A gold (or copper) snag, and another Orpheus

My bee has hit a snag. And I was getting on so well, too. Below left is the little goldwork bee as unearthed from my RSN workshop folder after nearly six years of neglect, below right what I’ve done to it so far: completed the edge of the leaf (couched double Japanese thread – and I need to neaten up the bit I had already done, as it wasn’t stitched quite correctly and is beginning to buckle) and its stem (couched pearl purl); started on the chipwork that will fill the leaf; and worked the bee’s wings (couched pearl purl again – the image on the kit showed them as two separate wings but I wanted to try a sharp corner so I stitched them as one; a pair of accurate tweezers might have helped there).

Where I had got to on the bee The goldwork bee has hit a snag

Actually I had meant to complete the bee’s body (cutwork of bright check purl in a rather pleasant copper shade) before working its wings, and I got as far as stretching (please don’t mention this to any true goldworker as it’s bound to get me excommunicated before I’ve even got properly started) the purl already there to make them cover the gaps down the sides caused by my inability to judge what length of purl was needed to fully cover the padded felt. Then, as I reached for the remaining bright check purl in the kit to cut it into hopefully better-fitting pieces, I found that there was none. I can only assume that when I picked up all the bits and pieces after the workshop, I must have missed the copper bright check. And none of the other odds and ends I have will match it – for one thing they are all either gold or coloured, not copper, and for another they aren’t the same size. One option is to unpick what is already there (on the grounds that it isn’t very good anyway) and re-do it in the threads I have; another is to get some more copper bright check, although I don’t know whether there could be a colour difference if you get it from a different source or manufacturer. At the moment I’m leaning towards getting some bright check in silver and gold, or some bright check and rough purl both in silver, and making a stripy bee. Watch this space!

I’m juggling several projects at the moment – not literally, you understand; that would require more skill than I possess – which makes for a very pleasing variety in my stitching hours. There is the goldwork watering can, although I may put that on hold for a little until I collect my lovely tools (and a few other bits & pieces…) from Sarah Homfray at the Shisha class; because of a family weekend away, for which I wanted some not-too-challenging stitching, I have picked up the buttonholing of Floral Lace again (11 and a quarter down, 6 and three quarters to go); and of course there is Orpheus. Orpheus I, Orange Orpheus, is finished *yay!* and fortunately after damping, ironing and some judicious pulling it is now almost perfectly square instead of noticeably rectangular. It will eventually get laced over brown felt.

Orpheus I

But I am not left completely Orpheus-less, as it is now the turn of rectangular Orpheus II. Literally the turn, as I will work it sideways on my larger frame. That way, the longer sides of the fabric are secured, and hopefully there will be enough tension to work the pulled stitches on the scroll frame (I am beginning to feel very tempted by the Millenium frame, especially after reading Mary Corbet’s review of it). Unlike in the first Orpheus some of the stitches will be worked in perle #12. This is not because I’ve only just thought of it, or because I think three weights of thread look better in green than in orange, but merely because the shade of orange used in Orpheus I is not produced in #12 by DMC. I’m sure they have a reason for this. If I like the effect of adding in the lighter-weight thread I’ll simply put a note in the chart pack to suggest that if #12 is available in the shade picked by the stitcher, it may be used to good effect for such and such a stitch.

Orpheus II on its frame

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