A Design from Bosnia

I have just enjoyed a brief interlude from my regular pattern of embroidery work, by exploring some other types of embroidery. The most interesting was a composition based on embroidery patterns from Bosnia. The one I chose was originally part of the trimming for a towel. I only used a section of the pattern and re-arranged it slightly to make a square. Here is the finished piece.IMG_5370

The original was white with gold on ecru. As I don’t have any ecru fabric I decided to change the colour scheme altogether. The fabric is an 18ct Aida in green. The threads are from the Rajmahal ArtSilk range. The bulk of the work is in Chartreuse, while the squares are in Vibrant Musk. I think this colour combination works pretty well.

I used all six strands for the squares in Vibrant Musk. With the Chartreuse thread, I used three strands for the diagonal stitches and all six strands for the rest.

The pattern is one of many in a book on Turkish Embroidery, part of the DMC Library collection. There is alas no date of publication for this edition. From some searching it seems that the first edition is from the 1920’s or earlier. What is unusual about the book is that hardly any of the patterns are from present day Turkey. Only three are listed as 18th century designs from Asia Minor.

All the rest are from Europe. Admittedly from parts of Europe that were once upon a time part of the Ottoman Empire. But this would be from well before the First World War. Designs come from Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Serbia. The book is fine collection of designs and I look forward to stitching many more.

The other embroidery was a return to an old favourite of mine – biscornus. Though in this case I did not make a biscornu with the finished pieces. Instead I used them to make pincushions with a plain fabric for the reverse. The design as usual with my biscornus, comes from Louison.IMG_5272Unlike most of Louison’s designs, this one is not in cross stitch, but in blackwork. I had to simplify the original design as it was not suitable for the threads nor the fabric I intended to use. The fabric is another 18ct Aida in green and the threads are variegated cotton – a Caron watercolour and two Oiver Twists.

The central pincushion is stitched with one strand of Caron watercolour in Iris. The other two are stitched with three strands of the Oliver Twists.

I am currently preparing for my next project, which will be back to crewel work. The central design is settled and outlined on the fabric. Just got to fix it onto the frame and all will be ready for stitching. Wish me luck!

Advertisements

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!

An experiment and another biscornu

My current embroidery project is a bit of an experiment for me. I am back again to working with the same cotton/linen fabric I  used for the Thistles design. For this project I have divided the fabric into 36 rectangles. Some will be left empty, while the remaining 28 rectangles will be filled with embroidery designs. There are seven different shapes in all. Five are made up using straight lines and the other two use curves. Each design will be repeated four times in the same basic colour. Here is what it looks like at the moment.P1070025

The five shapes with straight lines will all be stitched in browns and creams, while the curves will be stitched in blues. Most of the threads are DMC cotton. However to add a bit of variety for each design I have decided to stitch one of the shapes with a different thread, either silk, satin, perle or antique effects. The outline of the rectangles has been stitched with a linen thread using a whipped stem stitch. I am still getting used to the overall composition as it emerges. But it does look a bit unusual. I am now swithering about whether to leave each shape as a simple outline, or whether to fill in some of the smaller squares, or whether to insert something in the centre of some of the shapes, a knot for example.  Lots more stitching ahead before I need to decide.

Before I started on this project I managed to fit in another biscornu.P1070027P1070026 As usual this was a pattern from the ever inventive Louison, whose site you can visit here. The fabric is an 18ct Aida in pale blue. For the stitching I used two strands of a hand dyed cotton, called Guimauve, from Les Fils du Rhin.  I love stitching these apparently simple little objects.  Happy stitching!

A Lavender Cube and More Bargello

Now that my stint stitching for the Great Tapestry of Scotland has come to an end it is back to the more mundane.  As a starter I returned to one of Lousison’s lovely biscornu designs.  In this case I chose one of the petite grilles –  Série No 16 en positif.  There are six little designs in these series and I use all six to make a cube, which I fill with hollowfill fibre and some lavender.  The fabric was a 18ct Aida in pale yellow and the threads were all two strands of DMC cotton in three shades of green – ultra very dark turquoise, turquoise and very dark seagreen.  To sew the sides together I used a light blue green.  Here are some shots of the six squares and the finished cube.

P1040600

P1040617

P1040616My current project is somewhat larger and is another bargello composition.  This one is cut to fit into a frame that I picked up in a second hand shop.  The fabric is another 18ct Aida, this time in light green.  The threads are again two strands of DMC cotton in five shades of green.  To add a bit of variety to the bargello patterns I have included some lines in a bright golden yellow silk/rayon mix.  The four straight lines in trammed gobelin give a basic symmetry to the overall composition.  I used five strands for this, simply because one of the strands broke and I was left with five.  This time I have tried to overcome my obsession with symmetry by inserting a couple of snake like lines which are not symmetrical.  Though they do divide the piece into two rough halves.  I used all six strands of the thread for this.   The tiny bit of orange is just a temporary marker to show the centre of the piece.  The two outer parts are both stitched in a simple wave pattern from Pauline Fischer and Anbabel Lasker’s book, Bargello Magic.  There they call this pattern pink parfait, but I think it works fine in green.  The middle section will be filled with one of my favourite bargello patterns –  ripple.  Here is what it looks like just now.

P1040618

 

A Biscornu with a Difference

I recently had a couple of days between projects, which I filled by stitching another biscornu.  As usual the designs came from the ever inventive Louison.  Her designs for biscornus come in pairs.  One could be described as the original or base pattern, known as the positif, while the other is the mirror image, but in the negative.  Very simple and very effective.  A few weeks back one of her regular contributors, Sophie, featured a biscornu stitched from two different designs, using only the positif pattern.  I was very impressed with this simple change and decided to copy this idea for myself.  Below are the two patterns, followed by snaps of the finished biscornu.

P1030946

P1030953P1030952The two patterns I chose are the positif patterns from Series 77 and 80.  I think they complement each other quite nicely.  Sometimes the negative version of the design can be very full, and on the whole I prefer simplicity and clear lines.  The fabric is a 18ct Aida in green and both threads are shades of lavender, one a lavender blue.  As I chose lavender for the colours, it seemed appropriate to fill the biscornu with lavender.  For my next biscornu I may well repeat this approach.  Later on this week the Great Tapestry panel comes back to me.  The panel is beginning to fill up.  Just hope we can finish it all in time.  Happy stitching!

Fused Diamonds and a Biscornu

After a brief hiatus I have now completed stitching Fused Diamonds No3.  The delay was due to running out of one of the colours.  This was my first time using Persian Yarn and I found it very pleasant to stitch with.  Unlike some other wool threads, Persian Yarn comes in three strands and does not fluff so much.  I used all three strands for Fused Diamonds.  I have already ordered some more skeins in different colours for another project.  For this one I will experiment with just one or two of the strands.  As is usually the case with my stitching work, I have no real idea of what to do with the piece now that it is finished.  Here is what it looks like attached to its backing.

While waiting for the missing Persian Yarn threads, I decided to indulge myself with another Biscornu.  I love stitching these little objects and this one is No 131 from Louison, who puts up a new Biscornu design twice a week on her delightful blog.  The fabric is an 18ct Aida in pale blue and the thread is two strands of cotton thread from Les Fils du Rhin, called Embruns.  The finished biscornu now hangs down the side of my computer screen.  Below are the two sides of the biscornu.  Good stitching to everyone!

A Lavender Cube

I have now completed my second stitching project for the year – a lavender cube.  The design for this comes from the ever inventive Louison, who blogs under au pays des biscornus.  As the name suggests her blog is primarily about biscornus.  Biscornu is a wonderful French word which refers to anything which is irregular, crooked or oddly shaped.  They are very simple to stitch, though a bit finicky to sew and finish off.  Usually they end up as pin-cushions or fobs for scissors etc.  I love to stitch them and return to them regularly throughout the year.  The designs are meant to be stitched in cross stitch, but I am not particularly fond of cross stitch, so I use a very simple diagonal or half-cross stitch.  To maintain the symmetry of the original, I change the direction of the diagonal for each quarter.  Here is some examples of previous biscornus.

Usually Louison publishes two designs at a time, as two are needed for a basic biscornu.  Sometimes, however she publishes a series of six small designs and by using all six designs you have the basis for making a cube.  I usually fill mine with a hollow fill fibre and some lavender.  The house is full of both lavender cubes and biscornus.  If you want to try out some of Louison’s designs you can access her blog here.  There is also a link on the left hand sidebar under All about Stitching. Here is the latest lavender cube, which I stitched on an 18ct Aida fabric in Christmas red.  I used two strands of DMC cotton threads in six shades of blue.