Mabel’s Sketchbook (IV)

Back to the sketch I showed you some time ago. You may have discerned a pumpkin shape with swirls around it and a girl in it. Well, that can mean only one thing, right? Cinderella!

Mabel's sketchbook

It all started with a Kloster block shape I’d idly doodled some time ago. It consisted of a sort of oval in the centre, and a curve or half-oval attached to it on either side. If you half-closed your eyes and used your imagination, it might pass for a pumpkin.

To some people pumpkins mean Halloween. But I don’t really do Halloween, so that was a bit of a dead end. They do remind me of Harvest Festivals, and churches decorated with fruit and vegetables, but I couldn’t quite see how to turn that into a workable design. And so it just sat there in my stitching program, forgotten and unloved.

I came across it again when I wanted to tinker a bit with a design that happened to be in the same file, and thought it would be a shame not to do anything with it. So I sketched a pumpkin shape and drew some swirls around it, and then realised it looked rather like a coach. A pumpkin coach. OK, but I didn’t want it orange or any other pumpkin colour. Silvery, or a very very pale blue, that would be much nicer. On a sparkly fabric perhaps? Another memory stirred – Serinde, a fellow-member of the Cross Stitch Forum and an accomplished Hardangerer (Hardangeress?) had mentioned that 28 count white opalescent Lugana went particularly well with a certain pale blue shade of Caron thread. And I happen to have both the fabric and the Caron threads in my stash! So that was settled. But if it was blue it wouldn’t look very pumpkin-like anymore; so add a stalk to the top to counteract that.

Now for Cinderella herself. What if I put her in the central bit, and used cutwork in the two other sections? She’d have to be cross-stitched over one if she was to fit the shape and still have a reasonable amount of detail. What about the colours? I didn’t want her to look like the Disney version – not because I don’t like it, but because I didn’t want to copy some else’s ideas. So a blue and red dress, and some flounces or ribbons. What about her face? Now if you have a close look at the sketch you will see that at this point I got a little bit over-ambitious – not only was I planning some fairly detailed backstitching in the face, but I also considered using open chain stitch to represent her ringlets. Nice idea, and I may use it some day, but not here. Cinderella would be all cross stitch.

Then all I needed to do was decide on colours and stitches for the scrolls that formed the wheels, and, as a last-minute addition, to add some sparkly stars all around the coach. I know the fabric itself will be sparkly, but that’s no reason not to add a bit more! One final idea occurred to me – wouldn’t this make rather a nice decoration for a little girl’s bedroom? And if so, wouldn’t she like to have her initial in there somewhere? So I charted a variation with Cinderella a little lower in the coach, and designed an alphabet to go with it. And there she is, ready for the Planned section, waiting to be stitched!

Cinderella Cinderella Initial

And what about the tray mentioned in the sketch? Well, I happened to pick up an oval tray with needlework in it a year or two ago, and have been looking for a design for it ever since. This might be just the right shape and size (I’ll have to do a few calculations), so you may see it in the Gallery some day.

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