While on holiday in Lisbon last year I visited the Calouste Gulbenkian museum. It is a wonderful museum and houses an outstanding collection of carpets, hangings and ceramics from the Ottoman Empire. In particular some beautiful ceramic tiles from Iznik. I loved them all, but especially the elongated tulips which seemed to be a feature of tiles from Iznik.
Anyway I decided that I just had to try and emulate this work in embroidery. The resulting piece is now finished and in a frame. Here it is.The fabric is a very fine linen, which I worked on without a backing, probably a mistake, but there you go. The tulip flowers are all stitched with Glissen Gloss Colorwash silk threads. These are very fine variegated threads which come in 12 strands. I used four for the embroidery. Three of the tulips are stitched in Strawberry Sherbet and three in Coral Blush. Long and short stitch was used throughout. The stems consist of rows of heavy chain stitch. The calyx is made up of padded closed leaf stitch. All stitched with two strands of cotton.
I included the flowers in the centre to add a bit of variety to the composition. The outer layer of the larger flowers are also stitched with Glissen Gloss Colorwash silk. This time in Blueberry, again using four strands. The other layers and the smaller flower are all stitched with two strands of au ver à soie threads in dark blue, light blue and red. The outer layers use satin stitch, while the centres are filled with padded satin stitch.
The composition was designed to fit into an old frame that I bought second hand. It had a brownish oval shaped paper mount. Unfortunately I made a mess of this mount while applying some glue. So I quickly tried to remedy this by cutting out another oval mount in purple. It fits the frame all right, but not sure of the colour.
I enjoyed working on this piece and really like the Colorwash silk threads. Now have a mini collection of these threads. All awaiting a bit of inspiration.
This year I will be making a belated start to 2015, at least as far as new projects go. I have just, yesterday, managed to finish stitching what is to be another cushion cover. Something I started way back on 12 December. It is a fairly simple wave Bargello pattern, based on a curtain pattern. Kathleen is thinking of buying these curtains, so it seemed a good idea to use the same pattern for a cushion. This is only my second attempt at a cushion cover, and it may well be the last. They just take up so much time to complete. Just over a month stitching the same pattern, day in day out. Much as I liked the pattern, too much of a good thing can be a bit dispiriting. I still have to finish the whole thing off as a cushion now. Here is part of the piece.The fabric is an 18ct Aida in green and I used two strands of DMC cotton in very dark rose, dark grape and light desert sand. If I ever get tempted to do something like this again, I will intersperse it with another project, just to add a bit of variety to my work.
My next project will be crewel work. I have not done a complete piece in crewel work as yet. Though the owl and the Scottish tapestry did involve some of the stitches used in crewel work. I have chosen the fabric, a light cotton and the threads – Paternayan persian wool. Here they are, all ready for work.
What I do not have at the moment is a design. I have some ideas floating around in my head, but nothing finalised as yet. I have shamelessly pinched a possible outline from some work I came across via google, which I may use. I hope to include some thistles as a main feature. Flowers and leaf type shapes will probably be added. I would really like to create a more abstract design, but for my first attempt at crewel I have decided to stick to the traditional motifs. At the moment I am experimenting with some stitches, just to get the hang of it and to see what works and what doesn’t. Will keep you posted on this.
I have already another project in mind, but this one is even more amorphous. Though there is an excuse this time. I have signed up for a one day introduction to Blackwork to be led by Helen McCook from the Royal School of Needlework. This is due on the 31 January and will be in Edinburgh in the National Portrait Gallery. I am very much looking forward to this, with some trepidation as to just how demanding and rigorous the course will be. I have dabbled a bit with Blackwork and enjoyed it. So, I am hoping that I come away from this course inspired and confident enough to embark on another Blackwork project.