A Swan and a biscornu

I am back into the swing of embroidery again after a brief interval. I started with some of Louison’s petites grilles for a biscornu. I used série No 16 positif. These six little designs are usually made up into a cube. But this time I decided to stitch all six on the one piece of fabric and keep them on this piece to make a kind of picture.  Here it is.  IMG_0491The fabric is an 18ct Aida in yellow.  I used two strands of DMC cotton in three shades of lavender and three shades of pink/cranberry. It is now just lying about waiting for me to make up my mind as to what to do with it next.  Same old, same old!

My last project has most surprisingly already been framed and finished off. All in record time. This is the swan, an idea I pinched from a photo we encountered during our last trip to Switzerland. This was a print of a lithograph by a Sarah Züst, which we came across in Horgen. The German title is Der entfaltete Schwan, which roughly means the (un)folded swan. I liked the simple patterns on the body of the swan, which I thought could be transferred to embroidery using blackwork stitches. Easier said than done, though I did get some useful help from Jane, the tutor in our Wednesday group. She offered me a very fine white calico fabric, which is nice, but very fine. This meant that the stitches on the back shone through. So I could only used patterns that could be continued indefinitely, without any ‘jumps’. I eventually got the hang of it all, after a bit of trial and lots of errors. 2014-10-31 12.22.58I wanted to keep to the original idea of folding and tried unsuccessfully to do all the stitching on just one piece of fabric. Too complicated by far! So I settled for two sections. The first three folds, from the unstitched head are in one piece. The remaining stitched sections comprised another separate piece. This was fine in theory, but in practice it meant that at least one section had to be stitched on the reverse side of the fabric. The beak was also stitched separately. For the rest of the swan I used white paper. I am quite pleased with the final result, so much that I went ahead and got it framed!

This was my first attempt at blackwork and I enjoyed the experience and the challenge. My current project will also involve some blackwork, though just to be awkward the stitches will be in red. Just started the first line, so more later. Happy stitching!


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