Sunday 8 November 2009

Stitching Update

I have been quite busy over the summer with various stitching projects. I completed all three nameplates for the grandchildren and then embarked on the second of what I hope will become a series of pieces based on Palestinian designs. This one features a harp in the centre surrounded by lilies and moons of Bethlehem. The outer edge is made up of Damask Roses and Scottish Thistles. These patterns are much more complicated to follow than appears at first. Still it was great fun doing the piece, which I still like a lot. The colour scheme is of course mine and has probably no link with Palestine whatsoever. The piece uses two strands of DMC stranded cotton on an 18 count cotton Aida canvass.

This was followed by another Bargello design. This one I adapted from a pattern for a glass case which appears in Brenda Day’s book on Bargello - a fresh approach to Florentine embroidery. This is full of lovely ideas for Bargello designs. Anyway I reduced the proportions to fit a frame I had picked up for next to nothing. This uses Anchor tapisserie wool threads on an 11 count canvass.

I came back from our holiday in Swtizerland with some new ideas for stitching projects. The first is this piece which is also done with Anchor tapisserie wool on canvass. The design is based on the tiled steeple of the church in Turckheim in Alsace. I have tried to get as close as possible to the original colour scheme. I hope to somehow make this into a wall hanging using thin wooden strips. If I can get the right kind of wood.

My next project was another piece using my collection of Palestinian designs I found on the net from palestinianembroider. This time I wanted to make a feature of two swans. I also had to work out a design to fit into another one of my second hand frames. Above and below the swans I have used the Moon of Bethlehem pattern. The vertical design on either side of the swans does not appear to have a name. At least my copy doesn’t give it a name. Which is a pity as most of the Palestinian designs do have a name. The inner border around the swans for example is known as the Bachelor’s cushion. This piece uses two strands of DMC cotton threads on 18 count Aida fabric.

My most recent piece is one of the largest projects I have done so far. It measures 21cm by 21cm, which is pretty big for me. I again used two strands of DMC cotton on 18 count Aida. This project is another in my Bargello series. I have given this one a title - Five Easy Pieces. This is the title of a great movie featuring Jack Nicholson in one of his early roles. The piece also has five sections, so the title is not exactly original. Anyway the central section is perhaps not strictly speaking a Bargello pattern. For a start it uses a diagonal stitch. But it is basically a very simple stitch which is one of the characteristics of Bargello. This central section is by the way a variation of a Jacquard stitch. The other four outer sections are all traditional Bargello patterns. Three of them come from Frances Slater’s The Bargello Book. She gives each of the patterns a name and the three I uses are called: Ripples, Elliptical Diamonds and Circles and Diamonds. The fourth section uses an untitled pattern from Brenda Day’s book. I choose this particular combination of patterns as I wanted to experiment with using a restricted colour scheme using just shades of one colour for each section. Apart from the central piece which of course has two core colours. As usual I am not at all sure what I will do with this piece. I like it a lot, but have as yet no ideas of how to finish it off.

Currently I am working on a new project. This is to create a biscornu. The word biscornu apparently comes from a French adjective meaning crooked or quirky. And a biscornu is a quirky, crooked shaped pouch like object which can be used as a potpourri or as a pincushion or just as an ornament. From a stitchers point of view you need to make two squares. I have chosen a pattern which I found by chance on a blog by Romy in Austria. She offered the free pattern as her contribution to promoting breast cancer awareness.

I have completed one side. The other will be the same, but on a grey fabric. The stitching is pretty straightforward, though God knows how I’m going to manage to sew the two pieces into a biscornu!

For the future I want to try and make up a design based on one of the photos I took in Switzerland. I will also keep on with the occasional Bargello and Palestinian pattern. And I will probably fit in the odd bookmark or two. Good stitching to anyone out there.

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