My second easy piece for the holidays is now complete and framed! Here it is before the framing.IMG_7310

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.


Yet another biscornu

Over the Christmas holiday period I will be concentrating on smaller, easy to finish pieces. The first is this biscornu.BCDC9B94-9BE2-4CDC-8D25-C335AB40032BThe design for the biscornu as ever comes from Louison and her wonderful blog au pays des biscornus. The fabric is an 18count Aida in pale green and I used two strands of cotton for the cross stitches. The reddish coloured thread is from the Anchor range. For the other side I went for a variegated thread from Les Fils du Rhin, called Quetsch d’Alsace. These variegated cotton threads are hand dyed and you can see the full range here.

My next mini project is another 4Way Bargello design. Below are photos to show the complete design of each side of the biscornu. Happy stitching.

Design from Albania

My latest project featured another pattern from the DMC book on Turkish Embroideries. This time I have adapted a design from Albania, originally part of the trimming for a towel. As with the previous piece from Bosnia, I restricted myself to two colours. Here is the finished work.


The fabric is a 18ct Aida in pale green. The main colour is yellow, though this time I chose a variegated thread, Saffron, from the Caron Watercolours range.  This is a 3 ply pima cotton and I used one strand throughout. The contrasting colour this time is a dark azuline silk from the Soie d’Alger range. I ended up using four of the seven strands to get the degree of thickness I wanted.

Most of the stitching is very simple with straight vertical or horizontal stitches predominating, along with some diagonal stitches. The one new stitch for me was an openwork cross stitch. This fills the very dense and slightly raised sections of the piece. The stitch is worked first vertically and then horizontally. In the photos of this stitch the threads are pulled tight, leaving gaps in the fabric to produce the openwork effect. This did not work with the Aida fabric, but I continued with the stitch as the slightly raised finish added to the overall design. In the book the fabric recommended is a tammy cloth, whatever that is!  Way before my time.

I enjoyed stitching this and look forward to choosing another design from the book.

Hearts (2)

After a short break holidaying with Emma and Alessio I have got well and truly back into embroidery. My first project was to stitch another Heart shape. Here is the finished article.IMG_6324

It is the same design as the first one, which you can see here. This time with different colours, threads and different Blackwork patterns.  The fabric is a 32ct Murano in sky blue.  I used two different threads for this, both in silk. The outer heart is stitched in Cotton Candy pink, one of the Glissen Gloss Colorwash range of Japanese silk threads. The inner heart is stitched with Soie d’Alger threads from France in blue.

I used three Blackwork patterns for the outer heart – octagons, open honeycomb and tulips.  The Colorwash silk is a 12 stranded very fine variegated silk. For the stitching I switched between two, four and six strands to vary the surface look.

The Soie d’Alger silk comes in seven strands and I used just two thicknesses for the inner heart – one and two strands. Small diamonds was the pattern I chose for this section.  The outlines of the two hearts is a simple stem stitch using two strands of the Colorwash and one strand of the Soie d’Alger.

The fine Murano fabric calls for pretty detailed stitching, and this piece took me nearly 30 hours of work to complete. Slow, but very enjoyable work!



Brigid’s Octomino in Four Way Bargello

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.IMG_5709

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.



Three Leaves

I have recently finished stitching my latest project. This is a composition featuring a leaf design by Jacqui McDonald. She included this design in her book on Crewelwork for The RSN Essential Stitch Guides series. I have simplified the original design slightly and included three of the altered leaves in my own composition. Here it is.IMG_5380The fabric is a deep blue in cotton I think. Quite a firm fabric and ideal for crewelwork. The veins of the leaves are stitched in split stitch with two strands of Fine d’Aubusson wool in medium dark violet. For the leaves I used one strand of a Caron Watercolours in saffron. I liked the idea of using a variegated thread for the leaves. Long and short stitch was used throughout the leaves. Though the angle of the stitches varies considerably both from leaf to leaf and within each leaf. Sometimes deliberately and sometimes not so deliberately!

I had originally planned to add some smaller designs to the top and bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle. However now that I have finished the leaves I think I prefer it as it is. I intend to keep the finished piece as a rectangle, but just with the three leaves. The simplicity of the overall design is what attracts me now. It should still fit into an IKEA frame, if I every get back to a store.