As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, this summer has been too hot for using the studio, so I have been doing handwork in the cooler lower stories of the house, and outdoors in the evenings. Amongst other things I got up to date with all my darning, hemming and altering. The summer embroidery included finishing a Danish cross-stitch picture of a silver birch on natural linen (7 count) and working on my needlepoint Sudeley Castle heron. I brought some great projects back from my summer trip to Denmark and Sweden, but I am being good and finishing a few existing projects before starting on the new ones, no matter how strong the temptation!
The silver birch is a design by Gerda Bengtsson and I’ll probably frame it and hang it in the den, which has lots of wood and brown tones in the décor.
The needlepoint is from a book called Country House Needlepoint by Frances Kennett and Belinda Scarlett, that I have had for many years and stitched a number of projects from. The heron panel is taken from the famous tapestry in the collection of Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire in England. Woven in England by Ralph Sheldon in 1611, the tapestry depicts ‘The expulsion from Paradise’ but actually, the theme is just an excuse for showing every imaginable plant and animal in rich colour; Adam and Eve hardly get a look in! The heron scene is part of the mille fleurs ‘background’ that makes up most of the tapestry, and as the tapestry is on display, I was able to take a snapshot of the original heron during a visit to the castle (not with a flash, of course).
The photo below shows the needlepoint on my needlepoint frame: I am nearly finished (!), working up towards the top of the scene. The rest of the embroidery has been rolled around the frame, and is protected by the cream coloured linen napkin that you can see at the bottom: that way my completed work doesn’t get fuzzy or dirty.
A close up shows that I am working the design in wool in continental tent stitch, so as to get a good hard-wearing finish: when it’s done, I’ll be making a cushion from the panel. The printing you can see faintly through the canvas in the photo is because this is re-purposed canvas: on the back is a hideous scene of the Matterhorn in garish colours, a printed needlepoint design that was given to me years ago, but it was good quality canvas in a decent size, so I kept it to use for something else. I used the ‘back’ of the canvas as my ‘front’ to be sure that none of the original printing and colours would peep through my finished work. How long I kept this canvas is also clear from the text: ‘Made in W. Germany’ something that hasn’t been printed on canvas since reunification in 1989. Ah, the wonders of the stash!
I’m going to make an effort to keep my momentum up with this: then I’ll have a nice new cushion for the winter and I can start one of the projects I brought home from my summer holiday. Progress report as and when!