Thursday, October 18, 2018

Heliotrope 'Cherry Pie' Pincushion

Earlier in June I started a piece of purple Bargello, or Florentine, that I wrote about in previous posts here and here.

As I worked I noticed a straggly shrub out in the garden with flowers of the same deep purple colour.

See how closely the colours match?

The delight of moving into a house with a nice little garden is discovering through the seasons what the previous gardener has planted. The shrub I found is heliotrope and it has the most heavenly perfume. It reminds me strongly of vanilla. Apparently it is also like the aroma of a freshly baked cherry pie! Hence the shrub known as heliotrope 'Cherry Pie'.

The Bargello pattern for the Heliotrope 'Cherry Pie' pincushion is now in my Etsy shop Lynlubell. Click here to see it. As a customer very kindly remarked, this is much more than just a pattern. It's a step by step tutorial with lots of canvas work tips, and many photographs to illustrate the techniques.

There is also a larger version of the pincushion pattern that could be mounted or framed. It could be made into an oblong pincushion or even applied to a cushion cover to update the colour scheme of a living room.

Heliotrope, fashionable in Victorian gardens of the 19th century, has seemingly made a comeback here in Brisbane. I can see why. It has a long flowering season, tolerates hot dry conditions and some varieties have a remarkable fragrance. The one in my garden is planted next to the carport and every time I get out of the car I am surrounded by a soft cloud of its lovely scent. I wish I could send you a little breath of its gentle perfume.

In the meantime, enjoy the gardens around you, and happy stitching!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Smyrna Cross Stitch

The progress on the canvas work spectacle case, that I wrote about in this post here, has been spectacularly slow. There's been more unpicking than anything else.

A gremlin in a stitch diagram had me puzzled. Eventually I drew up my own diagram based on the photo in the kit. Smyrna cross, also called Leviathan stitch or double cross, is a good textured stitch for canvas work. This is how I stitched it in a vertical row. The next diagram shows how the rows were spaced.
Smyrna cross stitch
Once I'd got the spacing between the rows right, I filled in the straight stitches to form the trellis. The number 5 perle that came with the kit was a very pretty pale green but I found it thick and hard to pull through the holes of the 18 count canvas. So more unpicking. Instead, I used a number 8 perle in almost the same shade. Some of the impact of the thicker thread was lost, but it was much easier to pass the four thinner threads through the same hole. 

Smyrna cross with a trellis
The third step of the spectacle case is a row of cushion stitch around the central trellis. And yes, that I have unpicked - three times. All down to my miscounting. As they say, a bad workman always blames the tools, or in this case, a temporary lack thereof. My new sewing room has poor light, even during the day. So, I have since had my dear husband re-assemble my magnifier light. And it makes a big difference now when I stitch. 

The spectacle case? It's back in the UFO box. 

Till next time, much success with your stitching!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Canvas Work Spectacle Case

I've started to stitch a little kit that I've had for years. It's a spectacle case designed by Kathryn Cilliers-Louw. The needle was pinned into the canvas for so long it's completely rusted. It's definitely time to do that stitching!

First stitch is Smyrna cross. It's a double cross stitch also known Leviathan stitch. I'm using three strands of rayon floss which gives little bumpy squares. I like the feel of them when I run my finger over them.

The rayon is proving just what a mind of it's own it has. Thank goodness for my thread conditioner and a drop of water. They do help to tame the thread. I have often marveled at how the embroiderers of Brazilian embroidery manage those slippery threads and produce such perfect stitches.

My pattern calls for five different threads and somehow I have only four with my kit. I'll have to add in something from the threads in my cupboard. All in all it hasn't been the best start to this little project. It is relaxing though to be stitching from a kit. Someone else has worked it all out and ironed out all the tricky bits. I can just stitch.

'Till next time, happy stitching!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Canvas work portraits

A little stitching inspiration for the weekend from the needle of Marie E. Pieres.

Marie E. Pieres

This portrait is the work of artist Marie E. Pieres. I am captivated by not only the figure of the girl but also the texture, colour and variety of the canvas work stitches used in the background. 

There is some detail about Marie's creative process on the My Modern Met website here. And more of her work on her website here. Have a look at the portraits gallery and also the rogues gallery where you will find a portrait of Hugh Grant!

Till next time, happy stitching!