Trevelyon’s Gold Cap update

Sometimes I try something different and it works. I like it and the change is good. Other times it’s clear from the beginning that it isn’t going to work. And then, more rarely, I try something different and think it’s better but when I go back and look at it again, decide that it hasn’t worked as well as I thought. That’s what happened this time with the leaf you see below.

Trevelyon's Gold Cap

I was pleased with the black trellis and gold purl crosses when I first finished this leaf. As time passed, I became unsure about the black and gold outline thread – it was too thin in comparison to the outline threads used in all the other leaves. It didn’t have enough body or presence.

This kind of work is relatively easy to remove without damaging the fabric so I did just that and began again.

Trevelyon's Gold Cap

I used gold passing thread for the outline of the leaf, as I have in most of the leaves on the cap. I used the black and gold thread as the trellis, where the thinner thread works better than when I used it for the outline. Then I used short pieces of black purl to fill the center of the squares. I was imagining they would look a bit like French knots. Except they didn’t. The pieces of purl aren’t all the same size and it’s VERY difficult to get them to be the same size because the pieces are minuscule. Teeny tiny. For the same reason, it’s almost impossible to get the pieces of purl to be in the exact center of each square, which drives me nuts!

So, out comes the black purl and I’ll be putting back in the crosses using gold purl. I sure hope it works!

Trevelyon's Gold Cap

On to a more successful motif – the rose at the top of the cap. Each petal is outlined in gold purl and then alternate petals are filled with chip work using either smooth or check thread. The contrast in texture is just right and it’s not too gaudy. The centre is filled with black check and the triangular areas between the petals will be filled with black purl laid over felt padding. (That’s the plan unless it’s just too fiddly on such a small scale!)

Trevelyon's Gold Cap

The four leaves on the prototype currently look like the ones below. Shortly, the black purl will be removed and gold purl crosses put back on the bottom left leaf. Even as I look at this photo I can see it looks sloppy and messy. Really NOT OK!

Trevelyon's Gold Cap

Here’s the design as far as it’s been completed. It’s hard to see how it will look completed, since all the veins, the bunches of grapes and the curlicues are still to be done.

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And, just outside the bottom of the photo, there’s a border still to do. Perhaps there’s more work than I thought…However, it’s going to be pretty flashy when it’s finished with all that gold glittering!

 

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Pineapple laid and couched work

I just love laid and couched work! The finished design reminds me a little bit of weaving. The combination of threads running horizontally and vertically and the holding stitches does, in fact, layer different threads on the surface of the fabric, sometimes giving the impression of a plaid fabric. When I get to embroider laid and couched patterns on our balcony, on a beautiful sunny day, I am as pleased as punch!

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The bottom three leaves on the pineapple will all be embroidered using laid and couched patterns. Two of the leaves will be the same laid and couched design and the third will be different.

Unlike the leaves at the top, which don’t incorporate any of the deep rose coloured thread, the ones with the laid and couched design on the bottom do use that delicious shade of red.

Laid and couched

In the leaf above, the deep rose color is used for the centre vein of the leaf and the green, gold and blue for the laid and couched design. It’s a simple design which is quite open and uncomplicated. In order to accommodate the vein in the leaf, I had to break the line of the laid threads which left a bit of space around the vein. I quite like the freshness of this pattern. It’s always so much fun to embroider a laid and couched design. The pattern changes with each new layer you add!

laid and couched

The second design has squares in the pattern that are left empty and filled squares which are quite busy. On top of the gold thread that creates the trellis are dark blue holding stitches. In the centre of every other square there are green crosses with deep rose holding stitches over them. The contrast between the complex squares and the empty squares make this pattern one of my favourites; in fact, I used this same design in my RSN Crewelwork Certificate piece!

laid and couched

The outline stitches and the vein stitches for the leaves are both simple, but perfect, stem stitch lines. I especially like the look of rows of stem stitch embroidered side by side.

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Traditionally laid and couched work was used to fill larger areas in crewelwork and there is a huge variety of old designs from which you can draw inspiration. It’s also a relatively frugal way to fill large areas with colour and pattern, using little, very little thread when compared to long and short shading, for example.

As you can see from the photo above, I couldn’t resist adding a few of the golden French knots in three shades on the body of the pineapple. I just had to see how it would look!

Not much more to do now to be finished!

Do you enjoy laid and couched designs as much as I do? Do you have a favorite?

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Mounting an old sampler

When this sampler arrived there was a very unwelcome sound as I open the box – that unmistakable sound of shattered glass. Fortunately, although the glass was shattered, I was able to get all of it out without damaging the sampler itself.

Now I had a darling sampler that wasn’t framed and I needed to mount it. Fortunately, I learned how to mount embroidery at the RSN. I did NOT learn how to conserve antique textiles and I don’t claim to be an expert in the conservation of antique textiles.

Since it was already “out of the frame” (by accident rather than by choice!) I was able to examine it closely and was relieved to find that it had not been glued down to the board at the back. Using our vacuum cleaner with the suction at the lowest and a filter over the attachment to protect the threads in the sampler, my husband and I gently cleaned it. There had been some dust in the sampler as it was much brighter when we were finished. I probably wouldn’t have done this to an older and more valuable piece.

DSC_1797Next, I took two pieces of acid free mat board and glued them together with Copydex glue. I let the glue dry while I cut a piece of linen larger than the mat board. When the glue between the boards was dry, I laid a piece of 100% cotton batting/wadding on the top and glued the linen onto the mat board with a large overlap on the back. (see photo above)

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Now I had a piece of acid free mat board with 100% cotton batting/wadding on the top and all covered with linen, glued to the back of the board so no glued area was touching the sampler.

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I placed the sampler on top of the padded board and, when I was sure it was placed where I wanted it, pinned it down using very tiny straight pins. (see below)

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I left an edge of linen showing around the edge of the sampler. Carefully I adjusted the placement of the sampler, so the linen edge was even all the way around.

Using a small curved needle, I attached the edge of the sampler with invisible stitch to the padded front of the board. Since the board was padded and I wasn’t trying to line up the embroidery exactly with the edge of the board,  it was easier than mounting often is for me! Whew! It’s NOT my favorite thing to do!

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One lovely “side effect’ of mounting the sampler on the white linen is that it looks much brighter! Next step is to get it framed with Clarity glass – something I learned about when I got the pieces I bought at Witney Antiques framed in Leamington Spa at Regent Print and Frame Ltd.  It’s fabulous and makes everything behind the glass so clear as well as protected – it’s perfect for needlework which often loses detail when behind glass!

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