I want to learn a lot of different techniques, and learn how to put these techniques to use in a variety of ways.
For example, flowers made with detached buttonhole stitch.
- You can buttonhole in 3 different ways (depending on your direction as you progress).
- You can make them attached, semi-attached, or free (getting into stumpwork there).
- There's hollie point and trellis stitch too, to name the other two Elizabethan detached stitches.
- And there are all the different *designs* of flowers.
I plan to experiment with
- the variety of Elizabethan stitches, as polychrome embroidery
- other raised and padded work, including with string, felt and cardboard
- goldwork (just simple stuff - a bit of pearl purl in the centre of a flower, a padded leaf
- some rice pearls, if they will fit the design and/or beading
- some beetlewings, courtesy of Michael Cook of WormSpit ( http://www.wormspit.com/ ) if they will fit the design
- a flower I saw in "18th Century Embroidery Techniques" which was done in tambour but I can do with variegated thread and a crochet hook
I'm mixing the techniques of the 16th to 18th centuries, but hope to do it in a tasteful and design-wise manner, whilst engaging in a (rather large) practice piece.
The piece won't have any practical purpose. It can't be worn or sat on because of the stumpwork. Think "long cushion" in terms of looks, and it'll end up being displayed as a wall hanging.
I want to do flowers and leaves. I've been collecting descriptions and images of various different ones from Elizabethan times. Maybe a few insects. (a snail or two?)
I've also been gathering all of the information I can on various techniques (like attaching pearls) from the internet and bought a pile of 'how-to' books from Amazon.
I've been discussing with the Historical Needleworkers' List whether it is best to work with linen or silk as a ground material, and if so, which specific type. They have been of great help and we have it down to evenweave tabbyweave linen, or Duchess silk. It will need to be able to support what will be a fairly intense and heavy (literally) piece.
Apart from knowing that I want a botanical theme, a major design decision to make is the design of the framework from which those flowers and leaves will 'hang'. The typical curling vine of Elizabethan times is the most obvious to choose.
My friend Kit of KJGraphics and I found a piece yesterday which provides a framework which I just love.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of English Embroidered Bookbindings, by
Cyril James Humphries Davenport
Looking just at the vinework (not the roses and leaves) - it's very elegant but
still has the characteristics of the Elizabethan scrolling vine. (the roses are
lovely too, but I'm going to use a variety of flowers)
Kit is going to do some work to repeat the middle section to give me more
'nodes' to work with. In the design above those 'nodes' are occupied by
roses and rose buds.
I want to place a slip in the middle of the piece. Kit is going to work on those
central tendrils so that they come to a point just above (or below) what is
currently the central rose - rather than having a slip with 'tendrils' escaping
from it in all directions.
So there's two new decisions - the framework design, and the use of one slip
(I didn't know how many I was going to do)
I may put a border (an ornate one?) around the edges. That's a decision to
be made. I don't want to make so much work for myself that the project
becomes un-doable. As it is, I'm looking at a year's work, I think.
Another decision to make is how the framework is to be actually constructed.
I do want to try plaited braid stitch, but I don't want to do THAT much plaited
braid stitch. I've heard too many horror stories, but perhaps the Plymouth
Embroiderers will change all of that (they certainly have enough of it to do
of their own).
Maybe goldwork materials and techniques, or interlace techniques .....
And then slotting in my various flowers into the different nodes, and a variety
of leaves along the vines.
This project is months away from being actually started. I have a lot of
supplies to buy, lots more research to do (not least of which being
*which* slip to use - there are so many gorgeous ones). I also have
the two long and short stitch projects, and some calligraphy to do.
So this will be an on-going design process.
I'm thoroughly enjoying it :-)