Study in Black and Magenta

My first post for 2019 features my last project for 2018. At least it was meant to be finished in 2019, but with one thing and another the work continued into January.

img_5200For rather obvious reasons I have titled this piece Study in Black and Magenta. The inspiration for both the design and the colours come from a dress I saw someone wearing at a wedding reception in Switzerland. The reception was partly outdoors in the grounds of a restaurant which overlooks Lake Zurich. The dress was stunning I just knew that one day I would try to emulate the pattern in embroidery.

Finally got round to this last month. The fabric is a 28count Brittney from Zeigart. This is a cotton/rayon mixture which I use a lot, mainly for blackwork. I think this was my first go at Bargello with the fabric.

The design is a kind of free-form bargello, consisting of rows of vertical stitches, each with a count of six. The resulting pattern, though inspired by the “dress”, is mine. Usually I outline at least part of the pattern on the fabric in pencil.  This time I just started stitching and made the pattern up as I went along.

I started with the magenta colour, stitched a bit and then added in some black. Continued in this way for the lower half of the piece. I then completed all of the upper half in magenta as I was beginning to run out of this thread, and didn’t want to buy any more.

Two different threads were used for this project. The black is one strand of Appleton wool. I works pretty well on the Brittney and gives good cover on the fabric. The magenta is from the Rajmahal ArtSilk range. This is really primarily made of rayon with a bit of silk. It is called Purple Dusk. This range of threads is very bright and luscious. However I find it hard going to work with. Difficult to get the thread to lie down evenly. I used all six strands for this piece and even then an odd glimpse of the underlying fabric can be seen. Thankfully the fabric is in orchid and blends with the Purple Dusk.

The finished piece measures 9cmx14cm.  This is the nearest I could get to the proportions of the Golden Mean. Altogether I have spent 22 and a half hours working on this project. Slow work indeed. Now to figure out what to do with it!


More Free form bargello

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.IMG_5247

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.

Green and Magenta Circles

I have just complete another Free Form Bargello composition. This time the design is based on circles. For this I used an old fashioned compass. The centre is a complete circle, while the rest is made up of part circles. The combination of green and magenta is quite bold. Here is the finished piece.IMG_2395

The predominant colour is green in various shades. The other colour is shades of magenta. The surround is in two shades of white, combined, with a bit of green to tie in with the main colour. All the threads are Paternayan Persian wool. The circle patterns were stitched using all three strands of the wool, while the surround was stitched with only two strands, one of each of the two shades of white. I used two strands as an attempt to make the central area stand out a bit more.  The fabric is an 11ct white interlock canvass.

This composition, like the previous one is part of my ongoing aim to use up my stash of Paternayan wool. Still have some left, so at least one more Free Form Bargello may be on the horizon.

Another Bargello Rose

I seem to have got caught in a rose garden at the moment.  My current stitching project includes another rose.  Though this time it is all in Bargello needlepoint.  The design for the rose comes from Pauline Fischer’s and Anabel Lasker’s book Bargello Magic.  I haven’t used all of their design, just the main flower.  I have kept to their colour scheme, but without the greens.  There are three shades of Hot Pink and one shade of Fuchsia in the rose, which is surrounded by metallic gold.  The rest of the piece will consist of irregular shaped concentric rings.  Each will be filled with one colour – three in lavenders and two in ice blues.  There is no pattern as such for these rings.  You just make it up as you go along – a sort of Free-Form Bargello.  I got the idea for this from a book of that title by Gigs Stevens.  A bit of a change from a wholly designed pattern.  For this piece I am using Paternayan wool.  The fabric is a 14ct canvas and I use a single strand of the wool.  The only problem is that a single strand is sometimes a bit too thin for the fabric.  It almost works, but I feel there is too much of the background visible.  Two strands would be too thick.  I could use a 16ct fabric, but I don’t think I can get this in canvas and I do like the extra stiffness of canvas.  Anyway below is a photo of where I am just now with the rose piece.  Three and a half rings to go.  It is followed by a photo of my first free-form bargello project.  This has two pomegranates in the centre and was stitched with a thicker wool – Anchor’s tapestry wool.



Just before starting on the Rose in a blue garden, I made another little biscornu.  As usual one of Louison’s lovely designs.  This one is No. 166 and I stitched it with a thread from Les Fils du Rhin – Bourrasque.  The fabric is a 18ct Aida in yellow.  Here are the two sides of the finished biscornu.  Happy stitching everyone.