Though I haven’t posted for over two months, I have been pretty busy. Lots of small pieces and some unfinished pieces. Some of them are for the Guild’s exhibition in St Andrews which starts in October. I had in mind to include, for sale, a couple of embroidered candle holders. The first was started way back in April and I took it with me to Switzerland, hoping to make some progress. Little was made and I then discovered that I had gone and left the piece behind. Not too damaging as I can finish it off when I return in September. An 18ct aida fabric with DMC cotton threads in pinks. Here is glimpse of the Bargello pattern.The other candle wrap I have managed to complete. Another Bargello pattern in blue and turquoise. Also on the same 18ct aida fabric with DMC cotton threads.This one is not quite finished! I glue the embroidery on to the glass jar, but in this case some air bubbles remained, visible at the top and bottom. So I decided to cover the top and bottom with ribbon. The lower part is done and I have still to attach the top ribbon. I want to include a bow on this part, hence the delay.
The other pieces relating to the exhibition are two biscornus. In a moment of weakness I agreed to run a workshop on biscornus during the exhibition run. Which meant I had to do a dummy run with a couple, just to be sure they could be completed within the allotted time. Stitching the biscornus is fairly easy, the difficulty or time consuming part is sewing the two parts together. So I went for fairly simple designs. The first is a blackwork design. The second was originally a complex design for Breast cancer awareness. I have reduced the design to just the ribbons. Mine are in yellow as a mark of solidarity with the Catalan political prisoners. This time I used 16ct aida fabric and DMC cotton threads.
This was to be my final small piece to get me over the holiday period. Alas it turned out to be not quite so small. With one thing and another I have only managed to finish the stitching today. It is another Four Way Bargello piece from Dorothy Kaestner’s wonderful book of the same name. However as you will see it is slightly different.
Regular, common garden four way patterns are in the shape of a square. While this one is very clearly a rectangle. Which means that the four way pattern only emerges at both ends. In compensation the centre is somewhat elongated. There are a few of these patterns in the book, which Dorothy Kaestner refers to as a bench as opposed to the usual square.
My original idea was to do a very, very much simplified version of the pattern. But once I got started and discovered that I had enough fabric to more or less complete the whole pattern in the book, I was hooked. I am quite pleased with the finished piece, both the elongated shape and the colours.
The fabric is my usual 18ct Aida in light green. Most of the threads are Anchor cotton, thought a couple are from the DMC range. What I find interesting is that the ecru colour really stands out, though the outline is stitched with a dark wine colour. The very dark sections are not black, but black brown. This slightly softer black fits in better, I think, with the rest of the colours.
Christmas and New Year is well and truly over. At the moment I have only a very hazy idea of what projects will emerge over the year. Wish me luck!
My second easy piece for the holidays is now complete and framed! Here it is before the framing.
The design is from Dorothy Kaestner’s book on Four Way Bargello. It is her attempt to make a Snowflake suitable for embroidery. The original is very much larger and I had to reduce the size and make some minor adjustments so that the finished piece would fit into an IKEA frame I handily had lying around.
The fabric is my usual 18ct Aida in pale green. I used three strands of DMC cotton for the stitching. The centre is ultra light plum. The other colours were two shades of turquoise and winter white for the snowy effect. My final holiday project will be another bargello embroidery piece. Happy New Year to everyone.
Today I finally finished stitching my latest project. I wanted to do another Free-from bargello piece, but with a different design in the centre. For this part I returned to one of my favourites – Brigid’s octomino. The centre is thus is a composition with eight octominos, which of course together make up a larger octomino. For the rest of the composition I gave up on a free form pattern and instead I used a four way bargello design. Here is the finished piece.
The octominos are stitched in cotton, with one strand of Caron watercolours 203 – molten lava. A simple diagonal stitch was used to make the little squares. Later on I decided to add in a single octomino on each diagonal line to break up the bargello background a bit.
The Caron watercolour is a variegated thread and my original idea was to use three colours, including a red in the bargello background, but the red dominated too much, so I ended up with just two colours for the background – purple and a pale yellow.
I used two strands of a silk thread for the bargello pattern. They are from the Debbie Bliss luxury silk range. Meant for knitting, the silk is lovely and soft and no doubt better used for knitting. Nevertheless I like it fine for embroidery. The pattern is from the book Four Way Bargello by Dorothy Kaestner. In the book a variety of shades are used, as is normal with bargello. Here I adapted the pattern for just two colours. I needed a restricted colour range so as not to take away from the octominos.
The finished piece is almost a square – 244mmX254mm, and took me 44 hours of stitching to complete. Slow work indeed. Not sure what to do with it! Possibly a cushion cover? For my next project I am going for something a bit smaller in blackwork. Still working on the composition.
Every so often I opt for a free form bargello design. So instead of repeating patterns I just use a single vertical stitch. The design comes from the variation in the shapes which make up the composition. In this case I was inspired by a painting we saw in the Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen last year. Unfortunately I did not note the name of the artist. Anyway back home I sketched my own variation which is not a million miles away from taking a line for a walk. Here is the finished piece.
The wandering line is a whipped stem stitch. For this I used two strands of DMC satin thread in yellow. The rest of the piece is the bargello bit and is made up of a vertical stitch over six intersections. I used Fine d’aubusson wool for this. Made by the same company which manufactures soie d’Alger silk. It is a very fine wool and I used three strands for the work. I wanted to as near as possible completely cover the canvass, which is an 18ct aida.
For this composition I used a restricted colour range. The bulk of the canvass is covered with two shades of blue and two shades of violet. I used the enclosed sections to provide a bright contrast. In this case a red, which the French company call azalea.
Though relatively simple to stitch, at least once the outlines have been stitched, this is slow work. I spent at least 36 hours just stitching the piece. I am quite pleased with the result, which now lies ensconced in an IKEA frame.
Another Bargello project completed. This is now the third piece I have stitched with six different bargello patterns. The previous two were stitched in greens and pinks. You can see them here. For this latest version I chose a colour scheme based on lavender and violet. Here it is.
The fabric is my usual 18ct Aida in green. For this piece I used three strands of cotton, mostly Anchor. Each square is approximately 10cmx10cm. Some of the patterns are repeats from the previous compositions, while some are new. As usual with almost all of my work, the finished piece is not quite squared off. Still, adds to the charm, at least that is my story, and I am sticking to it!
The dimensions of the piece were chosen to fit into an IKEA frame. The photo above shows the embroidery in the mount. Now that I have complete three versions of this composition I may try a slight variation. Instead of six different patterns all stitched in the same colour scheme, I will go for the same pattern, but stitched in different colours. Happy stitching!
I have just finished another Bargello piece. This time it was repeat of a previous work, though in different colours and with different patterns. Here is the latest version.
It features a couple of wavy lines which almost, but not quite overlap. These lines were stitched with three strands in dark green cotton. The trammed vertical and horizontal lines were stitched with all six strands of Rajmahal Silk/Rayon in peacock green. For the two Bargello patterns I used three strands of cotton threads. The two lighter shades are DMC, while the other three are from Anchor. The fabric is an 18ct Aida in a muted greyish green. I quite like this colour combination of plum and green.
The first version of this design was stitched in green and yellow. The Bargello patterns were in green, while the dividing lines were stitched in a bright yellow. This version I managed to put into a frame I found in a charity shop. I never got round to giving this piece a title. It is just an abstract composition. Here is the first version in its frame. Happy stitching.