Wool and Silk

Ah…a weekend with nothing pressing so I can stitch as long as I’d like…after I move the trellis for the roses on the balcony, take the sofa cover to the cleaners, take shoes to the repairs shop, go to the grocery, do the laundry. Have  needle women always done everything else first or did they ever let daily tasks go undone so they could just immerse themselves in the creative process?

Traveling is one of the best times for long, uninterrupted stitching sessions. I was in Brussels last weekend with 6 girls from the school attending the AMIS Honor Girls choir Festival. We traveled by train both ways and it gave me hours of peace and quiet to stitch (these were exceptionally wonderful students, I admit!).

After working with a combination of threads on a Trish Burr design from her book Crewel and Surface Embroidery, I wanted to try combining wool thread and silk thread on the same project myself. I received threads from The Silk Mill and from Renaissance Dyeing and noticed that the colors were complementary, it seemed like the perfect time.

This design uses elements from a page found at Needlecrafter.com. I’ve used these little designs before to create a bigger design and I love combining them – it’s just the right amount of creative freedom for me right now to put together from already drawn designs a larger design and then to decide on the color and thread choices.

The center color of these two flowers is different to tie together the rusty that is at the top of the design and the pink that is in the middle.
French knots (!!!!!) stem stitch, satin stitch and chain stitch all in silk for these acorns.
On this flower, each element is a combination of silk and wool. The inner petals and stamen are silk and the outer ones wool. The leaf is wool with a silk center and the stem is wool whipped with silk.
This design is right in the middle and needed to really be a strong element so I used the boldest silk colors on the flower and inner leaves and wool on the outer leaves to soften it – like a decrescendo – back into the design as a whole.
The colors are more muted than I have used before and I am really happy with the piece as a whole. Again, I love stitching with Renaissance Dyeing crewel wool. It is soft and wound so that is isn’t a messy thread but have enough body that satin stitch is always even and smooth. It is also so finely spun that the balance of thickness works very well with silk thread. The Silk Mill silks are such beautiful colors and there are so many (600!) that finding the right color is no problem.
I’ve already begun my next project using only Renaissance Dyeing crewel wool and have had to order their complete range of colors! I can’t wait for them to arrive!

6 thoughts on “Wool and Silk

  1. I'm absolute dying to get started on similar little projects from Susan O'Connor's book (Flowers for Elizabeth). First, I have to finish my fish. But this is inspirational! I love the layout of your little pieces! Very pretty!I'm glad you like the Renaissance Dyeing wool – isn't it a dream to stitch with?!

  2. A really lovely piece (I followed Mary C here).I'm going to buy the whole range of Rennaissance Threads too, when I get up to doing some Jacobean work. They are just so yummy! One of my friends won Mary's giveaway of the complete range – I was Sooooooo jealous! *grin*

  3. Hi again,this is very similar to an embroidery doodle i was playing with a while back. I have put a link on my site to your image. (referenced) please let me know if this is ok. :-)Eventually i want to use this sort of embroidery on the front of a dress. (eventually) :-)Beautiful work.

  4. Did you know that lighter colours will make a design element stand out – rather than bolder colours? Light colours ‘come forward”, dark colours ‘retreat’.
    Sorry if I’m teaching you to suck eggs here.

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