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.
Before leaving on holiday to Lisbon and the Azores, I did manage to finish stitching my second pattern based on designs from the cobblestone streets in Freiburg. As with the others this one is enclosed in a circle. The inside features six elongated ovals. Each oval is divided in two along a centre line. One side is a negative image of the other. The outer circle is again stitched with heavy chain stitch in pink. The centre is also in pink or azalea as the French company likes to call this colour. The outline of the ovals are stitched with stem stitch. For the ovals I used all three shades of the blue and violet threads. The long sides were stitched with long and short stitches, while the smaller sections were stitched with padded satin stitches. All the threads are lovely single strand wool from the Fine d’aubusson collection. I also used the same blue linen fabric as for the first in this series.
I am now taking a break from this crewel embroidery series to do a bit of blackwork. Though I fully intend to complete two more pieces in this series.
My latest embroidery project was another adventure in crewel work. This was partly to start using my small stock of Fine d’aubusson wool threads. The design is a bit unusual for an embroidery piece, as the original is to be found on the streets of Freiburg in Germany. Many of the old streets of that beautiful city remain filled with cobbles, and on the cobbles someone has painted some lovely patterns. I took quite a few photos of them and have been itching to turn some of them into embroidery pieces. For my first attempt I used a pattern made up of overlapping circles. Below are photos of the original and then my embroidery effort.
The fabric is a very light and very fine linen, made in Dundee. The threads are of course all Fine d’aubusson wool, in one strand. I decided to stick to a very restricted range of stitches for this, to highlight the unity of the design. Chain stitch was used for the outlines of the circles – broad chain for the inner circles and heavy chain stitch for the large outer circle. The centre of each circle is trellis stitch with a Danish knot in about half the squares. The ellipses are filled with closed fly stitch, while the very centre has a very small whipped wheel. The large circle is about 18 cm in diameter.
I also decided to limit the colours for the design to blues and pinks, three shades of each. Though for some reason the pinks are called azalea. Two of the blues are royal blues, while one is azure. The Fine d’aubusson threads were great to work with. Very smooth and very fine. I am very happy to have come across this new discovery. The fabric is also very fine and my first attempt ended in disaster due to this fineness. I had originally intended to do a larger piece, but made no attempt at adding a backing fabric nor to securing the fabric on all four sides. The all too predictable result was that the fabric started to buckle up and I had to give the whole thing up. A bit of a blessing in a way, as I then decided to do smaller pieces, featuring just one of the Freiburg patterns. I also ironed on a backing and somehow managed to secure all four sides. The first time I have ever done this. Hopefully not the last. However I do have a long history of not learning my lessons! Below is my rather hame made attempt at securing the fabric. It did work though! Happy stitching.