I was happy with my embroidered cap design until I went back to look again at Thomas Trevelyon’s Commonplace Book on the Folger Shakespeare Library web site. As I was browsing through the beautiful illustrations, I found things that looked an awfully lot like cap designs. In fact, they looked exactly like cap designs. Much more interesting and complex cap designs than the one I was going to stitch.
Here’s the specific design I’m going to stitch. I made a small paper pattern of it, taped it all together to make sure the pieces would all come together at the top and decided this would be my new, long term project.
After admiring it in paper, I decided I’d better get to work to transfer the pattern to tracing paper. Little did I know how long it would take!
I spent all afternoon – over 5 hours – transferring the design. The pattern in the book is drawn in shades of sepia or brown so accurately tracing the shapes was a bit tricky.
Using a printed page for reference when my eyes couldn’t see the line clearly through the tracing paper helped a lot and I ended up with a good black line drawing of the design.
I reduced the pattern so the cap will be about 6 inches tall. I’m not sure I’ll keep it that small though. As I was working on the colors, I could see that some of the shapes will be tiny and embroidering them might be really difficult. However, I think something this small will be awesome to have sitting on a table and, if I can stitch well enough, it would be pretty fabulous when it’s finished.
Late in the afternoon, I did get out my silk threads and colored pencils, thinking I would get started on the color choices and placement. But I was exhausted from drawing all day. It takes loads of concentration for me to draw carefully and accurately. I was so tired, I left my worktable a mess – something I almost never do!
This morning I woke up early and refreshed and ready to get back to my project. First I had breakfast, checked my emails and the internet sites that I read. One of the sites I go to every day is the Historic Hand Embroidery Facebook page. I don’t always contribute or comment, but I get such great ideas and these people are very talented. There, at the top of the page, was a link provided by Elmsley Rose (courtesy of Jen Thies in Live Journal) to an article all about Thomas Trevelyon’s Great Book. Talk about serendipity!
I finished my coffee, now double inspired to get this project to the stitching stage. After messing around with colors for about an hour, I found the combination and placement of colors I liked. I’ve chosen a regal red, cornflower blue, deep green, soft gold and purple. I’ll also be using gold passing thread, gold bullion and maybe gold check.
I cleaned up my desk and put all the threads together on the fabric I’ll be using so I could see how it would look. To get to this stage took hours and hours but, honestly, I didn’t notice the passage of time. I was definitely in “flow”: the state that happens when were immersed in something creative that completely captures our attention and we often lose all track of time. My sweet husband, Steve, brought me cups of tea, made lunch and dinner, did the laundry and ironing so I could keep working. How lucky am I?!?!
Now I’m at a place where I need to stop and do something else for a while: the Royal Persian Blossom piece is up for this afternoon. Next time I work on the Trevelyon Cap I’ll be transferring the design from paper to fabric and framing it up. Then I’ll work on stitch choices for the piece, probably experimenting with some of the stitches in very small shapes to see how they will work on this miniature piece.
Whew, I’m exhausted!, but excited!!!