Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Progress report

Just a quick post to show you my progress.

I've almost finished the scrolls and the green seems to have dampened some of the brightness of the motifs' colours.

I haven't yet re-stitched the cornflower as I'm waiting for some more silks but I'm on track so far.
Fingers crossed! If I can begin the passing thread background by next week I'll be happy.

Tomorrow I'm off to Durham and Tracy's for some r&r!
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T a

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A pause for thought

As I move on, the whole thing is starting to show it's personality. But this is also where to weak spots start to show up that will need some attention.

I did the cornflower motif and the buds, and whilst the flower head has worked quite well, I am not at all happy with the lower part of the flower.

The thing is that I really don't like the shape or the colour. This is one of the hazards of buying threads off the web. Yes you get access to a wonderful world of threads but matching colours can be a nightmare. There is also the fact that even if the colour is ok, on e stitched it can change..

The little leaf at the top is a case in point. It is worked in the same colours as the cornflower but whilst it looks acceptable, the flower is just wrong.

So tonight I'll go and look again and see if there is a better shade. I will also redraft the other bud to see if I can get a better shape. This means some reverse stitching and re-outlining. Hey ho.

On a brighter note, I am happy with the way the scrolls are going, so all is not lost.

Any views on the progress so far will be much appreciated!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Starting the colours

So, yesterday I finished outlining the motifs, and now I can fill them in with some colours

All of it is done in tent stitch, including the scrolling stems, so I've just to keep at it. It is amazing how it looks though. Subtle it isn't. Probably the cartoons of the Renaissance, ha!
I have had to guess with a lot of the colours, having looked at other embroideries from this period. It's just such a difference from the faded colours we're used to.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Outlining the motifs

Having framed up I made a start today on the Gawthorpe Sweete Bag, stitching round the outline of all the motifs in tent stitch. Once this is complete, then I can start the filling in in colour and  metal threads.

I also got some more passing threads today. I had originally thought that No 4 smooth passing would be OK ( Jacqui Carey recommended this). But as I am doing tent stitch not Gobelin or any other ground stitch it needed something finer. So I got some No 3, and hooray, it looks OK and works up well. 

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Phew, to crack on then!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Sweete Bag Replica

 I am having to put the dragonbird a bit to one side as I have been given a commission with quite a tight deadline. But it really is a dream job!

I am making a replica of a Jacobean Sweete Bag for Gawthorpe Hall Textile Collection in Padiham, Lancashire. This little bag is 14 cm x 12.5 cm and made with silk and metal threads embroidered on a linen fabric. Only one side is embroidered, mainly in tent stitch, the other is a patterned silk, there is a metal thread lace round the top and a plaited/twisted metal thread cord. But it has 3D embroidered petals in detached buttonhole on each of the flower motifs and as this picture shows it is a classic example of a Sweete bag!

The Gawthorpe Hall Sweete Bag

The worst thing is, it is in quite a frail state as you see. Lots of stitches are missing as is some of the base fabric and the original colours are anybody's guess. So I have been doing quite a lot of research. 

One of the best books around on the actual making of these little bags is by Jacqui Carey called 'Sweet Bags' and she explains many of the differences between modern stitches and 16th/17th century stitches as well as how to recreate a sweete bag

This weekend I finalised the pattern and got it traced up. Then I framed up the linen I'm using and transferred the design by pricking and pouncing it.

Design finally on!

I am using a 32 count natural linen from Willow Fabrics which is the same thread count as the original.
The threads will be silks from Devere Silks and silver and gilt passing and purls from Golden Threads. 

So tomorrow, hopefully, I will get started with some stitching.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Mad fool

Sometimes you just wonder what mad impulse induced you to start off on a particular idea.
I'm feeling like that right now. I thought about all sorts of different ways to achieve a thin grass-like leaf and ended up working them in DMC Diamante in fishbone stitch, just straightforward surface embroidery.
Leaves worked in fishbone stitch

Except straightforward it aint! The thread shreds and is very unforgiving, you can't pull it back, you have to just pull it out if not right, so I'm a bit slow. But it does look quite good when you get it right.

Just now I'm snatching a bit of embroidery between nursing my poorly doggy. I'll keep you posted on both!