Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Twiggs and Birds and Flowers that Bloom in the Spring ...

The combination of a new computer and a new prescription for my glasses has finally led to better results in my stitching and photo transfer, so I'm glad to be back here again :)  

"The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la,
Are hidden by blankets of snow ....." 

Don't the lyrics go something like that?  Anyway, the pieces I've finished recently have both birds and flowers, so at least spring's around here somewhere,  though delayed outdoors.  I'll spare you photos of tonight's snow ......

First of all, I've finished both of the Twigg Miniatures from the Scarlet Letter. 

Sarah Twigg (Twigg Miniatures,
Scarlet Letter)
 "LT", completed earlier in the winter, is a little (5x5) sampler stitched over 2.  "Sarah Twigg", the other of the pair, is the same size, but stitched almost entirely over 1 linen thread.  I'd never tackled a whole piece over 1, and even with my improved eyeglasses, I'm not sure I'd be eager to do another one anytime soon, but there's tremendous satisfaction in having completed this one.  Although I had to do my share of "reverse stitching" with Sarah, especially early on, the rhythm improved and the pleasure returned.  There was one small part that I left off my version of the sampler - some additional lazy daisy stitches called for in the pattern didn't, I felt, add to the design so I exercised my right to eliminate them :)

LT (Twigg Miniatures, Scarlet Letter)

The Soie d'Alger used for these is a beautiful thread, having both sheen and depth. 

These were both stitched on one piece of fabric, with sufficient space left in between to make for easier separation and framing. 

Twigg Miniatures
(Scarlet Letter)

As a participant in Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year, I'm pleased to have finished these two that I've had for several years - although I do have another Scarlet Letter sampler pattern in my files (passed along to me by a Guild friend), I'm not sure that it's one I want to do at the moment  (a huge amount of over 1, for one thing ....).    These Twigg Miniatures were very simple samplers compared to some of the extremely detailed ones at that site - go have a look there to see some outstanding stitching!

In an entirely different style, Victoria Sampler's Sunflower House (one of Cathy Jean's designs) is finished now too - it has special meaning for a family member and I'll be framing it myself soon.   A bonus in that pattern was using a silk thread from Dinky Dyes for the first time - the bright yellow, Banksia, has a gorgeous depth of colour and glided smoothly through the fabric.  And the fabric is a 28 Cashel Dirty Linen, a comfortable size to stitch as a break from the more exacting Scarlet Letter pieces.   Stitching all of those glowing yellow-gold flowers was a real delight, bringing brilliance and brightness to overcast snowy days in March and April.

Sunflower House
(Victoria Sampler - Cathy Jean)

 Several pieces I've stitched in the past year or two remain unframed or unfinished up until now (stitching is done, but they're not yet fully completed, whether framed, made into a banner/quilt/pillow or other item).   Watch for an occasional "Finished Friday" coming up soon - at least that's the plan .......

One small project I'm in the midst of is a small pincushion-sized design from Cherished Stitches - the Feathered Friends peacock.  In our Guild last year we had a presentation about the associations and meaning of peacocks in samplers and art - did you know that some medieval paintings of the Nativity feature a peacock on the roof of the stable?  The peacock was symbolic of the Resurrection in that tradition at the time, and has been used extensively in many different artistic contexts.  

 Here's my progress so far on this little gift - I've set it aside for the moment until I have clarification of one part of the pattern.   There's a short motto that I've just begun, and more of the design and date need to be added - the colours are perhaps not quite as intense as the photo would suggest.
Feathered Friends - September .... Peacock
Cherished Stitches

Other works-in-progress at the moment include Amy Mitten's Ten, Drawn Thread's Violet Sampler, Gracewood Stitches Christ is Risen, and two or three small ornaments. 

One other stitching-related event I'm excited about is the arrival of a houseguest here in a few weeks - she's a textile enthusiast and designer, but using spindle and loom, natural fibres, and even beads,  rather than the needle, linens and silks that I use.   She's promised to bring along her latest creation, a gorgeous large shawl made entirely of handspun fibres.    The backdrop in my final photo here, our  Spring/Easter centrepiece, shows part of one of her woven fabrics. 

Till next time .....