Royal Persian Blossom

My new project is the Royal Persian Blossom produced by Talliaferro. The design and the colors are just beautiful. It’s a kit that isn’t a kit: when you order you receive the design, a basic crewel stitches guide, a yarn chart, instructions for before you begin and a detailed stitch guide. After I’d looked through everything, I decided to get started, frame up  and transfer the design right away.

Well, I learned a couple of things during this long, drawn out process.

Firstly, this is a big design and big designs take a long time to transfer. It’s 14 inches/sq or 140 cm/sq. Not the fabric – the design.

Secondly, there are a lot of details and details are tricky to transfer accurately.

After framing up the twill, I copied the pattern onto tracking paper and pricked the design. I then placed it on the twill and applied the pounce. When I lifted the tracing paper up, what I saw horrified me – it was a big, gray mess in some places. After about 20 seconds, I realized that, in an effort to get all the details onto the fabric, I’d “over-transferred”. (I just made that word up – pretty good, eh?)

Where there were many beautifully shaped ovals on the paper design, there was a big gray splodge on the twill. Fortunately, pounce can be knocked right off so I walked out to the balcony and did so. Clean twill again, Whew! Then I spent about half an hour taping over all the tiny holes where I’d pricked the details of the design. Tedious.  I pounced again and this time got only the outline of the large shapes. Great! Then, I took the brave step of drawing the details in free hand. Yes! Me! Freehand drawing! And it worked! As Nicola and Sarah said, one’s drawing does get better with practice.

The next step was to go through the stitch instructions and write in the numbers for all the wool I would be using. The wool that Talliaferro suggests is Appleton and all of those numbers are on the wool chart and in the instructions. However, they have done something really, really clever and provided spaces for you to write in a different brand of wool color numbers both on the chart and in the instructions.

I’m using Heathway Crewel Wool from Pearsall’s Embroidery or Tristan Brooks for this project. Honestly, after having to do my entire RSN project with Appleton and throwing away countless lengths of wool because they were spun unevenly or broke or frayed or had pieces of straw in them, I just couldn’t face using Appleton wool again. The Heathway Crewel Wool colors I’m using are Indigo, Old Gold and Fawn. I used my Appleton and Heathway thread cards to match the colors.

After transferring the design, it was time to set up to begin stitching. I have the slate frame but no trestles. I do, however, have two IKEA Molger wooden towel stands that I thought might work so I got them out and tried them and, they worked!

They need some modification to be perfect, but the general idea is right. Best of all, they’re cheap; $20/£13.99/€13,99 each. I think drilling additional holes so the height is adjustable will make them just about perfect.

Once I was all set up, I started on the stem that anchors the whole flower. It’s worked in shaded stem stitch and it’s big. Here’s a photo of the whole piece with part of the stem finished. I worked on this for about 3 hours. Really, it’s huge!

This is the same technique I used on the trunk of the tree in my RSN piece. The difference is that in the Royal Persian Blossom the light is striking the stem in the middle of the stem and on my trunk the light is coming from the top. Therefore, the lightest thread is in the middle of the Royal Persian Blossom stem but on the top of my trunk.

The shading has been done in both pieces to show where the light is coming from and how it’s striking the shape in the piece. The direction from which the light comes is an important consideration when designing embroidery and these two examples show how different shading makes us ‘see’ the light sources differently.
Do you consider the source of light in your designs when you stitch or design piece? How do you show light in your work? If you have any tips, let us know!


21 thoughts on “Royal Persian Blossom

  1. Wow, that is a really beautiful pattern. It looks like you already have a good start on it. I look forward to seeing the process and then the finished product! 🙂

  2. What about the ‘feet’ of the stands? Are those removable so a thicker set of wood can be put on or can the feet there be put onto something else to raise the bar, so to speak?

    What did you do with the sections of wood in the middle?

    I haven’t been to IKEA in ages – my drinking glasses are from there.

    • Hi Marny,

      The feeet could be changes but the stand isn’t too low but too high – even for me at 6 feet 1! I’ll take a photo of me using it for a future post to make it more clear. I didn’t think about the fact that the stand alone didn’t give anyone a reference as to how high it was from the floor. Duh. The wood sections in the middle just sit there doing nothing although I can and have hung the wool I’m using over them. I’m still experimenting so I think there will be imporvements coming.
      Liebe Grusse,

  3. I’ve seen this on Mary Corbett’s blog, are you joining in her stitch along? I would have loved to join in but have more than enough on already. Now I see how big it is (I hadn’t realised before) I’m relieved I didn’t. However, I am really looking forward to watching you stitch this beautiful design.

    • HI!
      I’m kind of doing the stitch a long – but I find it difficult to blog, stitch and write about my experience on Mary’s site too! But it IS such a great idea to share tips on a project, doesn’t it?
      Liebe Grusse,

  4. Isn’t is exciting when you start a new project. I am going to love these colors. Your bloggers are very proud of your accomplishments.

  5. This crewel piece is facinating. I am excited to follow the different steps on this piece. I have used prick and pounce with ink but not with chalk. That is my next experiment. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Thanks.

  6. Hi,
    Royal Persian Blossom is on my list too, lovely pattern !
    Many compliments for your new project is coming out beautifully.
    Thanks for the info on trestles, I was looking for them …
    Is very important to consider the source of light , many painters uses to fix the source of light coming from left side.

  7. Hi Kathy,

    Really like your colors and am interested to see how the Heathway wool will work up in this pattern.

    Now that you’ve used the slate frames, what is your opinion/preference between the Evertite frames and the slate frames. Would you choose one method over another for different types of embroidery or size of projects?

    I’m working on an even larger RP motif. Good Grief, what was I thinking? Hoping it will get finished by the end of this year! lol


    • Hi Sharon,
      I will use the slate frame for all my crewelwork pieces. It’s keeps the fabric so drum tight and it’s a real pleasure to stitch that way. I’m using the Evertite frame right now for the Floral Bed Cover and the fabric is much looser than the twill on the slate frame. In fact, I keep thinking something’s wrong and trying to “fix it” every time I sit down to work. I will keep using the Evertite frame and System 4 stand but I need to figure out a way to make the fabric tighter. No matter how tightly I stretch it on, it isn’t as tight as the slate frame. If you (or anyone) has tips on how to do that, pleas share them!

      The project I’m working on is the entire design so I’m curious what you’re doing that is larger. Are you doing two as is shown on the Talliaferro home page?!?! That would be ambitious!

      Liebe Grusse,

  8. I really had good intentions of doing this stitch along, but I’m trying to figure out the best colors of wool to match my living room wing chair. I’m also just way too busy with other things, so I’ll just watch your progress – it’s fun! Eventually I’ll sort out all the colors and start it, but I have a goldwork project I want to do first. Too much stitching, too little time.

  9. I love using Appletons wool despite the inperfections. For me it feels wonderful as I stich it and this is one of the reasons that I love Crewel embroidery.

    I have recently taken up photography and this is helping me understand light and shade.

    your design looks very interesting and i am very interested to see that you are framing up again as the RSN method.

    Would you use your hoop again?

    • Hi Debbie,

      Would I use my hopp again! Yes! I often take a small piece of embroidery with me on a trip in the car or plane and for that I always use my hoop. I would also use the lap stand for smaller pieces of embroidery. The Evertite Frame and slate frame are good for large pieces but unwieldy for smaller pieces.

      Photography is a great way to understand light and shadow isn’t it? And it will develope your artistic eye even more!

      Liebe Grusse,

  10. The use of the towel frames is a great idea. As you say, you can hang your wool from spare bars!

    I don’t think the sheer size of a design need be daunting, but the density of this one does suggest you have a lot of work to do. It’s just as well you enjoy it, isn’t it!

  11. The light source is traditionally from the right top corner of the piece – regarded as the ‘source of Jesus’ light in the East for the resurrection’ – in Medieval Illumination pieces (I spent 6 years doing medieval calligraphy and illumination).

    So that’s the traditional light source but there’s no reason why you can’t pick the other corner.

    • HI Elmsley Rose,
      I didn’t know that! How interesting. So much of what is common practice in all of the arts stems from the combination of religion and art.
      Liebe Grusse,

  12. Yes, Kathy, I double checked and I’m actually working on the Royal Persian Spray that is 12-1/2 x 8 inches. It probably just seemed larger in my fevered imagination, since I have three other projects on the burner right now!

    Thank you, too, for your input on using the slate frame vs. Evertite/System 4. I’m using the E./Sys4 for for my RPS project and although I’d like to make the fabric tighter (no suggestions on how, though), it is working out just fine so far.

    Elmsley Rose, thank you for sharing the symbolic meaning of the light source in Medieval pieces!


  13. Hello – I love how this is coming out with the Heathway wool. I was going to order the kit, but now I’m thinking of trying the Heathway. Decisions, decisions. I was wondering if you found the prick and pounce method to be worth it or just to go right to transferring it with a Micron pen (I have a sepia) and light box. I’m not sure I could free hand the design and would probably have to bust out the light box anyway. Thanks! ~ Rose

    • Hi Madame Purl,
      Prick and pounce was problematic for me on this design. It’s so detailed in places! When I applied the pounce the details inside the larger shapes came out a blur – a mess, in fact! So I shook all the pounce off, taped over the holes where I pricked the finest parts of the design and did it all again. Then I drew – free hand because by then, of course, the linen twill was already mounted – the details free hand. So far it’s been OK doing it this way.

      If I stitch this design again I will probably do the same thing. I don’t have a proper light box but use a large piece of glass and bits of furniture. Click here to see. A good quality. large, low heat light box would be a good investment for me but it isn’t at the top of the list in the embroidery budget. If you have a good, usable light box, I would use the pen. You could then get all the details just right.

      As far as the wool you use goes, I would highly recommend the Heathway wool. I’m using Appleton’s again on another projects right now and, although I love the colors, it does tend to fray and break no matter how short the lengths I stitch with are. Frustrating. I can see that the spin is uneven and have now (finally!) learned to cut out the thinly spun lengths.

      Let me know what you decide!

      Liebe Grusse,

  14. Kathy,

    I am enthralled with your blog to the point that I go back to older posts and see what you’ve written about what you used and how, etc. I can’t get enough! 🙂

    What linen twill are you using? Is it Legacy or Strathaven (sp)? Or something other?

    Hugs and Love,

    • Hi Jen
      Thank you! I use linen twill from two sources: Burford Needlecraft in Burford, England and the twill that Phillipa provides for her kits, which you can purchase from her directly at The Crewel Work Company. I;ve never used either Strathave or Legacy since, if I had them shipped to Germany, I would have to pay huge import taxes on them. Next time I’m in the USA I will get some of each to try so I understand what they are like for my readers. I’m very happy with the linen twill I can get in the UK so it’s unlikely I”ll change!
      Liebe Grusse,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.