Oh dear – a Knitting & Stitching Show, some worrying family news and a severe cold and before you know it there hasn’t been a FoF for two weeks. Time for a few musings, however brief!
Let’s start with the Spring K&S Show, which like the autumn one at Alexandra Palace makes a great excuse for a few days in London, catching up with my sister-in-law, the odd friend, and London’s parks. You people who live in London, do you appreciate those parks enough? They are wonderful! Well, as my visit coincided with some gorgeous spring weather, there were plenty of people out there appreciating and enjoying them, especially in St James’ Park, which to my delighted surprise had some pelicans again, as well as swathes of colourful flower beds. Is it any wonder that embroiderers throughout history have tried to capture flowers in all their cheerful gorgeousness using threads, ribbons, yarns and what not?
The Show didn’t have that many needlework threads, unfortunately – the emphasis was definitely on dressmaking, quilting/patchwork and knitting/crochet, and home furnishing. But I did catch up with Mr X Stitch who had a wonderful display there, much of it created by young stitchers; and there were … chocolates! A bit dangerous, you would have thought. The last thing stitchers want anywhere near their projects is chocolate. On the other hand, after the umpteenth unpick, or a particularly tense bit of cutting, suddenly chocolate is beginning to look like an essential stitching accessory! And the truffle selection also made a very useful thank-you to my sister-in-law for having me to stay.
Did I mention there were a lot of dressmaking stalls? Well, some of them specialised in vintage dresses. And as it happens, my husband’s birthday present to me this year is a 1930s dress to go with our little vintage car. Strictly speaking it should be a 1920s dress, but I’m afraid I am simply not a 1920s shape (was anyone ever? I mean, naturally, without the aid of corsets?). And after all, who’s to say that a lady might not have bought a new dress when the car was seven years old? I got some really nice ideas from the vintage patterns that were for sale and the lovely fabrics available, so this summer when we have a week of vintage car activities I hope to be able to dress the part; all I need to do now is work out what sort of hat they’d have worn in 1932 or thereabouts.
Another thing I need to work out is whether to add more gold to Treasure Trove. Apart from the last bit of border all the surface work is now done, so just the cutting and then the bars and beaded filling stitches and it’ll be done according to the chart. But I’m thinking it may need a bit more goldwork. At the moment it’s got the four padded gold kid medallions, and some gold-coloured beads and perhaps that’s enough. But in my stash I have some lovely gold and silver wire with what I think is the best name for a needlework material – pearl purl. You couldn’t make it up .
I first got to use it at a RSN goldwork workshop that I attended at the 2012 Ally Pally show, where we worked a lovely 3D dragonfly. Pearl purl is the stuff used for the top wings, and its tail (or body). It’s a very tightly coiled wire which you pull ever so slightly and then couch down (only partially in the case of the body). I liked it so much I bought some at one of the goldwork stalls, but I’ve not had a good excuse to use it since. Those slightly empty-looking bits of Treasure Trove might be just the excuse I was looking for!