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.
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 the bargello medley project. I thought it might take me to Christmas to finish, but it has taken a few days longer. The stitching is finished but the whole thing has been, as often with me, pulled out of shape. A bit of stretching coming up!
The fabric is 18ct aida in pale green and three strands of DMC cotton was used throughout. The central section is partly outlined with a whipped stem stich in cream. This part is stitched in copper colours with blue and green for the inserts. Florentine Signets is the name that Pauline Fischer and Anabel Lasker give to this pattern in their book Bargello Magic. The version here is a slight adaptation. I originally wanted to just use blues and greens for the rest of the piece, but added a bit of grey to avoid too much blue and green together. Other than the Florentine Signets, the other patterns are all used twice. The finished piece is 290mmx205mm.
I have now acquired my own personal stamp and you can just about make out my name on the lower part of the right hand side. The stamp works quite well on embroidery work where there is some unstitched fabric, as in crewel work or most blackwork. Not so good for bargello though, where all of the fabric is covered in stitches. Here I had to try and stitch around the name, which is a bit awkward. Still nothing ventured, nothing gained!
A few days off stitching then back to work in the New Year. Happy New Year and happy stitching to one and all!
My latest embroidery project was another Bargello medley. This time around the challenge was to use only, or almost only, two colours. I decided on this as last year while visiting Meiringen in Switzerland I bought a couple of bundles of thread. There was an outdoor market in the town and one of the stalls had a lovely range of threads and fabrics. Which I found irresistible, surprise, surprise! The two I bought were both Swiss made silk threads which look a bit like a perle cotton. One was made with the addition of a small amount of seaweed. Anyway, as usual they have lain around in a box for over a year, so it was time to use them or lose them!
This time I went for a restricted Bargello medley. To make the most of these particular threads I decided to make them the focus of the colour range. I added a little pattern in two shades of blue from the Au ver à Soie range, just to add a bit of variety.
The fabric is a 16ct Aida and the overall size is 17cm x 12cm, chosen to fit into an IKEA frame. There are only four Bargello patterns in the piece, which I think works quite well, as does the dominance of just two colours. Happy stitching!