More flowers!

This morning I bobbinated the Colour Stream silks that arrived earlier this week, and it struck me again how beautifully tactile these threads are. The thicker of the two especially, Exotic Lights (which is very like Kacoonda’s Thick Silk and Treenways’ 8/2 silk), is incredibly soft and smooth – fluffy angora bunny rabbit soft and I-wish-my-legs-felt-like-this smooth, and I had a lovely time just feeling the threads pass through my fingers as I wound them on the bobbins. You don’t need to stitch with threads to enjoy them smiley!

Some lovely Colour Streams silks

But I was going to write about flowers; the first being Bloomin’ Marvellous (so there is a bit of a silk connection there), which is finished. The double row of up & down blanket/buttonhole stitch worked well, with but one mistake, and that not made with the needle: because the transfer line for the petal had faded rather I went round it with a pencil to make sure I’d be able to see it, and added a fairly strong line down the centre. That line wasn’t the problem, as it got covered up, but because the stitching has gaps in it on the outside edge the outline, of course, didn’t. It showed. Not, perhaps, very noticeably to anyone who didn’t know it was there, but it was very visible to me. Nevertheless, it’s only pencil, so with a bit of luck you should be able to erase it, even on fabric. I took a rubber to it, a new one which still had sharp corners, to get at the lines between the stitches, and fortunately most of it came off – there are still traces there if you look closely, but I’ve decided simply not to look closely. Among my (rapidly dwindling) stash of little frames I found one that was just the right size, and Bloomin’ Marvellous now adorns our mantelpiece.

Bloomin' Marvellous finished Bloomin' Marvellous framed

And then there’s a few more shisha flowers. yes, I know, I’ve stitched quite enough already, but these are different variations; and variations on variations. The first one is worked in long-armed fly stitch, with 24 petals in perle #5 or 32 petals in perle #8. In the latter version the stitches overlap, which gives rather a nice cross stitch effect around the edge of the flower.

Long-armed fly stitch shisha variation, 24 petals in #5 perle Long-armed fly stitch shisha variation, 32 petals in #8 perle

And possibly my favourite (as well as being very easy), a herringbone variation: 24 petals in perle #5, 24 petals in perle #8, and 16 petals in perle #5. I’m thinking of turning this one into a kit, probably using the middle version, but with a sort of scrolly frame around it rather than a leaf and stem. I’ll do some sketching over the weekend!

Herringbone shisha variation, 24 petals in #5 perle Herringbone shisha variation, 24 petals in #8 perle Herringbone shisha variation, 16 petals in #5 perle

Golden (and silver, and copper) temptation

Ah, ’tis cruel, ’tis cruel. My dear sister-in-law, who allowed me to have an order of Alison Cole goldwork materials sent to her address in Australia to save on postage, brought the parcel back with her last week. My original plan was for her to leave it at her parents’, where I would then pick it up at our next visit in late May. My second plan was to pick it up from her at her daughter’s wedding, which would be a week or so earlier. Both these plans would definitely exercise my patience, and be a good character-building opportunity. And then she goes and sends the parcel to me – in the middle of a working week and just when I am in the throes of getting some designs ready for publication! It’s not that I don’t appreciate it; I do, greatly. But imagine receiving this and not being able to unwrap every little bit of tissue paper, lovingly decant the sparkly contents into acid-free envelopes and mark them and organise them and play with them.

An order of goldwork materials

Oh all right, just the one then!

The copper bright check unwrapped

By the way, this was in the parcel as well, bought from the Embroidery Den with a voucher I got for Christmas from my two step-sons: two shades of Colour Streams Exotic Lights and Ophir. Aren’t they silky and beautiful?

Some lovely Colour Streams silks

Threads, threads and surprise threads

I’m having a bit of a thread orgy at the moment for various reasons. The first one you might call neutral – an order from West End Embroidery with threads I wanted to try out. These are mostly Threadworx hand-dyed perles, pairs of #5 and #8. I haven’t got particular projects in mind for them, except for one: the rather startlingly bright one on the right, called Bradley’s Balloons. I fancy that would work well on a sky-blue and white fabric for Windmills; it reminds me of the bright colours of those toy windmills you get at the seaside.

Threadworx threads from West End Embroidery

The second reason is rather sad: Margaret Roberts is closing down the Little Thread Shop for health reasons. This is of course first and foremost a blow for her and her family, but in a much smaller way it is also a loss for stitchers everywhere who benefited from her great customer service, helpfulness and competitive prices. As she is now clearing out her remaining stock, I’m afraid I went a bit mad and placed a big order, then (encouraged, would you believe it, by my husband) another one, as this was a once in a lifetime chance to stock up on Caron threads without breaking the bank! The first half of the first order has arrived – two more parcels to look forward to …

Caron threads from the Little Thread Shop

And finally the very best reason of all for a stash acquisition! Sally, a wonderful fellow stitcher from Australia, sent me some gorgeous hand-dyed threads under the pretence that she wanted my help in identifying a thread from her grandmother’s sewing box. If I tell you that in the picture below the solitary pink thread on the right is what she wants my help with, and all the other threads are her very generous gift to me, you will see why I think she is a star, and a brightly shining one at that. There is a hand-dyed medium silk (the light turquoise one) from Jennifer Gail Threads, a perle #5 (pink/blue) and #8 (dark turquoise) from Jane van Keulen, Cottage Garden stranded cotton (red/green) and the absolute gem of the collection, a skein of Colour Stream’s Ophir silk perle (red/orange/yellow/purple). I have long wanted to try that one out, as I suspected it would be the same sort of lovely cord-like thread as Gloriana’s Princess Perle Petite and Treenway’s Fine Cord. I haven’t had time to try it yet, but I’ll let you know – it definitely feels delectable!

Threads from Sally