18ct Aida in a pale yellowy green. I used Anchor cotton threads for the stitching. Some are pretty old and one carries the Clark label. The colour scheme is three shades of violet. I used three strands of the cotton for the main pattern and two strands for the inserts. The main patterns is stitched with the darkest shade throughout, with the two lighter shades for the contrasting inserts.

When it came to putting the two squares into a biscornu I used a back stitch over just one mesh. I usually do this over two meshes. But I wanted a really tight and close finish. However it was quite difficult to find each mesh for the weaving the two squares together. Particularly as I used the same shade for both. In future I will use a contrasting colour for the weaving bit.

I am now working on various small Palestinian motifs, which I hope to use as adornments for bits of clothing. We shall see.

Four Paisley Patterns

After a short break from embroidery over the summer I am now back stitching away. For my first new piece I went for a composition featuring four of the famous Paisley patterns. Though associated with the Scottish town of Paisley, the distinctive tear drop shape originated in Iran centuries ago.  There it is still known as Boteh Jegheh. Anyway, whatever it is called, here is the finished piece.IMG_0216The fabric is a Robert Kaufman Kona cotton in ivory. This is a new fabric for me and it is lovely to work with. I used a mixture of cotton threads for the embroidery. Mostly DMC with a little Anchor and  couple of Caron Watercolours. I wanted to give the piece a bright and lively look, so I went for yellows and red, with a tiny bit of blue for contrast. Though there are four patterns in the composition, I wanted to keep the work balanced so there are only two designs.

I started stitching the inner sections first. All are padded with two underlayers. Two strands of the thread were used. The yellow ones were stitched in long and short stitch using three shades of yellow.  The red sections are similar though in this case I used a form of block shading over the two under ayers, using three shades of red. These inner sections were all finished off with an outline in stem stitch using one strand of blue.

I then worked on the outer edge of the patterns. For this I used two of the variegated cotton threads from the Caron Watercolours range – Saffron for the yellow patterns and Tequila for the red ones. I wanted this outer edge to stand out so I stitched this in heavy chain stitch using one strand of the thread. Using heavy chain stitch worked well for most of the outline. However getting it round the curved top part was a bit of a challenge. Nightmare more like, but it seems to have worked.

Finally I had to fill in the remaining space. I wanted something fairly simple and decided that I needed two designs for this. One for the top and curvy part of the pattern and one to go round the inner section. This part of the composition would be stitched using the other colour – yellows with the red outlines and reds with the yellow outlines.

Starting with the yellows, I used a buttonhole stitch to go round the inner section. To complete this part I used a different shade of yellow to add a Danish knot to the end of each alternate line. The upper part was stitched with the third shade of yellow. Basically it is a simple line going round the curved part. This was stitched in a whipped stem stitch with a bullion knot at the end. This left some empty space which I filled with detached sheaf stitches.

To go round the inner sections in reds I chose an attached fly stitch using two shades of red. The upper part is quite similar to the yellow ones. This time a simple line of whipped split stitch with seeded stitches at the end. I used three strands of thread for the seeding. The side spaces are filled with detached berry stitches.

To finish the whole thing off, I plan to move the work into a smaller hoop to highlight the four stitched sections.


Carnations and Snails

My latest piece to feature traditional Palestinian embroidery motifs is now finished. Just working on a cord for hanging the hoop. Here it is.IMG_9873The composition is just lots of repetitions of the two motifs. I have always liked this particular version of the carnation motif. There are many versions, but this one suited my idea best. The snail is one of the very, very few motifs from Nablus. As Nablus is our twin city, it was a suitable choice.

The fabric is a 18 count Aida in pale green. The threads are all Anchor cotton, and two strands were used throughout. A variegated green anchors the carnations, while another variegated thread, in pink and blue, was used for the snails. The carnations were stitched in various shades of lavender or violet. Cross stitch throughout, as is the norm for traditional Palestinian embroidery.

The hoop is 18cm in diameter. I am getting quite fond of this way of using Palestinian motifs and this is my third go. It is fairly slow work and altogether I spent 27 hours on the stitching. Good fun though.